Monday, April 21, 2008

Blogging in a Bubble

There are a few PF blogs I check out regularly. Inevitably, I then check out the folks on their debt blogs. And you know what I've found? I seem to be the only single person over 35 with credit card debt. Well, I know that's not true, but I do seem to be the only one blogging about it.

Is anyone else out there? It would be great to share experiences and encouragement with someone similarly situated.

Also, if you're a visitor, please feel free to comment.

In other news, I received my new 80-hour net salary amount from HR. I've decided to increase my 401(k) amount a little bit. There will still be enough left from my raise to cover new expenses -- increases in rent, auto insurance, and gas -- with just a wee bit left over. This is my diplomatic way of saying that my raise is not going to fast-track my debt payoff. But that's OK. Saving is good.

Also good is that I'm starting to consider what I'd like to do when this is over. I've a couple ideas. It'll be fun to be able to pursue other things without this albatross.

See ya May 1!

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Budget, Baby

As I mentioned, I got a small raise recently. It's rare that I have a straight 80-hour pay period -- I usually get at least an hour of overtime -- but I'd like to budget from the base amount. So I've e-mailed our HR person to find out the amount.

My goal is to pay all bills and other expenses from the base amount and sock away the rest in my savings account. Alternatively, I'd like to put some extra money toward the debt.

I realized yesterday that the Little Beast will be paid off in just a few short months. It's due to be paid off in August. That's not very far away. And the Big Beast will finally be under (or close to being under) $16K by the end of this month.

So progress is being made. My perseverance is paying off (no pun intended).

Sunday, April 13, 2008

Maintaining Equilibrium

I got a raise at work. Before tax, it works out to be a wee bit over $2,300 a year. Sure, more would have been great, but considering the raises I got at my previous employer, which were laughable, I'm not complaining. With my rent expected to increase in August, my auto insurance going up $15 a month, and the price of gas going through the roof, well, most of the raise is pretty much spoken for.

Still, I'm thankful for it. Without it, those increases would hurt. Granted, I'm not going to be able to fast-track my debt payoff plan, but at least I can maintain the current levels.

And the timing couldn't be better. I've cut things pretty close this pay period. After shopping for groceries today, I've got about five bucks in my checking account. Thankfully, I bought a lot of stuff that can be taken for lunch. And my next check will be bigger than usual, what with the raise and the overtime. I'll be able to pay for that sweater I ordered from Anthro a couple months ago, as well as the tote bag I bought this past week. I charged both, but I promised myself that I'd send an extra payment on the account to cover them. With my next paycheck and my freelance check (received today, thankfully), I can cover everything and put some in savings as well.

Sunday, April 6, 2008

Stingy Behavior

I fear that in my quest to be debt free and to increase my savings, I'm becoming stingy. I like thinking that I'm just being ... cautious with my money. But that's just putting lipstick on the pig.

I just don't like spending money anymore. I think and rethink every purchase, even grocery items. I bought myself a fabulous tote bag the other day and have been halfway beating myself up about it ever since. "Did I really need it? What else could I have done with that $60?" The fact is that I needed to do something nice for myself; I've been depriving myself of things a lot lately. And my compromise was that at least this bag is functional and girly -- two things I love. It will come in very handy and look fabulous on the cruise and beyond. And it was less than a 100 bucks.

What's starting to happen is that there are things I should be doing or would like to do, but because they require taking money out of the bank, I don't want to do them, even though that was the purpose of saving some money -- to be able to do things like these. And though I've earmarked certain deposits for specific things ($500 in January was supposed to be earmarked for cruise-related items), I don't want to take that money out for those things. I don't want to decrease my savings balance; I only want it to go up.

Let's take that $500 example: Instead of withdrawing that for the cruise in June, I'd like instead to have saved enough money between now and then -- with freelance money and overtime -- to use instead. The problem, then, is do I deposit that money (the smart thing, since it would earn interest), or keep it out and tucked away? The problem with putting it in savings is that once it goes in the bank, I won't want to withdraw it, because I won't want to see the balance go down.


I've gotta find a way to loosen up a bit.

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

April 2008 Update

This past month wasn't as impressive as last month. The trip to NYC definitely affected the balances, especially my savings balance, since I moved money from savings to pay for the train tickets and for spending money.

Here's how the debt breaks down:

Little Beast: $1,469.70
Big Beast: $16,094.26

My car insurance is going up $15 a month. I'm sure it's because of that speeding ticket last year. It really sucks. But I can't dwell on it. It'll drive me crazy.

Here's hoping next month will better.