Saturday, October 31, 2009

November 2009 Update

I can't believe it's already November. It's a wonder we're not all suffering whiplash from how fast time is flyin'. Let's get to the numbers, shall we?

The Debt: $7,913.00
The Savings: $3,966.52

The good news is that my debt balance is below $8,000. That is awesome! (I hope you don't think ill of me for tooting my own horn for a moment.) And this amount even includes today's purchases. But I'll get to that in a few.

The bad news is that this is the fourth consecutive month that my savings has gone down. That is definitely the wrong direction. I am appalled by this. And the thing is, it could get worse before it gets better. For example, when I had my car repair a couple months ago, it was to replace a strut. That repair is usually done in pairs, but I only had one done at the time. I have to get the other one replaced soon.

I don't want to sound like it's all doom and gloom. For example, I'll get my freelance check next week. It is because of this infusion that I went shopping today. I've been pretty depressed about my wardrobe situation lately, so I went shopping today to find some work clothes. I wasn't as successful as I'd have liked, but I did buy a cute casual pullover and a couple basics, including some leather gloves. Also, I recently ordered two pairs of thermal underwear. I charged both purchases, but I've already set up the payment to cover them.

So that's where we are right now. I'm sure I'll check in again soon.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Well, Whaddaya Know!

So I was just catching up on some posts of a few PF bloggers and noticed on Bouncing Back from Bankruptcy that she made the list of top 100 female PF bloggers over on Her Every Cent Counts. (Congratulations!) So I moseyed on over to that site to check out the links of other bloggers and lo and behold! I made the list too! I am honored. Humbled, too. Thank you!

Monday, October 19, 2009

You Gotta Laugh

I read this today and just laughed and laughed. Who are these people?

When I first saw the headline, I thought to myself, "Oh, I can relate! I'm so tired of being good and I wanna shop!" But two paragraphs in, I realized that this article was about a whole different group of people. When I have frugal fatigue, I end up spending maybe a 100 bucks. Or even $200 (I'm thinking about the boots). These people are buying $700 handbags and shopping for $30,000 diving watches.

I try to keep it clean here, but I think this definitely deserves a WTF?!

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Which Savings Is Better: 40% or 100%?

I've become spoiled by Borders' coupons. For a while, I could be tempted by the 25 percent coupon, but then the 30 percent coupons started coming and I could no longer be bothered by the paltry 25 percent savings.

And then came the 40 percent coupon. Sometimes it comes with rules -- like, it has to be for something that costs more than $10 or even $20. But the one I got Friday was that rare and wonderful thing: 40 percent off any book.

I had to shop, right?

No. I didn't have to. But I did anyway. And while I was perusing the self-help section and considering a paperback by Wayne Dyer, the thought occurred to me: Rather than save 40 percent, wouldn't it be better to save 100 percent? I have all these books -- including one by Dr. Dyer -- collecting dust on my bookshelf. Rather than forking over the dough for yet another book to join the ever-growing collection of unread books (I think I'm pushing 50), I high-tailed it out the store, got in my car, and drove home.

And then I promptly scheduled a payment toward my credit card debt in the amount that I was about to so willingly pay to Borders. I'm going to try to do this: Whenever I have the itch to spend money on something I really don't need, I'm going to instead pay on my credit card the amount I would've spent. With luck, it'll get me to debt freedom faster.

Today's payment wasn't much -- barely 10 bucks. But every little bit helps, especially when you officially have less than one year to reach your goal. :-)

Saturday, October 10, 2009

365 Days and Counting

One year from today I will be debt free.

I say this partly to restate my goal. But I'm also manifesting it into being. :-)

I am kinda sorta freaking out. It's not so much about whether I'll be able to pay off the debt by 10/10/10, but I'm planning to move next year. In fact, I'm hoping to buy a place next year. That will affect things quite a bit. Actually, to be honest, I hope what happens is that my living expenses go down with the purchase. Still, before I sign on the dotted line for a new home, I have to find that new home. And I'll have moving expenses, including the bill to have the carpets in my current place professionally cleaned. It's part of my lease agreement and I don't want there to be any problem with getting back my almost $1,000 rent deposit.

There's also the grad school thing, which I'm having second (third, and fourth) thoughts about. For one, in the end, I'm not sure how much it will help me professionally. Also, the cost is a factor. It ain't cheap; if I can't get my current employer to help foot the bill, I'm going to have to pass. Also, there's the matter of my freedom. Part of why I want to be debt free is because I want to be able to do those things that give me joy -- yoga classes, pottery, travel ... If I'm in grad school, all I'll be doing is studying. And even that would be OK if what I was studying was what I wanted to be studying. So we'll see.

In other news, I've completely blown my October challenge. Once I started sliding, I just gave up. I had to buy some extras for a friend's birthday present the other day, and today I bought some black leggings and a $30 lipstick. (I know that sounds like a lot for a lipstick. It sounds that way because it is. But it's the exact same shade of a favorite lipstick by Clinique that Clinique made only for a limited time. And I love this shade. I've been trying to find a replacement for about five years, and today I discovered that Chanel makes a color virtually identical. It was worth $30 to me to have the lipstick.) Now that it's getting close to holiday season, perhaps I'll hold off on trying to do a challenge until January.

There was also some good news this week: I got another freelance gig. Yay! The job will be in December, but they went ahead and e-mailed me the contract and other forms yesterday. It will be some welcome extra money, certainly, especially since I'll likely get paid in January. We can always use extra cash after the holidays, yes?

So that's where I am 365 days away from my goal date.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Ooops! I Did It Again!

Apparently the items I bought over the weekend were gateway drugs.

A couple months ago I bought this wonderful dress/tunic from J.Peterman. I know a lot of people laugh when they hear J.Peterman because of Seinfeld, but it was a legitimate company before that show ever incorporated it in its storylines, and it continues to sell beautiful, distinctive, and well-made items. Anyway, this tunic is spectacular. And it was on clearance!

I wore it to work yesterday over leggings. I got lots of compliments, including one from my boss, who loved it so much she wanted to buy one too. And I loved it so much that I decided to buy a backup. It's one of those things that in about five years, after I've worn out the other one, I will be glad I had to the foresight to buy another.

Still, the goal was to not buy clothes, books, or music for 30 days. I didn't last a week.

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Well, That Was Quick

October was supposed to be a challenge month -- no clothes, books, or music. Three days into it, I downloaded a song on iTunes and ordered two bras, and today I bought a CD at Goodwill.

I'm trying not to beat myself up too much. The bras were necessary -- I am down to one black one. I lost my flesh-toned bra during my vacation (how the heck does one lose a bra in an apartment?!) and have since been unable to wear any white shirts. So I ordered a white one that I will dye to match me (like I did with the one I lost), as well as a black backup bra.

As for the music, the iTunes song cost 99 cents, and the CD -- one I've wanted for about eight years -- was only 3 bucks at Goodwill. (Can we say that the CD was my treat for taking in some donations?)

No items were charged in the breaking of this challenge.