Thursday, December 18, 2008

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Minding the Priority

Yesterday, after I scheduled the payment that will knock my debt below $13K, I commented here that it would be fleeting since finance charges next month would push it back over $13K.

So I just transferred money from savings to cover that. I'll schedule the payment as soon as the transfer is complete.

I just really want the debt gone, ya know? And who knows? Maybe this extra effort will knock off some time from the October 2010 deadline. Now wouldn't that be nice!

Things are all set for the month: yoga is taken care of; the payments toward debt are planned; and the Christmas shopping is pretty much done. So I'll see you next month. Happy holidays!

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

On Track for 2009

Well, it's been done: I've just scheduled the payment for the Big Beast that will drop the balance below $13,000. Granted, the finance charges next month will bump it back over that threshold, but at least come January 1, I will have less than $13,000 in debt.

Rock on!

Another good thing is that last night, one of the local news stations ran a test so that viewers could see whether they need a new TV before the digital conversion in February. I know I need a new small TV for the bedroom -- that TV is very old and requires old-fashioned rabbit ears to get any kind of passable reception. But though I have cable on the TV in the living room, I still worried that it would be affected. While I have plans for one new TV, I did not have plans (or money!) to buy two. So it was a relief when my reception on the main TV was unaffected.

The savings picture isn't much to write home about, though. I had grand plans for the month, but so far I've only managed to achieve repaying the savings for the camera purchase. But I do dig the digi. In fact, here's a pic of a Christmas cactus bloom:

Tuesday, December 9, 2008


I have an apartment I love, but it is hard to heat; it's old and drafty. I've learned to make do and keep my heating costs as reasonable as I can. That is, I wear layers, the bed is loaded with blankets, and I use a space heater in my bedroom at night instead of leaving the heat on. Use of the heat is reserved for three occasions: when I shower and dress, when I first get home from work and need to knock the chill off before changing into my PJs, and when I have company.

And I was expected to have company in January: my parents. Now, I don't want to sound like I don't love my parents, but it stresses me out when they both visit. And winter is the worst. My parents are liberal with their use of their heating at home. On the few occasions they've visited me during the winter, I've struggled to keep them warm without hurting my budget in the process. Which is hard, since my mother doesn't like the weight of extra blankets and believes one should be able to wear short sleeves around the house in the middle of January.

And then there are the groceries I'd have to stock to make their visit a comfortable one. It's not like I'd have to get that much, but certainly I'd have to get things I don't normally buy.

I live outside Washington, D.C., and in talking about the inauguration, my mother said, "I'd give anything to go." I had virtually no choice but to say, "Well, why don't you two come up?" Excitement ensued, plans were made.

I started thinking, Do I need another space heater for the living room? How am I going to keep that bedroom warm enough that she won't complain?

While I tried to focus on witnessing such an amazing part of history with my parents, I started freaking out. The logistics of dragging along my 70-year-old father -- with his noticeable limp -- through the millions of people who will be here started to overwhelm me. And then there's my mom. Sure, she could keep up, but she has problems with ... patience. The last time she and I went to NYC, it was during December, and there were so many people around Rockefeller Center that we swore we'd never go again that time of year. And that crowd is nothing compared to what will be in the nation's capital on January 20.

But recently a friend of my mom's who works in the press told her that the best place to watch is at home on TV. The more we thought about it, the more appealing that idea became. I mean, at least a couple million will be downtown. They're saying there will be one toilet per 6,849 people -- and that's assuming only 1 million people.

So they're not coming. The second she told me they were staying home, a weight lifted off my shoulders and my bank account breathed a sigh of relief.

Thursday, December 4, 2008

December 2008 Update

I think things are settled enough that I can update tonight, so here goes:

The Debt: $13,605.56
The Savings: $4,997.28

The change in debt is a respectable $521.88. The savings is a different story, though. It's a big change in the wrong direction, thanks to the car repair last month: $1,141.


Still, at least I have savings, even after that withdrawal. There was a time that I couldn't say that.

It's been 12 months since I started this plan in earnest. It's been a big year. When I started in January, the debt was $19,022.84. I've knocked off $5,417.28! The savings change isn't that impressive, what with the car repair. Still, at least it's a more than it was, and by $1,354. Not too shabby.

I'll be kicking in a little extra toward the debt this month, and there should be an extra savings deposit as well. And next month, I'll be submitting an invoice for my freelance work; the goal is to put at least 75 percent of that in savings. I'm looking to start 2009 in a good position.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

I Have Great Friends

This afternoon I vented to a friend that the savings goal I had for myself this month isn't going to be met. I'd gone so far as to figure just how much needed to come from each of this month's three checks.

Not happening.

Anyway, she and I had an e-mail exchange about it, and she reminded me that at least the card balance is going down while the savings amount is going up. As she said, for most people, it's the opposite. It was a welcome reminder. Nothing like a little perspective.

Still, I've been trying to figure out all evening what happened with my plan. But then out of the blue, she sent this:

Try not to worry about the money. I know it is difficult, but you are making progress, and that is the important thing.

Not sure what compelled her to send that tonight, but it was right on time, and I'm grateful.

Monday, December 1, 2008

Coming Soon to a Blog Near You

Today is December 1 and by all accounts, I should be doing the monthly update. But I'm not going to. For one, I'm too tired. I'm still decompressing from the weekend home with my parents. I also had to finish some freelance work that was due this morning, and tonight, I had to finish some work due tomorrow morning.

For another, things are still unsettled -- that is, transactions have been made that haven't been posted. I'd like the dust to settle before pulling the numbers.

But I am not slacking. I will update later this week. It's an important update, the 12th of the year. This means that I've got one year under my belt toward debt freedom. So sit back and relax. See ya Friday.