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April 2012
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June 2012

One Month Check-In

One month ago I made a list of my assets and my debts.

Thankfully, my assets outweigh my debts.  For that, I'm grateful. Still, I HAVE DEBT, which is dumb. I was debt-free for over 3 years but got back into debt when my truck died (at 134,000 miles) and yeah, I guess I panicked when I found that used Subaru's cost more than new Kia's. So I bought a new 2011 Kia Sportage. Awesome warranty! No more worries about my Isuzu breaking down again and again and again. It was safe. Hassle-free. For the first time in years, there was no stress as I started my day, wondering if this would be the day thay my ride broke down AGAIN!

I put 50% down on my Kia and wound up owing just under $17,000. Several months later came  a tragic death in my family and I resurrected the credit card that had been dormant - and paid off - since March 23, 2010. Used it for my flight back to CA. And my rental car. And to fly my grief-stricken parents out to CO for a weekend (and pay for their hotel) a month after the funeral.

Was it emotional spending? Absolutely. Was it necessary? No. But sort of yes. I wanted my Dad & Mom with me after losing a precious member of our family. It was honestly more for me than it was for them...but it was for them too.

Then came the gym membership. And the car registration - didn't have my checkbook with me  when I went to pick up my plates and CO doesn't accept debit cards without adding a surcharge for using a debit card.  

When I started putting restaurant meals  & random purchases on my credit card, I knew I was back at square one.

So I stopped cold turkey.  Started listening to Dave Ramsey podcasts again. Told myself "NO" more than I told myself "yes". Even tho it was difficult, started using a cash budget envelope system. Dave was right. It takes about 3 months to get the hang of it. Doing so much better now than I was 3 months ago.

Part of getting real about this endeavor was selling my beloved Apple stock. It was doing so well and was on the way to high 600 a share. Should I sell? Should I hold? 

Wound up selling 9 of my 10 shares and paid off (and cut up) my VISA credit card. Never again. No more credit cards - not worth it.

A month ago my debt totalled $18,973.80.

Today, after throwing an extra $99.59 towards my car loan principal, I'm down to $13,068.46. The $99.59 came from a check from insurance overpayment, using money I budgeted for food and gas that I didn't use cause I have no life as of late, and a $25 Target gift card from my dentist for referring a friend. I took $25 cash out of my food envelope, replaced it with the Target gift card, and added it to my mid-cycle car principal paydown. That's what no restaurants, no booze, no movies and no Target splurges will do for ya! As well as eating less, driving less, staying home.

It doesn't bother me as much as I thought, cause I view this as part of the "greater good" for my future. For all the times I had fun and wasn't as frugal as I should have been, this is the reverse action. Making up for lost time.

I've been looking into getting a part-time job. Have had 3 house/dog sitting gigs in the last 2 months. Have 2 more lined up. And I'm faithfully bringing my lunch to work on a daily basis. Seriously, this all adds up!

As I discover more and more Debt-Free & Frugality blogs, I'd like to think that the Debt-Free-Frugal-Living movement is catching hold. At least I hope so!

A life without debt beats a life with debt any day. 

 


$$$$

MONEY!!!!

Found some incredibly cool debt-free blogs that have become my new addiction so of course I'm going to share them with you.

A Colorado local, Mr. Money Mustache is a hoot! Common-sense, humor and authenticity all rolled into one...with a mustache. Plus? He and his wife are retired! And they're still young enough to enjoy retirement.

Joe Mihalec of No More Harvard Debt paid down $101K of debt in seven months. SEVEN MONTHS! Beyond amazing and truly inspiring. I read Joe's blog from end to beginning last weekend.

One of my favorite blogs is my buddy Ryan's Becoming Debt Free - his most current post "Going Out" really resonates with me. 

And my story?

I'm on a cash-envelope budget (thanks Dave Ramsey ) and am always looking for ways to save more / make more money.  Cashed out my Apple stock to pay off my credit card (then I performed a plasticectomy on my credit card!!) and the only debt that remains is my car loan, which I want to pay off in the next 16-18 months, if not sooner. My biggest win of last week was paying an extra $250 on my car loan...seriously, it gave me goosebumps!

What debt-free/finance blogs do you follow? Do you have a success story to share? What is your biggest 'a-ha' moment when it comes to personal finance?