Sunday, November 25, 2007

Post-Thanksgiving Roundup

Just checking in. I went to visit my folks for Thanksgiving. Because I bought my car from a dealership down there, I get free car inspections for as long as I own the vehicle. So I had that taken care of while I was down there, in addition to getting my oil changed and the tires rotated and balanced. It was time for my engine flush, too, so I had that done. I didn't have the money for these things, so I charged it.

I also charged a couple small items from the consignment store. Nothing much -- a couple body washes that were on clearance.

My plan is to do what I did with the class: transfer money from savings to my checking account and then write a check for the credit card payment in the exact amount.

Just wanna wait until next payday. I feel like I've been juggling too much. I want things to settle first. It's only a week away.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

The Magic Number

I found this debt calculator over at It's pretty awesome. My favorite thing about it is that you can either put in how much you want to pay and find out how long it'll take to reach zero, or you can put in how long you want to pay it off and find out how much you need to pay to reach that goal. I also like that it shows what the debt total will be every month if you follow this plan.

I put in that I want to pay it all off in three years. The magic number it gave me to reach this goal is $588.78. That number is tattooed on my brain now. (FYI, by paying $500 a month, which is what I had originally planned, it'll take three years and eight months. That's not acceptable.)

The good thing is that the magic number is feasible. The bad thing is that though this amount is feasible, it will make things very tight, especially in the near term. It's almost a hundred bucks more than I currently have budgeted for the payoff. But it's for the best in the long run. I don't know how I'm going to get it done, just that I have to and will. And I'll also be praying for a raise.

Another good thing is that my budget doesn't factor in my freelance income. Also, if push comes to shove, I can curtail the automatic savings transfer for a few months, at least until spring, when raises usually occur at my company. (Mind you, I recognize that raises are not guaranteed.)

I can't really explain why I'm so desperate to get this debt paid. I just know it's something I have to do -- and soon.

Sunday, November 18, 2007

Charging Zero

There's a class I want to take that starts in January. I didn't want to charge it; I wanted to pay for it properly. But I didn't have the money in my checking account and it was more convenient to charge it.

What to do?

I charged it. Yes, I did. But immediately after registering, I transferred money from savings to my checking account and wrote a check for the exact amount to send as a payment on the credit card. It is in an addressed envelope awaiting the completion of my savings transfer.

So I get points on my credit card without incurring more debt. Win-win. Yay! Finally.

I'll probably do the same for the materials for the class -- and for anything else for which I use the card. Mind you, as much as I can I will avoid using the card. But for those things that I do use the card for -- like my upcoming car inspection and oil change -- I will follow this process.

Also, I have to say that it's much harder for me to spend when I'm spending real money than when I'm shopping with theoretical money. This fact will keep my spending in check, certainly.

So the big date is December 1, 2010.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

The Bulimia Continues

You know those boots I ordered last week? The ones that I charged? Well, they arrived today and guess what? I'm sending them back. They're faux leather -- or as I like to say, pleather -- and there was something about how they were cut that bothered me. They were comfortable, but they just did not look good.

And as they said tonight on Project Runway, life is too short to wear a bad outfit.

And as always happens when I buy something I shouldn't have bought, bad shit always happens. Well, not bad-bad-can't-be-fixed bad, but bad-inconvenient-that'll-teach-you-not-to-order-shit bad. After I tried on the boots and decided that no, I do not love them and want to return them, I realized that there was no receipt included in the shipment. This meant I had to log in to my e-mail and find the order so I could get the phone number for customer service. I then spent 30 minutes on hold waiting to talk to someone. Yes, a half-hour.

So I explained that I had no receipt/invoice and therefore wasn't sure how to return the crappy boots. The lack of a receipt is how they're doing stuff now. Something to do with their relocation. (WTF??) I was instructed to print a return form from their Web site and was told they'd e-mail me the shipping label. Um ... OK.

So I have my package ready to go. Just waiting for a label. Yeah. I foresee another e-mail or phone call from me about that label.

The good news is that I will be getting a bit over seventy bucks credited back to my credit card (which shouldn't have been used to begin with). Any money credited on my credit card is a good thing. The bad news is that once again, I will have spent unnecessarily (and irresponsibly) on shipping costs.

In other news, I found a debt calculator to help me determine how long it'll take me to pay off my cards by paying certain amounts. If I maintain what I'm paying now, it'll take three years and eight months. (Basically, four years.) Another $100 a month takes me down to three years. I'm not pleased with either -- I want it paid off yesterday -- but hey, you gotta start somewhere, right?

Sunday, November 11, 2007

It Just Sucks

I have to say, sometimes this crunch sucks. No, wait -- that's not true: It always sucks; just sometimes it sucks more than other times.

I went to the grocery store today, and it took me forever to shop for the few items I ended up getting. I considered -- and then reconsidered -- virtually everything I put in my basket, basically asking myself if what I had picked up was something I would actually need/use this coming week, or whether I was buying it for something unplanned -- and therefore unnecessary.

Granted, the good thing is that I managed to keep my visit under forty bucks (practically unheard of in this area). But still, it's frustrating. Humbling.

Christmas is coming and though I have only a few gifts to get, I'm already stressed out about how I'm going to swing it.

And there's a class I really want to take. It starts in January and I really need to give myself something to do, something to look forward to. I shouldn't fret over something that costs only $160, but I am. I have the money in savings, sure, but I'm so paranoid about touching my savings. I feel guilty, even.

I'm just fed up with having to monitor every thing all the time. But I have to if I ever want to get out of this mess I made for myself.

It just sucks.

Wednesday, November 7, 2007

Not a Big Deal, But ...

... I bought a pair of boots last night. Charged them. No, they weren't especially expensive (just over 80 bucks), but I did charge them and that goes against the goal. I know this. I'm not proud.

Yes, I could've transferred money from savings to checking to pay for them. But I didn't.

That's all. Today is a new day.

Saturday, November 3, 2007

So Close

Well, I almost made it.

I broke down and checked my checking account last night. I received my salary stub and wanted to enter the amount into my account register before filing it away. I figured I'd double-check the current balance before adding in my paycheck so that everything would be up to date. Oh -- and to make sure the balance is still in the black. I got dangerously close to zero this period.

And I also checked my Big Beast balance. I have no justification for that.

At least I cut it off there.