Archive | January, 2010


12 Jan

So I’m pretty damn motivated to get out of debt. It’s my #1 goal for 2010 (though by my calculations it will actually take exactly 24 months to get out of debt IF I don’t accrue any more)

I’ve been reading Suze Orman’s “Young, Fabulous and Broke” by the recommendation of @emilysayso and getting lots of good tips about what I plan to do after I get out of debt. Which seems lightyears away. I’m such an incredibly impatient person that the concept of waiting 2 years to achieve my goal is so daunting. And I have such big plans when I get there, that I just want to get there already.

So in an effort of being patient. Here are the baby steps I’ve completed towards that goal:

  1. No Chipotle December
  2. Balance Transfer from high interest rate to low rate credit card
    1. At the start of the new year Citi offered a 0% Balance Transfer for 6 months and then it goes to my regular rate (my 2nd lowest) so I transferred my Target credit card balance (my 2nd highest rate). Now I only have 2 credit cards with balances and they have the two lowest interest rates.
  3. Opened Bank of America checking account in order to participate in “keep the change”
    1. I haven’t yet decided if this will become my primary checking or if I’ll keep my Wells Fargo as my primary one.
    2. What’s great is BOTH that I’m saving some money without really having to divert away from my debt reduction goal AND there’s a match.
  4. Closed some credit cards
    1. Now this one I struggled with and had to consult my two financial advisers (and best friends) S and B. Everything I could tell was very against closing cards even if there was no balance. BUT some of them were store cards, and I have so many credit cards that its not affecting my credit ratio, or my ginormous amount of available credit, and I’m not looking to have my credit report pulled anytime soon, so a slight hit now won’t matter.
    2. I closed my IKEA and Home Depot card (but kept the H’s, we don’t really both need cards to the stores, we got them when we bought our house and had lots to buy and wanted the special interest rate offers).
    3. Closed my Bloomingdales card that I opened last January to buy an expensive shirt for my birthday which I later returned and never used the card again.
    4. Closed my Macy’s card which was both a store card and a VISA. I never shop at Macy’s (except makeup) because its too expensive, it had an outlandish interest rate, and I’ve only had it since 2007 so it didn’t have a long credit history.

Now, I’ve always known that my debt problems occurred October 2007 (which is when I started keeping track in a spreadsheet and have watched the number increase in thousands over the years). It’s also when I apparently opened 5 different credit cards as I discovered by looking at all of their “cardholder since” dates. I can’t believe that would be a coincidence. That’s also when we had a baby and bought a car, so I’m pretty sure that $1,400 a month in daycare we paid and $360 car payment plus $100 insurance contributed to that. We acquired a lot of new credit and a lot of new expenses, but our incomes didn’t rise that much (I did finally get promoted in Spring of ’08 with a $10,000 raise (trust me I still make piddly)).

I’m still hoping that when we have another baby (which I’m still hoping is soon) we will manage those expenses much better. The concept makes me a little nervous because while I won’t be out of debt for another 2 years, I also have no desire to wait remotely close to two years to have a baby.

I just need to get more money plain and simple. I think its time to stop talking about a second job and finally get on top of that!

The Writing Group

7 Jan

So I took a writing class at the Loft this past Fall. Which was out of my comfort zone, but I wanted to start writing again. I wrote two short stories (both of which I like, and the second one I think could be expanded into a novel). But most importantly from my class a writing group developed that wanted to keep meeting outside of class which ended while I was in Mexico.

I, being a doofus, didn’t talk much to anyone at class except a girl whom I later discovered was in fact not my age, but still in high school (a senior though!). But I joined the group. I went to the very first meeting thanksgiving week and had a great time. I was one of the last to leave and stayed with 3 of the people to smoke a cigarette before driving home. I had a great time.

I was supposed to go to a meeting on Monday that I had been looking forward to for some time. Instead I came up with a series of excuses not to go. 1) I had been cleaning all day so I wanted to veg 2) I had a cold 3) I wanted to watch LOST. Mostly, I didn’t go because I’m a wiener and I don’t like being in potentially awkward situations with people I don’t know and I hate driving to Uptown or Minneapolis in general.

I have no idea why I’m so apprehensive. I’m an extremely social and outgoing person in certain settings (the setting being one which I’m with people I do know) but on my own, I get so shy. So I didn’t go, and regretted it. And I got invited to this tweetup that I’m also unlikely to go, because again I won’t know anyone. And when I went to that party in September at the Buddhist place, that was so unbelievably out of character,  I had a great time, of course I never followed up and went again.

What is wrong with me?

I need to hang out more with L who’s my latest friend acquisition and who is also one of the  most outgoing people I know. Maybe she’ll rub off on me.

25 before 25 Part II

7 Jan

Back in July I posted a list of 25 things I wanted to do before I turned 25. Well now that day is almost upon us. Let’s see how I fared:

1. Run a race (I’m appending this to be any race… including a 50 yard dash)

I ran a 5K for the MN Zoo.

2. Learn to drive stick shift

3. Move to Chicago instead Dance on a bar

You know someone has got to have a photo of me dancing on a bar somewhere.

4. Get published

I got published by the Wake Magazine in 2006, though initially I meant something more substantial. Here is the link to that piece.

5. Go to Fiji instead Go on belated Honeymoon

Went to Mexico in Dec 2009

6. Eat sushi

7. Get Married

Did that December 2006

8. Have a Baby

March 2007

9. Buy a Car

We bought a 2007 Subaru Forester in 2007.

10. Buy a House

For some reason I have no pictures of my house, but we bought it July 2008.

11. Be promoted

I got promoted in Fall of 2008. Here’s a picture of where I work:

12. Scuba Diving

13. Lose 10 lbs

I completed that in Spring/Summer 2009

14. Fly a kite and/or build a snowman

Built a snowman this past Xmas 2009. My parents have the photo!

15. Surfing

16. Skinny Dipping

September 2009 most recently.

17. Tattoo

I got my 2nd tattoo summer 2008. First one was winter 2003. (which I have no photo of/lame)

18. Fire a Gun

I’m doing this this weekend!

19. Go on a spiritual/meditative retreat.

Well I did yoga briefly, does that count?

20. Sex on the beach

21. Tailgate

22. Keg stand

I’ve requested the picture from a stranger of facebook. It was completed summer 2009.

23. Waterskiing

24. Crowdsurf at a concert

25. Ride on a motorcycle

No Chipotle December — Success!

3 Jan

In the month of December the H and I decided (well I decided, and he agreed) that we would not eat out for the whole month. The most challenging being my at least weekly Chipotle habit.

Well we succeeded. I resisted Chipotle at work (I did actually have it on the 27th, but it was free so that doesn’t count), and the H didn’t order anything at work. Despite many nights when we wanted Chinese, McDonalds or pizza we resisted. We had some exceptions written into our contract, for example our anniversary in which we went out to Sunsets and New Years Eve in which we went to Amazing Thailand. We did also have McDonalds when we were at O’Hare coming back to Minnesota. Which according to the H doesn’t count because it was a part of vacation expenses.

So all in all — success.

For January we’ve made a new contract.

  1. We will not buy any pop in January.
  2. We will each only eat once out for lunch.
  3. We will only eat out for dinner once.

The only exception being my birthday. Which could possibly be 3 exceptions, my birthday with the H, birthday with friends in MN and birthday in Chicago. I am concerned about Chicago though because I usually eat out a ton while there, but I’m really hoping that with December’s success I can meet January’s goals!

I wish it wasn’t so hard for me to stop spending, but I figure baby steps. First curb food related expenses and then I’ll try to stop all my misc expenses like for example today’s $50 trip to Ikea and $58 at Forever 21.


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