Thursday, August 27, 2009

Why I Save

This morning before going into work I decided to get my oil changed. (You can already tell where this is going, can't you?) I had a coupon for service -- oil change, multipoint inspection, tire rotation.

Alas, during the multipoint inspection, they discovered a problem. Nothing urgent, but it was something the repair dude said I should get taken care of in the next month or so. I went ahead and had it done. I'm driving to my hometown in a few weeks, and when my mother comes back with me, I'll be driving hither and yon to entertain her. I felt it was in my best interest to get the car fixed now and not worry about it later. Besides, it's been a great car. I haven't had many repair issues with it.

Mind you, I was not thrilled to go from what was a $45 job to a $375 job. Before I picked up the car and paid for it, I scheduled the bill payment for the credit card I was going to use. So while the savings balance has taken an unexpected hit this month, I am still on schedule with the debt payment.

This is why I work so hard on my savings. Sure, I could suspend my savings deposits and put that extra toward the debt, but then when stuff like this comes up, I wouldn't have this cushion that allows me to take care of these things without incurring more debt.

There is a method to my madness after all. :-)

P.S. I also bought myself a little treat today. A dress from J.Peterman. Their stuff is always so beautifully made and so distinctive. I've never bought anything from them that I didn't end up loving, and I'm sure this dress won't be an exception. That it was drastically reduced was icing on the cake. And yeah, it's paid for. Rock on.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

What Persistence Looks Like

I just paid my credit card bill for this month. My balance is now just under $8,900.

Remember when all I wanted to do was cross the $10,000 mark? It wasn't that long ago.

When I started this whole thing, I was $21K in the hole. I now owe less than half that amount. And how have I done it? By sticking to the plan and paying, at minimum, a specific amount. Even when the savings have had to take a hit, I've paid that minimum amount.

And now I can really see the benefits of that perseverance. Don't get me wrong: I don't have a big head about it. I could do more. Also, I'm no fool -- I know I have a long way to go. And I could do a better job with my savings.

But I'm not going to discount my progress, either. I'm immensely thankful for having made it this far. In 14 months, I will have no credit card debt. I can't wait.

Monday, August 17, 2009

Day Trip Follow-Up

My day trip through the Smithsonian to see the Cloisters in NYC was amazing. If you live anywhere near NYC and haven't visited the Cloisters, make plans to do it. You won't regret it. It is a lovely space and is filled with amazing medieval treasures. I am always humbled when I see something that was created a 1,000+ years ago.

But on to the financial aspect of yesterday. I'd worried about how much cash I should take and even took a credit card with me as backup in case I found something I "had" to have. (Anyone reading this knows exactly what I mean by that.) In the end, I spent a whopping $3.27.

I bought two postcards.

A delicious box lunch was provided on our way to New York, so I didn't have to buy food. There was nothing I really wanted from the gift shop. (Well, there was a pair of gold and amethyst earrings that I would've loved to own, but at $675, there was no way they were gonna be bought by me. LOL) And though we were responsible for getting our own nibbles from the rest stop on the way back, the options were all too unappetizing -- nothing but messy junk food. I would've had to be starving to buy any of that, and I wasn't.

So I have leftover cash to deposit back into my account today. So in the end, I was able to give myself a nice mini-vacation without breaking the bank. Yay me!

Friday, August 14, 2009

Steady as She Goes

After what felt like a financially tumultuous July, I think things are finally settling down. Things got pretty tight there for a bit -- like down to $4 and some change in my primary checking account. And then there was the credit card balance transfer issue, which didn't feel as smooth as it should've been, or, rather, as I expected it to be.

Mind you, the transfer took place just fine. I just happen to be the anxious sort. ;-)

Not only has the transfer been completed (and the account at the Big Bank closed), but I've already made a payment on the account and am back on schedule. And if I had any lingering doubt about my decision to do the balance transfer, they were gone when I saw the difference in the finance charge. It was significant.

I'm in decent shape for this month. I'm taking a day trip to NYC through the Smithsonian on Sunday. It's already been paid for, but I am taking some cash for spending money and to cover dinner. (Lunch is covered in the price of the ticket, thankfully.) Even with that, though, I'm OK. Heck, compared with some days in my past, I'm better than OK. Sure, the day trip is a luxury, but I have to do some things to take care of myself from time to time. Going to the Cloisters is something I've wanted to do for a long time.

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Oh How I Wish...

... that the savings balance and the debt balance were reversed. How fabulous that would be!

The boots have officially been paid for (I just checked the card balance), so there's a spot of good news. Otherwise, everything is in a holding pattern. Well, a tight holding pattern. I've been having to be very creative about what to eat for lunch and dinner the last few days. I let things get a bit too tight this pay period and am paying for it now. Things aren't dire, mind you, just ... tight.

Would it surprise you to know that none of my friends know I have two blogs? I've occasionally considered sharing this bit of information with them, but being the compartmentalizer that I am, I reconsidered. I don't have to censor myself, and that helps keep me honest about my money situation.

In other news, I had some freelance work last weekend, and I have some more coming later this month. In a perfect world, I'd put it all toward the debt. But I know I'll want to sock some away in savings, especially after the boot purchase. We'll see.

And it just dawned on me why the savings went down so much this month: I'm going on a bus trip to NYC in a couple weekends. It's an art tour and the tickets were a couple hundred bucks. That explains it. It's been driving me crazy!

OK, I'm rambling. That's always a sure sign that I'm tired. Good night. Here's to a prosperous tomorrow.

Saturday, August 1, 2009

August 2009 Update

Is it me or is summer zooming by? It's August 1!

OK. Enough small talk. Here are the numbers:

The Savings: $5,194.18
The Debt: $9,659.49

The savings took a nearly $192 hit. The debt is better, though not by as much as it should be since I bought -- and charged -- the boots. It doesn't matter that as soon as they are deemed to be perfect (that is, that they fit) I will be transferring money from savings to pay off the amount charged. Right now, the amount is debt and is thus in the debt column. That's the rule of the monthly update. The numbers reflect what the balances are today, not what they will be tomorrow or in the next two weeks.

Next month the debt picture will look much better. The savings? Eh. I've got some work to do in that department. But right now, the debt is the priority.

Days until I'm debt free: 435