Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Target Date - July 2016

I first decided to pay off debt exactly last year 7/2013 since I got a new job with better pay - I was at $27,500 in debt at the time. I was so determined and calculated that I can be done by the end of this year (2014). Then life happened... trips, birthdays, holidays etc. that put my determination and motivation aside. I still continued paying my debt, but at the same time I still used my credit cards. It has been a year and I have only paid off $4,922 - which is not bad, but not as intense as I thought I could be. I think I also was aiming too high to try to get the debt paid off in 1 1/2 years.

Now my goal is to pay off my entire debt by July 2016 - 2 years! I'll be doing this by sticking to my monthly goals - which can be found here for July 2014.

To reiterate:
  • Target debt payment amount will be $500 bi-weekly
  • Keep the weekly spending to $150 - try to get it down to $100
  • Do not use credit cards
  • Track my daily spending
  • Have at least ONE day of no spending per week
  • *Aim to pay this off in less than two years!

  • Wednesday, July 16, 2014

    So no one told you life was gonna be this way...

    I live off experiences, I am not really into shopping or having stuff - unless that green eyed monster takes over. But I think most of my debt are from Airline tickets, food, concerts, plays, races etc. So I can't really cant follow one of the cardinal rule of debt payoff - Say No! For my sanity, I cant. Not right now at least... In the long run, I want to be able to pay for these experiences by cash and not by credit card.

    Here's a couple of ways that I have done to keep up with my friendships

    Keep active - I think hiking or going out for a run is the best way to catch up, get a workout in and not get distracted with a friend (cell phones etc). I love taking my dog to these activities too. Its also a good way to just check out from the daily hustle and bustle

    Movie night in - I love a good scary movie. I love a good scary movie with food and then add wine plus, a good friend. Thats kinda my idea of a good night (man I am old!)

    Sleepovers - End the movie night with a sleep over.... You are never too old for sleep overs! (yeah!)

    Use your landline - If you grew up in my generation, you totally know (by heart) your best friends phone number. Why not spend a couple of minutes or an hour just chatting it up again - Old school style. Even call up the number you remember and say hi to their parents... Most of my friends are not in the same area as I am and I take full advantage of chatting on the phone. Texting is not the same!

    Coffee - Its cheaper than having dinner and much 'healthier' than having drinks. If I know that I will be over the commited weekly budget, I just ask my friends to change the plans and just meet up for Coffee. There are so many coffee places to check out around my area alone.

    What are different ways you try to meet up with friends while paying off debt?

    Saturday, July 12, 2014

    Week 6 : Flying over the pacific

    I cant wait to lounge on the beach in a couple of hours!

    I don't know if I'll be able to update this week, but I will try my best. Have a great rest of the week!!!

    Current Debts:
    Paycheck came in, but I am only paying for the remaining minimum payment for the Student Loan since I want to use the paycheck money for this vacation. I probably have a lot of explaining to do with the totals below... I'll save it for another blog post and why I didn't add them into my weekly spending.

    Starting Debt: $23,596 || Paid: $20 || Ending Debt:*$22,726

    Weekly Spending:
    Still buying stuff for the trip the past week. I dont really have vacation/summer clothes, so the Saturday shopping happened. I will be returning a bathing suit I bought for $30 since I found bathing suits from Old Navy at $5/piece... score - bargain hunts!
    Sat - $2 Drinks | $158 Shopping
    Sun - $30 Dinner | $77 Target
    Mon - $24 Commute | $3.20 Lunch
    Tue - $10 Dinner
    Wed - $14 Lunch
    Thu - $15 Drinks
    Fri - No Spend Day!
    Weekly Spending Start $150 || End $ 333.20  || Roll over -$183.20

    Pending Expenses:
    We are now on our way and the vacation funds are fully funded - currently on my debit card. I will probably exchange half of it for the local cash.
    • July 2014 (fully funded) - $1000 Vacation/Destination Wedding
    • December 2014 - $300 Christmas Gifts 

    See you in two weeks! 

    Wednesday, July 9, 2014

    I love food too much!

    Did you watch the hot dog eating contest this past weekend? Glorious... Welcome to America !!!!

    Now that I am on my debt payoff journey, I have tried to look for ways to cut back on spending. I think one of the major culprit is eating out. It's not because I am lazy to cook (maybe a little), but I am not the type who cant "Meal Prep" the week (or month) and just expect to be satisfied with the same old food every day.... I need variety! Most of my meals are a 'game day decision' - which means, I usually do not plan my meals and just go after my gut (or stomach).

    Also, I think I eat out more when I am stressed. I just feel so deprived on everything else that I just dont even look at the refrigerator and just go out. This week was a major test and a major fail on my part - not only on the shopping department, but also on the food department. We were out and about the whole time trying to do last minute shopping (since this whole week will be busy with work) - we ate out... A LOT! I have been trying for a couple of weeks on cutting back with eating out and I need to get back to this since this is a major fail this week.

    Below are a few reminders of what I have done to cut back...
    Cook for a group - Depending on your living situation... if you live alone or live with your SO - I would usually cook a bigger portion so I can bring it to work the next day.

    Order the dinner portion - I cant usually finish them, so I am able to save half of it for lunch tomorrow or dinner the next night. You can usually tell by the type of food if its a good option to have as a leftover the next day.

    Sharing is caring - It's hard to hang out with friends without spending a lot. I know most of the PF communities would tell us to learn how to say NO, but I think in moderation its good to meet up with friends or coworkers (keep my sanity also) and stay under budget by sharing. Just do your research in your neighborhood - There are a lot of places that offer food and drinks for under $5 under a certain timeframe on weekdays (happy hour menus)

    Special Offers or Deals - If its a place that you go to almost everyday - you can check to see if they have a member deal or gather points everytime you go there (ie. Starbucks Card). There are also places where they give you a stamp card where you can get your 5th or 10th meal for free.

    I still have a couple more days and I will really try my best not to spend anymore money on food

    Saturday, July 5, 2014

    Week 5 : Firework hangover

    I hope you had a great time celebrating the 4th of July yesterday. 

    We didn't really do much since the beaches were crowded (not doing the same mistake again of looking for a parking spot for an hour). We thought about biking and watch the fireworks at the beach, but we will just end up drinking, eating and spending money... So we just went and had BBQ with family - It was a much better and cheaper option. (nope, no hangovers here!)

    Current Debts:
    No checks this week - but here are the interest rates that have been creeping up since the past update.

    Starting Debt $22,578 || Paid $0 || Ending Debt* $22,667

    Weekly Spending:
    So many expenses this week since the trip is coming up - below is the breakdown

  • We started spending/shopping for the trip
  • Gift was for a housewarming
  • I put a full tank on my car and this should be good until next week
  • Pet expenses were to replenish his food/treats - I totally forgot to add this on the budget
  • I knew I wasn't going to be able to stick to the $150 this week. I also want to reserve the money below for the actual trip once we land. Hopefully it will be better next week!
    Sat - $105 Shopping | $8 Dinner
    Sun - $25 Gift | $12 Coffee
    Mon - $9 Lunch
    Tue - $25 Dinner
    Wed - $60 Gas | $14 Lunch | $21 Dog Stuff
    Thu - $17 Dinner
    Fri - No Spend Day!
    Weekly Spending Start $150 || End $296 || Roll over -$146

    Pending Expenses:
    The funds for the vacation / destination wedding will be taken out from the remaining balance on my account and the next paycheck on 7/11.
    • July 2014 - $1000 Vacation/Destination Wedding
    • December 2014 - $300 Christmas Gifts 

    What are your big plans this summer?

    Friday, July 4, 2014

    Independence Day

    Happy Independence Day or Happy 4th of July to everyone in the US.

    Have fun and be safe!!! I hope you get to see an amazing fireworks show, eat lots of hot dogs, drink lots of beers, have fun with your family and friends

    Don't forget to be grateful - we are so lucky and blessed to live in such an amazing county!


    Wednesday, July 2, 2014

    July 2014 Goals

    Jay and I are going to a destination wedding in a week or so. But I have a confession to make - this is between me, you and the Blog-o-sphere... I wasn't looking forward to this vacation at all
    1. I am scared that it will throw off my momentum on this debt repayment
    2. The wedding was just completely unorganized for the guests
    3. We did not book anything until last week - and I am sure there are still a couple more things we need to spend on
    4. They STILL hasn't given me any itinerary on whats going on the wedding - I am a bridesmaid
    But, I'll put those all aside... below are the goals I have for July - somewhat similar to June since I am still trying to change my habits. I am limiting myself to CASH!!! We paid 50% of the resort in cash and will be paying the rest when we get there
    • Keep a weekly spending budget of $150 while in the states and $200 on vacation
    • Track my daily spending - I am still free to use my debit card or cash
    • Do not use credit cards - I will be bringing them "just in case"
    • Target debt payment amount this month will be $500
    • Have at least ONE day of no spending per week - even while on vacation 

    How do you prep for a big vacation while paying off debt?

    Tuesday, July 1, 2014

    June 2014 : Month-End Recap

    Goodbye June - Hello July!

    • Weekly spending budget of $150 (FAIL)
      • I totally failed this one... most of the weeks I have been going over - but there's always room to improve!
    • Track my spending – I can use my cash or debit card (CHECK
      • Yay - I cant believe I did this for a month. You can check out the weekly posts here.... I am looking to conquer you July!
    • Do not use credit cards (FAIL - ish)
      • I used CC#2 for a small purchase, but paid it off right away. I left my debit card in my other purse.
    • Have a monthly debt payment target amount – I want to target to put least $1k into my debt this month.(CHECK
      • I paid $1,353 this month - whooooo!!!
    • Have a monthly savings target amount – I want to hit $1k of my emergency fund … (CHECK
      • $1,000 is now currently sitting pretty on my savings account - which is not accumulating interest.
    • Have at least ONE day of no spending (CHECK
      • I don't think I was clear on this, but I wanted at least one day of no spending per week. I will definitely continue this next month

    How was your debt progress for the month of June?