Friday, May 30, 2008

I Almost Went Crazy

A short walk to the cleaners(more on that later) had me make a stop at the supermarket for my Altoid fix. What do you mean you have none in stock? I quickly dismissed an extra 3 block walk to another store. I also thought about getting the car and going to Tar-gee. Of course I need soy milk and was told they would have it in stock today, but one there is the issue of parking and two unless they have restocked their stash overnight, I will have to search register to register like I did yesterday to find my fix. Nope.

Alas, a solution: I decided to chance a drugstore on my corner. Yes!!!! Peppermint altoids. Why is this major? When they opened a few years ago in the height of my Altoid passion I was able to buy them at $1.67 no tax. Months later they could only get the Spearmint. No way! At the time I had an out because the supermarket across the street began to sell them at a lower price. Soon after they began flying off the shelf due to moi, they raised the price to $2.19. Mus' be mad. Not I. That's like paying for them at the airport which can run close to $4. Absolute robbery.
Anyway I was able to buy 2 boxes which burned a hole in my pocket. I had to fight to keep myself from opening up and picking up two at a time w/my tongue(hands were dirty), but I didn't want to look like a fool. I made it home and decided I needed to share this bit of ridiculousity. Guess what? I'm having a damn good day. Oh! did I mention I was sorting paper and filing bills that have been stacked for a while.

Chocolate/ Vanilla...Choose

The devil is certainly in the details. In paying AX a mere $287, right before I clicked submit, I thought if had only paid AX the $650 I sent to BofA I would be just $350 away from ending that debt altogether. What I have to remember is I do have a plan and and keep moving it forward.

Interest: $87.35 vs. $24.52. That's a $62 difference that can be going in my pocket. Hmmm...I'll let the numbers be my guide.

Monday, May 26, 2008

I Did It!!!

Took my 401K down to 1%. I couldn't go down to 0%. My security blanket is gone. No bashing please. Once I see the effects these extra funds have on my c/c's I may take it down to zip. I don't think I will see it till the end of June, but I may be wrong.

Happy Memorial Day!! Personally like with many of our holidays, it's way to commercial. However, for the people that have fought and died in wars(most of which have been senseless) this day and every day is for you.

Saturday, May 24, 2008

The Game

I'm having a blast just figuring out all this stuff. Now don't get me wrong debt and Diva-ness don't go hand in hand, but since I'm here I might as well deal with it as the game it is. The point is I'm having a great time just figuring what I'm paying, where it goes, and what's happening with my investments. Really y'all what I'm tryin' say is it's better since I woke up.

The goal as of last month was to eliminate AX in by July. Buuttttt.... as I did the math and realized how much interest actually evaporated from my incoming cash under the category of monthly payments, I decided to pay more money to BofA since their daily compounded interest is a helluva lot worse than AX who by getting $200 monthly will still be paid by year's end. Speaking of daily compounding I recently pulled out my Bof A agreement and will be reading it like a novel I'm lovin' this week. I have all intentions of paying attention this time.

The Dave Ramsey way it's not, but then again I'm finding out what's good for me. The key is discipline.

Thursday, May 22, 2008

What this Post Did for Me

Falling off the Dave Ramsey Diet really got me thinkin'. Not that I have anything against DR, but I enjoyed the post. However, it was the comments that gave me lots of insight and had me take action. Clearly folks feel a way about him. There were 67 comments. I've been stuck on whether to discontinue funding my 401K for a minute to eradicate my debt. The whole thing is psychological. It's about security. Then I remembered I reduced my contributions to fund my Flexible Spending Account in 2005. At that time my debt was a marginal thought. But I had sense enough to know I didn't want to put it on a card. Also there were tax benefits to the FSA. LOL.
Here's what the info prompted me to do:
1. Look at 2007 401K statements to track earnings
2.Look at allocations and make changes
3.Chart contribution changes
--2/05 15%
--3/05 lowered to 10%
--12/05 lowered to 3%
--4/06 raised to 4%
--1/08 raised to 7%
--4/08 raised to 8%

Earnings for the 2007 were $1,917.76 and interest on just the BofA acct. was $2,522.26(my Period of Practicing Stupidity). So far BofA's in 2008 interest is $578.24 and going down. Thank God! Checking the 401K, earnings for this quarter were $928. That makes me want to leave it as it is. Sigh! I really know what I have to do. I've worked it out loosely where I can count on paying at least $600 for the next six months. More to follow. Peace.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

books, books and more books

In Callie for the day. Happy to see a Target near us. I went over and lo and behold altoids were priced 4 for $5(2 double packs). A dream! Not Costco but way better than the usual $4.11 for the double pack. Actually it's near the Costco price. I paid $15 no tax for 12 boxes which is approx $.30 more since we charge tax here.
BTW the purpose for this post was to mention the pf books I perused while at Borders after I tore myself away from the big T.
They were:
1.Nice Girls don't Get Rich-Frankel-tips to get me thinking
2.Green w/Envy-Boss - the perceptions we have about others' financial lives
3.America's Cheapest Family-Economides-title says it all, amusing
4.You're Broke because you Want to Be-Winget
5.Credit Card Debt-Daskaloff-looks like something written in the 60's okay I'll give him the 70's
6.Deal w/Your Debt-Weston Pulliam- a how to
7.More than Enough-Ramsey
8.Debt Cures-Trudeau

While I didn't pull the next two off the shelves, I made a note of The Wealthy Barber and Mundis' book How to Get out of Debt and Stay Out of Debt.
In the hour and a half I had I spent the most time with 2 and 3. Flipped thru the rest. I'm not really a fan of Kevin Trudeau and wanted to see if his book was basically a rehash of same/similar info. By the time I got to his book my eyes were closing. I will take a look the next time I'm at a bookstore.

Now onto my library site to see what they might have.

ps.The Tao of Buffet is being held for me. I can't wait.

Monday, May 19, 2008

i dun dun it

What did I do? Spent some $. That's what.

I bought a piece of art. In a way I knew I had that cash in my wallet and I liked this piece that was priced just right. Soooo as they say. The deal was done. I was itchin to spend the $50 in my wallet. Ego got right along with the program. When I saw someone else looking like they wanted to purchase it, I sort of whispered. Deb..... I now have to figure out the terms. Thank God she's flexible. I just don't want to drag it out.

What is that saying? Look before you Leap. Yeah. Hell yeah!

Sunday, May 18, 2008


Had a fender bender the other day resulting in me being bumperless. This might mean $$ for me, which means less to my debt. The thing I know I don't want to do is incur additional debt. Holla at ya later.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Reading, Reading and more Listening

Right now I'm listening to Jean Chatzky's Make Money, Not Excuses. Good but I realize books w/lot's of numbers are a better on the visual tip for me. The book is good. I've gotten lot's of ideas. The thing I was driving when I listened and I have to re-listen to see if they are things I want to implement. The Don't Bitch portion of each chapter came across better in print.

I'm glad I eat oatmeal

Bought cereal and soy milk for my sweetie this morning. Total $9.28. No way. Forgive me but I haven't eaten cereal in a while and I shop at a food coop so I usually don't get sticker shock. I couldn't believe it. Dig this--it wasn't even my cash and I was getting crazy.

I'm so glad I eat oatmeal (even in the summer). I let my bananas ripen; add currants and other dried fruits and spices and I'm good to go. I probably get away with $.75 a serving.

Tuesday, May 13, 2008


I gave 50 bucks to my girl's breast cancer walk/run. More out of guilt cause I didn't walk. Yes, I had to hear about her mom and her girlfriends mom, blah blah....Anywho I had the cash and I did what I felt I could do. The deal it started me thinking about how I want to support others.

The library is one of my loves. A newly renovated branch was recently running a buy a book campaign. The thing that pissed me off was in order to support it you had to give $25 bucks to the central library in order to donate an additional $25 to the branch. While it didn't work for me I liked the concept. I've just learned the drive is over, but I'll call the Corporate Donations office to see if they'll still accept funds. If not I'll put it in the budget to give to the library in the very near future.

PS. The BofA card is safely in the drawer.

A $2.00 library fine

A fine? I've been managing (code for not getting them at all) them, but I slipped. Now the fact that I thought that my DVD was due yesterday meant I was supposed to check. But nooooooooooo I said to myself, "I already renewed it." Went to my account this morning and guess what? Not! To add insult to injury the fine was not the .25 I'd expected,but 2 whole dollars had been tacked to my account. Shyte. Well I'll deal w/it later. I vow from now on to put my due dates on a post it.

AX - managed to pay them an additional $175. Down to $1200. Since my billing cycle closes today, I was glad to get the additional payment in. Currently I'll owe $62.26+30ish(suspected interest charge). God. Remember when it was 2x that. Either way it will be less than 100 bucks which will be paid EOM. I intend to add $5-600 to it. I do need to not get so crazy and budget some bucks for Memorial Day Weekend. Okay!

Monday, May 12, 2008

I didn't do anything wrong!!!

Came home today to an envelope from BofA. Now I know I've been paying them so I ripped the envelope open. Lo and behold it was my new credit card. They reopened my account. The account # was changed so I did an online check to make sure it's still the same acct. and it is. Since I didn't call them last week it was indeed a pleasant surprise for me. Why is this important? It is one of my older accounts and it makes no sense to close it. And where is it going? Not in my wallet. It'll keep everything else company right in the drawer. I have no need to use it since my goal is to pay it off. And yes, I will keep calling for a lower rate.

Thursday, May 08, 2008

Strong Women, Powerful Financial Strategies

I attended a Financial Literacy Series held at a local church. When they handed me the info by Ameritrade I said "I've been here before". I was right on some level, however, the woman conducting said some things that were in line w/where I am currently and did not push her company down our throats. Rather I took the opportunity to journal and tighten up my financial goals. I jotted down a few things and went back to my "Financial Feelings"journaling from February. I'm still interested in the same things and added a few others:

2008 Financial Goals
1-Increase E-fund to $3,500.
2-Debt elimination:
---AX $1,375
---Citibank $246 and $50
---GE $350
---B of A reduce by $4,000 & reduce interest/reopen acct.
3-Research Roth's and convert my SEP.
4-Monitor my cos. stock & cash in when it's at a level that works for me.
5-Pay SRLOA fees in full.
6-Research Ariel.
7-Have a full pic of my net worth.
Sorry to say I won't be at the Millionaires-6 Stages to Wealth session. Sistah moderator is defenitely not in that category. Not being nasty, but I know can get more out my time by doing my reading and research.

Tuesday, May 06, 2008

what do i do?

It's a beautiful day here. And there will be xtra cash in my account. I have a few options.

-Pay AX more

-Put 150 toward my year end cruise

-Put more in the Serious acct

This brings me to a crucial point. I have not created a budget. Since I know what I bring in(it fluctuates w/i reason, w/the exception of 3 months a year when the difference can be approx 1k) and I know what I owe; I tend to write figures down and adjust about a week or so before payday. But I'm sure a key part of the plan is missing. I'll take a closer look at a budget by next week.

Monday, May 05, 2008

You Should Get It

At a crafts show over the weekend, I spotted a handpainted glass vessel I liked. Could be used as a butter dish(per the artist), jewelry holder or whatever my heart desired. At first I thought about using it as a gift and realized I hadn't thought about who was getting what. I talked to a friend about it and she said you should get it. I shook my head as if she said something ridiculous(but then again I haven't told her what I'm up to). I said I really don't need it and I haven't decided whether it's going to be a gift or not.
Proud of myself? Absolutely! I really did think about getting it. Loved-loved-loved the colors. I even went back 2x. The thing is I had the funds. But really---I knew I didn't need it. Even to use as a butter dish. It would have been an impulse purchase.

It's Aright..But then Again it Has to Be!

AX got another $200. I'm down to $1,500 from $2,793.86. A pat on the back. Let's see what else I can throw their way this month.
On another note I'm paying BofA $92 for interest as opposed to $35 for AX. Now that my head is on straight this does not sit well w/me. Arggh!!! The bright side of that is it's better than the 32% rate I incurred when I had my head in the sand. I called them again. NO DEAL! D. actually took the time to look at the history and found out I called 4/9. I got through that nicely. However, I found out my rate did go down to 16.24. Rather than tackle it herself she got help from S. in the Rate Dept. As he so eloquently stated the rate I have is the best they can do and they don't pull rates out the air(and why not?). Also they no longer do interest matching due to other offers, not that I've received any lately. Now that I find hard to believe. I also inquired about reopening my account. More details manana.

I'll keep trying. Having Ledisi as background is making it smoother process. Was it Julie Andrews who sang a spoon full of sugar makes the medicine go down? You get my point.
Like everything else, I'll get through this too. LOL.

Sunday, May 04, 2008

Altoids Anyone?

Those little white round things are my greatest nemesis right now. And they take up a lot of $. When I'm able to get them from Costco it only sets me back $14 for a 12-pack as opposed to $1.75-$2.14 for one box or $3.17 for a 2-pk at Target. Speaking of which I want some right now, but I forgot them at home.
I recently purchased the chocolate covered altoids on sale. Some things are better left alone. When it comes to my junk food I tend to be a purist. Plain chips please. No sour cream/pepper salt/cheese onion. Yuk!
A few years ago my spending chart reflected a whopping $99 spent in altoids and chips. In one month I surrendered altoids immediatly and cut back on the chips. I lost some inches in the process too. Now I'm back in the saddle and haven't put my food down about going cold turkey.
Until then....