Moving complete, settling in, and passing the 50% mark!

March 9, 2012 at 6:50 pm (milestones, moving, paying debt) ()

Ok. I’ve MOVED. I’m mostly done. Now I can get back to the business of debt paying and budgetting and achieving my goal of becoming DEBT FREE. I am seriously on track to finishing by the end of 2013. For real. In fact, I just passed a major milestone – I have less than 50% of my debt left!!! I’ve currently paid 51% of my starting debt (and that includes having purchased a newer car in that time period, too).

I’ve finished the physical moving. I spent $46 on a rental truck for the weekend (great deal, and I even elected to get the optional $18 insurance). Spent $20 on gas for the rental, and that’s it. I did make several trips in my car throughout a 2 week period, so I’m sure I wasted about half a tank of gas, make that $30. Ate a lot of pre-made food (roast chickens and salad no more!) and ate a lot of take out for about 2-3 weeks. THat’s harder to calculate, but I’m guessing $150 extra? Then I had to buy some extra tools (where are those phillips head screwdrivers I had so many of…?), spackle, oven cleaner, etc. I had to buy some basic things, like a shower curtain, so let’s say I was able to move for $350.

I’ve still got piles of stuff to get put away (I get to move from my temporary storage the landlord let me use to my own personal locked storage this weekend!). I have tons of art to hang, and lots of rearranging ahead, but it’s mostly set up for now. I realized that I needed some specialized things. I have virtually no counter space in the kitchen and a big open area for a small table. It’s not very hospitable to eating there, so I decided instead to get an extra counter. I tried looking at craigslist for tables and realized that what I really wanted was a sofa console table style thing. But everything was either expensive, far away, or 6-10 inches too short (table height, not counter height). I ended up having our crate shop at work help me. One night this week we designed it, cut the wood and in 45 minutes it was ready to go home and assemble! It’s PERFECT (and free!). Now I have to get some primer and paint it.

I did just get my $880 tax return back, whoo hoo, and put $1000 towards debt this month. I didn’t have to pay rent, but I’m recovering from moving expenses. I think I’ll be able to put an additional $300 towards debt in the second half of the month, after my second paycheck, which is exactly what I had hoped to pay this month. I’m on track, how great is that!

I’ve been putting tons in towards my mini-funds for savings. My car fund is getting big fast. But I’ll probably have to drop a grand in repairs in the next 2 months, so that’s exactly where it should be. I’m really pushing to save some play money for travelling. Real travelling, the kind I haven’t done since 2001. An airplane trip somewhere, maybe a hotel, or international travelling… location TBD. I’ve been considering a long weekend to Santa Fe with a girlfriend maybe later this spring.

I have noticed a trend towards more going out, restaurant eating, and bar visitations. I need to curb that a bit or at least continue to show some forebearance in that regard. Being single and trying to be social with friends has caused me to spend more in that arena than I had been previously. So I’m continuing to struggle with food and restaurant spending (as always!), continuing to really pump some money into temporary savings for car and travelling (go fun!), and I’m back to paying about $950/month towards debt (both minimum payments and principal). I’m back to normal, and more than halfway to my goal! Time to celebrate! Have a glass of champagne everyone!


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Moving… cleaning up…and budget craziness

February 17, 2012 at 7:00 am (budget, moving, mr. maven) (, )

My life is a whirlwind of activity and will continue to be so until March. I’m just going to post a hodge podge of activity financially related that have been impacting me this month:

When ex-mr. maven left, he also left a lot of crap for me to deal with. I may not have mentioned it previously, but he was a bit of a pack rat/scavenger. He would collect odds and ends that he would want to use for building a house, or furniture he wanted to refinish at some point, etc. etc. He also is an artist/photographer like me, so he would collect and hoard frames (particularly large ones) for projects, most of which were not used, particularly since we could get them for free from my job. So when he left behind his sh*t, I was left to pick up the pieces. Literally. Luckily a good friend (of us both) offered to help, so she helped me pick up a rental truck, and haul all the crap into the truck. By the end of the day, here’s what we did: 3250 lbs of refuse, one 14’ rental truck, PACKED TO THE GILLS with trash, 7 hours of labor, $239 for the dump fees, $46 for the rental, $8 for the gas (plus a meal for us both, I bought her breakfast for her help). You can bet mr. maven will pay me back for this. This unfortunately had to go onto my BECU credit card, until I have enough to pay it.

I’m pretty close to the edge with my finances right now. I pretty much have my paycheck fully spent and apportioned by the time I get it (including paying myself first into my mini-fund savings and debt payments), so I don’t often have a lot left over for additional spending. Thus, unexpected things like the dump fees go straight onto the credit card until my next paycheck. As long as it gets paid off before the next statement, there are no fees.

Ex mr. maven just got hired, yeah!!! He has a service job and will be making 15.50/hr…to start. Not bad! His expenses will be relatively low, plus he’s less than 5 miles from home, so his travel expenses will be low. They provide him a uniform, so no expensive suits. He will hopefully still pursue work in the legal field and continue to look for higher paying jobs. As he is able to pick and choose employment more easily than most places in the US (due to the oil boom there), he should continue to try and move up the payscale ladder! I fully expect him to repay me for the costs of getting rid of his garbage.

Ex-mr. maven also mentioned he wanted to pay me back for some of the missed expenses while we were living together. I can’t remember if I mentioned it, but the last 3-4 months of him living with me he paid at most $100 towards rent per month. It was a major sore point. Financial inequality like that really causes friction and resentment. It did little for our relationship, and we did have heated discussions more than once by the end of that time period (and just before he told me he was leaving). I won’t hold my breath, but I hope that he will at least give me $300 for the dump/uhaul.

Tonight, whoo hoo, I get the keys to my new apartment! I have already packed a bunch of stuff and will try and bring a car load of stuff every evening to reduce the difficulty of a) finding enough packing materials to do it in 1 go, b) lower the time/energy expenditure to carry ALL MY STUFF into the truck, IN ONE DAY, UP ONE FLIGHT OF STAIRS and c) reducing the time commitment of all the people who are offering to help so it’s not such an onerous activity. Plus, I’ve been having bad luck getting free supermarket fruit boxes, so I don’t have a ton to go around. I hope to unpack the boxes I bring over so I can reuse them. It may be a little challenging to put them places, when I don’t have furniture there yet, but there should be enough room to stash stuff/pile it, plus all the closets I have! Update: I’ve now hauled 2 car loads of stuff and the piles of stuff is a bit unnerving, but what else can I do? Most of my furniture won’t fit in my car! Plus I can’t move it myself, safely.

I have made a big pile of stuff to get rid of. Rather than put it in the dump or just take it straight to a donation truck, I want to try and recoup some money for having purchased all that crap in the beginning, or for my time and energy in cleaning up after mr. maven’s departure (a good portion is his!). So this weekend I’m having a yard sale. Rain or shine! After all, I have a covered back porch. I have been making signs to post, which take time, and I have to post photos and details to craigslist tonight. Since you only get 4 small images per post, I’m going to post a few times so people get a sense for what I have. Whatever doesn’t sell I will donate. I can bring most of it in a car to the donation truck, which sits every weekend, in a parking lot 3 miles from my house. There is a large piece of furniture I need to get rid of that I may not be able to sell. It’s too big for my car. That’s the only iffy part that I’m not looking forward to.

My company has a nice relationship with a local trucking company – we lease a fleet of trucks with them, so they know us and offer good discounts to employees on rental trucks (particularly for me, since I call them regularly!). Uhaul charges $30/day plus .99/mi mileage. Let’s just say that I am getting a screaming deal. They will let me rent, with a Friday pickup, for a whole weekend, for 1 day, $20, plus only .1/mile. I doubt it will cost more than $35, plus the cost of fuel. I will need to use the truck for a dump run/donating large bulky items that won’t fit in my car, if needed.

With all the stuff going on, moving, packing, planning, yard sale, organizing, did I mention packing? All by myself… well, let’s just say that I’m having difficulty focusing well on food and food preparation. My energy level is hit and miss, so I am not preparing food quite up to the standard I usually do. I bought lunch out today since I didn’t plan and make enough food for dinner and lunch. I expect this behavior to persist for the next 2 weeks. I’m not going to sweat it. If I eat out lunch 3+ days a week for 2 weeks, so be it. It’s good for my sanity, if a minor hit to my budget.

My finances are still haywire and probably won’t be normal until April. I still have expenses from January that will hit me in the February budget (since they are on my credit card, which delays payment by a month). I had to spend more on my deposit/first month rent. The total for that is $1270. Rent ($695), extra week of rent prorated ($175) for access in February, the storage space ($50), and my deposit ($350). Luckily I had already paid my last month’s rent for my current place in the beginning, so it wasn’t a double overlap of rent for 2 places at the same time, just a few hundred extra. I was able to cover it on one paycheck, but it didn’t leave much extra for anything else. I will have an additional truck rental for the move to pay for this month, too, and the $300 dump run fees from mr. maven – I will get that back, but it may be a month or two after I pay for it (to avoid credit card fees). In March, I won’t have rent to pay, so all my “rent” will go to debt (yeah!!!), so that will skew the March budget in a strange way. I’ll also get back some of my deposit from my current place by end of March, so that will be extra income. And I should get some snowball money from the yard sale next weekend. So you see, nothing will be right or normal until April.

Time for work…debtmaven out!



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A slow news day at DebtMaven

January 5, 2010 at 1:14 pm (moving, mr. maven)

I’m having what you’d call a slow news day in the newspaper industry, so I’ll update on you on bits and pieces of my life, RIGHT HERE and RIGHT NOW. (wow, doesn’t that make it seem ultra-exciting?!)

I’m paying the second half of my security deposits plus rent this month, so am waiting for the dust to settle: my entire first paycheck is going straight to my landlord. I have a little extra left over in my checking account, and I still have to be paid some money from J for rent. Once I get that I will have spending money for the next 2 weeks.

I paid my SBA and personal line minimum payments at the start of the month as part of December’s budget, and all of my bills are paid up as much as humanly possible, so I don’t have too much to worry about until later in the month, when the second round of bills get due. I won’t have to worry too much once I’m into February’s budget; my rent will decrease from $1540 to $895, since all deposits will have been paid by then. I can then get back to normal with debts and bills and my regular budget.

I have a piece of art to collect on one of the islands – I’ll have to take the ferry over now that the show the work was in is over. Luckily, it is already paid for, otherwise I’d probably not buy it! So that’ll be something fun to do this weekend, going over to Bainbridge Island and seeing the town (at least the portion that’s walkable from the ferry terminal!).

I have all the liquor I could drink for the next 2 weeks, and while we could use some food staples, J can buy that next time we go shopping, he owes me a little in that department.

I tried to go shopping this past weekend at Macys – I thought I’d check out their sales and I have a bunch of coupons for being in their membership program (ie, having their credit card, which I always pay in full whenever I do end up using it). I didn’t see too much I wanted, but I made J go clothes shopping. All of his pants have holes in them!!! Bigger than your fist holes in each knee. He climbs around on tyvek and racks as part of his job and it has trashed every single pair of jeans he owns. Even his carharts are wearing then!

I made him try on winter coats, since he doesn’t have anything nice and he’s about to interview for his paralegal internship next week (finally!!!! Wish him luck!). I kept pushing him to try stuff on until we found him a really nice one, a black wool pea coat (the double-breasted kind sailors always wear, or whatever they’re called). It had a sweater pull-up liner, very dashing and blue-collar looking, not too fancy, which isn’t his style, all for $78!!! Score. I made him get 2 pairs of pants, and told him I’d buy him a pair since he wasn’t going to get more than 1. He didn’t have much extra cash, so I put it on my Macy’s card and he will pay me back later.

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Moving cost results (not so bad!)

November 30, 2009 at 10:14 pm (moving)

My miserable 4-days of moving is now over (it got extended onto the 5th day – tonight was our final day). I didn’t get to eat any turkey, and spent a ton of time exhausted, foot-sore, achy and anxious. But we’re now done! The rental truck got returned at 1 am on Sunday night. Now comes the month of unpacking boxes and rearranging all the crap we have in storage in the basement (J is a bit of a packrat, and we both have a lot of art).

One of the expenses I didn’t quite figure in was the cost of food. When you’re exhausted and tired and don’t wnat to deal with shopping, prepping, cooking and then cleaning up on TOP of moving, you’ll find yourself doing the normally unthinkable: eating fast food, doing takeout, or getting quick-to-prepare frozen foods. My budget is slightly blown (but not too bad), and I just don’t care.

I ate Burger King twice (blech, ick, how I despise fast food), Pagliacci pizza (yum!!!) once + a six-pack of beer, a friend in the building gave us some snackies and liquor one night, and we ate out one night at a local neighborhood restaurant with our two friends who helped move one day and ended up buying their dinner ($50 for me). Tonight we were recovering and decided to d fish and chips. Luckily J paid, plus a bottle of wine too!

I haven’t spent much time on the internet lately, so I haven’t updated my budget in a while. However, I still think I’m doing ok for the month. I even think I’ve planned well enough to handle the extra deposits I’ll have to make the next two months – I should still be able to continue my debt payments, if slightly reduced.

Truck rental: $35 (includes taxes and fees for 4.5 days)
Rental truck gas fill-up: $36 (half tank)
My vehicle gas (most of a tank): $30
Moving gear (ropes, dollies, packing blankets, foam, extra boxes): free, borrowed from work!

And now that I’m in an actual house with an actual yard, I will be having the mother of all yard sales this summer! I need to get rid of my stuff! I can’t wait to sell some of it and make some money.

Happy gift-season everyone, remember to stay on budget! Be strong and resist temptation!

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Thanksgiving is Cancelled!

November 23, 2009 at 12:16 pm (moving)

We decided to forego Thanksgiving this year, primarily so we can move over the 4-day weekend. Also, a close friend is working on Thanksgiving, so J wanted to move it to another night anyway. If that happens, then it would just be the 3 of us for a nice big dinner and not the typical feast with all the fixin’s. I’ll let J figure out the when.

I have to say that the big Thanksgiving meal is one of my absolute favorites. I love getting together, drinking, talking, cooking, eating, eating and eating some more. BUT! Since moving is such a big ordeal, and I’m also happy to be focused on debt paying, I’m not that unhappy this particular year.

I’m glad we’ll be saving all that extra money on not buying food (and alcohol!), and I’m also glad we have the extra 2 days off from work to accommodate moving in such a slow, leisurely fashion. I’ll miss the big meal, but I’ll make it up with a homemade pumpkin pie, a nice bottle of wine, and maybe a chicken and stuffing for dinner sometimes afterwards. Maybe I’ll do it on laundry night next week, since I will no longer have to make a 2.5 hour trek to the coin-operated laundry mat anymore!

Plus, I might be getting the house keys tonight (early)! Yeah! Can’t wait to start moving!!!

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Financial check-in & moving expenses

November 19, 2009 at 10:27 am (budget, moving) (, , )

I’ve been taking a solid look at my moving expenses in moving from an industrial art studio to a small house. The rents will be virtually the same (the house is $5 cheaper), but there will be additional deposits, the bills will be getting larger for utilities. I’d been avoiding the idea of moving (even though I’ve desperately wanted to for some time) because I expected it would be much more expensive. However, it turns out there’s not as big a difference as I thought, and on top of that, I’m doing much better than I expected in planning for the additional fees and deposits.

I know there are typically lots of extra expenses when it comes to moving, but they’ll be pretty limited in my case. Luckily I can get a rental truck for 4 days for $25 and no mileage (vendor family discount associated with where I work). I can get all the packing materials I could ever want, including ginormous cardboard boxes to move lots of smaller crap that I don’t want to pack, plus all of my artwork (between J and I we probably have 70-80 framed works plus 20 huge empty frames. I can get all the soft packing blankets, bags of scrap foam to pack fragile things, extra boxes, straps and ropes to tie-up in the truck for free from work (and I don’t have to dispose of them afterwards, I can just return them)!

The only real expense beyond the truck rental is for gas. I’ll obviously be doing a bit more driving back and forth to load/unload. I expect it will be about a full tank, say $30.

Now we come to the extra housing fees and deposits. I have to pony up the last month’s rent, plus $750 in deposits ($250 cleaning, $250 damage, and $250 pet). Since my current rent’s last month was already paid when I moved in (first and last being due), the money I didn’t spend on rent this month will transfer over to the new place’s last month rent. In reality, I only have to come up with $750 in deposits and a $40 credit check, split over 2 months. That’s only $395 extra for the next 2 months. I’m going to try and be extra fugal, stick closely to my budget, and if needed, cut into my emergency fund to pay for it.

I’m trying extra hard not to miss my regular extra debt payments (the ones that pay off the principal), since I already missed 2 months earlier this year and am behind. I’m trying to pay an extra $400 in November and December (beyond the minimums) regardless of the extra deposits I have to shell out. It will definitely be a challenge – I don’t expect to have large paychecks between now and the end of the year, and my overtime opportunities will be very slim.

This new house is the same rent, so theoretically it shouldn’t be more expensive to live there. However, there are changes going from a studio space in a commercial area (rates are cheaper than residential) that are split up with other tenants. Here are the changes:

Studio | House

Electric: $20 | much more I’m sure, $40-60?
Water/sewage/garbage: $15 | unknown, maybe $40?
Oil: $40-$80 | probably closer to $100
Cable: $0 (unavailable) | $50/month (average)

So my bills will go up a bit, I expect them to be a total of $150-$200/month, probably an increase of $50-$100 from my current amount. Not a huge shift, so I’m less concerned than I thought I would be. If J can meet his increased rent that he has agreed to honor, that should more than cover the increase. So all in all, I’m probably not going to be paying any more money than I had been paying, and may actually save a little, once I pay the deposits (all except $175 for carpet cleaning to be refunded). A lot of it hinges on J and his spending/savings/income.

Whew! I feel better. Now if only I didn’t have to pack and schlep all our crap across town!

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