My 2013 Budget

August 5, 2013 at 5:43 am (Uncategorized)

My spending has changed a bit since 2012, so I’ve been overdue for an overhaul. After the last 11 months’ medical crisis of dealing with a cancer diagnosis and 9-month treatment plan, I’ve had to reevaluate my spending in quite a few areas. The good news is that as of August, I have just caught up on my medical payments and have finally met my yearly deductible. Combined with my treatment having also finally ended, my out of control medical costs have now reduced significantly and I can get back to a more “normal” budget of paying off debt rather than doctors. I also had my income radically change this past spring. It went from hourly to salaried, but based on my 2012 income (including a massive amount of overtime). My new salary is consistent, and in effect, I received a huge raise. I now have $3800/month to work with. It’s nice to have more money and extra nice that the amount is consistent from pay period to pay period.

I’m still using what I call a “split” style budget and it continues to work great. I get paid twice monthly, on the 5th and 20th. I start each month on the day of my first paycheck rather than the actual 1st of the month. I split all expenses over the course of the month so that I’m not in the red or black at any one time, but consistent throughout. I did make an adjustment – because I don’t get paid until the 5th or 6th, and my rent is due on the 1st (technically, though it is never cashed until the 9th – 11th!), I pay it the paycheck prior so that I’m never late. Luckily, if I forget, my landlord is super flexible and nice about it, but I still want to be proper and pay on time. And while my budget indicates rent paid at the end of the month, it doesn’t get cashed until the following month’s budget. There’s a part of me that hates seeing it uncashed – I like things to be neat and orderly. Having spent money that doesn’t show up in my checking account is quite annoying. However, I do get more interest on it for 2 weeks, so I guess it works in my favor.

I’ve changed my eating habits quite a bit from before I was diagnosed. I’m now eating as close to 100% organic as possible (super expensive!), and drink significantly less alcohol (3 or more drinks per week is a huge risk factor in increasing cancer risk). I also cancelled my gym membership since I’ve been unable to use it, so have nixed both the alcohol and gym categories from my budget. I have been doing very little socializing the last year, and my weekly long-distance driving trips to go hiking have virtually disappeared, so I’ve reduced my gas spending and my restaurant spending is on track for the first time since I started budgeting (previously, it was often over, and by a significant amount). I also added an additional fund for health costs – which are primarily for self-care and things not covered by medical insurance (such as supplements that are medically necessary to help prevent cancer from returning and improve my health, and acupuncture/massage if no longer covered by insurance). Those things are also quite expensive but important to my quality of life.

Category Paycheck 1 Paycheck 2 Subtotal
Food $275 $275 $550
Restaurant $75 $75  $150
Gas $90 $90  $180
Rent $745  $745
Credit Payments $325 $325  $650
Car Loan $253  $253
Coffee  $10  $10 $20
Electric  $25  $25
Netflix/Hulu  $9  $9 $18
Internet $72 $72
Car Insurance $64  $64
Car Fund $150  $150
Xmas/Gifts $35  $25
Stuff $100 $100  $200
Vacation $100  $100
Health $300  $200
Total Budget $1722 $1790 $3512

The total budget equals $3512 but I typically have $3800 to work with. Until July I have had excessively high medical costs (paying off $2500 plus copays, drug costs, supplements, and acupuncture), so this may need to be adjusted in a month or two. I also joined a CSA, which has required payments over 4 months; my food income is thus much higher from June – September, but will be lower afterwards as I continue to get my box of organic veggies through December (the last 3 months are essentially “free”).

I am having any extra money from my first paycheck stick around through the end of the month, just in case I have some crazy big end-of-month payment out of the blue, but I do try to put extra towards debt if there’s a large amount by the 20th of each month. While my minimum debt payment is $650 (not including my car loan payment), I do expect to increase that to $700 or more most months.

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What Does Life After Debt Look Like?

August 4, 2013 at 8:35 am (Uncategorized) (, )

What does life after debt look like? I have no idea, since I’ve never been there! But here’s how I’m planning to restructure what I currently pay off on debt towards paying myself. In reality, it looks an awful lot like my current budget:

Budgetary Savings for Big Expenses (aka my “mini funds”)

401K: increase my pre-tax 401K spending on my paychecks to 10%-13% of my salary. Currently I’m at 6%. In January 2014 I’m going to increase it to 7%. I’ve been trying to increase it by 1% a year.

Car: save $300 towards car repairs/new car purchase each month. I’ve never flat out “bought” a car before, I’ve always financed it. How nice to walk in, cash in hand, and just buy on the spot. My last vehicle was $16K, so I’d like to save up $15K at least, but that will take a very long time. Hmm. Maybe I’ll keep saving my “normal” car payment of $250/month plus $100 for maintenance?

Trips: continue to save $100-$150/month for travelling. Haven’t done it yet, but would like to do some more large-scale trips (like Europe!), those are $2K-$3K easy.

Medical: I do need to save about $200 monthly for pills, and other out of pocket expenses like acupuncture and supplements (via my Naturopath).

Gifts: no big family, and none of my friends are in the wealthy/excessive gift-giving category, so I’ll keep it at $35 per month. I often have leftovers after the xmas holiday, so I know I’m in the right range.

After all that (which is basically my current budget, unchanged), that leaves me with my extra debt payments of $650-$700/month. Since I won’t have debt any longer, I need to invest it in myself.

Investing in Myself (Retirement, Buying a House, a larger EF)

First step: save a cushion of 3-6 months of living expenses. Based on my current budget, adding together my food and restaurant expenses, gas (though I expect I’ll be driving less without a job!), bills (rent, internet, electricity, Hulu, car insurance), money for stuff (in which I lump everything non essential that always happens, such as hair cuts, buying clothes, entertainment, photo/art supplies, things for the house), and about half of my medical fund. If things get bad, I will probably cancel any acupuncture that I have, so less will be fine. This comes out to $2069, or $2K a month. I think having a flat $10K available in case of a job loss would be smart. That will take me 3/4 – 1 year to save if I do nothing else.

Second step: save for retirement. I have no idea how to go about this. Putting money aside from my paycheck seems easy. Figuring out how to invest it wisely, not so much. I need to learn how to invest in the stock market. Mutual funds are not doing me much good, and I don’t know how to do stocks. So I’ve gotta learn! Still not sure what to do in this regard,  but thinking of having half my available money go towards the above and half towards investing. This could be through an IRA/Roth IRA if I can invest it rather than do a mutual fund. Again, I’m not entirely sure yet, but it appeals to me, doing investing immediately, as the sooner the more long-term rewards and the more growth occurs.

Third step: save for a house. I don’t know that I want to buy a house, but I’m enough of a nester to know I probably should have one. I’ll probably need 20% down, which would be $40,000 minimum (most houses here are $250K-$300K to start). That’s a lot to save as a single person! I can see keeping up monthly saving long-term. The $10K living expense cushion can keep growing and become my down payment. If I haven’t used it, I can always apply it towards a house then build it up again just for living expenses or catastrophic house repairs.

The above assumes that I remain single, employed, and doesn’t account for any huge increase in pay. Not sure where I’ll be working (or for how much) in the coming years, but I do expect I’ll start looking for a new job at some point. Anyway, this is a rough frame work for how I see my spending habits as of next summer, when I expect to be FULLY OUT OF DEBT! Can’t wait. In fact, I’m doing the wiggle dance of anticipation right now!!

 

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Back in the Game

August 3, 2013 at 11:44 am (Uncategorized)

Howdy folks. Been a long 10 months since my last post. Finally completed my cancer treatment and the drug and chemo haze has faded (mostly) from my head. I’ve buckled down and finished paying off my medical costs ($5,000 deductible over 2012-2013 plus $20 dr visit copays and $25 prescription copays). Surgery and recovery is over and I’m back at work full time. I’m not fully recovered, and probably won’t be for a year or two I’m told, but I’m starting to go back to some normal activities (like going out to a movie, and seeing friends). I probably won’t be able to hike much until next year – I have no conditioning, have to start up my fitness regime again, and battle excessive fatigue (I need an average of 10-11 hours of sleep a night right now).

What has changed financially for me? Well, work has been undergoing figurative earthquakes and tsunamis to which I’ve been pretty oblivious, just trying to get through daily activities and be present (barely) enough to do my job since September ’12. Then I had surgery in early April, and was out for 5 weeks. I went back to work, but started radiation daily for 7 weeks. By the end, I physically couldn’t handle being there (lookup radiation treatment/burns/recovery online if you want to know specifics). I worked from home for about 3 weeks. During this period, we went through the hugest reorg, I had a new manager, and while I was out for surgery, she was fired and everything changed, again. However, my manager, while managing to alienate 98% of the company, decided to help me out by making my position salaried. I had been avoiding this for some time, but she convinced our CEO to pay me based on my last year’s salary, including all the overtime I acquired (which I’ve found out was the most of anyone at the company…I did try, and hard!). This was to allow me to not be penalized while I did my medical treatments. She’s gone now, but thanks to her, I basically got a $3.90/hr raise. Now that I’m back, I am no longer closing the building 2 nights a week, or going in late after hours for late crews. More money, less time at work, who doesn’t love that?

My work is insane in a way a lot of professional companies could not possibly understand. However, as crazy and dysfunctional as it is, it is a family. Many of my coworkers donated vacation time to me and for quite some time, they were also donating money out of their paychecks to help with medical bills. This has helped immeasurably. I couldn’t have asked for a better work environment – supportive coworkers and management, no issues leaving for appointments, no issues being out 5 weeks for surgery, and the ability to work from home when I couldn’t handle being at work during the healing phase. Wow. I hear stories about other women that get not only don’t get support, but become endangered of losing their jobs!

So where am I at now? Well, I did take a few months off from paying down debt beyond the minimum. I was able to get a payment plan in place for Swedish Hospital and just paid that down (with no interest, who knew?) last month. August will be the first month that I don’t have to pay hundreds of dollars in medical costs. However, I have new expenses I didn’t have before this whole shebang happened.

I’ve been seeing an acupuncturist and my maximum has been reached, so any more and I pay $70/visit. I’m going to go twice a month. It’s helped me a lot so far, and while it is difficult to see real concrete improvements, I do know it has helped with a lot of side effects and my naturopath strongly recommends that I continue treatments. I’m also considering seeing a physical therapist to help with mobility and strength training after a mastectomy (getting my right breast completely amputated). But the largest expense is seeing a Naturopath. Out of this whole cancer treatment, I’ve wanted to help prevent this EVER happening again. How to do that? Well, diet change and exercise and improving nutrients in my body to help fight off future cancers (since I’ve shown that I’m susceptible). Actually seeing a naturopath isn’t all that expensive. It’s like a dr visit – covered by insurance with a copay. What is expensive are the supplements they have you take. I’m taking things to help reduce inflammation and fight cancer (turmeric, green tea, mushroom extract, vitamin D), things to help with my long-term side effects of chemotherapy which will last for a year or two longer, plus a few other things. Right now, I’m taking 12 pills a day. These are not chemical drugs and thus not covered by insurance and totally out of pocket. I’m not completely sure yet, but this will be $1500-$2000 per year, and I’ll need to take them for at least 4-5 years (when I’m most at risk for recurrence of the cancer they treated; after that, if it hasn’t come back they consider it gone or “cured”). So, yes, this is expensive, but it’s an investment in my health. After the last year, it’s an expense I’m more than willing to pay.

Ok, now to talk about my food intake. I’ve greatly changed my diet after seeing the naturopath. As I had expected, I’m eating a mostly vegan diet – TONS of fresh fruits and veggies, lots of plant based proteins (beans/legumes/tofu), and minimal amounts of red meat. They recommend deep water ocean fish. I love salmon, but at $25-$30/lb, it’s a bit pricey!! I’m also strongly encouraged to eat organic as much as possible. Not only because chemicals are nasty nasty things, but organic produce is 30% more nutritious compared to commercially-grown foods. I’ve bucked up and started buying organic as much as I can. When I do eat meat, I try and buy pasture-raised meats and those without hormones and antibiotics. I also joined a CSA and have gotten huge amounts of organic fruits and veggies (and even some cheese and butter!) each week. My food budget has gone up exponentially, as you can imagine. But again, this is an investment in my health. I’m now spending about $500+ per month on food as an individual. That’s buying mostly fresh, organic, unpackaged, bulk foods and organic/natural meats and fresh-caught wild fish. On the upside, I haven’t been going out much, so my restaurant spending is less than $200/month. Either way, food has become much more expensive for my budget.

So what about my budget? Well, I’ll save that for another post. I will say that I am paying the minimum on my car payment, $253/month with 1.75 years to go on my loan. My only other debt is my SBA loan. I’m paying that as aggressively as I can manage. I have automatic payment set up for $325 every paycheck (for $650/month), and add extra if I am able ($50 here, $15 there, it all adds up!). I have calculated that I’ll have the SBA loan paid off by May 2014 and my car fully paid off by August 2014. Provided there’s no other big bumps in the road.

 

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Cancer Changes Everything

November 3, 2012 at 9:07 am (Uncategorized)

My life and my debt journey have taken a radical detour. 2 months ago I was diagnosed with breast cancer and my entire outlook is now focused on my health and making it through treatment over the course of 8 months from the original diagnosis. I don’t expect to post much here for a while. I am still committed to getting out of debt, but the financial realities of dealing with cancer treatment is going to impact me for at least a year.

I am missing a lot of work in order to go to massive quantities of tests and dr appointments. Luckily I had 4 sick days and over 90 hours of vacation time when this started. However, taking a day off to see doctors not only uses up my accrued time off, but stops me from getting overtime, when I would normally be at work, working. So it’s a double whammy. My take home pay has been a lot less in the last several paychecks. I’m also having to pay a lot extra in copays for drugs and dr visits. Come spring, I’ll be recovering from surgery for about 4 weeks, not working, so that will also be something to plan for.

For now, I’ve slowed down my debt payments. I have to do my car payments of $253/month, and I am cutting down on my SBA loan to just $200/month. Outside of that, everything is going to my living expenses and health care costs. I do have a maximum out of pocket of $2500/year, but that doesn’t include copays, which add up quickly, and of course, it’s almost the end of this calendar year, so I’ll have more expenses starting in January.

This is going to be a hard winter for me, and I should be done and recovering by June in 2013, at least that’s the schedule. I am currently going through treatment – I have 5 months of chemotherapy, then 2 weeks to recover from the drugs, then surgery, and about 6 weeks of radiation after that. Whew. Not a fun process. I am only 41, was pretty fit, and relatively healthy, but now my entire world has shifted on its axis.

I’ll probably start this blog up again next summer, once I’ve recovered from treatment and start getting back to normal. It’s going to be an interesting time. Best wishes to you all…

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Status update, mini-milestone, and coming to terms with the cost of hiking

May 26, 2012 at 8:58 am (Uncategorized) (, )

No big topic to post about, but a lot of updates and musings to bring up. I’ve had some juicy overtime the last 2 paychecks, and one more to come. The last one I worked from 8:30 am to 10:45 at night!! My last 2 paychecks have been much larger than usual, which has allowed me to top up some of my savings, pay a bit towards the loan for my road bike, and pay a ton towards debt this month. I’ve gotten my SBA loan down to below $13,000, which is very satisfying! Having it be maxed out near $30,000, and not being able to touch it much, until all other debts were paid off, has made it seem a bit insurmountable. But since the interst is so darn low, it’s just sat there, untended…until now. Anyway lots of satisfaction in throwing all extra money towards diminishing it to zero is quite enjoyable.

I’m ok with having the zero interest loan for the road bike (for 6 months). While it is slowing down my debt payments, I was/am not willing to put off buying it for 1 1/2 – 2 years. The enjoyment I’ll get out of it is worth the delay in debt payment. However, my intention was to sell my old, unused road bike (that has the shifters on the frame not the handlebars and which I’m terrified to ride/use). I haven’t even done that yet. I have to clean it up a bit before photographing it and posting on craigslist, which is why I haven’t done it up ’til now.But now that I’m thinking about it, I will do that tomorrow or Monday.

I’m splurging a little this holiday weekend. I went out for sushi last night, which I had room for in the budget, and thoroughly enjoyed myself. I may also go for a movie later this weekend. Oh and of course my big drive/gas expenditure yesterday (see next paragraph for an explanation) – otherwise it will be a relatively normal weekend. Hanging out with friends and having a big meal and wine, but not too expensive in the grand scheme of things. Not quite sure if it’ll happen, but if there’s any money leftover at the end of the month, I am going to split it between debt and my emergency fund, which has been growing v-e-r-y slowly. I’d really like to get it up to $1,000 so I can leave it there untouched and unused. I realize that if I push to get it up to $1,000, then there’s a greater chance I’ll have to use it sooner than later, which sortof defeats the purpose of having it. So I’m doing it slowly, balancing between my normal spending, and other savings goals (like my upcoming $1,000 car maintenance/timing belt change in the next 2 months).

I took Friday off before the 3-day to have a more mini-4-day-vacation, since I never take time off. I drove up into the mountains and went for a hike. I realize that while I enjoy hiking, and have done it exensively in the last 2 years, I think I enjoy spending time with my girlfriend/hiking partner just as much as being there. You can cover a lot of ground on a 4-hour round trip drive and 4-6 hour hike! She can’t really hike this year, since she’s recovering from really bad planter fasciitis, so I either have to go solo, or don’t go. Well, this makes my 3rd hike so far this year, which is pretty pathetic compared to my previous 2 years. I’ve been doing it more for fitness reasons than a desperate urge to get out of town and into the green forests. Yesterday I realized that maybe I don’t have to do hiking as much as I used to. It’s ok, I can do other things, like concentrate on going for bike rides in and around Seattle! Especially when I look at my gas spending, which is significant, to get to the hiking destinations – I drove 260 miles yesterday. For a single day of activity. It was great when it was 2 people alternating driving and paying for gas. Now it’s just me. So I think I may hold off on going hiking as much as I feel I ought to, and in turn reduce my gas spending and stay in town, and overall be a little happier, or at least not beat myself up when I don’t get out.

Gas prices – 1
debtmaven – 0

That’s all I have to report.
debtmaven out

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2012 Budget

January 20, 2012 at 7:05 am (budget, Uncategorized)

Budgets are not static, they need to change based on job changes, life changes, shifting needs and wants, etc. I stopped budgetting for the second half of 2011, and due to a computer crash, lost my old budget, so I’m restarting from an older version that I had saved on my external hard drive. Not too much has changed, but I have made some tweaks. I’ll have to reevaluate my budget after February; I’ve just become single, which will drastically change some of my basic spending habits, and the beginning of January was not typical, as I made some additional purchases based on splitting up of household items between mr. maven and I. Here’s my current plan:

Overview:
Paychecks: 2 per month, paid on the 5th & 20th, average of $1600/check, or $3200/month
Total pay can range between $3100-$3400/month based on overtime and actual hours worked.
My budget cycle starts on the 5th of every month (with my first paycheck).

Paycheck 1:
Rent: $895
Gym: $38
Mini-funds: car-$200, vacation-$100, xmas-$33, clothes-$70

* My timing belt needs to be changed in about 8k-20k miles, so I’m increasing my car fund from the previous $125-$150 I used to save, especially as it’s virtually empty right now. Cost will be about $850-$900.

Paycheck 2:
SBA autopay: $100
Car payment: $253
Internet: $65
Car insurance: $63
Gas (house): $75 (average)
Utilities (water or electric): $125 (average)
Netflix/Hulu: $18
Any additional payments to SBA/debt: $300 (hopefully)
Emergency fund: $100 (it’s currently at zero, will take all year to build up)

Spread evenly throughout the month:
Food/restaurants: $450 (pre mr. maven totals) – will need to reevaluate after February
Gas (car): $150
Coffee: $25
Liquor: $50
Stuff: $200 (this includes home purchases, health costs, entertainment, or photography/art expenses, art purchases, and misc. spending).

Notes:
Any additional income I receive (gifts/tax refunds/etc) always get put towards debt.

It’s always difficult to wait weeks to pay debt, but since the majority of my first paycheck goes towards rent, I’ve had to shift the majority of my bill and debt payments to the second half of the month. Patience is a virtue, I just wish I had more of it!

I’m not too worried about having a fully depleted EF right now. My excellent bank (BECU) has a no-fee use of a personal loan if my checking account is overdrawn (if my EF is empty, which is my first-tier backup for overdraft protection). If used, I always make sure to fully pay it off the next paycheck (which is very rare). Again, at no cost other than interest.

In March, once I reevaluate this budget, I will post any final tweakings. Of course, if I end up moving, this will also change (for the better, since I’d be paying less in rent and utilities with my future roommate), but there will be additional deposits and moving expenses (local truck rental, dinner/beer for anyone helping) incurred.

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May: Goal Check-In

May 21, 2011 at 7:37 am (goals, Uncategorized) (, )

Here’s my May check-in on reaching my 2011 goal to pay $10K towards debt. Let’s break this down to the average payments needed to stay on track: Starting with $10,000 for 2011, minus my $880 tax return = $9120 that I have to come up with. Divide that by 12 months = $760/month needed to reach my goal!

So my goal is to pay an average of $760/month.

Tax Return – $880
January – $1004
February – $850 paid
March – $900
April – $750
May – $700
———————
2011 total to date: $5084
Compare Goal-to-date (amount needed to pay to stay on track): $4680
Above goal by: $404!!!

This doesn’t include any snowball payments (my recent windfall or a cash-out on a recent claim from a rear-end accident on my old vehicle that I never had repaired before I sold it) or even my new debt, the auto loan payment. While it’s hard to separate out that extra activity, I’m purely interested in seeing if I’m able to pay $10K towards debt this year. I don’t count that activity because it’s like cheating – it has nothing to do with income, or budgetting, it’s like free, unexpected money. My previous yearly payments had been woefully below $10K, and I thought I should ramp up my expectations this year. I’m glad to say that not only am I on track, but I’m proving to myself that I can pay more than I had realized I could.

The moral of this story? Paying debt isn’t hard if you make it a priority, focus on it, and enjoy the little thrill of hitting transfer when logged into online banking. I’m also hopefull that even WITH a car payment due every month, I’ll be able to meet this goal. I have to remember that with the savings from improved gas mileage, it’s only an extra $200 monthly payment, which isn’t that much!

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HELP! We Pay it Forward MLM Scam?

May 19, 2011 at 6:02 pm (Uncategorized) (, )

I need some advice from the blogosphere. My family seems to have suckered into an  “exciting” business opportunity that appears to be something that’s a multi-level marketing business? Their website is wepayitforward.biz, and my dad called me and asked to speak with this guy he had in his car, that is now staying at my family’s home (from another state), and is getting everyone in my family “on his team.” All I know is 2 days ago my mom was pissed off that my stepdad was bringing this guy up from North Carolina to stay with them as a guest.

Every red flag I possess is going off.  The New York native in me is having knots in my stomach, which means I don’t think this is on the up and up. Does anyone have any experience with this program or website? I’m not a business major, and not really sure I understand it all. What do they sell, or are they just asking to loop you in so they can get joining fees and force me to get more people to join? I have to say I don’t really get the whole MLM thing. I remember hearing about AMWAY way back when, but never really understood that either. Is there an actual product to sell, or is it all ideas and you bring your own “product” with you (ie, be an entrepreneur already, THEN join the MLM to market it?). Any explanation that will make me understand better are appreciated.

So any ideas? I feel like this “entrepreneur” is taking advantage of my unemployed, depressed, PTSD stepfather, and this is now impacting my mom, sister and brother. My family is going through some really difficult family issues right now (drug dependence/probation, retirement, foreclosure, depression to name a few), and I’m 3000 miles away.

Any ideas/suggestions/assistance from the blog community? Am I rightly worried? If you’re not comfortable in commenting on this post, please please feel free to email me directly at my email: debtmaven @ live.com. This curveball was thrown at me today, with a phone call while I was at work and I’m totally at a loss. I was expecting the guy to have something to do with an intervention with a family member. A get-rich-quick scheme is not what I had in mind. What they hey!

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Milestone, taxes, and general ramblings

February 24, 2011 at 10:49 am (debt stats, goals, taxes, Uncategorized)

Today is a great debt day! I paid off my second to last debt and only have the SBA loan remaining. Whoo hoo! It’s an exciting moment to finally get to that point.

On top of paying the final $654 on my last remaining credit card/loan, I also just got my $880 tax return back, which I immediately paid towards my *last* debt, the SBA loan, bringing the total under $27K! Fabulous day indeed!

February is a bad income month, since it is so short. I also forgot to put in my hours for one day so my check from Monday is short a day! I wasn’t too horribly upset, since the next check (after the end of February) is only 9 days!!!! So an extra day of pay (a paycheck late) will be more than welcome when it comes time to pay rent and bills.

Still maintaining bringing lunch every day to work! I have gone out once this month, but that was a planned-in-advance activity, so I am going to include that in my restaurant spending.

I also have a very sizeable check coming my way in a week or three from a settlement. I’m involved with a 2-part lawsuit due to a bunch of accidents I was recently involved in the last few years. I haven’t ever spoken about them, but I should be getting about $7K, which I am going to pay towards my debt. Even though I’d love to go to Europe. Even though I’m bemoaning the fact that my truck has such sh*tty mileage and I want to get another Subaru outback. Nope. Not going to do anything but pay debt. Even though I really really want to do something else! I may have a big splurgy dinner out. Once. But that’s it.

Nothing else to report from the maven household. Working. Going to the gym (a lot!). Cooking at home (a lot). Not much else!

Stay warm everyone!

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Goals, Stats, Accomplishments, and Struggles

February 6, 2011 at 2:04 pm (Uncategorized)

I’m 38, have a BFA and am employed in the arts
I make $45,760/year plus overtime ($6K-$8K)
I started with $45,117 in debt
I have $28,452 left to pay off
I contribute 6% to 401K
I pay $895 in rent, and then get paid $400-$450 from my boyfriend for his portion
My boyfriend is unemployed
I pay 100% of the internet, water/sewage, gas, & electric bills (ie, all utilities/necessities)
My job location/hours don’t really allow me to use public transportation, so I drive
My truck gets pretty bad mileage (15 city, 19 highway), and it’s the only running vehicle in our household
I spend a *lot* of my money on food, but
I eat very good quality foodstuffs
I ate within and below my January grocery and restaurant budgets, for the first time EVER
I brought food to work every single day in January (except for 1 paid lunch out)
I didn’t buy lunch ONCE in January, for the first time EVER
I went to the gym 5 days a week every week in January
I think I lost 5-6 pounds
I do not own a scale
I have not decided yet if I am going to buy a scale (TBD)
I will be fully paying off my second to last (penultimate) debt this month, February!
After that I will only have one doozie of a debt left, my SBA loan
My SBA loan is at 5% interest rates
I am done chasing the 0% interest credit cards
I am going to pay $925 minimum towards debt every month, minimum (this includes both interest & principal)
Paying debt off has become a high for me every month
I have 4 credit cards outside of my debit card
All my credit cards will be at $0 by end of February 2011
I do not plan on opening any more cards, in fact, I may close some
I have calculated that I should be out of debt by November 2013
I have over $55K in retirement savings
My emergency fund (EF) is almost zilch (I just used it up in December)
I have no other savings
I have chosen not to save up 3-6 months of living expenses until my debt is paid in full
I plan on increasing my 401K contributions 1% a year
I do not currently contribute to an IRA and will not, until my debt is paid in full
I have not been on a major trip for about 10 years
I have not been on a plane in over 6 years
I have no plans for any big trip or travel plans in the foreseeable future, and don’t expect to save up for one, until my debt is paid in full
I will never live beyond my means again

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