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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.

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.

Itís my Party and Iíll Save if I Want To

July 24th, 2011 at 01:27 pm

Today is my 30th birthday and Iíve been pondering all year what to do about celebrating it. I went from trying to rent a hall, calling a caterer, paying over $400 for a custom made multi tiered cake, and wanting to pay some musician friends of mine so that I could have a live band to play all night. Now I donít feel like doing anything. There was a huge concert coming up and most of my friends would be there. I really enjoyed the concert and thought it was a fitting gift for myself. Money well spent. Plus, my cousin who is having a destination wedding will be getting married today after church for friends and family who wonít be able to attend outside of the country. So I imagine I will be celebrating with her instead.

Although Iíve been setting aside money just for this occasion, Iím sort of breathing a sigh of relief that I wonít be celebrating that big. I always admit how Iíve never really been a celebratory person. Iím grateful to God for another year, but I never really did celebrate my birthday beyond a small sheet cake and a reasonably priced dinner (about $30 including a beverage and tip) with friends. I also donít do presents either. Not that I hate them or wouldnít appreciate them itís just that if you asked me what I wanted for my birthday Iíd get a headache trying to think about it. My mother treated me to dinner today. Total spending for my birthday was $15. Birthday balance leftÖ$1,985 which I moved to my emergency fund.

Debt Explanation from yesterdayís post.

The Macy's and Limited card I haven't paid interest on yet. I'm going on vacation next week so I had it in my budget to go shopping for things I would need. I will be paying those off. (I guess I should've said that.) I've been saving for my trip since last year. I budgeted $2000 but so far I've been paying for it out of take home pay because it's been pretty reasonable. The Limited and Macy's are still a part of that budget so I'm still on track. The only thing that needs to be paid is about $600 for car rental, parking, food, park tickets, shopping, hotel, and, offering. My church convention is down there which explains the offering and the deeply discounted ďvacationĒ.

The Citi will be paid off by next month. Also no interest. That includes $43 that I charged last month that's due Aug 7th and some new charges I made this week for online purchases which I don't normally use my debit card. They included concert tickets I purchased for my family for approx $100. I was given cash for them minus my own ticket for $15 and random food purchases for the month.

Savings #1 for $2283.38 was my vacation fund. I havenít tapped it yet. Iím still trying to see what I can pay for out of take home pay. I will have until September to pay Macyís and Limited without paying interest. Iíll try to see if I can do that without touching savings.

Savings#2 was my car repair/replacement fund. I havenít been monitoring it closely. So I decided to convert that to my general emergency fund. Since starting this blog, I committed $300 out of this past Fridayís paycheck to start my first installment. I just had some major preventative repairs done so I wonít have huge problems later so I should be done for a while. I also started putting money in for my 30th party which was about $2000. Iíve decided to celebrate in Florida since itís only a week away and itís already in that budget.

Savings #4 and #5 was my emergency fund split between the two different banks I have accounts with. Before, I had about $100 to $200 a piece in them just for quick emergencies in case I needed them. They also serve as transfer accounts for my online savings. Because of the overdraft laws and now the debit card transaction cap fees, both banks have sent letters regarding fees to my checking. I could be charged up to $4 a month for each. I donít get direct deposit so that works against me. I also get my statements online so that saves $2 off my fee. I keep both accounts open because I like having money with at least two banks. Itís a trade off though. One bank I get free checks for life. The other I get rewards which far outweighs the $1 fee I will be paying starting in October.

To sum it up I guess that makes it $9031.13 for emergencies and $2,283.38 for my vacation fund. If I happen to go under budget which I suspect I will, I will use approx $200 to pay off my old cell phone balance. (just switched over to Verizon) and set up a repayment plan for my medical expenses. I could pay a huge chunk but why since Iím paying at 0%? I will have to cut into my dining out budget from take home pay until itís paid for.

I hope this clarifies a few things.

My Finances on the Table

July 23rd, 2011 at 11:44 am

Nowís my turn to tell you about my finances.
Savings #1 $2,283.38
Savings #2 $5,051.12
Savings#3 $1,478.32
Savings#4 $2,501.69
HSA $1,035.95

Total $12,350.46


Capital 1 CC $1065.82 @ 3.99% Fixed for life of balance
BOA CC $2,175.36 @12.74% adjustable
Citi CC $183.73 @29.99% Adj. (but who am I kidding)
Macyís $292.69 @23.99 Adj.
Limited $97.12 @24.99 Adj
Medical Bills $2354.00 @0%
Old Cellís $254.00 @0%

Total $6,432.72

Hopefully Iíll be able to update these monthly. Iíve been aiming for reducing my debt while increasing my savings. I paid off my car last year and although I have been putting that money away in savings for my car repair/replacement fund every month since September 2010, I havenít been monitoring it closely. From now Iíll just make it my part of my emergency fund and starting with todayís paycheck I will commit my first $300 monthly installment. I could back track but Iím too lazy to do the math since I just spent nearly $1000 to have it fixed last month.

Some might ask why I just donít take my savings and pay off my debt. I wish it were that simple. I work for a non-profit and although Iíve never missed a paycheck, in this environment sometimes you get paid and sometimes you donít. I once had to wait three months and got paid over $5000 in back payroll while waiting for a huge invoice to come in. It hasnít been that bad in a long time (thank You Jesus) but I think you can understand now.

The four savings accounts are two online only accounts and two accounts linked to my two checking accounts. Iím working on building these balances currently at $1,478.32 and $2,501.69 to $2500 a piece to avoid fees on the checking accounts. Before my banks started charging fees I barely kept $500 in them. Just some quick money in case of a tiny emergency. Like my version of a ďpay day loanĒ to tide me over till I got paid and yes, I did pay myself a $10 penalty for lost interest for doing so despite the fact that Iím earning less than $5 in interest on each account right now. Iím also working on building my HSA to $1500 to avoid the $3.95 monthly fee.

So there you have it! Everything out there on the dance floorÖincluding my heart for it is in this as well. I look forward to chronicling my progress.