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Archive for November, 2012

A Credit Card Surprise for Me!

November 29th, 2012 at 02:46 am

I have only 1 credit card left to pay off which I had believed was at 18.99% APR. I made a payment of $36.46, which I thought would get me from $1,698.82 to $1,689.24. Well I signed onto my account, and low and behold the balance was $1,662.36! This was WAY below what I thought it would be.

So I did some math (using the tools here on savingadvice.com) and I discovered that my current APR for this credit is 0%!! OMG! I had NO idea that I had a 0% APR! The last time I checked it was over a year ago (basic training and now deployed). I have no access to the statements (they don't put them online) and it doesn't tell you what the APR is on the website, only the current amount due, past due, minimum payment and the ability to make a payment. It's a very basic site.

My plan will still have me paying off the card by March 2013 but that was with an 18.99% APR projection. Now that I know it is a 0% APR I'll won't have to pay any interest fees! YAY ME!!

Filing Taxes

November 28th, 2012 at 02:53 am

Are you getting ready to file your taxes? I am, in fact I've already filled out almost everything for filing my federal taxes. That state taxes will have to wait since the information for that isn't out yet. I don't know how single people without dependents are able to get $2,000 - $3,000 back every year. I can barely do $1,500!

I'm not filing taxes til about March/April 2013. Since by then I should have all my financial info so that I can file them correctly.

Yes I like to work my paycheck so that I get a refund every year. To me, it comes in handy when I want to pay something off or put it in savings. I haven't decided what to do with it yet. I may put it in my savings account until I'm ready to pay something off.

What's really got me is that when the military is deployed, then our income isn't taxable. So it's a bit weird about filing taxes... The government actually lets the IRS know that we're deployed but it's still an unusual way to file taxes...

Current Debt Repayment Plan

November 28th, 2012 at 02:27 am

Currently, since my parents are taking care of my debt, the only thing that comes to mind are student loans ($25k), 1 credit card ($1,700 @ 18.99%), medical collections ($8,300), car loan ($9,500 @ 11.5%), timeshare loan ($7k @ 17.5) and sallie mae loan ($9,900 @ 6%).

*medical collections will be paid off by the end of this year with the money i have in savings.

Staring in Dec I'll get $2,231 net. Then it'll increase another $31 in Jan (military pay raise has been approved).

Currently my debt costs me $850/mo (this amount includes monthly bills such as insurance as well) and that's with me paying the minimums. But I'm going to add $100/mo to that making it $950/mo.

*i'm not paying for rent or anything else right now because i'm deployed

This is what is in effect for Dec 2012 til abt July 2013:

Sallie Mae deferred but earning interest. ($76)
Student loans deferred but NOT earning interest. ($190)
Capital One is paid off. ($20)
Adding an extra $100/mo to debt payments.

That is equal to $386/mo.

Emblem $1,700 @ 18.99% minimum is $38 (goes down monthly in correlation to amount owed)

So that should total $424/mo then in Jan that will increase to $455. This should take a total of 5 months to pay off.

When I get back home, I want to re-finance my auto loan (for 48 months) and my mortgage loan (for 7-10 years).

The mortgage loan I want to pay off by April of 2014 no matter if I get that re-fi on it or not. But come Nov 2013 I'll only be able to put $397/mo towards it because I'll be paying Sallie Mae again at $190/mo.

Once the mortgage loan is paid off then I'll pay off Sallie Mae loan at $587/mo but I'll also pay about half of it off in one large chunk.

So therefore my plan is basically this:

Emblem - pay $455/mo - pay off by April 2013
Mortgage - pay $397/mo - pay off by April 2014
Sallie Mae - pay $587/mo - pay off by Nov 2014

After that I'm not sure which step to take next. Either pay off student loans, build up my emergency fund (i already have $5k), start contributing to my retirement again, or a combination of the three.

*I will not be paying off the auto loan because I need the credit, but it WILL get re-financed.

*I need to take into account that I will be receiving at least two pay raises between Jan 2013 through Dec 2014. And whether to put that amount solely for student loans and/or retirement until I pay off all my debt.

*Also in April I'll have my tax refund by then. It should be in the range of $1,500 at least. I'm not sure where to apply that though. Pay down debt? Add to savings? Add to retirement?

I can't wait til I have the majority of my debt paid off and I can add my tax refund to my savings/retirement EVERY time! =P

Paying off a Credit Card 101

November 25th, 2012 at 07:53 pm

Ok, so today's valuable lesson in paying off a credit card is pay BEFORE the due date!!

My card had a $653.30 @ 17.99% which was due on the 22 Nov 2012. What I did was just tell the automatic payment to pay in full instead of the minimum which it did do.

The only thing is that I got charged interest fees because of the interest accrued on that amount. It was only $8.72 but still, if I had known that I would be charged interest when they gave me a balance of $653.30 then I would have accounted for that when I paid the bill!

So yeah, I just went on ahead and paid it. It only takes one time for me to learn a mistake like that.

So this means that when I pay off the next credit card that it'll be well BEFORE the due date! That will save me another $10 for sure!! AGH!

Couponing

November 24th, 2012 at 03:26 pm

Well just to let you know, I'm a couponer. I'm not an extreme couponer. I can't go to a store, get $100 worth of stuff and only pay $1. Not yet at least! What I have done is pay $71 for $147 worth of groceries and I've paid $53 for $109 worth of groceries. Couponing isn't easy!! But I do believe that it's worth it!

You have to organize your coupons so that they work for you. But before I left for Afghanistan I donated all my coupons to the military.

Did you know that military personnel can use coupons up to six months AFTER they've expired!!

I sent them to a woman who then gathered up all the coupons sent to her and mailed them to a representative. There is one in each area/region.

But right now I don't have any coupons. So I need to restock but I don't want to start from scratch. So I've been thinking of having Sunday newspapers sent to my brother's house (he has my stuff anyways). But only for the three month subscription, that way I can stock up a bit and be able to shop for groceries right when I get home!

It only costs about $37 for the (13 week) subscription which is saving money from actually buying it every Sunday.

This is what really helps me budget for groceries every month. Don't get me wrong, not everything needs a coupon for me to buy. But I will try to wait for a sale if I can, but since I literally have to restock my kitchen I'll need to purchase almost everything!! UGH!!!

Funny thing is that when I get home, the newspaper in my area costs substantially less than the one in my brothers' area. But he gets more coupons. Oh well...

Sallie Mae Loan

November 24th, 2012 at 03:50 am

If you are lucky enough not to have a private student loan with Sallie Mae then cunt yourself amongst the lucky ones! I have a student loan that I took out with my ex as the student. We've had this loan since 2001 and have been making payments.

Unfortunately when you begin making payments, which occurs as soon as you receive the monies, it's NOT applied to the principal. We were not aware of this and so have been making payments for a total of eleven years. The payments are being applied to the principal at this point but there is only $9,530 left to pay from the original $15,950.

Private student loans are extremely difficult to attain a forebearance or deferment if it is even offered for it.

I was fortunate to actually attain a small deferrment for a short time. But I still have almost $10,000 worth of debt for this loan alone.

At this point I will not deplete my savings just to be debt free, meaning that I will not payoff the loan with all my savings. I don't believe that would be a smart move because then I wouldn't have anything in my emergency fund and if there isn't any then I wouldn't have a buffer in case something happens.

So I'm going to pay half of it off when I get back to the states but I'll still make the same payments which means that I should pay it off in a little over two years.

This is actually one of the largest monthly payments that I make, approximately $200/mo. Once I get rid of this payment for good then I can actually breath even better.

So my plan is to actually be rid of this debt in less then three years after I get back home next year.

I really am excited to get back home, because I can then I can really get my debt free plan really going!

No More TV?!

November 23rd, 2012 at 03:07 am

I just realized that I actually will not buy a tv until I get back into the states and into my apartment. You see I live in an apartment that comes with a roommate (student living).

The great thing is that if I already have a roommate then more than likely that person will have a tv already. If that's the case then I certainly will not be purchasing a tv, but I won't be able to know for sure until I get into my apartment.

So I can possibly really save up for a nicer tv but wait longer for the one that I really want as well as for a little bit better technology.

So basically that's been put on the back burner as a maybe or maybe not. But I'll still save up for it so that when the time comes I'll have the money for it.

Things I Want to Purchase

November 21st, 2012 at 05:50 pm

There are certain things that I want to purchase when I get back home.

As far as I can think of they are:

piercings
tv
wireless router
ps3 + accessories
tattoo

The tv and wireless router I will purchase before I get home and the rest I can save towards little by little.

The tv will cost me about $700-$1000 and the wireless router can cost me up to $100. (I don't plan on upgrading for 4 - 6 years)

The ps3 is about $300 and the piercings and tattoo will run me about $3000 altogether (although it should actually be a lot less than that).

The television and router will more than likely be bought by January.

I know what I want and I know I need to save for the rest. I've waited this long I can wait longer.

Credit Card Paid Off!!

November 21st, 2012 at 05:42 pm

As of 22 Nov I have another credit card completely paid off!!

$653.30 @ 17.99% with an annual fee of $39.00 (currently the annual fee is deferred because I'm deployed)

I've paid it off and now have only one more credit card to pay off.

$1698.82 @18.99

I will pay $400/mo towards this card starting in December. Although I am considering paying off this card outright as well. It depends on what my parents say because they are actually taking care of most of my finances.

Right now I currently pay $850/mo for my debt. After the credit card payoff and counting the deferment on my student loans, the amount that I pay for monthly debt is $566/mo. A $284 difference!!!

This will be going towards the interest rate debt that I have which is the other credit card. ($400)

That's four cards down and one more to go! WHOOHOO!!!

Also I will cancel my credit card (the one with the fees) and when I get a new rewards card with NO annual fee (hopefully through my credit union) I will then cancel the last credit card leaving me with only one card. The maximum limit I want is $1000. If they try to raise it more than that I already know that I can request them to lower it. That is my threshold for credit card limits.

Relationships and Money

November 21st, 2012 at 05:28 pm

My becoming debt free has me looking at a couple of things that I didn't consider in the past.

Money and relationships.

I come from being a spender and married to a spender and living paycheck to paycheck. It's not a way of life that I am going to continue in my future. If I could CHOOSE the person that I would have a relationship with, it would be a saver. That way I know that we'll have money in the bank.

I know I'm a spender but I believe that I have frugal tendencies. What I mean is this for example:

I want a TV. A NICE TV. I want it to be flatscreen Sony HDTV Plasma WIFI Smart 3D (without the glasses) and at least 65" if not more. This is what I want. That is the spender in me.

The frugal in me says this:

Yes for flatscreen because it saves space. No for size, you get a 50" or more. No for Sony because you're paying mainly for the name. No for plasma, get LED because moving companies will not insure that and the quality isn't that much from plasma as long as it's 120hz. Yes, to WIFI because you use Netflix and that can be hooked up to the tv directly. Yes to HD because that's pretty much what is sold now-a-days. Yes to smart tv because that's wifi enable, you can use the netflix with it. Maybe to 3D and if you can't find one without glasses then either settle for one with glasses or don't get 3D at all.

So pretty much the frugal in me says:

flatscreen HDTV LED WIFI Smart 50" tv with or without 3D. that's what you get.

Also the frugal in me says the best time to purchase a tv will be in January just before the SuperBowl. (this means I will shop online and have it sent to family in the states since i'm deployed).

I want a saver because the saver will make sure that we save for it instead of just buying it the same day we decide to get one. This will also allow me time to make sure what are the best options for us based on needs/wants.

I also don't want a person that is in debt and NOT trying to get out of it. I want someone who is either debt free or on their way to being debt free. I don't want anymore financial stress in my life or relationships.

Finances can break a relationship and I prefer my relationships to be broken on something other than finances, although I'd prefer them not to be broken at all.

My ex is still financially crippled. It has been 2 1/2 years and it looks as if I'm the only one that has learned from there past mistakes. But he's older than me significantly and should have already learned these lessons a long time ago. Maybe one day he will and will be at peace financially. I wish him much luck and happiness.

My future is brighter after it being so dark because I can see the light at the opening of the cave. The walls are no longer closed in on me. I am no longer dragging myself on the rocks and dirt of the cave floor. I am now walking crouched over, making small steps towards the opening that I can tell is not that far ahead of me. I can't wait to get there because I know it'll be such a beautiful place to be in. And waiting there is someone that I want to spend the rest of my life with that has the same goals.

Looking Back

November 20th, 2012 at 06:27 pm

Over two years ago I posted in the debt forums (what 2 do w/the extra $100/mo in my pocket???) about what I currently had in debt that I was paying on. Then, I had a about $18,000 dollars in debt. At that time, I had another $25,000 in student loans that were deferred which I wasn't counting because I was in school. And also I had an additional $13,000 in medical collections that I didn't know about at the time.

Looking back, I've realized that I've paid off both Mastercards, job loan, 401k loan, verizon, and the library. I've paid down the old apartment and the sallie mae loan.

If it wasn't for the medical collections I actually would have paid off everything by the end of my deployment except for the car loan that I started in May 2012 and the student loans, therefore being about $45,000 in debt. But that's how things are. At least I've gotten rid of about $5,000 from when I posted over two years ago and the $13,000 of medical collections debt that I had.

That means I've actually gotten rid of $18,000 of debt so far in about two years. Now I can't recollect all the debt that I have right now but I know that it equals at about $60,000 if not more (counting the school loans) (also I'm estimating on the high side on purpose). I'll have a clearer picture when I get home. I still have the old apartment complex to pay off as well as about $10,000 of the sallie mae loan and one credit card left.

Two years ago I only had $1000 in savings and living paycheck to paycheck and worried about losing my job if they decided to downsize because my company had just been bought by another one. And I was financially frustrated because I felt I couldn't do anything that I really wanted to moneywise. I would worry about gas money for going to work much less visiting my parents even if they were less than two hours away.

Right now, I have more than $5,000 in my accounts, and I'm more than able to afford my lifestyle. I don't need to worry about gas anymore or buying groceries. It's been a huge relief having money in the bank. I will still be frugal but this time it's because I WANT to be frugal, not because I HAVE to be. There is a HUGE difference in those two words.

My current plan, I believe that I'll be debt free in about seven to ten years. Depending on what I have left to pay off. My parents are doing an awesome job with my finances. I just need to keep up the momentum. Plus when I get back I'll then be paying rent, renter's insurance, cell phone, utilities, gas and food. That's just what I know from the least.

I'm hoping that I have about $3,000 more in my savings account (which I should depending on if I pay anything else off or not) when I get home. This is my emergency fund (EF). I'll start a separate savings account for my other savings for things to buy and another for saving for a home (although my plans will include having a VA loan).

My plan is to pay off everything but leaving the federal student loans last. At that point I should be contributing fully to my retirement fund, paying off the student loans, at the max for my EF, putting money in my house savings fund, and have my home improvement fund half-funded as well. (when I buy my home I want my home improvement fund to already be set up which I'm thinking is at LEAST $5,000 although I'm thinkin it will be more).

With YNAB (you need a budget) I hope that it'll take me less than 10 years. I stop paying alimony in 3.5 years so that will help a lot. I'm looking forward to that date.

As of right now, this month I have a credit card that is approximately $650 which I'm paying off THIS month because my paycheck got fixed. My parents will probably have my other card paid off if I didn't touch it other than making the minimums. But I want to feel as if I'm doing something as well. This was of my own making and I want to feel as though I'm doing something (other than making money) to get out of it myself.

I feel a lot better about myself. More self-confident. Happy. Not financially stressed.

Free.

I feel free.

It's such a simple word but I feel it. Even if I am in Afghanistan and I still have debt to pay off...

Financially... I'm free.

I Got Back pay!!!

November 19th, 2012 at 11:01 am

My pay got fixed!!! So now I have approximately more than $3,000 coming to me in my next paycheck. My BAS (basic allowance for subsistence) has been messed up for a year. They fixed it pretty quickly, which surprised me.

I'll pay off my fourth credit card this month instead of next month. Also I've asked my parents to call the medical collection and make a settlement with them. So by the beginning of 2013 I'll have ALL of my medical collections paid off and 4 out of 5 credit cards paid off. I'll pretty much have loans left to pay.

Depending on my living situation I'll either pay off the last card by the end of March or August. I'll at least be putting $135/month towards it in March.

My credit report can start recovering and then my score can go up as well. I'm wanting to buy a house in about seven years and the collections were the last negative things on it.

YAY ME!!!

Saving for the Fund Things in Life

November 19th, 2012 at 08:31 am

So I'm wanting to save up for home toys. I know that I will constantly be saving up for things throughout my life. Currently there are two things that I know that I would like to save up for:

$500 - $1600 - flat screen smart tv (50" at least because I plan on having this tv for at least 4-6 years) I'd prefer plasma but will get LED if I find what I'm lookin for in one.

$335 with tax - PS3 with some accessories (I've been wanting this game system for several years)

There are things that when I get back home I will purchase like a new battery and tires for my SUV. That should run me at LEAST $500. Since I already knew about this when I left I have the money for it already.

I realize that I will always have a "Fun Fund" to save for things. Even if I don't have anything to save for at the moment that will be for fun I know that sooner or later their will be something that I want. And no it won't be bought as spur of the moment if I already have the funds for it because I'm a researcher and I search for what I want and then I search for the lowest price.

I really haven't settled on a tv yet. I'd REALLY like to have a 3D Smart tv without glasses but i will settle for just a smart tv. i have netflix and hooking that up to my tv is a must because i will not pay extra for cable.

Extra Income

November 16th, 2012 at 02:00 pm

Well I'm trying to come up with ideas now so that I can have extra income later. I'm more than willing to sell some of my items. I'm not sure how I'll sell them yet.

My ultimate goal is buy a tv. After talking with some people the best idea is to buy the tv that i actually want NOW instead of upgrading from time to time. I'll save more money that way.

That's why I'm doing little things here to have enough cash to pay for half of it. That's my goal. Whatever money I earn here will be the 50% that I'll need to pay for the tv. So if I earn $500 then I can get a $1000 tv max. Unfortunately the ones that I've been looking at are about $800-$1500. But that only means that I'll either have enough to pay for it cash
(I can actually do that right now) or pay half of it upfront.

BTW, I do NOT have a television. AT. ALL. I want a 3D Smart LCD TV with WIFI. I'm not sure how big. I'm thinkin 50" though. That way whenever I upgrade where I live (such as moving to a house) I won't feel the need to get a bigger tv. Also I'm a gamer (no I don't have any systems right now) so when I save the money to buy a system I won't feel the need to get a bigger tv.

All and all I just want to buy a tv once and be DONE with it for a few years at LEAST.

I need to get both my tablets fixed (yes, I have two. one stopped working while overseas so i bought another.) So I'm going to get both fixed (one just has a cracked screen) and sell the smaller one. I only used it for three days before it stopped working.

That'll help some with of my savings for things that I want. My new "thing" is to save money for whatever item that I want.

So first thing is a sweet tv. Approximately $1500. I'll count up my monies saved here in about a week or two so that I can have a middle point. If I save more than I need then I'll just put that towards the next thing.

I do need to have a christmas fund. I'd like to have enough to give my two older daughters, my son-in-law, my granddaughter and my new grandchild that'll be here in May 2013-ish. Also I'd like to get my parents and my youngest brother and my sister-in-law presents also. I just want to get my grandchild a present for christmas this year. So I'll be shopping online for her and my kids. I plan on buying them something soon so that it'll get there before the middle of december.

So far so Good

November 16th, 2012 at 12:34 pm

Well I've been looking for a personal finance software that would allow me to budget for the present and the future. I use to have Microsoft Money but I didn't really like the way it would try to get you out of debt although I did like the look of the interface that was used with it.

Well after much searching I've found what I'm looking for because when I get home I'll need a budget that will get me out of debt as well as plan for the future: youneedabudget.com otherwise known as ynab.com

I'll have to purchase it just before I get home so that it's waiting for me and ready to use. It's one of the reasons that I can't wait to get home because I'll start a new chapter that is about getting me out of debt, saving money, and buying/building my own home.

I want to be an independent woman and proud of where I am financially. Don't get me wrong, I'm proud that I have four less collections to worry about. I'm proud that I've paid off three credit cards and I'm proud that I'm going to continue to pay off other bills while saving money.

I'm especially proud of the fact that I've saved about $3,000 and counting.

But I wouldn't be able to do all of this without my parents. I've only been able to do this since I've been in the military which has been one year now. My parents have basically been solely taking care of my finances.

I didn't have access to them and still really don't while I'm here. When I get back home I'll have to dive into my finances and continue the awesome job that my parents have done.

Because of them I've been able to afford higher rent for my apartment and a new-to-me car. Yes, my rent is higher ($600) but it includes a 24/7 gym, 24/7 computer room, internet for my apartment, wood floors, furniture, my own laundry room and cable (HBO, etc). Water is $10/mo and the electricty is less than $40/mo so far. Renter's insurance is about $15/mo. So I can pay as little as $650/mo for my apartment.

I DID have to buy a new vehicle because my car wouldn't have made it to my duty station much less 5 miles down the road.

My new vehicle is a 2004 Sorento. It already has a tow package and roof rack AND it was in my favorite color!! It only had 75,000 miles on it at the time and I found it. Of course I asked my parents if it was a good by ($10,000 loan approximately) and they agreed especially since it's an SUV compared to the 1995 Altima that I had.

I do pay on it bi-weekly so that I don't pay that much interest. I already have a high rate on it already and I'm looking forward to refinancing it to get a lower rate and my parents off as co-signers ASAP.

My youngest brother (I'm the baby of six kids) has also helped me out whenever he can. I always ask him for advice about men and money and anything else that I think he can help me with.

Without my family I don't know where I'd be. I know not in as good a position of where I'm currently at. I'd be living paycheck to paycheck. But now I don't have to worry about that anymore. There has been a HUGE relief for me.

I love my family! THANK YOU!!!!

Getting Started

November 14th, 2012 at 04:42 am

Currently I'm deployed in Afghanistan and I'm working on reducing my debt. I currently have approximately $8,000 in medical collections. I've already paid off some medical collections already but I saved the biggest one for last. I know that they'll settle for less than the amount that's owed altogether.

Since my pay has been messed up for a year I will be receiving a sweet little backpay amount. Exactly when I'll receive this, I don't know. But when I do my plan is to pay off the medical account and be done with it.

I haven't looked at my credit report since last year since I've been in the military. Why you ask? Because we don't have access in basic training and there was limited access to the internet when i was in AIT (job training). I then went to my unit and within a month I was deployed (a lot of prep goes on while getting ready to deploy). So I'm working on looking at my reports while I'm here.

But last time I looked at my report, there were only medical collections that reflected negatively. Hopefully I can get the last of it paid off while I'm deployed and by the time I get back home my points will have increased and my report will pretty much look a LOT better.

So far since I've been deployed and since I started on debt reduction over a year ago, I've payed off:

4 medical collections
3 out of 5 credit cards (I closed two of them because they had annual fees)

What I have left is:

1 medical collections
2 credit cards
1 private student loan
approximately $25,000 in student loans and counting (hopefully I have less then 2 years until I get my BS)
1 car loan (HAD to buy a used car because my car literally wouldn't run)
Alimony for ex (I actually have it stipulated in the separation papers that I can "pay it off" early).

I have been saving monies as well as paying things off. I currently have approximately $3,000 in savings and by the end of the deployment I'll have another $2,000 added to it at the least.

I took the opportunity to add monies to a Security Deposit Plan (SDP) which you can only do when you're deployed. It compounds 10% interest with a maximum amount of $10,000 that can be contributed to it. I add $250 each month so I know that I'll have $2,000 in it and whatever interest that it would have earned by then.

I know that I'll have to pay taxes on the interest earned but I'm hoping that I can roll that monies over into a CD or something like that so I won't have to pay taxes on it.

I really don't have any money saved for retirement although I have monies here and there even though I'm older. But my plan is to have those monies when it's time but to also have a little side business goin on so that I have my assets working for me (passive income).

By the end of this year I should either have one more credit card paid off or almost paid off by the end of the year. My last credit card won't be paid off by the time I get back home but I'll have it close to halfway paid off so that'll make my minimum payment lower and therefore I'll be able to put more towards the interest.

By the time I get back home I'll have a better credit score. Which is my ultimate goal so that I can refinance my auto loan (it's currently 11.5%) for a lower interest and eventually get my parents off my loan as co-signers.

My ultimate goal is to be mostly debt free in another 6 years because I want to purchase a house.