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 Post subject: need to take action...
PostPosted: Fri Oct 22, 2010 8:43 pm 

Joined: Fri Oct 22, 2010 8:06 pm
Posts: 1
Welp, here goes...
I've been lurking for a couple years now, pretending that I'm going to get serious about fixing my financial life, but staying fairly stagnant all the time. What should be small set backs have sent me swirling back into debt, blah blah blah. I need a plan, and i need to hold myself responsible for implementing my plan. So more or less, im thinking "out loud" here.
I spend too much money and I'm not 100% sure where, i make a good wage, but do not have a solid budget. By the end of the month im often scrambling to buy food/gas/cigarettes (number one cost that needs to go, i know).

So here are the numbers that i actually know.....

CC debt:
5558 at 17% interest, which is as low as i can get it right now. so this is priority.
---also worth noting, i paid off two cc's last year which totaled 4500, but this card has been hanging out at this rate, with this balance for 5 years more or less. makes me sick to say that. i've paid it down some and then spent again.
Student Loans:
16885 in unsubsidized loans (variable rate)
19455 in subsidized loans (low fixed rate)
Minimum monthly debt payments from all of these: 462

Emergency Car loan from my dad:
1835 (this has taken precedence over extra cc payments for a bit due to my car practically exploding so he helped me get a vehicle but he needs the cash. paid down from 4500)
Have been giving him 500/mo

Monthly fixed expenses:
500 rent
127 car insurance( lots of accidents and full coverage since i still owe my pops)
60 cell phone
25 gas/heat
40 electric
40 gym

80ish each month to get my hair "refreshed" (im 25 and i wear a wig. i dont think my self esteem will let me give this up)

Gasoline: 180ish
Food: a lot. i have not even been able to track it. i WILL start tracking in november though. im going to stop eating out every meal and keep some easy to grab food around my house. in the past when i have done this, i have found i magically dont run out of money at the end of the month. biggest issue right there, as well as drinks out with friends 1 or two times per week.

savings: have started putting 175/mo in my ing account and actually for the first time in years, havent pulled that back out at the end of the month x2 months now, so that is good as well
Income: i get paid 1st of the month, somewhere between 2900 and 3100 depending on shift differentials.

SO my goals, and these are very short term, because it is toward the end of the month and i have 40 dollars in cash, 10 in checking.......I WILL NOT PULL MONEY OUT OF MY TINY SAVINGS this month. and i WILL NOT WILL NOT! put anything on that darn credit card. not even gas. not even cigarettes.

I will start with new goals for the month at the beginning of november, when i havent already screwed it up, including a ballpark budget for food and how much i may be able to put towards that debt.....

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 Post subject: Re: need to take action...
PostPosted: Sat Oct 23, 2010 3:41 pm 

Joined: Mon Feb 04, 2008 7:35 am
Posts: 1148
Location: Maryland
Hi Ana!
Wow, you spend a lot of money on gas. yikes.

From what I can tell, it's good that you started building an emergency fund, but you can't, CANT take money out unless it's an emergency. I know that cigs may be an emergency, but you're not going to die if you stop smoking for a few days until you get your next paycheck. Suck it up or ration those bad boys.

You're going to have to tell your friends that you can't go out twice a week. Maybe go out once a week and that's it, but that doesn't mean treat your friends to more beers. Also, drinking=smoking, so if you're out and about smoking all your cigs, you're not going to have any for the upcoming week, so you make the call on that.

Start tracking your money so you know where it's going, and then make a budget. "I can spend $15 bucks on drinks this week and $15 next week. If I spend 30 in one outing, no going out next week." Those are things you have to tell yourself (and your friends).

You do make good money, so you should be able to make it from paycheck to paycheck. Do you know how many people would be rich on your salary? A lot. You didn't mention retirement savings. Are you saving for the future? You can also have them direct $75 bucks to your ING account on payday so you don't even see it. You're young, and you should start planning ahead. That will decrease your paycheck considerably and you'll have less "fun" money to spend on going out. Besides..the boys can buy you drinks, girlfriend. Let them spend their money.

Now that you've posted, you have more than just yourself to keep you accountable. We'll be watching. You can do this. :)

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 Post subject: Re: need to take action...
PostPosted: Sun Oct 24, 2010 2:54 am 

Joined: Tue Jan 26, 2010 10:08 am
Posts: 113
Based on the numbers you posted, you've got $711 after bills/expenses/savings each month (assuming $2,900 paycheck is post-tax). I don't know how much you spend on food/cigarettes/etc, but even if it's $200/mo each (which sounds like a lot for cigs, but I've never bought any so I'm clueless there), that still leaves over $300/mo.

If you can throw that $300 towards your dad for the car, you'll be squared away with him in just about 3 months. :) Then you can throw the $800 towards your credit card and knock that out in no time.

I'm not a huge fan of cooking (especially for 1 person), and like you I like the "easy to grab and eat" meals...so I find it works best for me if I can make a lot of food on the weekends when I have extra time, and then I have leftovers to eat during the week.

I also try to go out and be social at least twice a week - instead of going out drinking, though, I'll join a friend for dinner (at their house or mine, so it's cheaper than eating out), or go to a museum (also free), or play board games (also free, after the cost of the game). If you and your friends have hobbies in common that can be done cheaply, try suggesting you do that rather than go out drinking.

For the month of November, try carrying around a notebook and writing down everything you spend. Not only will this give you a better idea of what you're spending money on, I've also found that having to pull out the notebook and write something else down will often prevent me from spending the money in the first place. (For now, though, perhaps just start with what you'd spend anyway, to get a baseline.)

Good luck!

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 Post subject: Re: need to take action...
PostPosted: Tue Nov 02, 2010 8:16 am 

Joined: Mon Nov 01, 2010 5:15 pm
Posts: 1354
Less drinking, less smoking, & less eating out will make a noticeable difference. Do you really need to spend $80 & $40 a month on a wig & the gym just for the sake of your vanity?

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