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Posts tagged with: bank of america

A Huge Oversight In My New Budget

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This is a religious, christian-faith post about my personal decision to start tithing. As this concept may not be understood by those outside of the faith, please note that I am journaling my personal decisions and walk.

In my journey to be debt free, I have been almost exclusively focused on saving money. I didn’t tithe because at its simplest theoretical level, I considered tithing as giving away money that I could allocate toward debt-reduction or saving. And this was counteractive to my goals. But theological principles explains that tithing is returning a portion of income that belonged to God to start with.  

Here’s the thing- none of this information was new to me. I simply disregarded tithing because I thought that it did not directly contribute to my financial goals. To be completely honest, I will admit that it has been months, years even, since I have tithed. Perhaps this was because I had let my relationship with God become less and less of a priority until it wasn’t one at all.

But at the beginning of this year I made the decision to return to God fully, giving my heart and actions. Two Sundays ago, I went to church for the first time in the city that I live in and I made a small offering of under $20.

I’ve also realized that despite my financial situation, I can still afford to be charitable and to have a giving spirit. I know that there are some people that would gladly trade me for my debt. So I strive to be more generous, which I’ll also admit that, as a tight budgeter, does not come naturally or easily to me.

But God reminded me of the power of giving without strings attached. I have been looking for a quality part time job for months and instead did odd things like substitute teach when it was convenient in the meantime. Last Friday, I was offered a part-time job for about $30 an hour. I got the offer out of the blue and I know that this was not circumstance. I will start this job in a few weeks and should have my credit card paid off even faster than my original plan.

Not only did this happen, but I just found out that I will also be receiving additional pay this month. I have been putting in many extra hours after the workday to work on a project. (That’s right! The day hardly ever ends after the students go home for the many people that think educators leave work around 3 p.m.) This is simply the culture of schools and no one expects to get paid overtime. In my years of being an educator, I don’t know if I ever have. However, I was informed this week that I would be getting paid for the extra hours that I recently put in. I already have that money earmarked. With the combination of this surplus money and the income from my part time job, I will have my Bank of America balance paid in full with my March paycheck and April at the latest. I will keep you updated on this payoff date.

I’m sure that none of this was by coincidence. After only planting a small seed, I have been given a great part time job and also received extra pay. I will give my full tithe ($300 or 10% of my $3,000 income) to the church this month. A key factor in monthly tithing is being intentional about it in my budget as I would any other priority so that it does not become forgotten. I will have to modify my March budget and will do so with a grateful spirit.


Ashley’s New Plan of Action

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In case you’re a new reader – welcome! Thanks for stopping by!

To catch you up….

I first started blogging here in March (Intro post here).

At that time, my #1 goal = eradicate credit card debt IMMEDIATELY!

And, not to toot my own horn, but I’ve done a pretty good job (and thanks to YOU for all the invaluable advice along the way! I’ve learned so much already!)

So as a follow-up to this conversation and trying to decide the next course of action for my debt-reduction plan, I wanted to give you a quick follow-up, along with my new goals:

Order of Debt Repayment (now that WF is paid in full, woot woot!):

  1. Bank of America credit card (goal date = paid by July 2014)
  2. Sallie Mae 8.5% student loan (goal date = paid by September 2014)
  3. Sallie Mae 8.25% student loan (goal date = paid by November 2014)
  4. License fees (goal date = paid by January 2015)
  5. Carmax (goal date = paid by January 2016)
  6. Remaining student loans (no goal date yet because I want to reassess in January 2015)
  7. Medical bills (no goal date yet, see above)

I was originally going to pay the higher interest student debts first, but I can’t do it. I’ve GOT to pay off the credit card debt for my own personal satisfaction and sense of accomplishment.

Next, I will try to get rid of the two high-interest student loans. Getting rid of debts #1-3 will free up $218 in minimum monthly payments (which will be invaluable when my deferment ends on the student loans in February). I’m still a little undecided regarding #4 and #5. I feel like I’d get more personal satisfaction from paying more toward the Carmax loan, but the license has a balance of about $5,500 versus $23,000 for the car, so its a huge difference. We could feasibly pay off the license fees before my student loan deferment ends (in February), but in contrast, there’s NO CHANCE I’ll have the car paid off before deferment ends. Again – I’m trying to free up those minimum monthly payments so they can be applied to the student loans and other remaining debt.

Notice my new “goal dates” for paying off these debts. I have to say as a disclaimer that these are really optimistic dates. Keeping those dates will have us paying about $3,500 toward debt each month (as opposed to the $1500/month we have budgeted). This means we HAVE to keep pulling these big income months like we have the past couple months. This may be possible….I mentioned how “I’m getting a raise” (by teaching additional classes….which started this week so its already “in effect”). Additionally, my husband has hired a new crew of workers so his income will also receive a bump from the work this new crew is able to complete. But at the risk of sounding like a hypocrite (given this morning’s post)…I don’t want to count our chickens before the eggs hatch. I think it will take a few months of my new income + my husband’s new income for us to really know what what we’ll be bringing home each month (in terms of pay). I hope it stays steady with what its been the past couple months, but there’s no guarantee. Only time will tell.

So, yup. Just an update on my new plan of action and goal dates for debt-eradication. I really appreciate all the suggestions and feedback! For example, I had NO IDEA that student loans can’t be consolidated for a lower APR. No point in consolidating then! So those will all be staying separate. I do still plan on trying to refinance the car loan, but I want to wait until my recent huge Wells Fargo payment gets updated with the credit reporting agencies (as I believe it should help give my credit score a little bump).

Hope you all have a great Memorial Day weekend!