Hiatus over; 2 new sources of credit opened

June 28, 2010 at 6:02 pm (blog housekeeping, credit cards) ()

Back finally from a 2 month blog hiatus! Still on track, just a little slower as I have dealt with a few setbacks and J’s continuing unemployment. I’ll have some upcoming posts outlining what’s been happening, but for now, I’m going to discuss my changes in my balances and current debt balance. I’ve paid off $12,00 in the last 2 months. Not horrible, but not ideal either.

All my zero percent credit card offers have now expired, so I moved everything to existing accounts and opened a few new ones that I plan on keeping and using in the coming years as my primary credit card/bank loans. However, in preparation of both both US Bank and Discover jumping from 0 to between 12-13%, I opted to get a really low 6.9% card with my credit union, BECU. I will be using this as my primary credit card to replace Citibank (which will be closing by next year due to opting out of a previous interest hike). The BECU card will also be exceptionally easy to pay off!

I transferred my remaining balance from the US Bank card to both my line of credit and credit card with BECU. As the line of credit is at 8.9% and the credit card is at 6.9%, I am going to focus 100% on the line of credit until it is paid down, then the credit card, and finally, the SBA loan which is at a  measely 5% interest rate.

I decided not to try for any more 0% interest rate cards. It could potentially save me up to $100-$150 by opening one, but I’m tired of juggling them all and I want to simplify my payments. I’ve moved all my bills to online payments, including rent to my landlord! Now with all my debts within my 2 banks, BECU and Wells Fargo (which I no longer actively use), it’s all much easier to manage.  By early 2011 I expect to only have the SBA loan left to pay.

I have reorganized my debt stat bars on the right to reflect what is paid in full, and which credit lines I have debt to pay.

So! I’m back from zombie blog land. More to come (and improved news too). Stay tuned!

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Bye-Bye NCN & Year-End Debt Check-In

December 31, 2009 at 11:17 am (blog housekeeping, goals) ()

The NCN Network and their cute progress pie charges are going the way of the US Housing market (down out and away), or do I mean my year-end bonus? I have to say I’m disappointed. I enjoyed going there every so often and updating changes to my debt balance. It was nice to get a visual snapshot of my debt journey status. Apparently, this has been disabled and discontinued.

Because of this, I have removed their page from my blogroll, (which, on a side note, has been getting mighty slim lately). I’ve also removed 2 other blogs, one for inactivity, and another because they were not as for-real debt-minded as I had originally thought, and I wasn’t having as much fun reading it.

I’ll have to look for more blogs to add. In the meantime, to make up for this loss, I’d like to state that currently, I am 18% towards my goal of paying off $45,117 of debt! I realized I had enough extra money to bring my total up from the previous 17.4%, which had the added bonus of moving my debt total to *under* $37K! I’m super excited!

I think the first year is the hardest  – making significant changes in spending and saving habits, starting a budget and sticking to it month in and month out. I feel confident that I will be able to beat my goal date of May 2014, after seeing my progress for more than a year! I expect I should be able to get it done by the end of 2013.

I expect I’ll have additional income – I fully expect at least a $.50 raise starting Jan. 1, my job is stable and not in danger of disappearing. The other important aspect to consider is that the amount of money I spend on interest will continue to decline over time, as I pay down the principal on my debt. That means more of my monthly debt payments will go towards the principal and less towards interest.

I should also mention that I redistributed my debt totals within my Wells Fargo loans to put as much as I could in my lowest-interest loan, the SBA loan. I have under $1,500 left on my Personal Line of Credit (10% interest), and the SBA loan is almost maxed out (5% interest). My only other debt, which I had transferred to a US Bank credit card, is currently at 0% with no visible ending date. I will continue to pay the minimum on that for as long as they keep the interest at 0%! By March, I should have paid off the rest of the Personal Line and have only the US Bank and the SBA loan. So my only interest will be at 5%. I don’t think I’ll be able to beat that!

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Big changes to sidebar tallies

December 27, 2009 at 9:18 am (blog housekeeping) ()

My finances have been in a bit of upheaval lately, and I’ve made many changes to my debt sidebar.

This month my Discover 0% interest rate ended, so I moved the entire balance back to my personal line of credit. My Discover card now reads 100% paid off, and my line of credit debt has become more inflated. Opening this card with 0%, even with the 3% transfer fee, saved me more than $150 this year in interest charges, so I’m happy.

I had to borrow some of my emergency fund to pay for unexpected car trouble. After I cleaned out my remaining car fund, I still had about $250 extra to pay. But I will build this back up very soon, even before I pay down my debt at the end of this month.

My car fund is now zero. My gift fund is now zero. I have a lot of money to start saving up in 2010, but that will be part of my monthly budget.

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Site updates & housekeeping

February 15, 2009 at 11:28 am (blog housekeeping)

A few housekeeping items to take care of. I added a new blog to the blogroll: Dog Ate My Finance. They’re a consistently fun read, and better yet, they don’t have ads. I guess I can understand the desire to HAVE ads to make extra income, but I kinda don’t like it. I don’t think I’ll ever have ads on this site; it goes hand in hand with my non-tv watching (like for over 10 years), alternative non-commercial radio, alternative lifestyle. It’s all about the journey, and I’m not going to care about a few extra dollars every month. Maybe if my readership was in the thousands per month, but it ain’t.

I’ve also increased my savings. In a week I’ll be up to 75% of my emergency fund total (I have a a $25 transfer scheduled monthly to keep my free checking account free). Right now I have $725, and on the 20th, it will be at $750. Not bad, and the whole process of saving it has been painless. I’m contributing $125 per month, and will have my total reached in April, as long as it doesn’t get used.

I’ve also contributed to my mini-funds, so the totals are rising.

Not that I expect to need it, but if some calamity was to befall me, I could easily raise $1,500 without using credit. It’s nice to know that that’s available if I ever needed it – between the EF, the mini-funds, and extra in my checking account.

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Changes to sidebar

February 6, 2009 at 5:36 pm (blog housekeeping)

I decided to remove the citibank credit card from my sidebar debt tally. I paid the remaining balance the first month I started the blog, and it was only a piddly amount (relatively speaking in comparison to my overall debt of $45K), $575, so I feel like it’s an inaccurate item to include; it’s not something I’ve been working to paid off, I just did it during month 1.

So as of this post, you will no longer see the citibank bar paid in full! Makes the remaining debt look more monumental, which it is. Oh well, back to the budget drawing board.

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