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Archive for August, 2011

Found Money

August 18th, 2011 at 09:57 am

I found out that Iím owed $332 from a bank that I have never done business with however I talked with a lady over the phone and she verified my identity and said that it was owed to me so itís rightfully mine. Great!!! I was going to treat myself to a new workout program to do at home. I figured for once in a long time Iíll put my health and well being first. Then I convicted myself since I donít do the exercise programs I already have. Therefore the $332 is going straight to the credit cards. Iíve decided to split it between my Macyís and Citibank card since those are the highest in interest. Hopefully this will square away those balances in addition to my regular payments I was going to make. I am going to allocate the other funds toward odds and ends in my debt. Hopefully I will be able to pay at least one thing in full besides the two CCís.

My final bill for both the hotel and car rental came to $179 and $203.31 respectively. I also charged $20 for baggage fees back home. Two weeks ago I made my first installment of $165 which brings my BOA CC balance to $2,292.47. That bill wonít be due again until October so I will make another installment of $165 with my first pay in September. I would like to do it with tomorrowís check but I will need to save it for rent as I will be paying that again starting September 1st. I withdrew $600 from one of my savings accounts to pay some bills before my next paycheck just to get them out of the way. I like paying bills at least two weeks before the due date. It usually pushes the next time their due to the next two months that way I can use the following month for extra payments to my CCís or hold that money for when my utilities come due again.

Iíve got some things going on in my budget that I was hoping I could pay an additional $1200 toward my debt. I decided to boost my savings and split the $1200 in half to make a $600 installment to emergency savings and $600 in additional debt payments for September. I am going to concentrate on boosting my savings and am shooting for $15k by yearís end. If I do so I will celebrate by committing my ENTIRE tax return toward debt. I hope youíll hold me to it.

Criminal History and Job Prospects

August 11th, 2011 at 05:28 pm

Iíve run into quite a few clients who are in a never ending cycle of poverty all because they canít get a decent paying job due to past criminal histories. Part of my job as a counselor is to help my clients to create a budget and stick to it. How in the world do you make a budget without an income? Most of my time is going over the necessities of their budget so that they know the least amount of money they would need to bring home to make ends meet.

Iíve met countless women who are married to men that canít get a job and if they do get one itís dead end. They end up having to carry the family on their income because their husbands simply canít. Iím not judging people with criminal histories and felonies but it does send a message to me and my personal life that it may not be a good idea to end up in a relationship with someone like that who hasnít already made something of themselves.

I have a client who is behind on her rent due to her food stamps getting cut off. Theyíve just moved here so she hasnít become acclimated to the area food banks to get by until her stamps are restored. She lost the stamps due to missing a re-certification. I know, her fault. She tells me how she just started a new job but itís only part time. I already figured that her husband was working so surely whatever she brings in is going to help out with their budget some sort of way. I then find out that her part time job is the only income source theyíll have. Her husband has applied but consistently gets turned down due to his felony. I usually donít probe about the details of a clientís criminal history as I didnít here.

Is it her fault for marrying a man with a felonious past? I know love is blind but clearly you would have to consider the possibility of a low income job future when you choose to marry someone and have children with them. Iím not saying I would NEVER do such a thing but Iíve seen too many members of the working poor or the near homeless and unemployed that have ties to criminal histories that may likely keep them there for the rest of their lives should they choose to stay in that situation.

Surprise in Vacation Budget

August 8th, 2011 at 05:31 pm

We had a bad experience with our housekeeping here at the hotel. My roommate complained about the horrible service and we received a free night as well as a reimbursement of our parking. This will change the budget as we get the final bill tomorrow and split it once again evenly. I can now make a $91 payment on Macyís since that was my budget for parking here at the hotel.

I donít know why but my car insurance went down by more than $11 a month. To celebrate I will be paying an extra $15 on my BOA card. I also have been reviewing my bank statements and I need to cancel a credit watch subscription since it has already served its purpose. I needed to monitor my credit on a constant basis since I was considering co-signing for a car. I am no longer needing to do that since I am not co-signing after all. That was $14.95 a month so I will transfer that $15 to Capital One. I always get nervous when I know my credit is going to be reviewed. Those bills came due and I went online to schedule both payments to come out this week. I got paid Friday but I donít get direct deposit so I will need to wait for my check to clear before I can pay my credit cards.

I also got a chance to review how some of my CC bills have decreased since last month. BOA went from 2326.36 to $2055.16. A decrease of $271.20 Capital One balance went from $1215.82 to $1072.44 a decrease of $143.38. The BOA balance decrease will be short lived. Between the credit hold for the rental car and the hotel the bill reads a current balance of more than $3000. However I wonít know until later this week what those balances truly are. Iíve scheduled this month to make random payments on that card when I can. Stay tuned for my final financial outcome on my vacation.

Vacation Update

August 3rd, 2011 at 09:56 am

Iíve barely been here 24 hours and already Iím starting to see the savings. I will admit Iím spending a little more than usual eating out but then again itís already in the budget. I get paid again this Friday so it looks like I may be able to pay for this trip out of take home pay. Stay tuned. I will admit I am going shopping for yet another outfit. I need something all white which I donít have. It will however be the only outfit I buy because Iím so close to the weight limit with my luggage and I donít want to pay an extra $19 if Iím over.

I did use a credit card for my car rental but thatís customary since you have to hold the cost of the rental plus a deposit. I still have enough to pay for that cash. I budgeted $91 for parking because I researched the cost at the hotel's website for the week but it looks like it will only come to $45.50. Thatís exactly half since Iím choosing to park myself. The other $45.50 I will use to pay down my Macyís. Which brings me to update you on whatís going on with Macyís. At the present moment my Macyís balance isÖ$458.83 which is a far cry from the $292 and some odd cents I reported in last weekís blog. Itís still in my budget to afford. However, I decided to return two dresses and three bras that I donít need. Thatís a total of $192.58 in returns. It does bring my total down to $260.31, more than $30 less than the original budget.

My cousin is getting married next week but it looks like I have enough to pay for a dress Iíll need out of take home pay. I still have my vacation budget available to use before I transfer that to my emergency savings. I have another cousin getting married in September but guess what? Iíll be wearing the same dress since my two cousins are on opposite sides of the family and no one will know except my sister. Then again itís not like Iíd care if anyone did. If not I can still use either dresses I bought from two of my cousins weddings from 2008 and 2010. I would have worn the same dress to my cousins wedding last year but they are brother and sister so I wanted to switch it up a bit. Sister got married in í08 and brother got married in í10. I did recycle the shoes I wore in the 2008 wedding last year back when I was a bridesmaid for my cousin. She noticed and was totally flattered that I found a way to re-purpose the shoes she bought me. Iíll have to update you on my vacation budget progress next week since Iíll have a clearer understanding on the financial matters of this trip.