Thursday, July 31, 2008

August Goals

As we approach the end of July, I realize now that my hopes of having one of my final two credit cards below $6,000 is not going to happen.    It is a bit of a bummer, but as I started thinking about it, I realized that I didn’t tell anybody of what my goal was.  There was the nebulous “get farther out of debt than I am currently” goal, but that gets accomplished every month, even if only by the minimum payments.

So I’m going to treat August differently.  I’m going to set some goals, and see how close I can get to them.  I’ve got 31 days to start paying it down.  The credit card I’m paying down will have a balance of about $6,400.  I should see it get down to $5,800 from my budget standpoint, but I want to stretch and see if I can get it down to $5,000.  That’s $1,400 in 31 days, or just over $45 a day, including weekends.  So we’ll see how successful I am at that, now that I’ve made it a public notice… :-)

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Housing Assistance Tax Act of 2008

I want to go over one of the provisions of this new bill, but I’m going to skip over most of the bill, because it doesn’t really affect me.  Be sure to give it a good read to catch those parts…

I.  Assistance for Home Buyers and Home Owners

Refundable first-time home buyer credit

If you are a first-time home buyer (which I would be), and you make your purchase between April 9, 2008 and July 1, 2009, you get up to a $7,500 tax credit (not deduction, credit – very important difference here), to be repaid at the rate of up to $500 over the next 15 years.  This assumes that your AGI is under $75,000 or $150,000 filing jointly.

Basically, you get up to $7,500 in interest-free loans.  So, for instance, I could take advantage of this deal and completely be out of credit card debt by the time I get my refund.  That frees up over $200/month in minimum payments, and about $400/month in debt reduction (if I were to quit the snowball).  That creates a lot of space.  A LOT.  This is something that I’m thinking about very seriously…

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

I got a RAISE!

Sure, it was only 6.25% (but whose counting, right?), but that will help out with the ol’ debt reduction schedule.  Right now, I am able to put 75% of the minimum monthly payment against my next snowflake every week…  With my wife’s added income, we should be able to increase the speed with which this next-to-last credit card is paid off.

We are showing to be out of credit card debt by 12/14/2009, if we keep paying like we have in the past.  But that isn’t in the plan.  We are going to pay that down faster.  We’ve got to pay that down faster.

It will get there.  This is just a long road 10 years in the making, and I realize that years of stupidity and mismanagement aren’t undone overnight.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008


IKEA is a great store, but, unfortunately, the closest we get to it is about a 45 minute drive.  We like the prices on the furniture, and we like the decorating ideas we get when we go.  Someday, when we actually purchase a house and get around to the remodeling stage, I’m betting our IKEA budget line will skyrocket…

Anyway, in a move to save on electricity, we decided to go last night and grab a FROST drying rack.  We wandered around a bit, looking at all the new displays, and ran across a different drying rack right next to the FROST.  This one looked a little bigger and sturdier, but it was also more expensive.  After much evaluation, we decided to go with the larger one.  I’ll report after we’ve tested it thoroughly.

We got up to the checkout, and I noticed a new promotion.  If you make your purchase via debit card, they’ll give you a gift card worth 3% of your purchase for your next trip.  Since we don’t make it out there too often, I opted to put it on the Discover Card, where I make 1% (or maybe 2%, can’t remember) in cash back on the card.  But, whenever I go to remodel the kitchen, guaranteed I’ll be taking advantage of that deal…

Quick Update

My sponsored PayPerPost entry has already been approved, and I’m already showing that I’ll be paid $20 before long…  SWEET!

So, here’s an encouragement to you people that have a subject-related blog – jump out there and sign up!

Mid-July Updates

Well, it's after the middle of the month, and I've now got my debt figures updated.  Not exactly a surge forward in debt repayment this month, but with all the "extras" we've purchased in the past month and a half, I'm almost surprised that we didn't backtrack, so I guess it could be worse.

Hopefully between now and the mid-August report, I can really buckle down and get some of that looming credit card debt attacked...

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Pay Per Post

I have now signed up for a new service to hopefully provide me with some more content for my blog, but also toss a little extra change my way.  It is called PayPerPost.  Basically, the service is an opportunity for bloggers to meet advertisers on a common website and allow advertisers to get support for their product or service through online word of mouth.  Although I'm hoping that this will give me a chance to earn a little extra income, I'm just as interested in seeing some of the new products and services available in the area of personal finance/debt elimination and having the opportunity to write about them.

I found PayPerPost through Chicky Finance and decided to give it a try after seeing her glowing review of the site.  While I admit that my readership is small, and I'm not a full-time blogger, (two things that will limit the number of opportunities I can take advantage of) I'm still excited about the potential it has to help grow my readership, and make a little side dough while I'm at it...  Of course, having good content is a must for any blogger, and this will also hopefully give me some ideas to spur me on even further in my seemingly never-ending quest for the elimination of debt...

Also, any post that is sponsored by PayPerPost will have the following icon at the bottom of the post, so you can distinguish a sponsored post from an unsponsored one. In addition, I will also fully adhere to the blog ethics required by PPP...

Monday, July 21, 2008

Life is What Happens When You are Busy Doing Other Things

This past weekend, we had a family reunion, which was good, and somewhat sad at the same time.  I hadn’t been in three or four years, and several of the older crowd didn’t make it.  Some didn’t make it because they weren’t feeling well enough to make the trip, but some didn’t make it because they have left this life.  I barely recognized some of the kids, now that they are grown up.  But that’s life, isn’t it?

In other news, for the past two weeks, either my wife or I have been sick with something – more than allergies, but not a full-blown flu or cold necessarily…  Whatever it is, it was miserable.  This week, I’m hoping to catch up on my financial situation, since I haven’t looked at anything in about two weeks now.

I made another purchase the other day.  A friend of mine got out of his film camera, a Canon Rebel, for which he had various lenses, a flash, and other accessories.  I think the price I paid was a good deal, I just have to be careful that I don’t drive us to the poor house getting good deals.  But now, I think we can really buckle down and get some things taken care of.  We don’t really need anything else (big-ticket items, anyway), and everything that we have is in good working order.

So, all of that to say that I know that I need to update the debt chart, and I’ve got some catching up to do…  It’ll happen soon, though…

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

How Rich Are You?

I found a website that put it all into perspective… Making my “David Income” look a little more substantial… Not on par with Goliath, but still…

So, check this site out, and gain a little perspective about just how good you have it…

I'm loaded.
It's official.
I'm the 145,217,392 richest person on earth!

How rich are you? >>

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Free Budget Workshop

While perusing my daily e-mails, I ran across this article.  Apparently, Consumer Credit Counseling is offering free workshops in the Eureka, California area this Thursday (July 17th).

For one, this started me thinking that I might attend were I in the area, or if they had one locally.  But, on the other hand, I’ve got a handle on my budget – I know where I’m spending money, and I know how my total debt picture is looking, so I wonder what good it would do to attend one of those.

Has anyone been through their program?  What are the ups and downs of it?  Is the free seminar worth the time?  Or is it one of those “free” seminars where they try to convince you to buy into the system?

Monday, July 14, 2008


Scour is a “social search engine”, meaning that results are basically aggregate results from Yahoo, Google, & MSN searches, but also with reviews and feedback from other members.  As you rank items in a search, you are given points… then, once you’ve accumulated at least 6,500 points, you can redeem them for a Visa Gift Card…

Pretty cool, and sort of a different way to help yourself and others all at once…

Lifehacker, once again, came through and clued me in on this deal…

I’ve now signed up for it, so I’ll keep you posted on the results…  :-)

Friday, July 11, 2008


Today, 7-Eleven is giving away free Slurpees (from 7am to 11pm)…  That’s neat, to be sure…

For those of you with a smaller amount of self-respect, Chick-Fil-A is also giving away free combo meals, provided you dress up like a cow…

So, there you go…  cheap lunch and afternoon snack…  :-)

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

What’s Your Biggest Financial Vice?

I read a post this morning over at I’ve Paid For This Twice Already, which was referencing a post over at Five Cent Nickel

So, the question is where are you the least thrifty?  What do you continue to buy, regardless of the value of it?  What must you pour money into continually?

My answer is the same as nickel’s…  Food.  I go out to eat for lunch almost every workday, spending from $6-$12 every single day.  I feel bad about not going, because we are a pretty close office, and we all load up and go to lunch together a majority of the time.  Sometimes, the food is purchased via company credit card, but, more often than not, we are on our own.  This accounts for an extra $200/month or so in expenses.  Granted, not all of that would be recouped by eating on my own, but a good portion of it could be, freeing up at least $100/month to put towards debt reduction…

I really need to buckle down and cut some of these extra expenses.

So what’s your biggest financial vice?

Monday, July 7, 2008

The Holiday

I took a week-long break from blogging over here, mainly because I wanted the time to reflect, relax, and just not think of new topics and posts..

The unwinding time was good, and now I’m ready to gear back up.  Coming soon, I’ll have an update on the debt, but after looking at our finances last week, I’ve decided that it would be very easy to just slip back into the old pattern of accumulating debt.  Of course, that wouldn’t be a good thing to do, but it would be easy.  The mounting cost of everything, coupled with the fact that my income hasn’t risen along with the increased cost of living, tends to be something of a drag for me.  I had hoped to see some very positive changes, but, in reality, the change was pretty insignificant.

June saw several bills come in from the various doctor/hospital visits I had back in April.  All of them are late, but I was thinking the insurance hadn’t kicked in yet, but apparently it has, so now I’ve got to go through the process of understanding why the insurance says one thing, and the bill says another.  Whatever that amount ends up being, the bank account is going to feel it…

Another thing I noticed is that we went on several trips, in addition to buying new tires for the truck and getting the 30k service done on the car, so we WAY overspent our “Gas/Oil/Maintenance” category last month.  Right now, I’m sitting with a negative balance of $511 in that one.  Its ok, because there are several accounts that offset the negative balance, but at the current rate, it will take over two months to recoup that cost (the tires were about $450 of that, and I wasn’t really expecting it to hit).  As well, I’ve got to get the truck inspected in August, and that one is coming up quick.

According to “My Portfolio” with Bank of America, we came out $164 better last month.  In May, that number was over $1,000.  Hopefully July will be a better month…