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