My financial train just derailed

December 31, 2010 at 10:07 am (emergency fund, truck, unexpected expenses)

I was *so* close to paying off my last credit card and tackling my final big SBA loan. Argh! And my truck has turned into a serious money sink this month. It was overdue for an oil change. Got it done and it turned into fixing a bunch of oil and fluid leaks. They didn’t tell me about it, so I got $50 in labor for free and just paid for the material/fluids. $52. Then they told me it was more than overdue for some things. It’s been months since the last big overhaul, so I made plans for it to go in for a tune-up and engine cleaning (to find out where leaks are occurring). Total: $532. However, during this time, they found out that that the clutch was slipping (badly) and it needed new a new clutch, and all the bells and whistles that go with it (resurfacing the fly wheel, yada yada). ARGH! $1200 extra. And it still needs new front tires, but I’m going to have to wait on the $200-$300 on that. I guess that’s what I get for having an older used vehicle. It’s at 170,000 miles now. It better not having anything go wrong for at least 6 months or I will cry.

This has turned into a very expensive month. I have cleaned out my emergency fund, my vehicle fund, my xmas fund (obviously since I spent everything this month!), and pretty much everything except for the kitten fund (which I am not going to touch, as that is for a true emergency with my 2 cats).

So I’ve cleaned out all my savings, and still will have $1,600 to pay on my credit card, which puts me back 2 months on my informal payment schedule. J still owes me rent and his half of some big home purchases this month, so I should be getting about $600 soon. That will help quite a bit, once he actually gives me the money.

The new year starts tomorrow and I’ll be starting it from a very low financial position. I think I’m going to start really tightening the belt. Seriously curtailing the eating out, buying more cheaply at the store, significantly reducing the amount of alcohol I purchase (no more bottles of wine). At least for January. I need to get back on firm financial footings.

We’ll see if my salary changes (negatively) on Jan. 20 – the company I work for has been losing money, so I expect if no raise, then a possible salary cut, or reduced hours.

I will make this vow. If they choose to cut my hours I will get a part time job.

Here’s to wishing you all health, wealth, and financial stability in this coming year!



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Slow and steady wins the race

September 3, 2010 at 8:04 am (debt stats, things I bought, truck, unexpected expenses)

Regardless of how quiet I’ve been on this blog, I continue to chip away at my debt. My disposable income seems to have shrunk a little in the last few months, what with the boyfriend still paying a reduced rent due to his unemployment, and my increase in REI purchases the last few months. But I’ve refocused on paying down debt and am trying to slow down on buying. If nothing else, I continue to pay debt and update my debt stats on the right.

Made a pact with a friend to get out and go hiking every weekend in spring, so had to buy a bunch of new equipment that will last me for years to come. New boots, new hiking pants (and all those fancy new non-cotton fabrics) and shirts, and all the camping supplies that I once owned but seemed to go on their own walk-about (I think they did on my last relationship breakup). I think I’ve spent like $800 this summer!!! But it’s mostly over now. At least I already had the tent, sleeping bag, cookware and stove. Not to mention all the extra gas! It’s about a full tank of gas every time I go, so $30-$40 every other week. But it’s been worth it to get out in the woods for a serious dose of triple oxygen for 6+ hours one day a week.

My car broke…again. Some really expensive Nissan part, diagnostic, and labor. $788. That was way more than I had in my car fund, so half of it came out of debt payments (I didn’t need to hit the emergency fund). This is the third time my truck has broken since Thanksgiving. I wonder if it will continue being so expensive? I do a lot of driving with it, luckily it’s all been when I was close to home, and not 2 hours from Seattle on a forest service road with no cell reception in the middle of the mountains, which is definitely a concern! I don’t want to, but I think I have to increase my vehicle fund savings from $100 to $150 for a while.

I finally managed to have a yard sale. Made $350 and promptly put it in the bank and paid down debt. We’re planning on having another one in a few weeks, now that we’re finally clearing through all the piles of stuff in our basement storage disaster. I also have a bunch of higher ticket items that I need to sell on craigslist/ebay, since they will all sell between $50-$500. That’s definitely too rich for a garage sale, plus many of the items are pretty specialized.

I did a photo gig about 3 months ago for a company that wanted photos of their staff and office shots to redesign their website (which replaced really bad stock photos). Finally got paid $500 for that, and of course, it went straight towards debt. Not something I have done before – a good friend talked me up to her friend (who eventually hired me), since I do photography and well. But I had never done people or any type of photo shoot like this (I do fine art that does not include people!). This seriously pushed me out of my comfort zone, but the results were quite nice, and I got paid a bunch, so bonus!

My computer broke last week – the port where the power cord plus into the laptop broke off inside and I couldn’t charge it. Ugh. $208. Not expecting that. 1.5 years old, too. It’s annoying when all these things happen when it would be so much better if they didn’t! To think of how much debt I could have paid off instead?!

Either way, I’m sticking to my slowed-down schedule of debt payoffs. Hard as it is! It’s a process, a long one, but I’m getting there. I don’t think it will happen, but I’m pretty close to only havine one debt left (by February/March next year) and be under $30,000. I think when I make it into the 20Ks, I’ll really feel like it’s manageable. I’m definitely on track to meet my deadline, and who knows what will happen in the future?

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A few financial tidbits for the month

November 13, 2009 at 12:22 pm (emergency fund, unexpected expenses)

From my $450 car repair total (2 tows, a triple AAA membership and a $250 mechanic bill) $200 will come from my car fund – I had completely forgotten I had anything left in it!, and $100 will come from this month’s budget, so I will only have to deplete my emergency fund by $150!!! Not as bad as I had feared.

I can return my purchased (and unused) alternator at Napa and refund my credit card by $200.

I saved a tank of gas by not driving this past week, carpooling with J in his car (we have slightly divergent schedules, so we often don’t carpool), and using J’s car to do errands or just not go anywhere. I saved about $30-$35.

Found out that my landlord has paid the electric, water, sewage bills through the end of the year, so I don’t have to pay for December. Though once I do live in my house, these bills are paid quartly, so I may get burned when I move out (unless they prorate them with a refund at the end?).

I have to go get boxes for moving at the supermarket. I alsorealized that I can utilize a TON of used cube boxes from work, so I can pretty much start packing this weekend.

We had an unexpected transport to do last night at work, so I got a nice 4 hour overtime addition at the last minute, to my timecard. Whoo hoo! This was going to be an otherwise lean paycheck.

I also got a major deal on a rental truck from a vendor we work with. A flat $25, no mileage, for a truck  for Weds night through Sunday. Can’t beat that!!! And I can get all the padded blankets, foam, boxes, straps and ratchets that I could possibly use from work.

Things aren’t looking as bad as I had thought financially. I will spend a little from my EF, but still make my debt payments this month. I don’t want to fall behind, I’ll just have to build up my EF again. There are $750 of extra deposits that I’m going to have to supply, and I may just use part of my EF for that and pay extra in savings each month until I can get it back to $1000.

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Murphy & my car

November 9, 2009 at 1:11 pm (truck, unexpected expenses) ()

So I’m moving soon, and have to pay extra deposits and such. I also made the mistake of looking at my past year’s expenses on my truck and thinking, I did good this year and I can decrease my car (truck) fund next year. I think Murphy heard me.

After driving home from looking at the new house we’re going to rent, everything died on my car and it just stopped working. Just prior the dash lights were fading, the windshield wipers were slow as molasses. The window was moving up and down like snails. Hardly any heater air was coming out, even on 3 (it was raining really hard, and the windshield was fogged up). We were halfway home. We think it’s the alternator. So now I have a broken truck out in the parking lot, I’m out $100 for the tow, and $150 on a rebuilt alternator (I had to pay $50 extra until the core gets returned afterwards). J offered to fix it, so I’m stuck until he does. If he can’t, or if the rain keeps up and he doesn’t feel like standing in a cold downpour to fix it, I will have to pay yet again, a second tow and a mechanic to fix it. And of course, there are complications – the bolt was loose, the belt was looser than it should be, and a plug that goes into the alternator has a wire sticking out, broken. Is it one of these things or something completely different? Time will tell, though I really really want a working vehicle back (it’s been broke since Thurs evening).

Ugh. My car fund is empty, so even more will be coming out of my EF savings. I just can’t win this month! And I know there will be extra expenses with moving, like renting a truck, maybe getting a wireless router for internet, various deposits for utilities and such (I’m sure).

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