Thursday, December 31, 2009

New Year's Resolutions

I have taken the past week to fully examine my life and come up with quantifiable New Year's Resolutions. Some are new, and the rest are repeats of past goals that I need to continue or restart in the new year.

My financial goals for 2010 are

1. Pay off American Express and one of my Visa cards
2. Open an IRA
3. Save $3000
4. Find an additional source of income

These goals are to be completed by December 31, 2010

Happy New Year Everyone!

Monday, December 21, 2009

Somethings To Think About

As I have looked over some of my old post I have noticed a lot of advice from reader Morrison. It is always nice to get much needed advice from someone that either has been in your shoes or has knowledge that can help you. Because of Morrison's diligence I have felt compelled to respond to some of her comments. Someone that was able to retire at 50 must know from what they speak.

In the post "I'll Gotten Gains" Morrison gave me some great ideas for what I can buy from Walmart for work, but also asked me why I buy pre-cut frozen chicken, Oreo's, salad dressing, and kitty litter from Petsmart.

1. Raw chicken makes me sick every time I handle it, I mean pass out sick. Once I fainted in the kitchen while pulling the skin off of a chicken breast. Considering I was holding a knife I'm glad I didn't impale myself. I will still buy frozen chicken but it wont be the pre cooked kind.

2. Usually I don't eat cookies, once in a great while I will feel the urge for a specific cookie and buy it. I usually buy the store brand, I honestly can't remember why I didn't that time, I was probably delirious by the low price. In the future I will buy the store brand or bake my own.

3. I never thought to make my own salad dressing, can you make Cesar at home?

4. I have had cats for most of my life and have tried all types of litter, Arm & Hammer works the best out of all of them (and I live with 4 cats), I never thought to look for it at Walmart. I'll have to in the future.

Sinkers was a typo, I meant Snickers.

In "New Budget" Morrison asked why I needed a land line and why don't I change my cell phone plan.

1. I live with my mother who is 66 years young (I swear she is in better shape then I am) and she is an avid believer in the land line. After a very active hurricane season a few years ago I became a believer too, cell phones don't always work. I did shop around and the plan I have with my provider is the best one available in my area, my mother would never let me cut off the land line, I use the Internet connection for my on-line classes, and T.V. is the one luxury I allow myself.

2. I looked into a new cell phone plan and I don't know what to do. I could change my plan to all text and $0.40 per min calls but that could end up costing me more than I am paying now. I also live in an area where cell phone coverage is not guaranteed so I am stuck with my provider for now.

In "New Financial goals" Morrison suggested that I buy a used car instead of a new car.

1. In making my budget for the next few months I became excited at how much money I will be saving and using toward debt repayment and decided I don't want a new car. I will maintain my current car until it can not be fixed anymore. When the time comes to replace the car I will buy a new old car off the lot (example - a new 2008 that is still on the lot in 2010), It will still be new but not brand new. I can't buy used, all I heard growing up is that an used car is someones trash. My entire family buys new cars, but we keep them for a long time.

In "Debt Gets In The Way" Morrison suggested Craig's list for the mixer and embroidery machine I want.

1. I don't buy used. Everyone has their thing, that's mine. I used to work for a major department store chain that sold the Sunbeam mixer and people were always returning them, I'd rather save up and get a good machine. I did not know Walmart had a comparable machine for less, I'll have to look into it. I also need to do more research on the topic of embroidery machines, I like the Brother machine because I saw it on HSN for $150 per month for 5 months with free shipping.

As far as the private student loan the rate does change, it is not fixed.

Morrison, I enjoy your input. Keep it coming.

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Student Loans

TeacHer Finance asked why my student loans are "another story" (as stated in my last entry). Some readers my have also noticed that other than the amount I pay every month I never mention my student loans. The reason is.......

I have $90,000 in student loans and I have no idea how I am going to pay them off.

How did I acquire $90,000 in student loans?

I went to a public university after high school Federal Loan = $22,000
I went to a private tech school to get another degree that I thought would advance my career Federal Loan = $19,000
Private Loan = $51,000 ($37,000 x 13% interest)

Due to excessive debt I was unable to consolidate my private student loan and am therefore stuck with a high interest rate.

How do you pay off $90,000 in student loan debt making $35,000 a year ($28,800 after taxes).

My plan of attack is to pay off my credit card debt within the next 2 years and roll all of that money into my private student loan.

Right now I am treading water. I hope I don't get a cramp.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Debt Get's In The Way

For years I have wanted a KitchenAid® 5-Quart Artisan™ Stand Mixer ($299.99), but my constant debt has stopped me from being able to buy one.

I have also wanted a Brother PE700II Embroidery Machine ($799.00), but once again my debt got in the way.

I also want to buy a townhouse and fill it with furniture. But, you know.

Debt can stop you from enjoying your life. It can cause you to miss once-in-a-life-time events and opportunities.

I stopped blogging for a while and lost my way with my get out of debt plan, but I am back now and completely recommitted to getting my self out of credit card debt (student loan is a different story).

Thursday, December 3, 2009

New Financial Goals

Now that I have a new job, I think I need to come up with some real financial goals other than paying off my credit cards.

Goal 1. Emergency Fund

According to Suzie Orman you should have an emergency fund of at least 6 months salary in the event of job loss.

Emergency Fund - $10,000

Goal 2. New Car Fund

My current car is 10 years old and while it runs fine I know that I will need a new car sooner or later. According to Internet lore you should put down 20% of the price of the car to account for depreciation.

New Car Fund - $5000

Goal 3. Monthly Savings

Most financial advisers (at least the ones I have seen on TV say that you should save 20% of your income. I can not afford that, so I'm going to start with 10%

Monthly Savings - $230 per month

These goals are going to take a lot of discipline to accomplish. I guess if I focus on the monthly savings I will get all of the goals done over time.

New Budget

Week 1 - $574
Sallie Mae - $560
Surplus - $14

Week 2 - $574
Electric - $200
Master Card - $200
Savings - $74
Surplus - $100

Week 3 - $574
Cable/Internet/Phone - $160
Cell - $70
Visa 1 - $90
Visa 2 - $90
Amex - $150
Surplus - $14

Week 4 - $574
Master Card - $274
Savings Account - $200
Surplus - $100

Under this budget I will be putting $274 a month into savings and $474 into debt repayment. After the Master Card gets paid off (again), I will roll the money into my Amex. In 2010 there are 4 months with 5 Fridays, the money from those extra checks will go into my savings.

I Got A New Job

A few post back I talked about hating job interviews.

I took Small Steps For Big Change's advice and followed up with the position that was going to be vacant once the current person got promoted. To make a long story short, she got promoted and I now have a new job.

With the new job comes a new title (I am now a manager), a new pay rate ($35,000 per year), and a new schedule (good bye Monday through Friday). Now I have to come up with a new budget.

My new job pays weekly, that will take some getting used to. Getting paid weekly sounds good, but it means 4 (or 5) smaller checks instead of 2 (or 3) larger checks. Also, the new job is salary instead of hourly. I know some people feel that salary is better than hourly, but I disagree. I find that when you are salary, companies will work you to death and not have to pay you.

I am nervous and excited at the all at once.

Financial Survey

While job hunting I came to realize that everyone is on a different pay cycle, this made me think of an interesting question.

Would you rather get paid

A. Once a Month
B. Twice a Month
C. Bi-Weekly
D. Weekly

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Ill Gotten Gains

I am going to take the advice of TeacHer and Smallstepsforbigchange and put most of the money in savings ($1000) and use a small portion for debt repayment ($500).

I am also working on becoming more responsible with the little bit of extra money I get, so with the $400 I had left over after I paid bills I kept $100 for shopping and am going to make a $300 payment to my MasterCard.

This is how I spent the $100

$35 - Petsmart
2 boxes of cat litter (Need)
Cat Food (Need)

I saved $4 by using my PetPerks card

$14 - Jo-Ann
Fabric (Want)
Velcro (Want)
Insul-Bright (Want)

I saved $2.80 by using my 40% off coupon.
I am making coffee cozies as Christmas presents for my coworkers, each one will cost me $2.80 to make. Once completed I will post them on my other blog.

$39 - Walmart
Frozen Pizza (Want)
Frozen pre-cooked, pre-cut, chicken breast (Need)
Mozzarella Cheese (Need)
Chicken Slices (need)
2 Cadbury Chocolate Bars (Want)
Oreos (Want)
Ritz (Want)
2 packages of wraps (Need)
A Pomegranate (Need)
Cesar Salad Dressing (Need)
Parmesan Cheese (Want)
Sinkers (Want)

I am usually a Target shopper, since I am trying to get my financial life in order I have decided to get off my high horse and become a Walmart shopper.

I realized that I would stop wasting so much money on junk food if I would make and bring lunch to work. If you couldn't tell from my shopping list, this week is chicken cesar wraps and a little baggie of either Oreo's or Ritz. If I had only bought needs I would have saved $15. Maybe next time I wont buy desert.

As you can see I have decided to break everything I buy into the categories of wants and needs. This way I think of every purchase before and after I make it.

November Spending Plan - Part 1

I was finally able to get in contact with Sallie Mae and for the low, low cost of $150 my 3 Sallie Mae loans are in forbearance for the next 3 months. I know it will cost me in the end but my money is so tight right now that I have to think short term over long term.

My cash break down is

Paycheck - $850

Sallie Mae - $150
Electric Bill - $170
Master Card - $70
Gas - $24
Sally Beauty Supply - $31 (I needed a new blow dryer)

Total - $445

Surplus - $405

Over the next 3 months I will have $1500 cash from not paying my student loan. The question now is what do I do with the money?

A. Put it in my savings account
B. Pay off my Master Card (again)
C. Put half in my savings and use half toward credit card debt

I could use some advice.

Please Forgive My Absence

After a short hiatus and a small financial breakdown I have decided to resume posting on this blog. I started to get depressed and made some bad financial decisions that now I have to pay the piper for. When I posted on this blog regularly I was making a lot of progress, so I see that I need to come back in order to recover and make more progress.

Future posts will be copies of financial post from my other blog.

Friday, July 31, 2009

1 Down, 3 To Go

As you can see on my side bar today I paid off my Master Card. It feels good to have one financial goal under my belt. This card will be going into the vault and will only be used to pay for my online course (automatic payments were cheaper) and it is in my budget for the next 9 months to pay those charges in full when they occur.

Next up is my American Express, if things go according to plan it should be paid off by this time next year.

Amex - $3440

August through December - $500
January - $800 (monthly payment + free check*)
February - $100
March - $1000 (monthly payment + tax return)
April through June - $300
July - $800 (free check)

Total - $3500

(I have taken interest charges into account)

* If you get paid every other week (apposed to twice a month) twice a year there will be months where you get three checks instead of two. That third check is your free check.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Can You Afford to do Your Civic Duty?

I got an unwelcome piece of mail the other day. No, not a bill a jury duty notice.

I wasn't thrilled about it but it is my duty as an American. That is what I told myself until I found out that my job does not pay for jury duty.

No big deal, you say? Just take a personal day.

Well I work in retail and August is blacked out for back to school. I can't use vacation time.

Basically I am going to lose a day of pay so I can be a good American.

What happens if I end up on a case that last a week, what will I do then?

Friday, July 24, 2009

I have a new blog

I have decided to start a new blog.

There are a lot of things in my life that I need to work on besides my finances and I feel that I need a new blog that is not focused on only finances.

In my new blog I still chronicle my journey for a debt free existence but I also write about my journey to loose weight, get a new job, and improve my self as a 30 year old woman.

I plan to keep this blog up to post about any major financial situations, but if you would like to join me on my new journey come see me at


Wednesday, July 1, 2009

New Goals

In the 6 months since I started this blog I have made decent progress. My goals were to

  • Pay off 2 credit cards (Paid off 1)
  • Open Savings Account (Done)
  • Save $600 (Saved $350)
  • Pay Back Ex Boyfriend (Owe $200)
  • Pay Back Sister (Done)
Now that we are in the second half of the year I have to update my goals.

New Goals

1. Pay off 1 credit card (Put the new lap top on my Master Card. Will be paid off by July 31st)
2. Save $50 a month (Will have savings account up to $650 by the end of the year)

Now that I am not making as much money as I used to and had some major expenses that I had to pay for (dental work, car repair, lap top, etc.) I am practically starting at square 1.

Sunday, June 28, 2009

Up Dates

O.k. now I am officially back in action. I would like to thank all of my followers for not leaving me during my hiatus.

Here are some updates

1. Still with the same employer. While I continue to be angry over everything that want down I can see now that it was for the best (Will comment on this later).

2. Due to some unforeseen expenses I am almost in the same financial position I was in when I started this blog (Only now I am 6 months smarter).

3. I still want to start a small business to do on the side. My office/craft room is becoming over run with things I make. Crafting calms me down, it's my drug of choice.

4. I started taking correspondence courses to get a certificate in Graphic Design, mainly so I can learn Illustrator, Photoshop, and InDesign (these soft wares are crucial for me getting the job I want).

5. I've started gardening. I am now the proud mother of 4 sunflowers.

In a way I feel that I am starting over, not just financially but in my life as a whole. I don't want to be in the same position in a year and I am working hard to turn things around.

After all, 30 is the new 20.

Friday, May 29, 2009

I'll Be Back

Things are still a little crazy.

I'll be back June 1st.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Out With The Old...

I got my laptop back from my brother in law today (I love it, it's like having access to Geek Squad 24/7).

I am now in the process of rebuilding my Bookmarks, (does anyone know of a faster way to do this other than opening the bookmark on your old computer and typing the addresses into your new computer?) installing my printers and other such things.

I should be back into full blog mode by Saturday.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Almost There

My new laptop was delivered on Monday, I am so excited. Now I just have to get used to Dell after having a HP.

My Brother-In-Law has it now and is setting it up for me. I am not computer savvy in the least.

I should be back full time as of next week.

Saturday, May 2, 2009

Waiting For My New Laptop

Well, after much research I broke down and bought a new laptop. In 2 weeks I will be the proud owner of a Dell Vostro 1520. I have 4GB of Memory and 320GB of Hard Drive. Thanks to the coupon code my Brother-In-Law found I got a $1142 computer for $742.

You may be wondering how I paid for the laptop.

I split the payment between 2 credit cards (I didn't want such a large charge on one card) and plan to pay the balance with the free check I get on July 31st.

Thanks to this I am going to have to adjust my budget so that I can get back to paying off my credit cards. Right now I am not making any progress in decreasing the balances, but I am better off than I was this time last year.

I'll keep you posted.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

I'm Back

Sorry I've been MIA.

My laptop died and it has been out trying to be fixed to no avail.

Alas, I'll have to buy a new one.

Be back soon.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Recession Entrepreneurs

I have seen news stories and articles about the recession spawning a surge in entrepreneurs. The uncertainty of the job market is encouraging individuals to start their own businesses (home based or otherwise) either as a side job or as a new career.

I have looked into the prospect of starting a home based business to supplement my (decreased) income and I have come to realize something.


Between zoning laws and home owners association rules I don't see how anyone can legally operate a home based business.

I am all for restrictions, I mean I don't want to live next door to a brothel. But me at the sewing machine making a purse......I don't see how that bothers anyone.

Anyone have a home based business? How were you able to do it?

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Updating Skills for Less

A while back I discussed taking a class to improve my skills in Adobe Illustrator and Photoshop so that I can be more marketable in my field.

I did some research and came up with 3 options.

1. Take a class at the local university
Cost - Illustrator : $190 for intro class and $215 for advanced class
Photoshop : $190 for intro, $205 for intermediate, $215 for advanced 1 and $215 for
advanced 2
Total - $1230

2. Take home course with Penn Foster
Cost - Illustrator: $535
Photoshop: $738
Total - $1273
Software included

3. Buy books and teach myself
Cost - $350
Total - $350
This total is if I bought all 6 books I found that I could use to teach myself.
Some of the books are specific to fashion.

There are pros and cons to all 3 options

1. With options 1 and 3 I would need to purchase Photoshop ($700) on top of paying for the classes.

2. With option 1 I would have to pay for the extra gas to drive to the school, parking and I would have to change my work schedule because the classes are during the day.

3. With options 1 and 2 I would probably need to buy some of the above mentioned books because they are specific to fashion.

4. With option 2 once the course is complete I will earn a certificate. With option 2 I would have to take 9 courses to earn a certificate.

The question many of you are probably thinking is

How am I going to pay for any of this?

If I go with option 2 I can pay monthly
If I go with option 3 I can buy one book at a time (I could also buy them cheaper at or Amazon)

What should I do?

Time to Pay Bills

I was pleasantly surprised when I got my pay stub this week. I thought my pay cut was going to be in effect and I budgeted accordingly, but I guess it did not go into effect in time.

I reworked my budget to fit my new (lower) salary. I deferred my federal student loan, the interest rate on my private student loan must have changed because my payment dropped by almost $100 (thank God), and I am working on lowering my electric bill.

New Budget

Pay Check 1 - $830

Student Loan - $556
Electric - $212 (Working on lowering this amount)

Total - $768

This leaves me with $62 for 2 weeks. $30 to fill my tank, that last 2 weeks and $32 for groceries.

My pay check was for $1085.

Surplus - $255

Magazine Subscriptions - $31 (I let the payment laps and was getting angry letters from them)
Book Club - $17 (I ordered a book about turning your craft into a business)
Target - $7 (I needed some lotion)

With the $200 I have left I am going to pay off some charges I put on my Master Card. Yes, I've used the card I paid off. I'm so ashamed, but I'm doing it so they don't cut the card off. I pay off everything I charge.

I also got my tax refund. I wish I could put my refund in my savings account or use it to pay down a credit card, but it has been earmarked.

Tax Refund - $995

Car Repair - $650
Sister - $245
Mother - $100

There goes my refund, but at least I was able to complete one more of my goals.

Saturday, March 7, 2009

How Far Would You Go To Be Debt Free

Would you sell one of your kidneys if it meant you could be debt free? How about your eggs (if you're a woman)? Or some bone marrow?

I was doing some research on debt repayment and found an article about a woman that sells her eggs for $10,000 a pop to pay off debt. I must admit, it peaked my interest, if only for a moment.

It got me to thinking.......

How far would I go?

In some countries the poor line up to sell organs for money, if we could do that here I wonder how many people would do it.

I don't like children and do not want any (I won't change my mind, I've felt this way since I was 12), why shouldn't I make some money off of my unused eggs?

I don't drink (my kidneys probably look show room new), why not cash in?

The moral battle wages on, but in the mean time......

How far would you go?

Thursday, March 5, 2009

You are the Result of your Choices

I have recently become fascinated with the show "Being Erica". If you have never heard of it, it is about a woman named Erica who is given opportunities to go back in time and relive situations that she has grown to regret. At the end of each show she reflects on the opportunity, and it seams (the show is only 3 episodes in) that her life isn't changing that much.

Anyway, I got yo thinking....

What choices have I made in my (financial) life that I regret and would change if I could?

I regret

1. Getting the second degree
2. Not fighting for the job I really wanted after I graduated with the first degree
3. My choice in career
4. Living off my credit cards in college

I try not to dwell on the past, what's done is done, but where is Doc Brown when you need him? (Back to the Future for those who didn't know)


What would you change?

Monday, March 2, 2009

Trying to Make a Doller Out of 15 Cents

I know my posts have been sporadic lately, but as you know I have been going through some things at work. To catch everyone up I have been demoted at work and had to take a 2.15% pay cut AND my hours have been cut back by 2.5 per week.

I decided I could either get mad or get productive. I decided to get productive (I got mad too.)

1. Come up with a new budget
I am going to have to learn how to survive on $1660 compared to $2100.

I deferred my federal loan for a year - Saving $180 a month.

2. Get a part time job
So far no luck, but a new store, pharmacy, and supermarket are opening near my current

3. Find ways to lower variable bills
I turned down the thermostat to 72 and don't turn in lights unless I am reading.

I am continuing to save, I am going to try to maintain my goal of $100 a month (but no less than $50).

I'm undecided on what I am going to do about acquiring new skills so I can get a new job. I've been told I can get books and teach myself the software. Has anyone tried this? How effective is it?

After everything that has happened to me in the past month I have been giving some serious thought to starting my own business. It is something I have wanted to do for a long time but never did. I know we are in the middle of a horrific economy, but many businesses started during the Great Depression.

It's something to think about.

Monday, February 23, 2009

Refund !!!!!!!!!

I just got my tax return back from my accountant, I am getting a refund of $996. Sometimes I wish I was still in school, I could have used that credit.

The question I have fun with the money or do I use it to pay a bill?

Of course, that money is going to complete the repairs on my car ($650). That leaves me with $346, I'll take that and put it toward paying off my Amex card.

If only I had been responsible in my youth, I could have taken this money and put it toward my trip to New York or something fun. Oh well, live and learn.

Time to Pay Bills

I know this is late, but here was my cash flow from the 13th

Pay Check 1 - $1000

Sallie Mae - $556
Amex - $111
Visa - 85
Taxes - $40
Savings - $50

Total - $848

This left me with $158 for for the next 2 weeks. I bought gas, cat food & litter, groceries and miscellaneous.

I have $90 left over and I am going to try to not spend money between now and Friday. If I make it I am going to snowball that $90 to a credit card payment.

I get paid this Friday and here is where my money is going to go.

Paycheck 2 - $950 (This is an estimate, I don't know what my paychecks will look like now)

Student Loan - $181
Electric - $167
Cable - $150
Cell - $75
Savings - $50
Visa - $100
Visa - 100
Ex Boyfriend - $50

Total - $873

Left Over - 77

I am going to have to find a way to stretch out that $77 for 2 weeks.

Friday, February 20, 2009

Goal Update

When I first started this blog I gave myself 5 goals.

  • Pay off 2 credit cards
  • Open Savings Account
  • Save $600
  • Pay Back Ex Boyfriend
  • Pay Back Sister
Here is how I am doing

1. Pay off 2 credit cards - 50% Done

Between my tax refund and my "free check" in June (if I still have a job) I should have a
second one paid off by July.

2. Open Saving Account - Done

I opened an Ing account and have budgeted $50 per pay check to be deposited in the
account. I also have a Way2Save account with my bank that puts $1 in a savings account
every time I use my check card.

3. Save $600 - 25% Done

I should reach this goal in 9 pay periods (June 26th).

4. Pay Back Ex Boyfriend - 50% Done

I owe him $200. I should have this paid off by April

5. Pay Back Sister - 0% Done

I plan to start paying her back once I am done paying back Ex Boyfriend

All in all, not bad considering it's February.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

New Followers


While I was gone I got 4 new followers.

Welcome Preppy Little Dress, Budget Bella, Beach Girl, and Casey.

I look forward to visiting your blogs.

It's Been a Long Time, I Shouldn't Left You, Without an Update to Move You

I'm Back.


I have been demoted at my job, which means I am taking a reduction in my pay. I should be upset, but in this day and age I am glad to still have a job.

I now have to readjust my budget for my new lower salary. Time to tighten my belt.

I have done some research into my action plan and this is my status so far

1. Find a part time job - Looking
2. Look for a new full time job - On hold until I learn Photoshop, Illustrator, and In Design
3. Add to my skills - Penn Foster offers certifications with low monthly payments
4. Find other ways to make money - I have been making a bag for my manager as a gift and
one of my co-workers ordered one. I also plan to open an online shop and see if I can sell
some of the bags I have made.
5. Continue to pay debt - Rework budget so I can continue to pay off credit cards.

I'll keep you posted.

Saturday, February 7, 2009


Sorry for my recent absence. I've been having problems at work that if they persist I may join the unemployed masses. It makes me mad because what's going on is not all my fault but I am the one getting all of the discipline. Don't you hate it when other people get you in trouble.

This is why you must have an emergency fund and a plan for if you loose your job. I don't have an emergency fund but I can get out of paying most of my credit cards. A while back I signed up for a program that would pay my minimum payments if I ever loose my job. And to think I was about to cancel it. My federal student loans are easy, I can always file for deferment or forbearance. I am worried about my Sallie Mae student loan, they don't work with you at all, but you can't get blood from a stone.

My Plan

  1. Find a part time job - In case I loose my primary job I will have some income coming in.
  2. Look for a new full time job - Self explanatory
  3. Add to my skills - Jobs in my field require knowledge of Photoshop, Illustrator, and In Design. I can use this time to take classes (Pay cash of course)
  4. Find other ways to make money - I have a degree in Fashion Design & Merchandising. I learned how to sew and make patterns. I make handbags and pillows as a hobby, maybe I can make money from them.
  5. Continue to pay debt, but maybe save more and pay the minimums.
What do you guys think?

Thursday, January 29, 2009

1 down, 3 To Go

Today with the aid of my Free Check I paid off my Master Card. I feel like a huge weight has been lifted off my shoulders.

Next on the chopping block - American Express

I have also added another card to my side bar. My goal was to pay off 2 cards this year, lets see if I can still do it.

New Follower

I have a new follower. Welcome Shanasta of Slave to Student Loans.

I have Sallie Mae, who is your master?

Saturday, January 24, 2009

How to Make College Less Expensive


I am not a financial adviser, nor do I have children in college. I am just a woman with A LOT of student loan debt. Hind sight is 20/20. So with the knowledge I now have this is the way I would have saved money on college.

Feel free to pass some of these tips on to anyone you know who is college bound.

Things You Can Do in High School

1. Take A.P. classes
A.P. classes are a great way to get some of your general education classes out of the way (for free). The fewer classes you have to take, the more money you save.

2. Get Good Grades (I did this)
I graduated high school with a B average, with that I was able to get a small grant for my freshman year. Money saved. If I had it to do again I would have really tried for an A average.

3. Go to Summer School (I did this too)
Back in my day (Class of 97) it was very hard to graduate high school early. I think the school got more money if they had a certain amount of students. But if you live some where that they will let you skip a grade and/or graduate early do it. This looks good for colleges and you may get a scholarship. If not (this is if you want to go to an out of state public school), you can move to the state that you want to go to school. After you live in a state for a year you become a resident (unless the rules have changed). Residents get in-state tuition, this can be the difference between $100 a credit and $400 a credit.

Things To Do In College

1. Go to Community College
At most schools the first two years is dedicated to taking general education classes. For a fraction of the cost you can go to community college, take the same classes, and save a lot of money.

2. Go to a Public School
Now days most public universities are just as good as private universities. Unless going to Harvard or Princeton are family traditions (in which your parents can probably can afford to pay for your school anyway) find a good public school and save some money

3. Go to an In-State School
Most states have at least one stand out school (I'm lucky Florida has 5 that I can think of off the top of my head). Find one with the major you are interested in and go to it. If there isn't one in your state, consider moving there for a year and become a resident.

4. Try Not to Take Private Student Loans and/or Take Only What You Need.
This was my down fall. The first time I went to college I had federal loans and I took every cent I could get. Not to bad considering it was a public school. The second time I went to college I went to a private school and had to take out a private student loan. I still took every cent I could get. BIG Mistake.

So, those are my thoughts. Please add any that you may have.

Friday, January 23, 2009

Forgive Me Father, For I have Sinned........

It's been 4 post since my last confession.

I've been a bad girl this week. I went out to lunch not once but twice this week with some of my coworkers. $40 down the drain. At least I paid cash for these lunches.

I also charged 2 things on my credit card. I haven't charged anything in months.

My mothers birthday is on Sunday and I needed to get her a gift ($50 gift card to Barnes & Noble). Due to my bad planning I did not have cash on hand to handle the transaction, and I didn't want to give her an IOU until next Friday. After all, she let me move in with her in what was supposed to be her quiet retirement.

For myself I bought some clothing from my store ($70). I bought a sweater (marked down), a sleeveless turtleneck (also marked down), a blouse, and a sleeveless shirt. Did I need more clothes? Not really. But I did it anyway.

So, now I have $120 charged on a credit card. But I wrote my budget for February and will have the new charges paid for by the end of the month.

What is the penitence for this sin? 10 Hail Marys?

4 New Followers

Wow, I am really excited to see more people following my blog, and I enjoy getting the chance to read your blogs.

I'd like to welcome Just Me, TeacHer, Crystal, and Hendrawan Armanto. Thank you for comming along for the ride.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

2 New Followers

Yes, I plan on doing this with every new follower I get.

Thanks for joining 444 and Mrs. B's Debt Adventure.

I look forward to reading your blogs, it's nice to know we are all in this together.

Monday, January 19, 2009

Extra Pay Check

For those of you who get paid every other week and will be getting 3 checks this month, what are your plans for that "extra" money?

I have 2 options, either

1. Complete car repairs ($700) and put the rest toward paying off Master Card


2. Pay off Master Card and charge some of the repairs on Amex and/or Visa.

That way I can have a zero balance on one card (to motivate me and perhaps raise credit score), and I can pay off the charge with my tax refund.

I know the smart thing is to use the cash to repair the car since I don't plan on buying a new one any time soon, but I would get a lot of satisfaction out of seeing a card with a zero balance.

What do you think?

Sunday, January 18, 2009

New Follower

I have a new follower.

Outfromunder, thanks for following my blog. I enjoyed reading yours and I must say I am jealous of all of the money you have saved. Good for you.

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Time to Pay Bills Part II

As you from my last post, after paying bills I had $146 to last me 2 weeks. I just went out and spent more money.

Petsmart - $27.52
Sally Beauty Supply - $41.75
B.P. Gas Station - $15.00

Total - $79.27

That leaves me with $66, which isn't bad considering I have payed all of my bills, put money into savings and went shopping for necessities.

Time to Pay Bills

I actually enjoy paying bills. Don't misunderstand me, I don't like seeing my money drift away but I do enjoy sitting down with paper, a pencil and my laptop and paying what I owe. Maybe I should have been an accountant.

Paycheck 3 $1059,

Student Loan 2 $181
Amex $250
Visa 1 $77
Visa 2 $75
Internet/Phone/Cable $156
Cell $75
Ex Boyfriend $50
Savings $50

Total $914

That leaves me with $145. I have a reimbursement check of $56 to deposit which will leave me with $201.

I went grocery shopping with my mother at Costco and I tell you, membership has its privileges. Here's what I bought. Items divided by two are split between my mother and I.

Lysol Toilet Bowl Cleaner (Box of 4) - $7.49($2.00 coupon) = $5.49 / 2 = $2.74
Zephyrhills Water (35 1/2 litter bottles to take to work) = $4.79
Store Brand Laundry Detergent (180 loads) = 18.49 / 2 = $9.24
Lysol Cleaner (1 1.125 gallon bottle) = $5.99($1.75 coupon) = / 2 = $2.12
Tilex (1 spray bottle and refill bottle) = $8.69 / 2 = $4.34
Eggos (Box of 60) = $7.69
Tyson Wings of Fire (13lb bag) = $14.99
Spinach (3lb bag) = $3.99 / 2 = $1.99
Frozen Vegetables (Large bag) = $6.59 / 2 = $3.29

My Total = $51.19 plus tax = $54.77

$201 - $55 = $146

I have $146 to last me 2 weeks. I need to buy some pet supplies (food and cat litter), gas up my car for the week, and buy some personal items (shampoo. etc). I am going to work very hard to not wast the money I have left over. I think after I buy these items whatever I have left over I will put in my savings account.

New Followers

I have two new followers. Solargalaxy6 and Green i$ Black. Welcome to my blog. Hopefully this new year will see all of us meet and exceed our financial goals.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

From the Mouths of Babes Vol 2

A while back I mentioned something I wanted to do with this blog. I wanted to show that financial wisdom can be found anywhere, even in cartoons that are meant for children. So here is a link for the cartoon show Recess (one of my favorites when I was a kid) "The C Note". Remember when $100 seamed like a lot of money? Oh to be young again.

For anyone who missed volume 1 of From the Mouths of Babes here is the first instalment.

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Credit Cards

The strangest thing happened this week. One of my credit cards increased my limit. Go figure. I thought the credit card industry was lowering everyone's limits. But of course there is a catch, they raised my interest rate by 4%. I guess they figured I would be so impressed by the higher limit that I would not look ant the interest breakdown.

I could look at this two ways.

1. The increased limit lowers my debt-to-credit ratio, therefore improving my credit score (ever so slightly)


2. The increase in the interest will cost me $6 per month, therefore it will take me longer to pay off the card

While I am on the subject of credit cards I wanted to know.....

What items do you refuse to put on a credit card?

The rule I follow is a rule my mother taught me a long time ago

"Don't charge anything that will be gone by the time the bill comes"

Therefore my answers are

1. Gas
2. Food
3. Clothes
4. Bills (Cell Phone, Cable, etc.)
5. Travel

What did I charge?

1. Car Repairs
2. Medical Expenses
3. Text Books (From College)
4. Lap Top (Is that one word or two?)
5. Vet Bills (My cats are my children)

I ask again

What items do you refuse to put on a credit card?

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

I've Been Tagged

I've been tagged by Candie at Broke and not so Fabulous to post the 5th picture in the 5th folder of my picture folder. So here it is

That is one of my cats when he was a kitten. Don't be fooled by that innocent face, he is a holy terror now.

There is actually a financial story to go with this picture.

I was given this cat by someone who could not keep him, he was about 4 or 5 weeks old (he slept all the time and his eyes were blue, they are orange now), being the responsible animal lover that I am I took him home. That is where the expense came in.

I had to buy kitten food, flea shampoo, and kitty litter = $.
I had to take him to the vet for tests and shots = $$.
I had to get him fixed when he got older = $$$

When he jumps in my lap and rubs his face against mine = Priceless

That goes to show you, there's no such thing as a free pet.

I tag Keeping Score and Sick of Being Poor.

Monday, January 5, 2009

Changing My Ways

I've been giving a lot of thought on how I can stretch the few dollars I have left after I pay my bills. I have decided that I have to change my shopping habits and except the fact that my funds are limited. Everyone in my family is a little on the snooty side when it comes to certain things, we only buy new hoses (but live in them forever) we only by new cars (but we keep them until they fall apart), we only shop at the "nicer" stores (Target vs Walmart, Costco vs Sam's, Macy's vs J.C. Penney, etc.). This is a hard habit to break but that is not my financial life anymore (as if it ever was)

So I have decided to do the following in order to get the most for my money.

1. Shop for my groceries and other house hold goods at Walmart and/or the Dollar Store
I have been to Walmart a few times and I admit their prices are pretty good. I just always
hated the store. It always seemed so dirty, and the people that shopped there
seemed "low class". But they were the smart ones, they were saving an average of $1 per
item. As far as the dollar store, soap is soap no matter where you get it.

2. Buy clothes from off-price retailers (T.J. Maxx, Marshalls, Ross, Burlington Coat Factory)
These stores did a great job during the holidays showing people that the clothes they sell are from department stores and designers. Why pay full price when I don't have to?

3. Buy in bulk
My mother has a Costco card and I plan to take full advantage. There is a lot of money to
be saved in those warehouses.

There are some things that I will never do no matter how much money you can save. I will never shop at Good Will of a Flea Market, I will never buy an used used car (the most I am willing to do is buy a last years model that never left the lot, or 1 year old only one owner).

Does anyone else have any money saving ideas?

2 New Followers

I have 2 new followers!!!!

Welcome cheapbychoice and Sunflowers. Having you guys join me on my quest to find financial freedom is very encouraging.

Stay Tuned

Saturday, January 3, 2009

New Follower

I have a new follower!!!!

Welcome aboard Mahogany Chic.

I hope you enjoy reading my blog more than I enjoy paying these bills (LOL)

Friday, January 2, 2009

First Bills Of The Year

First pay check of the year.

Funny how it takes 2 weeks to earn it and only 5 minutes to spend it. This is where my money went...

1. Sallie Mae (Notice that she did not need a bail out) - $645
2. Electric - $154
3. Master Card - $50
4. Stupid - $34

Yes, your eyes do not deceive you, I pay Sallie Mae $645 a month. I was unable to consolidate my student loan due to my credit score so I am currently stuck with a high interest rate. Hopefully after I pay off 2 credit cards my credit score will improve enough that I can consolidate that loan. I was thinking about asking (begging) Sallie Mae for voluntary forbearance for about a year and using that money to pay off my credit cards faster. That should raise my credit score enough that I should be able to get a great interest rate. What do you think?

I am working on lowering the electric bill. For the past few weeks I turned down the heat to 74 when I go to work, run major appliances during off peak hours, and watch T.V. in the dark.

The Master Card will get paid off at the end on the month with my *Free Check*

I only have one payment left for Stupid (don't ask), I plan on taking that $34 and adding it to credit card payments.

That leaves me with $137

I also spent money at

Super Market - $2
Fast Food - $7 (Last Trip)
Fast Food - $4 (Last Milk Shake, worth the money)
Lunch - $33 (Took my employees out to lunch)
Target - $24

I now have $67 for the next 2 weeks. That is enough to gas up 2 cars (mine and my mothers)
and a little money left over. I planed on sending my ex another $50 but buying my employees lunch messed up my budget, but they deserved it.