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A place for Get Rich Slowly readers to ask questions
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 Post subject: Re: Make an actual budget, Catch up on bills and Pay off CC debt
PostPosted: Sat Feb 13, 2010 10:04 am 

Joined: Tue Apr 15, 2008 6:48 am
Posts: 526
Location: Arkansas
Congrats on the bonus. Definitly sounds like your on the road to recovery. I'm still somewhere behind you on a side trail and still looking for that elusive road to recovery. I cant say I blame you about the work emails. The last thing I want to do while Im home is mess with my normal day job (if you want to call my job normal).

One thing to think about... If the new phone is a necessity for work.... and you can PROVE IT with a paper trail.... how bout writing the phone cost off on your taxes? Just make sure you can prove it. Like have the boss issue you a memo on company letter head stating that you HAVE to have it to do your job.

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I can not dwell over that to which I have no control...


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 Post subject: Re: Make an actual budget, Catch up on bills and Pay off CC debt
PostPosted: Sun Feb 14, 2010 4:50 am 

Joined: Mon Feb 04, 2008 7:35 am
Posts: 1148
Location: Maryland
N2Deep had a great idea, I think you should try to take the costs off your taxes. Sounds like a good plan to me, but you need to keep your iphone bils separate so you can find them when need be.

Congrats on the bonus, and smart thinking about how to use it for maximum gain.

I won 50 bucks in a footbal pool last weekend, and as soon as the snow clears, I'm going to pick it up and do something useful with it. Free money! I only paid $40 to play, so my net gain is 10. That works for me.


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 Post subject: Re: Make an actual budget, Catch up on bills and Pay off CC debt
PostPosted: Mon Feb 15, 2010 4:48 am 

Joined: Mon Dec 01, 2008 1:35 pm
Posts: 90
I will have to look into the rules for writing off work related costs, I know that for my business it is difficult to write stuff like that off because its not 100% for work. I have to get the iPhone for work, but since it is my personal cell phone its not used 100% for work.

So I wanted to report back from our valentine's day dinner, our typical valentine's day dinner would run us around $150, we have a couple favorite restaurants we like to go to. As I mentioned awhile ago we decided to cook in this year. We had filet mignon, cheesy, ranchy mashed potatoes, and corn for the main course, I bought a nice bottle of wine, and we made a triple layer chocolate cake for desert. We figured it out and it cost right around $15 per serving for the meal. We have enough filet mignon left over that we are cooking another meal tonight from it, and we made a ton of mashed potatoes so we will be eating those the rest of the week.

Also we always buy each other gifts for valentine's day, this year we asked each other what we wanted, and bought practical gifts that we were planning on buying for ourselves anyways.


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 Post subject: Re: Make an actual budget, Catch up on bills and Pay off CC debt
PostPosted: Thu Apr 22, 2010 11:35 am 

Joined: Mon Dec 01, 2008 1:35 pm
Posts: 90
Well I kind of dropped off the face of the earth for a few months, but I wanted to report back with some good news.

I just got $6,000 deposited in my checking account today! I have been fighting with the billing department for the side work I had been doing, they have owed me $5,000 for some time (outstanding bills back to September). I just got the check from them for the full $5,000 plus I just got my $1,000 tax refund back.

This money will be used for two things:
1) Finally getting a newer car for my wife (as discussed earlier in this thread), I am hoping to keep the total cost of the vehicle to around $2500 - $3000, but I am hoping to get about $1000 for her current car. I will be going as cheap as I can find for a year 2000 or newer taurus or focus with under 100,000 miles.
2) Everything else is going on my credit cards, will be paying off my highest amounts first since I will have enough left over to pay a couple of them off I think (I won't know till after I buy the car).

Also on the horizon, I just found out we made bonus for this quarter, so soon I should be getting around $700 for that and I have another side project that is getting billed out that I should be getting between $1500 - $2000 for (and this department is better at paying on time). All the money from those will be going on the credit cards as well. This should make a very large dent on the totals.

Other than that, things have been steady, no big financial issues have come up in the last few months, just steady progress I would say. I have been missing from around here because my new position at work is really eating up my time (trying to learn a couple new programming languages).


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 Post subject: Re: Make an actual budget, Catch up on bills and Pay off CC debt
PostPosted: Thu Apr 22, 2010 12:43 pm 

Joined: Mon Mar 29, 2010 3:33 pm
Posts: 26
Just a thought. You have 9 cards. That's a lot to keep track of. Insted of paying off the ones you owe the most on why don't you pay off the ones you owe the least on, so you have fewer payents to deal with going forward? It might be a good moral boost as well so see four or five of your cards just go away.


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 Post subject: Re: Make an actual budget, Catch up on bills and Pay off CC debt
PostPosted: Thu Apr 22, 2010 12:54 pm 

Joined: Mon Dec 01, 2008 1:35 pm
Posts: 90
Actually, the reason for paying off the bigger ones is a moral reason. Those just seem like impenetrable fortresses, if we could just knock those off the list, the smaller ones could be paid off much easier.


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 Post subject: Re: Make an actual budget, Catch up on bills and Pay off CC debt
PostPosted: Thu Apr 22, 2010 4:05 pm 

Joined: Mon Feb 04, 2008 7:35 am
Posts: 1148
Location: Maryland
Welcome back!!
Since it's been a couple months, let's see how your progress is really coming along...post the numbers.

You knew I would ask the difficult question. The proof is in the pudding.


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 Post subject: Re: Make an actual budget, Catch up on bills and Pay off CC debt
PostPosted: Fri Apr 23, 2010 4:12 am 

Joined: Mon Dec 01, 2008 1:35 pm
Posts: 90
I would almost feel left out if you didn't ask for the numbers. I am heading out on a camping trip for the weekend right now, when I get back I will post the numbers, no big changes, but the balances should all be a bit smaller.

So just looked and my checking account just tipped $8,000, I am not sure if I have ever seen that before :-) (That includes $5,000 for project money, $1,000 in tax refunds, and $2,000 paycheck from today).

Oh, and two other things, the camping trip this weekend isn't costing me anything, I am just hiking in the woods for two days, its costing me 4 can's of sardines and the gas to drive there and back :-). Also went car shopping last night, man anything decent is in like the $4,000 range, talked to my wife and we are thinking we are either going to buy another junker to last the next year out with (would be under $1,000) or we may just keep waiting, she really doesn't want to put that much of the money into a car right now.


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 Post subject: Re: Make an actual budget, Catch up on bills and Pay off CC debt
PostPosted: Fri Apr 23, 2010 6:34 pm 

Joined: Tue Apr 15, 2008 6:48 am
Posts: 526
Location: Arkansas
Sounds like she is on board with the debt reduction plans since she doesnt want to spend everything on a car. You'll be debt free in no time.

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 Post subject: Re: Make an actual budget, Catch up on bills and Pay off CC debt
PostPosted: Sun Apr 25, 2010 8:19 pm 

Joined: Mon Dec 01, 2008 1:35 pm
Posts: 90
So as promised, here are the current credit card totals, no great strides here, but they are all a bit less than last time:

Card #1 $956.37
Card #2 $885.96
Card #3 $872.27
Card #4 $1,525.90
Card #5 $514.71
Card #6 $644.13
Card #7 $307.96
Card #8 $547.88
Card #9 $2,120.73

Also after some discussion both my wife and I decided we are going to wait on the car, we really want this 6k we have in the bank to make the maximum impact on our credit card debt, so tomorrow night when I get home we are going to start making calls and paying off as much as we can with it, we are really excited (We just put a bottle of sparkling grape juice in the fridge to celebrate with!) We also decided we are going to throw a party when we pay off the last credit card (potluck of course :-)

The cards I am intending to pay off tomorrow will be #1,2,4,5,9. That is a bit over the 6k, but I have a little extra money I was saving towards the car I am throwing in just to pay off another card.


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 Post subject: Re: Make an actual budget, Catch up on bills and Pay off CC debt
PostPosted: Mon Apr 26, 2010 5:34 am 

Joined: Mon Feb 04, 2008 7:35 am
Posts: 1148
Location: Maryland
I'm glad that most of your balances decreased from your 01/25 report, so that's good. Card #8 increased. Booo..

Don't forget to close the accounts. With the remaining 4 cards, you should be able to pay those off as soon as your next side work billing comes through.

Have you figured out what your next plan of attack is for the remaining cards. Do you have some money saved for emergencies? I didn't want to reread all 7 pages and rememeber what you had as far as emergencies beforehand. My initial guess is nothing because you have so many cards, but I forget.

Let's see the next plan...Hope you had a nice weekend getaway.


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 Post subject: Re: Make an actual budget, Catch up on bills and Pay off CC debt
PostPosted: Mon Apr 26, 2010 6:48 am 

Joined: Mon Dec 01, 2008 1:35 pm
Posts: 90
I don't blame you for not wanting to read the whole thread! I have a couple times and I see alot of me rationalizing stupid things :-(

So the plan, I believe I should have about $2,200 in debt after we do the payments today. In the next month or two I will be getting my first quarter bonus at work (usually between $600-$800). And I am turning in a bill for another $1,500 in sidework. This sidework should be paid pretty promptly since it is being funded by a grant that has to be closed out in the next month, so they will have to pay me before the grant is closed. Those two things will take care of the rest of the debt +/- a couple hundred, and I can make up the difference pretty easily I think.

Oh, the one card being higher is because I got hit with a late fee (my own stupidity, didn't see the bill come in, wasn't intelligent to realize it).

The plan going forward. As soon as I pay off the last card I am going to have work redirect $400/month of my paycheck to my savings account at ING, that is roughly what I was paying on the credit card bills, and I don't want to see it in my normal account and think I have access to spend it.

The first couple things we intend to do 1) get a $1,000 emergency fund. 2) save up to buy my wife the car we have been needing to get her. 3) pad the emergency fund up to hopefully 3-5k, haven't really set the goal yet.

The next big thing we want to do is save up for a down payment on a cheaper home, currently we have a home we paid $130k for, I would like to cut that in half at least, we don't like this place and it really costs us alot, we don't feel we are getting the value for the money we spend.

We have a long range dream that I haven't discussed here before because we can't even start to work on it until we got our finances under control. I will just make reference to it now to let you know where we would like to get to. In the next 5-10 years we would like to buy a large chunk of land out in the country and build a place on it, we may end up doing it in conjunction with some friends of ours (each in separately buying their own land, we would just end up as neighbors). We have several things we would like to do, I would like to teach courses on alternative energy, aquaponics, etc (I have a pretty broad listing of things I could teach weekend courses on). And my wife would like to run a bed and breakfast on the property.

I know that sounds like a lot, this is something we have been discussing for about 3-4 years so far, we have a pretty detailed plan for what we would like to do, as well as some models we have seen working already. One of the main tenets of this project for everyone involved though is that we want to do it by paying for everything 100% in cash, we know the project has a much better chance of success if we don't start with large debt payments.

Also one last thought, the plans for this property and what we hope to do, will probably take our working career to accomplish, its not something I think we can just show up and do, but it is what I truly love and I want to find a way to make it happen.


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 Post subject: Re: Make an actual budget, Catch up on bills and Pay off CC debt
PostPosted: Mon Apr 26, 2010 7:39 am 

Joined: Mon Feb 04, 2008 7:35 am
Posts: 1148
Location: Maryland
Your plan is a good one.
Just think, once you get your debts paid off, you can focus on saving for your dream lot. You make plenty of money, and you've squandered a lot of it because you didn't have a plan in place. Soon, all of your money will go towards your dream lot with your friends.

Keep up the good work. I have really seen a turnaround, and it's nice. :clap:


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 Post subject: Re: Make an actual budget, Catch up on bills and Pay off CC debt
PostPosted: Mon Apr 26, 2010 8:45 am 

Joined: Mon Dec 01, 2008 1:35 pm
Posts: 90
Ok, who wants to celebrate!!!!

I just finished with the phone calls, 5 credit cards are now paid off (#1,2,4,6,9). I changed around the one I paid off because it turned out I owed a bit less on a couple of the cards than my records showed! So I had enough left over to pay off a slightly bigger credit card for the last one.

I can't believe that I will never have to see those bills again, and I also can't believe I will never have to worry about getting a phone call from a bill collector in the early morning for any of those.

Of those accounts we had already closed all but one, the one account is still open, its a store card my wife has, but we just discussed it and we are going to take the card out of her wallet (she offered) and lock it in the safe. I don't worry about using it again anyways since its been years since it was last used (the card in her wallet may even be expired, not sure).


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 Post subject: Re: Make an actual budget, Catch up on bills and Pay off CC debt
PostPosted: Mon Apr 26, 2010 9:03 am 

Joined: Mon Dec 01, 2008 1:35 pm
Posts: 90
Oops, in all the excitement I realized I made a small accounting mistake, I was already planning to pay over $300 on those credit card bills we just paid off, and that money would have come out of my normal paycheck.

So you know what that means? I just called and paid off the full balance of card #7, so that means we just paid off in full 6 credit cards! Yay!!!


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