Sunday, April 2, 2017

I Got a Credit Card

I did something I'm not sure many FI bloggers talk about. I got a credit card. I'm 24 guys, so I don't really have much credit, but what I do have is good.

I've considered credit cards with some rewards or cash back. I'm not really going to get approved for those. Some have fees that don't really make the cash back worthwhile.

My search really started when my debit card expired and I was trying to get a hotel room for work. I didn't have the new card yet to replace the expired one.

I've decided to go with a credit card at my local credit union. I get a good interest rate of only about 8%. I intend to only use the credit card for work related purchases. I get reimbursed, so I can pay it off easily. Also it will allow me to not personally budget for work trips as well.

Overall, I think it's a step in a good direction. The limit is only $500, so I can watch myself and see if I can handle it.

Friday, March 17, 2017

Living on one Paycheck

Have you ever looked at Pinterest for something besides Whole30 recipes and new crafts? My "feed" is flooded with budget tips, cupcakes, and bullet journaling - even though I never crack open a journal.
I really enjoy searching for new debt free journey tips and trackers.  It's nice to see other people are on my journey. Time after time I see stories of people who "paid off $45,000 of debt in two months" or "how I made $20,000 on my blog last month". Honestly, those make me scoff. They likely aren't real or not like my situation.
I keep seeing another topic on the order of "how to live off one income". I think - HEY THAT'S ME! But then I realize that they're talking about how families do it with only one parent working.
Still. It's a concept I can kind of go with. Right now, with raises and such my goal is to live off half my income.
Half of my income goes to my food, drinks, insurance, fun, miscellaneous, auto loan payment, and one of my student loan payments. The other half goes towards my target for my debt avalanche. Lately some of the other area has been coming over - so it's a work in progress.
So here's me - successfully living on one paycheck!

Sunday, March 12, 2017

Extra Cash - New Dryer

I'm very fortunate to work for a company that gives out a yearly bonus, if we make our company goals. I also had a relatively large tax refund this year.

I've been smart and put some toward savings and some right away toward my loans. This bonus though surprised me a little. It's the first time I've ever gotten one. I asked my mom her thoughts and she said that something always comes up that it needs to go toward. She said it always seems that the food needs fixing or a tire blows.

My Granny has been wanting a new washer for a while now. (It has rust on the front - so I can't blame her.) She's using her refund for it, so I've decided to put part of my bonus toward it and help her out. She does to much for me and deserves every penny of help.

Really this is why I want to pay off my debt. To help my family out even more. To give us the stability and strength we deserve.

Friday, February 17, 2017

Baby Boomers in Debt

I recently read an article in the Wall Street Journal about a woman who invested a majority of her money in the housing market, suffered the results of the 2008 market crash, and now has moved and reduced her expenses to live a decent retirement.

This certainly isn’t the only story of baby boomers trying to sort out a comfortable retirement. The article cites that in 2012 about 43% of people age 65 and older are in debt. I personally know one of those people.

I am very close with my grandma. She has lived next door to me my whole life. She has been at every barbeque, class recital, and even came to my senior thesis presentation. Now, I live with her to keep an eye on her.

Her home as been in our family since it was built. Our family, Herman and Wilhelmina came from Germany and bought a large parcel of land. They built a cabin on the land and then sold other pieces off to other good Germans. The family continued to build on the cabin and turned it into a two-story home that now is about 100 years old.

This house is more than just a place to live. It is our family and our history. My grandma inherited the home from her “Pa” when she was in her early 20s. She’s always had a mortgage. They needed to take out a loan to build the second story, and since then it’s always stuck around. It’s been there through refinancing and new roofs.

Now, my sentimental grandma is 72 with a $60,000 mortgage. She has a tough time with money in general, so it’s not surprising - just sad considering the home has been in our family for so long.

It’s my mission to help her in any way I can. I’ve already started to pay the water bills for her and helped her buy a new dryer last month. My game plan and motivation for paying off my own debt is to then take on the house and get it finished up. I hope my granny is around for a long time, but getting it paid off early for her would be a big relief.

Monday, January 30, 2017

Seeing the Progress

I’ve officially paid off over $20,000 since I started tracking my Debt Avalanche. I honestly didn't know I would be able to achieve that this quickly. I knew I would have to be in for the long haul to see the results. I still have about three years or so left to go, but I’m chomping at the bit to make it even quicker.

Last night, I was part of an intervention. Bad part was that I was the one under fire. I am one of those people who makes a New Year’s Resolution and at January 30 has already given up. The thing is - my resolution often deals with being healthier.

About this time last year, I was going at my diet and workout regimens pretty consistently. All as part of a “do you” attitude after a breakup. I think I even made it through the middle of February. The frustrating thing is that I only lost about 5 lbs. I did all of that work and got only a little to show for it - so yeah I gave up.

Now here I am a year later. The same weight if not heavier. With my money goals, I see the results right away. I see that if I save $5 more it get’s me 0.73% closer to my summer vacation savings goal. If I cut five calories or workout five extra minutes - I don’t see it. It’s just tough for me to keep going when the progress is minimal.

But I know it takes time. Any of those programs to lose X amount of weight quickly - they’re unhealthy and often a hoax. My problem is, How do I get far enough into it to see some of those results to keep me going?

The sad thing is, I’m going to bribe myself with money. (That’s right, I’m paying myself to workout.) $5 for going to the gym, $2 for taking my dog for a walk, and $10 towards my eating out budget if I go to the gym three times a week. I’ll then get to put this money earned into my savings. I don’t plan to put anything else besides my tax returns into those accounts. I’ve decided to set about $150 towards this initiative, which is about how much I was saving previously. If I’m lazy and don’t go - then the leftover cash goes to a non-profit.

Maybe this will work. I’ve tried a lot of other methods. It’s supposedly the same type of goal as debt payoff, but somehow weight is so much more emotional than my spreadsheets. Know anything to help you keep at healthy habits?

Sunday, January 15, 2017

The Hail Mary

Being a Bears fan is tough. Really, I've become a "whoever is playing against the Packers" fan. I'm sick and tired of hearing about Aaron Rogers' Hail Mary throws at the end of the game. Really isn't it just a last ditch effort? Shouldn't you be already winning the game and not letting it get down to the wire?

college football comeback mary arizona cal

I'm a planner. I have a lot of things pre-planned and all thought out. For example, for my trip in July - I'm already keeping my eye on hotel rates. I can't hold it back. I'm not going to wait until the last minute and pray that I'm not going to end up blowing my whole travel budget because of poor planning.

Really - Aaron Rogers is just a really lucky and skilled guy. I am not that fortunate, so I'll keep planning ahead.

Friday, December 30, 2016

2016 Wrap-Up

We did it. We got through a year full of changes. I met some goals, made some new ones, and am setting up for the next year. I’ve already spent way too much time on my 2017 spreadsheets.

The Greatest Hits:
I made my goal of paying off $10,000 in debt this year. Actually - I crushed it by reaching $12,415.05 paid off this year.

I also hit my goal of moving up at my current job. I now am a recruiter and absolutely love what I do. There are really no limits in this field, so it’s just the beginning.

I was able to start using the “envelope system” and stuck better to my budget. It also helped me save enough cash to cover all of my Christmas presents. No more debt for this girl.

I now have a net worth over -$50,000! I’m ending 2016 at -$47,828.78.

2017 Goals:

Pay off $14,000 in debt. - I want to stretch myself to beat last year. I think I can do this with some extra hustling and also some expected increases.

Save $700 for a vacation. - I have only once been on a vacation with my friends. I usually do family trips, which are great and obviously less expensive for me, but I want to go and explore with one of my best friends. I would like to have at least that much to make it fun and less stressful.

Save $800 in my auto account. - I have about $400 already in this account, but it needs to be restocked. It’s set up for any car maintenance, but I’m hoping to transition it to a new car fund as well.