Tag Archives: credit card debt

A Toast to Payday!

About a year ago I had almost $3800 in debt.  Of course it was in my line of credit – which has a lower interest rate than a credit card.  None the less, it was a debt and I owed it.   Mom, if you are reading this – no comments.  I know that’s hard to do because I have a daughter too, and I make too many comments to her.  Just saying that I know what’s on the tip of your tongue.

To be honest, I’ve been working on the debt issue for several years – especially motivated by Dave Ramsey and his Debt Snowball and the blog, Get Rich Slowly – and I finally managed to get rid of the whole kit and kaboodle this summer.  I’d been steadily whittling away at the sum, paying a chunk every pay cheque, observing the total diminishing, as did the amount of interest I was paying on the debt.  It felt good.  Finally, this summer I had to make another work adjustment at Co-op and they paid out my vacation pay!!!!!!!!!!!!  It was a huge chunk of change and enough to bring the figure under $400.  By September it was done.

Now in theory the amount of money I was no longer feeding to my debt account should have gone into a savings account.  I mean, after all, the next savings step is 3 – 6 months of expenses, right?  Well, let me tell you that it didn’t and probably for many people doesn’t go quite as planned.  There’s a sense of freedom and release when everything is in the black – and somehow saving gets forgotten – or at least it did by me.   And then this picture started making the rounds on Facebook:

52-week-savings-planIt’s pretty basic and it’s been shared by several blogs, but I got this image from Survival Mom.  Several of my friends posted it, and I sure hope they follow through.  There is a lot less stress when you have savings – even when you are in debt.  However, I wanted to crank up my savings rate just a little, so about two weeks ago I opened another savings account.  (I bank with President’s Choice so this is pretty easy to set up online).  And because I am fortunate not to have any debts at the moment, no young children at home, and no major expenses in the future, I am starting at the top of the chart and staying there.  $52 per paycheque gets transferred to my “pay yourself first” fund and because I usually have a payday every Friday, I can do this every week.

I am sure that many people want to save more money than they are currently saving.  Starting small and working your way up is a great way to start.  Maybe I should even start adding a dollar a week in the new year.  Just thinking of saving $100 per week is a little scary for me at the moment- I need to think about that.  On the other hand we could just keep increasing that dollar a week or paycheque until it was just too hard and stay at that number for a while.

I’ve set a goal of saving $5000 this year – and flying to Toronto twice.  I’ll keep  you posted.

I wonder if I could add a savings thermometer to this blog!

Have a wonderful day!  And a Happy New Year!

Marcia

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Looking Back – and some Oopsies!

Last payday I accidently sent a payment to a wrong account – all because I didn’t delete the company from my list of bills.  I’ve learnt my lesson from that and today I got to delete another bill.  This is important, as I usually pay bills while drinking my first cup of coffee, not after!

Today I made a different mistake – and again I’ll blame the coffee.  I paid a bill twice.  Fortunately it was a credit card, but it temporarily deprived me of downsizing another debt – one of the last ones!

I solved the problem by using the credit card to purchase a gift card at Co-op, which I have used for buying my bus tickets and will use for groceries on Monday.

What I failed to do was plan my “bill paying” which I usually do before pay-day.  If I had looked back, I would have realized that I did cover the transaction I used the card for.  Then I would have paid the right bill.

What I learned:  There’s always a way to solve the problem.  My first mistake cost me $10 to fix.  This mistake actually gives me some rewards points.

However, as the year comes to a close, I am pleased with my results.  Back in April I paid off my oldest debt.  Take one bill off the list.  Paying off this debt was counter-intuitive – it had the lowest interest rate and the lowest balance.  But PSYCHOLOGICALLY it was the most burdensome.  I’m glad it’s gone.  In August I paid off my riskiest debt – one of those “No interest for 2 years” kind of deals.  Now I’ve paid off my other credit card and I’m working soley on the Line of Credit.

The nice thing about being at this phase in the process is that the bites are getting bigger – about $200 per pay check.  I’m hoping to be finished this process by the end of the year – and paying off my cruise as well.

I’ll continue to keep you posted, mostly on Fridays, but I can tell you this – Debt Snowballing, in whatever order you chose to do it, is very exciting!

So, don’t give up.  Keep working at it.  There will be a light at the end of the tunnel, even if you don’t see it just yet!

I will probably write some kind of reflective post – it’s kind of the thing to do, but in case I spend more time quietly reflecting than I plan, I do  want to wish you all a wonderful New Year, full of grace, blessing and growth.  God has been very, very good and I am grateful.

Marcia

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Well!

This will be a quick post because I really should be concentrating on getting ready for work.  But it is also pay day, and I have certain expectations of payday.  One of them is that my checking account will have more than $1000 in it.

Well!  Guess what!  The reality is that I didn’t get what I was expecting.  I suspect what did happen and I will investigate, but you know…people make mistakes.  We’ll fix it.

Fortunately, I have a bit of a flexible system.  Everything that needed to get paid, got paid.  That’s important.  My debt snowball didn’t quite get as much as it should have, but once this is sorted out, I can catch up.  Everyone I owe money too is getting more than the minumum, and I am making progress.  That is what is important!

I like to know what is going on in my life.  Yesterday at work (I am NOT enjoying my work right now!)  I was hoping for a bit of a change in it.  That didn’t happen.  I would have liked to know before that it wasn’t going to happen because I was really looking forward to that one, small 15 minute change in the tedium of my day.  I did not handle it well, I’m afraid.

So, here’s one thought about the “Unexpected”.  If you know that something is not going to happen as planned, then please try to tell the people affected by the change.  Give them time to adjust their thinking and make alternative plans if they need to.

In the meantime, if I don’t get off this computer I won’t have time for a cuppa with Tracy (or is it Tracey?)  I think it’s Tracy, but I could be wrong!

Have a wonderful day, and I hope all your surprises turn out well!

Marcia

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It’s Payday!

It’s Friday.  I’m off work.  The sun is shining brightly and the morning chill reminds me that Autumn is not far behind.

It’s been a busy summer for me.  I came to the end of my CERTESL studies with the University of Saskatchewan!  There were thoughts to think and papers to write.  Of course, being me, I was still writing as the deadline loomed.  A slight improvement however – I finished at 10 pm. instead of midnight.  More about that later!

It is also the anniversary of my first year trying to put Dave Ramsey’s Total Money Makeover into effect.

I  have to say, first of all, that I haven’t been focused on this with the focused “Life or Death” intensity that some people have.  I don’t seem to have that kind of intensity about anything – even my health. On the other hand, I don’t have my head in the sand.  I am not ignoring the situation – I’m just not as focused as perhaps I could be.

On the financial side of things I have made some headway.  I have eliminated two small debts totalling about $1400.   I am still paying $200 every pay check towards debt repayment  – and that means that I am paying more than the minimum required on the three debts I still have to pay off. But just think of the fun I could have if those dollars were mine to spend – that’s a lot of boot camps and stuff!

I have also managed to save the $1000 emergency fund.  I’m  not ignoring it, but feeding it $10 every paycheck.  Having an emergency fund is a wonderful thing!  If I needed to move suddenly, I have a damage deposit.  If I need to fly somewhere for work or family, I can do that.  Knowing that reduces some of the stress in my life! If you scroll back to a year ago, you can read how I started building it with extra money that came my way.  It is not an impossible task.  I have mine with ING bank, and it’s been a good experience. (Not to mention that they added $25 to my initial deposit!)  None of my friends have taken me up on the offer of my ING key, but that’s okay.  Maybe they will soon!

My next challenge is a credit card.  “Mr. Sears”  has been let out of his hiding place a few times – and the results are not great.  I now owe $800 on the card and I’m paying $100 every two weeks to lower my debt. Well, after today it’s $700 because I just got paid.  In theory I should have it paid off by the end of November.  My mini challenge then, is to pay it off before the 30th.  Now that I’ve written that, I’m going to figure out ways to make it happen!

I’ll keep you posted. In the meantime, thanks for visiting my blog.  You encourage me to keep on moving towards my goal!

Marcia at 9431

PS:  I haven’t been posting about my weight so much.  (The chart suddenly seemed a bit persnickity!) but my weight at TOPS last night was 228! It was 229 at the gym on Monday.  I’ve set my goal to lose 2 pounds on the gym scale, so we’ll see how that goes.  Stay tuned!

 

 

 

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Revisiting the Snowball – things that niggle!

There are many little things in life that niggle.  They’re not big things.  It could be  a spot of clutter on the bedside or coffee table.  Some small thing that someone says or does, that just pops into your head as an annoyance.  In and of itself, it’s not a big deal, but over time…  I think they are like icebergs, or maybe a pimple – with just a little bit showing – and a whole lot of negative attitude or stress underneath.  Do  your niggles look like these?  Kind of cute aren’t they?

I thought I’d throw in the picture so that you could give your niggles faces too.    I have many niggles in my life, most of them clutter related.  Every once in a while I hear something that wakes up dormant niggles – negative things that people have said way back before the dinosaurs, and I see how they are still influencing me right now!

But, having said all that, I have a small debt that is niggling me right now.  Part of the problem is that in the last month or so, MR. M. C. Sears has been escorting me around town.  He’s gained some weight during that time, that’s been frustrating.  Of course, he’s back in his dresser drawer again, but …

I had a plan, and until this blip in the line, it was going well.  I had another look at what was going on and decided it was time to tackle another smaller debt – one that doesn’t have the opportunity to sneak out and get bigger.  Right now it is quite small – $260 or so.  Paying it off quickly would free up another $60 per month that I can apply to the other debts.  That’s what I’ve decided to do.  Get rid of another small niggle so that I can focus on the bigger issues in life.

And now that I’ve got this off my chest (This post too qualifies as a niggle!) I can get back to what I should be doing – writing my paper and sending it in!

Have a wonderful Canada Day!

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Hurray for the Emergency Fund!

Many people I know don’t have one of these.  $1000 in a bank account that isn’t easily accessible, that you can go to if needed.  I do.  And I’m glad.

I started mine last summer because I had two fairly large chunks of money come to me – retro active pay from our wage contract, and a “medical” benefit that came into existence.  I didn’t use it for medicals – I used it for stress relief!

Yesterday I came to the conclusion that I needed to buy myself a video recorder.  Nothing fancy, mind you, but something that I could use to record my practicum teaching on Monday.  I got one.  Nothing fancy, but it does capture my voice and my actions and that’s what I needed.    I also needed to buy a memory card so that I can record the full hour that I’ll be teaching on Monday, but that was on sale at another store.  All in all, I spent under $100.

But it was an unexpected event and I did not want to use my credit card or my line of credit.

I took the C-train down to the end at Somerset where there were 3 stores for me to price-check.  I made my rounds and decided on this one, mostly because of the price.  It’s also nice and small and it takes still pictures as well, which means I don’t have to take my camera along.  The camera came from Futureshop and the memory card came from Staples.  Then I had to go back to everyone else and tell them I didn’t want what I had set aside (just in case someone else was in the same dire straits as I)

I did use my line of credit to pay for the camera, but I have $100 coming from ING to pay it back.   That’s why I’m happy this morning!

Some people, and Dave Ramsey (Total Money Makeover) recommends this, don’t add to their $1000 emergency fund until after the debts are paid off.  I’ve chosen to automatically transfer $10 per pay period to that account.  I still have the $1000 I want to have there, with a little bit to spare.  Somehow, in my head, I need it to stay at $1000.

If you don’t already have such a cushion socked away, start today.  It is very stress-relieving to know that an unexpected need isn’t going to blow your finances off track.

Now, back to making breakfast!

Have a great Friday, and if I don’t post before Monday, a great weekend.

Marcia

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You Can Change!

“I am amazed that I have this motivation which turned on like a switch about 3 mos ago.”  

I didn’t say that, but I could have.  My friend Karen, who inspired me to conquer my fear of the Stairmaster (and of heights, since I’ve made it to the 41st floor now!)

This isn’t the first time that I’ve joined a fitness center or a gym.  It’s probably the third or fourth time I’ve tried to get my self into shape.  I’ve been close to my goal weight twice in the last 20 years, the closest coming 12 years ago.  I’m in the process of figuring out why so that I don’t repeat history this time around.

It also isn’t the first time I’ve tried to get all my debts paid off.  I’ll bet some of you are wondering just how I’ve managed to get myself into such a pickle in the first place.  That’s another story too, but suffice it to say, I have some and I need to get it worked out.

In spite of all my Fly-Ladying I still have way too much stuff and I am having a hard time moving it out of my life – just in case I need it.  This picture intrigued me as I looked for images for this post.  I’ve just put the book on hold at the library (So have 26 other Calgarians by the way).  Run a search and read more about it, but I’m thinking of challenging myself to get rid of 100 things in the merry month of May!

I could make lists of 100 places to see, 100 things to do, things to make, …..

It seems like a huge undertaking, and I believe it is.  Actually I know that it is.  This morning at 5:42 am. I got myself out of bed. I put on my black work out pants and a red tee-shirt.  I gathered my red bag (making sure I had my red water bottle in it) and for the 100th time this year, I went to Calgary Health Express Fitness Center and got on the elliptical machine.

It’s hard to believe, I know.  I’m a little surprised by it too.  It is, however, hard evidence that you can change.

I’m not the same woman I was 100 visits ago.  There’s less of me in pounds and inches.  I’ve got more stamina.  I’m not afraid of the Stairmaster.  I have new friends and I have a new identity!  I’m a…

Gym rat Gym Diva!

And guess what! You can be one too!  Or you can be a 100 thing minimalist (Here’s the website by the way http://guynameddave.com/100-thing-challenge/) You could visit 100 new places (in your city or in the world).  You could smile or say hello to 100 people.  You could do 100 small random acts of kindness.  By the end of whatever… you will be different!

I’ll keep you posted on my 100 thing challenge (Could you see me with only 100 things – I don’t even think I could have only 100 books!)

Have a great day!

Marcia

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