Tuesday, August 26, 2008

My Net Worth ... Is Depressing.

I was poking around on other blogs and got the idea to find out what my net worth is. I joined this nifty little site called Networth IQ. It has all sorts of forms you fill out about what you make, and how much debt you have vs. savings, cash, and retirement funds and any assets you may have. I entered in all the information that I have from my debts (which are getting smaller by the day) and what I currently have stashed away in my bank accounts. And this *drum roll please* is what I came up with:

It's sad isn't it? So I have decided to add another bar to my pay-o-save-meter's with a new goal. My new goal is to get my net worth up to at least $1,000 by the end of the year. And I am going to set up a Roth IRA so I can start saving up for retirement. I just thought I would share that little bit of joy with you.

Also, I paid off my Capital One credit card in full yesterday. I now only have one credit card left to pay off before I start picking away at the money that I still owe my darling parents. My Citi Card is going to be down to $1,077 and some cents by the end of the week, depending on when my payment posts. And by next weeks it should drop another $74, which is all I have left over from my $1,000 pay off my debts spend-a-thon. I decided that I would split the money and take care of my Capital One card since it was under $400. YES!! I LOVE paying credit cards in full. It just makes me feel so alive. And I think I'm starting to really like the way a 0 looks when it's listed under the cloumn 'money you owe us'.

Monday, August 18, 2008

"The truth of the matter is that you always know the right thing to do. The hard part is doing it." -- Norman Schwarzkopf

This morning while I was driving to work, I made a decision. And it was a hard decision. For a number of reasons. But now that I sit here and think about it really hard, I think that it is by far the best decision that I could make right now.

I have decided to take $1,000 and use it to pay down my CitiCard balance of $1,593.13. I decided to do this for a number of reasons.
  1. I am tired of paying this bill. I have been willingly forking over cash to CitiCard for far too long.
  2. The interest. It isn't killer, but it's not 0% either.
  3. I feel like I never make any headway on paying this card down, and I am tired of it.
In a month and a half of saving, I have managed to pull together close to $1,100 for my car fund. I was looking at all my my debts the other night, in an effort to manage them, and realized that I could pay off a large chunk of my Citicard balance if I would be willing to sacrifice the money from my car fund.

At first I was totally against the idea. I mean, I need a new car. And I have a goal to reach! But then I stopped to consider the points I listed above and decided that I would rather have only one bill to pay (the car payments) each month, even if it meant that it was a little bit more expensive than it would have been if I have kept the $1,000 in the savings account. But I think that at this point in my life, getting rid of my debts is the most important thing to do.

It's just another case of the have to's taking priority over the want to's. I will let you know how it goes.

Friday, August 15, 2008

The Have-To's vs. The Want-to's

I want to move out of my parent's house. But before I can do that there are a few things that have to happen. Like paying off my debts and possibly getting a raise. It's frustrating for me because I think I'm ready to head out into the real world and take care of myself, regardless of what my parents have to say about my financial life. One of my mom's favorite sayings is "you have to do the have-to's before the want-to's" and I think this is a case where this saying can be applied to life as well as my money.

I want to move out. But, I have to get my debt under control and prove to myself that I can manage my money so that I can pay rent and eat in the same month. I actually did sit down the other day and fill out a budgeting sheet to see how it would all work out if I were to move out on my own tomorrow. With what I'm getting paid (which works out to about $18,000 a year) I could live in one of the apartments near my office, but there are a number of things that I would have to go without. Like cable, or turning up the heat in the winter. I would also have to limit my grocery spending to less than $100 a month, which is do-able. But as much as I would like to trim down I don't really want to go on the 'starve yourself' diet.

Plus I have two dogs. They are going to have to go out and go potty at some point, I would have to drive home during lunch to walk them and might even have to hire someone to take them out again in the afternoons. I wouldn't be able to go from work to a babysitting job without letting them out which means that I would have to cut back on my babysitting hours and/or leave work earlier before a job to take care of them. Not to mention the fact that I would feel guilty for leaving them alone for so long during the day. And they have to eat too - which can get to be pretty expensive.

And the list just goes on and on and on. The money never stops coming out of my pocket. There is no way that I could move out tomorrow and live comfortably. It's something that I know I could do, but not something that I want to.

In January my friend and future roomie's lease runs up on her apartment. If I can just stick it out with Mom and Dad for a few more months I have the chance to pay down (and ultimately pay off) my credit card bills and the money that I owe parents. I can move out debt free and have the ability to do what I want to with my money (like saving it ... or spending it on fun things) instead of what I have to do with my money (like paying credit card bills). Not to mention that when you rent a house with an $800 a month rent and a roommate you only have to pay around $400 a month. And that sure beats paying upwards of $600 for a one bedroom apartment.

So as much as my parents and I argue about rent or chores (yes ... I have chores) I have to say that it's the best option for me at this point in my life. Besides, if I change my mind the apartment complexes will still be there and I'm sure that I could find a place somewhere.

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

New Tracker Jiggy's!

I figured out how to yank the code from another blog and use it here ... it only took me 15 minutes or so to change the colors and all the values! I am quite pleased with myself and really you should be too. You may also notice that since yesterday, I have paid off 9% of my debt and that the debt total went up. I decided that adding in the last bit of debt I paid off recently wouldn't kill me and I wanted to take some credit for the hard work I've been putting forth to get all my bills paid off.

In fact, I will be zeroing in on the exact amount of my debt (the number over there is a rough estimate) this coming month after my next round of bills are paid. So be looking for updates on that.

I would also like to take a moment and plug the blog that I got this code from. It's called Clutter2Cash and it's a very nice blog. Thanks for the code!

Monday, August 4, 2008

I'm Not Dead

I know that this blog has fallen into neglect but nothing much has really been happening on the financial front for me in the last few weeks. I've been living at home (despite all my efforts to get out) and saving and paying down my debts like crazy. I have been doing really well with all my money that I even had the ability to buy a plane ticket to New Orleans to visit a high school friend who is there for the summer, and still make my savings goal. Granted, I had a huge graduation gift to help out with it, but I would have been able to do it even if I hadn't received it.

Now, you may have noticed a new little thing on the blog - my money tracker. I made it myself in paint because I couldn't find any blog tools that would give me the HTML to make a spiffy one. I apologize for the smallness, I will try to make it bigger.

If you've been reading this blog at all you know that I have actually paid off some of my debt that is not accounted for in the 'total debt' part of my tracker jiggy. Instead of going back and figuring out exactly how much I owed since the start of the year, I thought that I would just start from today. This is reflected in my savings account totals also. So, as I continue to pay down debt (credit cards and money that I owe my parents) I will update my tracker and you can cheer for me.

Even though I gave myself a year to get all those paid off, I would like to think that it will take me much less time so that all that moo-lah can go into a bank account instead of into someone else's pocket.

Car Update:
While I am waiting to save up some for a car, it's looking like the purchase will be made around the end of the year. Today my driver's window went on strike and is refusing to open. I would love to meet its demands but so far none have been made. Stay tuned for updates.