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.