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Thea’s Debt Introduction

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Note: Thea would like to be the next BAD blogger and this is her introduction in hopes of becoming it. Please leave any impressions, thoughts or comments about her current situation. More information about this position can be found here

Every month as I watch my hard earned salary fly away into the unknown by a few clicks of a button, I know that my life shouldn’t be like this. As a teacher I work hard and I would, like anyone, like to “play” hard. I would like to take trips and pay for them with my debit card instead of my credit card and buy things without the guilty feeling that almost always accompanies the buying of a want and not a need. This is not my reality now, but I hope that in time, sooner rather than later, it will be.

I am currently going through what I think, no, hope is a transition period in my life. I have a husband, a seven month old and a two-and-a-half year old and everyday is a struggle to keep myself and my family mentally and financially afloat. With that being said however, I think I’m doing a pretty good job. The bills are paid, I’m saving almost 10 percent a month (it does still count as savings if I have to spend it later, right?), everyone is fed, and I’m paying more than the minimum on my credit cards. The problem is however, that there is no (capital N, capital O) money left over at the end of the month. Subsequently, I’ve had to defer my student loans-$30,000 worth, I am stuck with a car I no longer want-still owe $9,000, of which $4,000 is negative equity, and most months have to use my credit card to buy necessities at the end of the month (ok, ok, I put other things on there, too)-which as of March 7, I owe $4,800 on, but that is down from the $9,000 I owed 3 months ago.

Even though as I mentioned earlier, I have a sinking feeling in my stomach when the bills are due, I remain confident that I will reach ALL of m financial goals: being debt FREE (paying off my credit card and student loans, owning my dream car, and vacationing using cash) and providing the best foundation possible for my children (contributing plentifully to their educational IRAs and making other long-term investments) . I believe with education, determination, and support from you all I (we) can do this!


November

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I have updated my debt balances and now I provide a rundown of my basic monthly expenses.  I’m sure there will be places I can still cut but I have to say that looking at where I came from just 9 months ago, I’m pretty proud of what I’ve cut out on the homefront. 

 Today’s post will tell you what I pay to keep my household running and meet consistent monthly obligations.  This does not include groceries or the incidental spending money I carry (which I have reduced as well). 

I currently bring home $3282 per paycheck, every other Friday.  Please bear in mind this will reduce after January 1 because of new withholdings for insurance and taxes and such.

Rent:  $1795

Utilities: $150 (budgeted amount but it is running around $80-$100 right now, peaks near $300 in the summer.  I have been rolling over the extra.)

Water:  $50

Cell:  $70

Internet:  $32

Life Insurance:  $32 ($500,000 policy)

Insurance (Renters and Auto):  $75

After School Care:  $195

Piano Lessons:  $90

Gym: $25

TOTAL:  $2,514.00

I will explain my automobile situation when my divorce is final. 

My minimum credit card payments on the three outstanding debts totals $1070.  I paid an additional $1,100 this month.  I had way too much debit card bleed in the month of November (like $500 worth of bleed  🙁 )  It all comes from not planning, not being prepared and then just plain ol’ frivilous spending.  I hope to do better in December. That’s going to be a challenge and not b/c I go crazy buying gifts but b/c things get SO busy with the kids, family AND at work (everyone wants settlement $ for the holidays) that I do not have time to plan well.  That is the KEY and in these final days of November, as I’ve dissected my spending, I have to focus on planning for December!

So, taking the $2,514 and adding the $1,070 in minimum payments we have a total of $3,584.  I have about $2,000 in my checking account right now and tomorrow is payday.  I am currently hesitant to sink that into debt b/c of the divorce situation.  That checking account money is separate from my emergency fund.  I just moved it to an account that I do not have a debit card for b/c I am NOT doing well on the debit card front!!!

Now, talk amongst yourselves.  😉


Celebrate Good Times Come On!!

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While Chris and I made our own decisions on how to celebrate, Baby Cash decided he would celebrate by sleeping through the night.

I like to imagine it’s because he feels at ease about his future. Regardless of the reason, I’ve been enjoying his sleep for a week now.

I took this photo last month. It’s my favorite of him so far because it represents his personality. He has a whole lot of joy in his little body. What an amazing blessing he has been.

On a side note, frugality means no expensive photographers for us. I’m ‘forced’ to pull out my camera at every moment in an effort to catch his life as he grows. I’m starting to really enjoy time with him, me, and the camera – something I would have missed if I would have pulled out my credit card.


Oops…

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Dear Pot,

Sorry about yesterday.

Love,

Kettle

Of course, I chastise all the spenders on Valentine’s Day… and then hubby surprised me with chocolate covered strawberries and cake pops delivered to my office and a fabulous home cooked meal with ingredients not on my shopping list.

He didn’t use the credit card, we had the cash, but he still did some spending yesterday. As someone who doesn’t indulge in fancy, pricey deserts, I guarded them with all the aggressiveness of a dog with a prized bone.

He said he spent less than $50 and it was a partial celebration of our recent big debt payoff.

I gotta admit… it felt pretty good.

So yeah, you can spend… a little… if you pay off debt first. *wink*


Debt Update…

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Drum roll please…

We paid off… $3,500 this month!!!!!!!!

We paid the money remaining in savings and had some extra from December being a 3 paycheck month and knocked out a nice sized chunk!

Here are the new numbers:

My Debt
Original Debt: $38,495.86
Added Debt: $1,781.50
Total Debt: $40,277.36
Paid: $36,084.36
Remaining: $4,193.00

Broken Down
Auto Loan 1: $0.00
Credit Card: $0.00
Student Loan: $4,193.00
Auto Loan 2: $0.00
Vet Loan: $0.00

Tick tick tick. Counting down!


STOP! Put down that debit card!

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Today is ‘Super Saturday’, the last Saturday before Christmas and typically one of the biggest shopping days of the year. If you are like me, a typical last minute shopper, you may be running around the malls, shoving your way through crazy crowds, and brandishing your debit card (Eek. Or credit card).

This year? Hubby, baby, and I will be strolling around the decorated neighborhoods and we may spring for a 99 cent movie. Now THIS is the Christmas I’ve always wanted.

My advice to those participating in Super Saturday, leave the debit and credit cards at home and stick to that cash budget. Happy shoving… er… shopping!


Debt Update… Kinda

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Why the ‘kinda’? Well, hubby has a large side job he hasn’t been paid for yet and I have to guesstimate where we are. I haven’t been working much in the last few months and, without his extra work, I would have blown through all our cash a long time ago. Here we ‘kinda’ are:

My Debt
Original Debt: $38,495.86
Added Debt: $1,781.50
Total Debt: $40,277.36
Paid: $32,498.36
Remaining: $7,779.00
Cash Savings: $2,500.00

Broken Down
Auto Loan 1: $0.00
Credit Card: $0.00
Student Loan: $7,779.00
Auto Loan 2: $0.00
Vet Loan: $0.00

*Reminder, Cash Savings is in addition to our emergency fund. When things settle next month, the $2,500 will be applied to the student loan.


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