30 March 2014

10 Things You Can Do With Your Money When You Don't Have Credit Card Debt

  1. Budget and save for irregular expenses instead of scrambling to pay for them. (I'm planning on using Capital One 360- was ING- to open multiple accounts to use for savings goals)
  2. Make substantial payments to student loans and actually pay them OFF (that seemed unrealistic before)
  3. Save up for and put a downpayment on a new (to me) car
  4. Go on a real vacation
  5. Review insurance (life, auto, home) and ensure coverage is adequate
  6. Increase retirement savings
  7. Increase college savings
  8. Use credit cards wisely to earn miles and free nights at hotels (I'll be shopping for a new card when I'm done paying off the two I still have)
  9. Teach children about finances and how not to repeat your mistakes
  10. Know that you will never go down the road of debt again.
These are the things that have been keeping me going. What will you do when you're free?

28 March 2014

The little white lie that will help you get rid of your debt

Yesterday a colleague called and asked me if I wanted to take our boss out for lunch for her birthday. Of course I did, but I just felt like I couldn't say yes because of the cost. I immediately went down this rabbit hole of- it's not her fault I'm in debt- taking her out is the right thing to do- it's so shameful that I am in the position- everything sucks- I hate my life.

Luckily, I had to talk to one of my team for another reason, and this person happens to be a total frugalista (I've actually written about her before). I told her the whole story, and she gave me some great advice: to simply say, "I am saving for a new car right now and can't spend extra money, but I'd love to meet up for a brown bag lunch."

It's not exactly a lie, I do plan on getting a new car when I'm done paying off debt, but it does the trick. People feel shame and guilt about debt, but pride in the ability to be strong and save up for things instead of charging them.

So if you're in major debt payoff mode and you don't need the world to know that, just focus on the word saving- the little white lie that will help you get rid of your debt.

Thanks, E.

26 March 2014

The thing I didn't think I cared about

I've been really sticking to my no spending budget, with the exception of things I had previously committed to (like going to see Book of Mormon last night- hilarious!). I've gone days without spending an unbudgeted penny. I've packed my lunches, brought my coffee, and avoided situations where I might be tempted to shop. But the one thing I didn't anticipate is how much I would miss going out to eat!

I don't think of myself as someone who likes to go out to eat. It doesn't FEEL like we do it often. And yet, now that we're not doing it at all, I'm struck with how many times a day I find myself thinking of fun things that I could do with friends or the kids that revolve around eating something somewhere. I think, "we can go to the great bagel place!" or "maybe a trip to Carvel this weekend!" and then think, "oh, nope."

Looking at my Quicken reports (our finance person at work called me an "accounting rockstar"- I was a little too excited to receive that compliment!), I see that the numbers prove this affection for restaurants. Who knew?

In the meanwhile, we cook. I have made homemade donuts, shrimp scampi, and a LOT of lunches. We'll get used to it... I hope.

23 March 2014

Cancel those emails

Today's frugal living tip: Don't tempt yourself with email coupons and catalogs

One of the first things I'm doing to make sure I meet my goal of paying off my last two credit cards is committing to not spending. We basically have everything we need to get through the summer, and if not, I'll deal with that when it comes up.

To that point, I am unsubscribing from every email list and catalog I get. $20 for a $60 Banana Republic shirt is still $20, and I just don't want to be tempted. I just recycled the Toms catalog without even looking at it- a little painful, but worth it.

The only exception is the J Crew catalog, because I like it for ideas. I'd never order anything from there anyway (is it me, or is their pricing insane now?)

22 March 2014

203 days, 18 hours, 22 minutes and 20 seconds

I set two goals yesterday- pay off my credit cards (2 left, plus a store card with a small balance) and run a half marathon.

I'm so done with debt. I have had it my entire life- I probably still haven't paid off those original charges I made on my first credit card from college. The balances have been rolled over to new cards, taken over my new companies, and continued on with me since I was 21. It's time to be done with this.

Two years ago, I started running. It's the cheapest exercise you can get, dollar-for-calorie. All you need is a pair of sneakers! I ran a few 5Ks and one 4.875 miler, and then fell off the wagon. (I also literally fell at the almost-5 miler, injuring my hand and scaring the crap out of myself.) I've gained probably 15 lbs since then, and I don't feel good. It's time to get back in shape both financially and physically.

I am a person that does best with big, all encompassing goals (that's why this blog exists!). I'm ready to do this. 203 days!