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26 Comments

  • Reply Alexandra |

    that’s awesome! i feel your pain with those outrageous interest rates… holy moly. congrats, and keep it up!!

  • Reply Jamie |

    While I agree with AS in an earlier entry (April 29th Side Hustles April 2014 Version) about Jim not being transparent enough, there is definitely a lack of helpful information from the other bloggers as well. Maybe my expectations are too high?

    Given each person’s income apparently is a different amount each month and can vary greatly, it would be nice, when given that month’s accounting, to know just how much that month’s income was. If, for example, Hope had an income of $5000 for April, spent $3000 on normal expenses (house/rent, utilities, food, insurance, etc.), put $1000 in savings, and used $1000 to pay off debt, that says one thing. However, if her income was really $6000, that says another. The first says she’s working to pay off debt and establish an emergency/savings fund. The second? Not so much.

    Why should the reader have to hunt around for the numbers, to know if a particularly met goal is all that great? For example, Stephannie paid off two credit cards. How much did she pay? I’ve no idea. How much was the original debt? Don’t know that either. Why not just say somewhere in the entry, if you don’t want to shoehorn it into the table, “I paid off my $445 balance on credit card #2 and my $172 balance on credit card #3”? And is she making just the minimum payments on all the other debts?

    I have a similar problem with lack of detail on some of the bloggers’ “cutting costs and saving money” entries. Jim’s one on getting gas puzzles me. He shows one slip, where he got 30 gallons of gas ($110.97) for points earned. He says he “spent $45 to save $65.” But how?

    We have similar-sounding programs here, but it’s on a one-point-per- dollar-spent basis. Does “Giant” give points on a pre-coupon total? Is that how he did it, using coupons with his $45 to earn enough points? Or was there a promotion, extra points given, depending on what you buy, like Walgreen’s does sometimes? The whole point, it seems to me, in sharing this kind of “how I saved money,” is so that the readers can learn and do the same. This shouldn’t be a bragging site, “I saved so much, but I’m not telling you how” kind of thing.

    In a slightly different vein, in Ashley’s fruit leather savings, again, important information was omitted. Does the online offer include shipping and handling? Is the difference in price really significant, when you count in the cost of the electricity to run the equipment (stove, food processor, dehydrator), the sugar and lemon juice, the parchment paper, etc.? While all that is likely just pennies, the savings are also just a few cents.

    Even more important, how much time did it take? Would that same amount of time have been better spent earning money, especially considering the savings are so minuscule? I will say, though, homemade fruit leather, when well-made, is terrific!

    One more thing, and this is addressed just to Jim: How about reining in your hostility and snarkiness a bit, especially when responding to people commenting? To start off a comment, like you did on your “Side Hustles April 2014 Version” entry to “Anonymous”:

    “Hi Mary … Oh I mean Anonymous”

    was just rude. I don’t care if you knew for certain who “Anonymous” was, that’s the person’s screen name, and the only one you should use. Then you continue to be rude in your reply. While I think “Anonymous” could have stated things a bit less harshly, he/she didn’t say anything others haven’t already said or implied. This kind of behavior on your part is boorish, at best. You are (or should be) a better person than this.

    • Reply Stephannie |

      Thanks for the suggestions, Jamie. I’m not sure about the others but I think I have a hard time because I’ve mentioned certain things before so I don’t think to mention them again. That’s my bad, I see how that could be frustrating to the readers. I think I’m going to put something that will attach to each of my posts for quick reference. Hopefully, that helps but if you have any other suggestions I’m all ears!

  • Reply Stephannie |

    I also want to say that this is new for us, even though the others have blogged before, I think blogging with others comes with a learning curve. I’m hoping as we go we will just get better.

  • Reply Jenna |

    Great job this month, Stephanie [and all the bloggers].
    I understand what Jamie is saying – I know with the previous bloggers that I followed on the BAD site – I was always rather addicted to the right side panel that had the graph and the itemized debts with current balance.
    Is that a functionality that is available – recognizing that the multiple blogger situation require an adaptation from the original style?

  • Reply Stephannie |

    I always liked that too. There’s got to be something we can figure out.

  • Reply Stephannie |

    I’ve just sent a message to the others. We will get something figured out.

  • Reply Joe |

    Fantastic, Stephannie. I think that even just adding one extra column would be great: difference from previous month.
    Loved the Magnum PI story as well. We tend to work through a lot of British TV shows as there are fewer episodes per season. Our kids are younger so this is all after bedtime. Coupling, Downton Abbey, Sherlock, The IT Crowd, etc. all satisfy different aspects of the brain.

    • Reply Stephannie |

      I’m going to work on a more detailed table this weekend. I think it needs at least one more column but maybe two.
      I’d like to watch Downtown Abbey but I’ve not heard of the it crowd or coupling. I’ll have to check those out!

  • Reply debtor |

    Wohoo! your cc is under $4k!

    Um, i think that’s a big jump right? Lol. i’ve kind of been saying what the above poster said. We need a graph or something, to see what the progress actually is. Maybe in this graph you do for next week you could have a “balance last month” column?

    Or i think another idea could be a static page that just listed out your fixed budgeted expenses for each reader…then you could update us on the income for and variable expenses for a particular month. So the readers have a quick place to go to to gain perspective.

    I think the thing with not wanting to repeat yourself, you have to remember that not all blog readers were here from the start – read every post – or have great memories, so each episode has to kind of stand alone. Think of it as watching law and order vs Game of Thrones. In the first, you can watch any episode individually and be alright, following the series will give you greater background but it’s not necessary. Try that with GoT and you have one lost puppy.

    Anyway, I generally like your posts out of all the bloggers and I find you to be the most transparent (along with ashley) so enjoy following along with you.

    So I guess, next is the last CC and then the furniture loan? You’ll be attacking that car loan in no time!

    • Reply Stephannie |

      That’s a great point that I hadn’t considered. Some readers will be new and some won’t remember, you’re totally right! The others and I are trying to figure out the best way to have more easily referenced numbers.
      Yes, one more card, then furniture, then car. I can’t wait!!

  • Reply Anaonymous |

    Good job on the debt repayment, Stephanie! I really think that you and your husband will be the ones to succeed of all four of the bloggers. You are off to a good start, and I think you will make the hard choices. I don’t think the other bloggers are making the real commitment they need to and are having trouble with lifestyle choices. There have been times when our family has had very little to live on, and I know what it is like to really cut the fat. There are so many things one can do without! Once you get that last credit card paid, you will have a little breathing room. It will be good to say adios to that insane interest rate!

    Really, when you look at all your debt, aside from the mortgages, it doesn’t really look that unmanageable. Onward and upward!

    • Reply Stephannie |

      Thank you for the encouragement!! Onward and upward, indeed!

  • Reply AS |

    This may be a technical issue, but I tried to go back to the prior month (end of March) update and the table seems to have been updated to the same data as in the table above. Meaning I could not figure out how much the prior balances were on these debts. The table might be a shared data table or something, you should try to sort that out or provide another way to show progress vs. last month and inception to date.

    • Reply Walnut |

      I noticed this as well. I’ve been flipping back to the original debt and income posts constantly , so when the original table changes I’m at a loss for how to give relevant feedback.

    • Reply Stephannie |

      That’s my fault. I thought I could edit the table and it would stay the same in the first post. I’m going to fix it this weekend and do a more detailed table for this months totals. Thanks for the heads up!

  • Reply Kili |

    I think Jamie, Jenna and debtor have some good points. Some things just might need a little more explanation to be understood.
    Maybe the “About” could be expanded a little bit more about each blogger e.g. with the graph visualizing how much the orignial debt has gone down over time, maybe a rough estimate/average of the monthly (or yearly) income and the costs…

    While i do think constructive criticism is great, I always have a hard time with posts saying “blogger xx is my favorite”. Maybe I am too sensitive, but to me that always seems like a slap in the face to the others. I’d prefer it, if it was adressed to each blogger “blogger xx you’re doing great, keep up the good work”, “blogger yy, with the current lifestyle it will take you a long time to be out of debt. do you really want to take this long? don’t you think you could cut a, b & c?”

    • Reply Stephannie |

      Kili, putting it in the about box was one thing I’ve been considering. The other bloggers and I are also trying to figure out a way to put them in the side bar. I’m not sure what would work better. Thanks for the feedback!

So, what do you think ?