Thursday, October 30, 2008

Fifth Week of October Update

Well, the extra week in the month really seemed to pay off.  We made our goal!

We started the month of October with $5,802.24, with a goal of paying it down to $3,400, and the hope of getting it down to $3,302.24.  Today, we are at a balance of $3,249.69, leaving us with less than $1650 per month to pay the entire AmEx off.

That means that we paid $527 off this week, and $2,552.55 for the month.  We have paid over $3,200 against all our debt this month!

The American Express was a credit card that started with a balance over $10,000, our largest credit card debt, and we now owe about a third of that balance.

All in all, October was a very successful month, and we haven’t had the opportunity to apply any of my wife’s second income against debt (some problems with the first paycheck).  That should help things out a bit, and raise our ability to pay by a few hundred dollars per month.

In my next post, I’ll go over the November goals.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Fourth Week of October Update

This week marked the week where our total debt dropped below $47,000.  If we stay on track next week, our balance for the credit cards will drop below $8,000.

Having started the week with $4,335.69, we paid $559 off the American Express to end up with a balance of $3,776.69.  To reach our goal of getting the balance down to $3,400 this month, we need to pay another $376.69, which should be doable.  Next week marks another paycheck from Walmart, in addition to a check from one of my wife’s jobs, and there’s always what I put against it every week anyway.

Since the start of the month, we’ve paid off $2,025.55 in 28 days, meaning we’ve been throwing over $72 every day against the credit cards.  That still falls far short of the $120 or so we’d need to pay off both credit cards by the end of the year, but we are on track for paying off the AmEx by the 15th of December anyway.  That means that we should be completely done with credit cards by the middle of February.  I wanted to be done with the credit cards two years from the start of our debt snowball, but we really don’t miss that by much at all.  And that’s still almost an extra $15,000 per year against those.

We now owe less on the two credit cards than we do on my truck, and in about two weeks, we’ll owe less on all three of those than we do on the car.

One of the amazing things is that we started the year with 3 credit cards, one with a balance over $3,000 and two sitting at about $8,000, and we will end up with one credit card having a balance of about $4,000.

As you can imagine, I’m very anxious to see the end of the year.  A chapter in my life is fast drawing to a close, and I can’t wait to experience it!

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

How is the government spending bailout money?

I found a website yesterday that provided some insight as to exactly how the $700 billion bailout is being “distributed”.  Perhaps not with as much “transparency” as was originally promised.  But, then, does that really surprise anybody?

If you are interested in seeing where the dollars go, check out the Bailout Sleuth

Count the Cost

This week is slated to be a better week than last week was.  If all my payments hit on time, we’ll make almost twice the progress of last week, and we have a whole extra week to keep paying down.

I’m beginning to adjust to the new work schedule.  Its rough, and has me extremely tired, but if I can just continue to tough it out, then it will speed our process of eliminating credit card debt.  But how much will it speed the process?  And at what cost?

One thing that I didn’t take into account with the extra jobs was extra expense.  I immediately assumed that all monies earned could go directly against the debt, which is, in fact, false.  Due to our schedules being so packed, we are spending more on food because we are eating out more.  We are also spending more on gas (mainly me, since my wife’s second job is on the way to her first), but these are factors I hadn’t considered with the extra job.

So instead of putting an extra $800 or so a month against debt, I’m only able to contribute about $600 a month.  That’s $150 per week, for an extra 28 hours of work.  That means that I’m making less than $5.50 per hour of work to get debt paid down.  I’m not sure that it is worth it.  Given the amount of energy it takes to hold down the second job, I know that my performance at my primary job isn’t quite what it was before the second job.

So, if you were in my situation, what would you do?  Would you keep the job, since it is decreasing my debt, even at a slow pace, or would you turn in your notice, and be done with it?

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Third Week of October Update

Well, as predicted, this week lost most of the momentum gained over the past two weeks.  The good news is that our bank balance is back up over $2,000 again, and we were able to drop below $9,000 in credit card debt.  Beyond that, we had a balance of $4,581.69 going into the week, and we now have a balance of $4,335.69.  That means that we paid off just $246.  My wife did get her check in the bank, but not in enough time for this update, but we’ve been spending a lot more in gas (even with the price coming down), and on groceries (medicines, yogurts, etc.), so even though her check was higher than normal, about 2/3 of it had to go to cover the extra expenses we’d incurred, so there really wouldn’t have been much there anyway.

So the reason we got $246 in this week was solely due to my paycheck, but last weeks didn’t hit until last Friday, and this one hit today, so that means that the coming week will be completely from our alternative sources of income.

Month to date, we’ve paid off nearly $1,500, and we’ve managed to keep our payoff rate at higher than the $60/day that is required to pay off the AmEx by the end of the year, but nowhere near the $110/day required to pay both off.

I’ll have to see what my check looks like this week from Walmart (which will only have one week’s pay on it), to see if we are going to be able to really ramp up.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Sick Time

Ugh.  The flu season has hit full force, and today I'm home from work not feeling good at all.  Fortunately, I was off work last night and am off tonight, so I'll have some time to recover (another 16 hours or so) before I have to get back at it.  To be honest, I don't know if I'm cut out for the 70+ hour work weeks, so we'll see how long the second job lasts.  We are really making such good progress even without the two second jobs that it wouldn't disappoint me too much to see at least one of them go.  On the other hand, if we can get out of credit card debt this year (or by first quarter of '09), I'm sure the extra effort will be worth it.

I have been trying to sleep most of the day (and all last evening and night), which has put a damper on debt reduction this week, and my wife's been working enough that getting by the bank has been difficult, so this week's update may end up being a fairly small one.  However, I get paid at Wal-mart this week, so there will be some extra for next week.

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Second Week of October Update

We had a pretty good run this week. A lot of our bills came due, so, for the first time in several months, our checking account just dipped below $1,000. It’s back up again since I got paid today, but I’ve been so focused on squeezing every spare bit of change out of the budget to throw against the debt that there just isn’t as much play in the balance as I’d like. Perhaps after the first of the year, I’ll work on building up our emergency fund a little more and insulate our account just a little more…

So we started the week with $5,357.69 on the credit card, and we finish the week with $4,581.69, paying off $776 this week! We owe about the same amount on both cards now, and by next week, our total balance should be well under $9,000! This means that our total credit card debt is rapidly catching the truck loan, and should be under that in a week or two.

In the two weeks that we’ve been working on paying the American Express down this month, we’ve paid a total of $1,220.55. That’s rapidly approaching last month’s total, and we are only in the second week! Of course, the big drops for us always occur at the beginning of the month, so most of our “extra” money is already spent, but that means that we’ve been paying down debt this month at a rate of about $87 per day, which will not only allow us to get the AmEx paid off, but also get within a month or so of paying off the other one as well! If we could manage to squeeze just a little more, we should have both credit cards paid off by the end of the year! Of course, that means that we’ve got to pay over $110 a day against the cards, but with the two extra sources of income, that just might happen!

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

A Banner Day!

Today marks the day that the last of our loans dropped below $16k!  And in less than 1 year and 11 months, we have paid off over $30,000 of our original debt!  That’s nearly 40% of our debt gone in less than two years!

Right now, we are absolutely kicking it!  And, with my extra income and my wife’s extra income, we should see our progress increase substantially.  I’ve done some conservative estimates which indicate somewhere in the range of an extra $300-$400 per week!  Of course, until we actually see the paychecks, I’m not counting on it, but once they start pouring in, we’ll be taking out our debt about twice as fast as we are now!

Also, I’ve added a column at the top of the debt chart to show our overall progress in conjunction with each category dialed down.  This should give us a little better idea from month to month how much, percentage-wise, we are decreasing our overall debt.

Monday, October 6, 2008

And so it begins…

I worked about 12 hours over the weekend getting all of my computer learning and orientation for Wal-mart out of the way, and tonight I go in for 4 more hours of training…

My wife goes in for orientation tomorrow for her new job, so we have officially begun the busy season.  But I really feel that, at the end of it all, we will feel the effort was worth it.  Getting rid of the credit cards has been a very long process for me, and we are so very close now.

Updates may drop a little, but I’ll try to at least keep up with the weekly debt reduction updates – as you can tell from the chart over there –—>  this week is going to be a big one…  (and we don’t even have either of the two extra jobs income yet)

Well – I have to be at work in a few, so I’d better jet.

Thursday, October 2, 2008

First Week of October Update

Many, many things happened this week, so this is one of the biggest updates I’ve had to date.

First of all, we dropped below the $10,000 in credit card debt threshold!!  It has been about 8 years since I’ve had less than $10k in credit card debt, so this is a HUGE deal for us!  We are VERY excited about getting our debt paid down, but also very relieved and fired up at the progress we are making every month now.  We are really, really seeing the results of the snowball at this point!  Every week we are making as much progress as we made in a month when we first started.  Several factors have helped this – the income increasing has been a major factor in that, but staying focused on getting out of debt, and keeping the budget lean has been as much help as anything else, too.

So, we started this week with a balance of $5,802.24.  We got hit with the bill, so interest charges hit, but we dropped our minimum payment by about $25 last month.  Not too bad, but I hope to do much, much better this month.

We are now sitting at a balance of $5,357.69, meaning we’ve paid $444.55.  That’s a pretty good jumpstart to our plan, since we have 5 weeks in the month.  If we can keep pace with that, we should pay off just over $2200, and that brings us within about $200 of our goal.

I got the part time job at Wal-mart, and go in for orientation for a full day on Saturday.  Also, my wife got a full time job at Panera Bread, working mornings, Monday through Friday, so that is really going to help things out!

This is already shaping up to be a MUCH better month than last…