determined not to fall back into old habits
Right now, money is tight, as we get accustomed to paying rent and utility bills. I put a little away in savings each pay period, and when I mean little, I mean $20 to each savings account. It helps, every little bit does. More than ever I don't want to fall into the cycle of using credit to pay for life's necessities to have extra cash on hand - but I see why and how many people do that. I know poor is a relative term but this sure isn't fun. Oh well.
Nick and I decided to wait another year to get married. We got excited and would love to have it this year - but the smart thing, from every angle, whether it be financially or time-wise, is to wait. So October 2007 will be our time. I am relieved actually. I was getting a bit nervous anyway, wasn't sure if we'd be able to do it, and even if we could, why strap ourselves? Well, I'm off to work out - this goal is proving to be much more difficult than my financial goals ever were. I am still motivated and working out 5-6 days a week, and when I say I am being good, I am being GOOD. Healthy meals all the way, eating small portions, every couple hours - I am following all the rules. Not to mention I've drastically cut down on soda, almost to the point of elmination. But I've only lost 3 pounds. I know better than anyone not to base your progress by the numbers on the scale, and I also know slow weight loss is the best, but STILL. It would be nice! Grrr. :)
wedding planning. Oh what fun!
Thank you for all the well wishes =) Nick and I both want a fall wedding, and to us, getting engaged means you want to get married, not wait 5 years to do so. We originally figured fall of this year, if not, spring or fall next year. That's pretty loose though, and we did some talking and are now planning for October 21st of this year. My brother just happened to propose a day after we got engaged to his girlfriend, and they are planning to be married in March of '07. I didn't want to wait until next year, didn't want to have it in the same timeframe as my brother, and really want a fall wedding. So 10 months. We have alot of the details hashed out, I reserved the church, have pre-cana classes scheduled - but I did not expect the joys that have popped up along the way. Meaning family. And budgets, yes, budgets people! That is fun stuff. With all the financial preparation I put myself through last year, boy am I getting a challenge when it comes to planning a wedding on a budget. Even before I became 'born-again' financially, I always believed it was outright stupid to drop 40 grand on a wedding. Yes it is a special day, but the people are what make it special. That being said, I certainly don't have 40 grand at my fingertips anyway (although I am guessing you knew that), but Nick and I did figure $18k would get us what we wanted, to enjoy our day with the people we want with us. We are both receiving settlements in the near future, and are going to use some of this money to help with deposits and things of that sort. Most of that budget is figured by the cost of the reception halls we have around here, although we are continuing our research to see if we can find something we like for a little cheaper. The plus side is that the places we're looking into provide everything, and alcohol is included in the cost. I have a dress I found online that I LOVE, costs about $649. Which I believe is not too shabby. My grandmother most likely will be buying that for me anyhow. However, I have found something more fun than budgets in my, oh, what? 3 weeks of being engaged? Family. Oh yeah, family is FUN when you're planning a wedding. I have never encountered so many politic-driven things in my life, what is traditional and not. I am about ready to pull my hair out. Another reason I am glad we chose an early date - the less I prolong the torture. lol. On the bright side, I should start posting in my diet journal, because I have been a VERY good girl - working out on a regular basis (I broke down with the engagement and realization I have 10 months to look like the bride I envision and bought the treadmill I've wanted) and while the scale is denying me the joy of even a pound lost, I feel considerably better about myself (not to mention quite solid). I'm going to try to update more often because with all the checklists and to do's, I have a feeling this will be one of the bigger financial challenges of my life!
My holiday of celebration is Merry Christmas, and I will be celebrating it very happily this year, as I am now an engaged woman. Nick proposed last night, and I've never felt lighter on my feet. Happy Holidays to all, and a safe and healthy 2006!
Sorry for the lack of posts! I should actually be blogging in my diet journal - I have been distracted because I have been focusing all of my attention in that arena. I will not be posting as often, not until something big comes up, etc. I have my financial goals listed for 2006 already, so I am working towards that - but my health is playing a bigger role right now and this upcoming year. In the meantime, be sure to have a great holiday season - this is my favorite time of year, I am so excited. Happy Holidays!
what a week
I have been sick nearly all week, and been in and out of work. I only worked one day this week at the 2nd job, and even that was pushing it. I hate calling out sick, I could be on my deathbed and feel as though I am lying. I also really don't have any time left to use, due to the time that was eaten up before I went out of work for my surgery (which also makes me feel guilty for being out at all). I think I have a stomach virus. I went to the doctor yesterday and he wants to see me in a week if the symptoms haven't gone away.
I am starting to think about Christmas shopping and how unprepared I feel. I did have money in one of my ING categories for this purpose, but I used it towards moving expenses. I have about $500 back in my EF right now, but not for shopping. I think I am going to start looking around online and see what is out there. I am probably going to give my oldest niece money, it's always appreciated and she is at the point where she wants to pick her own stuff out. My parents have no cares about what they get for Christmas, which makes it even more difficult to get them something. I don't exchange w.my brother and sister, we agreed that it's just another gift to buy and we're really just spending unnecessary money. My sister does buy for me, which makes me uncomfortable, but she says because I buy for her kids. So I just have my parents, grandmother, 4 nieces and 1 nephew, and Nick. I am aiming to spend around $300 probably, nothing big.
I received my Citi card, and used it to purchase groceries this past Wednesday. I then transferred that amount into my Emigrant account until I am able to pay the bill online. I am going to keep doing this to earn the rewards each month. I am trying to use the credit I have to my benefit from now on, as much as possible.
also, with the holidays coming up...
I wanted to urge you to check out this article from About.com. It discusses why you should AVOID (like the plague) putting holiday spending on your credit cards. Please, please, PLEASE don't use credit for holiday shopping. It's a vicious cycle!Holiday Hangover: Avoid Credit Card Debt during the Holidays
If you want some great, cheap gift ideas, check out OrganizedChristmas.com
. It will help with your holiday planning!
time to reassess and plan for the next goal
I am in a really good, happy place right now. I met my goal, ahead of time (although still a little beyond what I had planned on), and now I need to reassess my progress made thus far, as well as set new goals for myself, for the next year. Here is what I accomplished this year, as well as what I think I need to work on:
*Starting in late February, I decided I needed to make this the year that I got rid of all my credit card debt. It was only bringing me down and I wasn't ever going to get ahead if I kept floating on the river of denial. I created a spreadsheet that listed all my credit accounts, including car loans and the computer, and how much my minimum payments were. Taking this information, I began at the top of the list (lowest debts were listed the highest) and started whittling away, by sending as much money as possible to each debt, each pay period. In roughly 9 months (first payment toward this effort was made in March, and it's early November right now) I have eliminated 9 debts. The total of these debts was around 7-8k. I had a few additional debts that I eliminated previous to my concentrated effort.
What I need to work on: eliminating frivilous spending, wasting food (I rarely eat leftovers), limiting number of times we eat out, cutting back on electricity and heat consumption. Try to get Nick to quit smoking for good. Me - try to 'quit' soda, it's just as bad a habit as his. In addition, this was 'The Year of Debt Reduction', but 2006 is the 'Year of Weight Reduction.' I am saving up for a treadmill as we speak.
So what are my financial goals for 2006? Well, I am taking a running start obviously, and not waiting until then. It may be tough with the holidays right around the corner, but I'll see what I can do.2006 Goals
* Put at least $350 in savings each month. (*Update - I am not going to do this until the Grand Am loan is eliminated. Seems dumb to do it otherwise, because also when I pay off the Grand Am, I can drop it from my insurance, saving about $1100 a year. I will continue to put the $20 every pay day in ING, Emigrant, and now HSBC also until that time.)
* Eliminate the car loan for the Grand Am (this may be an easy goal if Barry somehow figures it all out and gets a loan to pay mine off). I am around $5300 right now.
* Reduce the Mustang loan by at least 8k. This seems like a big goal, I know, but I am actually shorting myself here. I am due a settlement that will be at least $6k and originally, I was going to put it in savings and leave it there. I've changed my mind, that is a dumb thing to do when I can be reducing debt. So for right now I am leaving this be - but I may adjust at that time to see if i can do anything additional.
* Seriously look into refinancing both vehicles. My credit has gotten better and I am definitely due a better rate than I currently have (about 12% on both).
* Right now I am contributing 10% to my 401k. I am going to leave that alone until I pay off the Grand Am, and then re-evaluate, maybe bump up just a bit more. I am also STILL waiting on paperwork from my financial advisor in regards to opening a Roth IRA. Maybe the mail wench has it?
* I had talked about moving within a year, buying a place of my own. That is not possible. Well, it might be, but it would be smarter for me to work on the debt I have now before I increase it with a mortgage payment. I am unfortunately not gaining any equity with my rent payments, but I am buying time. Nick's mother is a real estate agent, and she said in 2 years the market will probably cool down, as it has already started to.
*Increase my net worth by as much as possible. I really am leaving this open ended, because I know it will occur as I pay off this debt, but also I am not really sure if I should/can focus on that right now, until I meet the above goals.
These are my standing goals as of right now. Tweaking will probably occur along the way, as I grow and learn more in the pf world, but for now, these are it. If you have some good advice, I'd love to hear it.
Have a great day!
I guess the powers that be don't like too much happiness
I guess God has issues with me being too happy or something? Because this is what he did to my car. Deer are all over the place here. And one chose to run in front of my car last week... missed it. Yesterday? caught the corner of it when Nick went out for cigarettes... he was gone for a long time and I called him... he said we had to talk when he got home.. and when he came home he was crying... told me what happened. I hugged him because I know it's not his fault, knew he felt really bad.. stupid deer are all over the place... but then I walked outside and I just cried. And I know it could be a lot worse, it actually isn't that bad considering, like I said he just caught the corner.. but it's still my car :( Only plus is if we find the right mechanic to work with us, we might be able to get a different bumper, etc. Aftermarket is often cheaper than the stock, true Ford parts (my hood for example is cheaper than a regular hood like I had originally). So he called his insurance and got the claim started...