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Spending Trends and New Budget Rules

3 Sep

Okay, so this post isn’t really going to be interesting to anyone, but I wanted to recap how I’m coming along this year with with getting my debt paid off. I wanted to put it on the blog so I could get it all out of my brain and laid all out in front of me. Also, even though I doubt anyone reads this posts about my debt, it does still make me feel like I’m accountable for my spending by acknowledging how I’m really doing. Without further ado, here are my updates and thoughts on the progress and spending areas that I need to address.


  • I’ve shifted around balances and paid off a couple of my previous credit cards. As of this month, I am down to 2 (phew!) cards, so this will be easier to manage. I have most of the balance on the card that is still 0% APR for another year or so, meanwhile the rest of my balances on to a Visa with a low 8% APR.
  • I can actually see some progress on the car loan. It’s amazing how much that interest adds up to. By paying about $275-280 every month (about $60-65 extra), I’m now several months of payments ahead on the principle. Good thing, because I’ve put some serious miles on that little car of mine and the blue book is already about half the value of my loan!


“Groceries” spending is invalid, I pull out cash for envelope budgeting which freaks out Mint.

  • No more Starbucks. I have spend a couple hundred dollars here and probably more if you count the Safeway Starbuck stores that don’t factor into this report. I will finally invest in a good coffee maker and pack my afternoon iced coffees instead of allowing myself to be tempted by the pick-me-up of a $3-4 treat. I will limit my coffee shop interactions to 1 weekend treat at a local place we like to spend a few hours hanging out and reading.
  • I am getting really spoiled and lazy. I eat out way too much. New rule – only spend $10-15 per week outside of grocery money to spend on fast food and restaurants. That would put my 6 month spending around $240-360 max versus the $607.84 I shelled out the last 6-months.


My doofy inspiration board.

  • I’ve still got my tax return sitting in my account, so I will take $200 to chunk to savings and put the rest towards my credit card. Will need to also put the upcoming tax return towards these cards.
  • According to this “Credit Card Pay Off Calculator” I can actually get my first card paid off in 6-months if I put $400/month towards it. Sounds insane and I’m extremely nervous to lose that much per month towards it, but ultimately this should be able to get all my credit debt paid off within a year.
  • Now that I’ll have an envelope dedicated towards eating out, anything that is unused at the end of the month will get moved to savings. I need to beef it up hardcore since I haven’t deposited anything to this account for most of the year.
  • Any money earned from babysitting is a freebie and can go towards road-trips or random shopping. No paycheck money is to go to shopping.
  • This year, I need to stay low key for Christmas. Last year, I spent so much money that it really affected my credit balance. This year, 99% of people will get baked goods only. I will make a Facebook post apologizing in advance for lack of presents and will also announce I don’t expect presents in return. I want to ideally keep Xmas shopping to under $300 and will probably need to start shopping right now so I don’t procrastinate then overspend. I think last year I was around $500-600 with all the gift cards and eBay shopping.

o_O Wish me luck!!

First Card Down, Three to Go!

18 Mar

This weekend I paid off my first credit card! I haven’t had a card with a $0 balance since I started collecting my debt about 6 years ago. It feels great! I’ve still got a long way to go with 3 more cards with balances, but it feels good to see that I’m finally making progress on this. I took a little more time on Saturday to compare the current balances on my cards to what I started with in January. I also shifted some money around and signed up for a Slate card through Chase. They offer 0% APR for 16-months and $0 fee for balance transfers made in the first 60-days. I shifted the larger balance off my Bank of America card so I can save a little money in interest for a year. Unfortunately, I couldn’t get a high enough card limit to switch ALL my cards over to Slate.

Next card I’m paying off is my AMEX! I’m aiming to get that one paid off within 2-3 months.

2013 Budget — Revamped!

15 Jan

One of my goals for January was to restructure my budget so I can work towards paying off some credit card debt and control my spending habits. I tweaked the current bills on my budget from last year and will start pulling out cash every payday so I can go back to envelope budgeting. Carrying plastic just gets dangerous, even if you’re only using your debit card to buy groceries.

I pulled balances and APR’s for all my debt and as of today have $5,532.65 due between 4 credit cards in addition to $11,540.06 left to pay on my car loan. It’s scary to see the totals in writing, but I want to be honest about it so at the end of the year I can look back and brag about how far I’ve come.

For the next 3 months, I will be paying $282 to my first targeted credit card, a Chase VISA, while paying minimums on my other 3 cards. Since the payment is kind of aggressive compared to my budget, I will not be able to put much, if any, aside for savings while I make this payment. However, I will revisit my bills at the end of March when this card is paid off so I can figure how much I can afford to automatically transfer to my savings. I want to win a small victory so I stay focused and excited on the rest of the year! I will also be paying an extra $75/month towards my car payment so it will shave off 1 year & 6 months from the length of my loan.

If there’s anyone else out there working on paying off debit, hang in there! Some helpful calculators that I used today were this “Auto Loan Pay Off Calculator” and this “Credit Card Pay Off Calculator.” Favorite feature: it allows you to enter the number of months you want to have your credit balance paid in, then tells sums the amount you will need to pay to make that goal.