Wednesday, November 12, 2014

End of the Year Goals...

I've been thinking more about my goals and what I hope to accomplish by the end of the year.  One of the things I want to accomplish is to get caught up in my YNAB budget.  I've been kind of bad in regards to this.  True, using YNAB helps me to not use my credit cards, but lately I've been abusing the fact that I have money in my account for future spending, such as my car payment.  Right now my budget is around -$127.  I need to get in the habit of budgeting ahead of time and sticking with it.
Next, I need to increase my exposure to personal finance related items to keep me motivated.  I plan on starting my Dave Ramsey and Suze Orman podcasts again.  Also I need to start back reading blogs and books on personal finance.

I want to start building an emergency fund.  I'm going to have to start small at first.  I'm thinking either setting aside 10% of my net pay or $10 each pay period, based on whichever one fits my budget best.  With an emergency fund in place, I won't have to borrow from future car payments and I can stay on track.

Finally, this doesn't really apply to the end of the year, but it is a decision that I have made.  I was going back and forth about what to do in regards to paying off my credit cards.  I have decided to put all extra funds into paying my American Express.  I know it will not be paid by the time the 0% interest is over, but it does have the highest balance, so paying as much as I can on it seems like the smart thing to do right now so I can reduce the amount of interest I'll have to pay.

Saturday, November 1, 2014

Net Worth Update - November 2014

I have decided to update my net worth every 3 months.  For my car, I used the Kelley Blue Book trade in value.

Looking at this makes me really feel like shit because my car loan is ridiculous.  Goal setting is next.

Monday, October 20, 2014

Lack of Goals...

I've noticed that for a while I have been moving along with my finances without any purpose.  I have spent carelessly and am now in a place that I do not care to be in.  I feel that if I had created a set of goals, then I would not be in this situation now.  I've come too far to go back now.

I think part of the reason I haven't set any goals is because I have been lacking in desire and focus.  Having and using credit cards has also helped in blinding my vision in regards to how bad my financial situation really is.

I have made one significant difference in the past few months and that is using You Need a Budget (YNAB).  I am still learning how to incorporate the four rules in my budget and so far I really like how quick inputting my information is.  Most of all, using YNAB has taught me how to live off of what I have currently.  No more depending on credit cards, and if I do use them, I pay off what I have charged because I budget for it.  As I type this I am realizing that this may sound confusing, but I will definitely do a review once I become more comfortable with the program.

Back to goals...the best way to get started is to realize where you are currently.  I know where I stand as far as credit cards go, but I have lost sight of the overall picture.  So my first goal is to compile all of my financial information and determine my current net worth.

Is anyone else out there lost in their finances?  I would love to be on this journey with any one that still reads this.

Friday, August 15, 2014

When Funding My Emergency Fund Can Wait

It seems as if all PF bloggers and gurus mention building an emergency fund, but when is this a bad idea?

How about when you are in debt up to your me?

I've been giving this a lot of thought and have decided that instead of building an emergency fund, I'm going to work on paying off my credit cards.  My balances are extremely high right now and I want to pay as much as I can during this no interest period.  It is not likely that I will pay them all off before the interest kicks in but I will do what I can.

If an emergency occurs, I will use my credit cards but with the understanding that I need to pay that amount back immediately, along with my monthly payment.

This might be a bad idea to some, but this is how it is going to be for me for the moment.

Friday, August 8, 2014

End of June Update

At first I was a little depressed looking at the numbers because I spent more than I did last month.  Then I realized that this month included my car payment while last month did not, so I spent a little less during the month of July.  

I did not make the changes that I had hoped to but I did realize that once I get back to school, I will probably last a little more than two weeks on one tank of gas.  That will save at least $100.

As usual, if I can limit eating out I will have a lot more to apply towards debt.  That is my biggest challenge.  

My internship is over and I leave to go back to school on Sunday.  I hate that I have to repeat my first year, but my experience this summer has made me realize that this is definitely the path for me and to not give up.

I did not plan to track my expenses for August, but I think I will for a few more months while I become adjusted to my school budget.

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

June Spending Recap and July Goals

I've had several changes in my financial habits lately and have decided to get back on track using methods that I have used before.

What I focused on last month was tracking my spending for an entire month.
At the end of each day, I would write down each purchase.  There were some that I purchased with a gift card, but I wrote it down also.  At the end of each week, I would tally up my totals in each category and put it in a spreadsheet.
Tracking my spending this way was very quick.  I think it's because instead of writing down where I spent the money each day, I wrote the category instead.  

As you can see in the spreadsheet above, my spending was horrible.  I didn't even pay rent or a car payment and still was way over budget.  Of course, dining out was a killer for me...always has been.  Gas and travel were higher because I had to drive out of town to check on my apartment (more on that mess later).  Health and beauty is high due to two $60 pedicures along with other things I did not need.  I usually don't spend on gifts, but that was for Father's Day.

My goals for July are to (1) decrease all variable spending by 50% - based on my current situation this is definitely doable (2) put 10% of each paycheck in savings - I need to build my emergency fund back up and (3) make debt payments an even $150 for the month.

I plan on allocating more towards my debt, but my funds are pretty low this summer.  Once school starts back I plan on working more so I can put more on debt repayment.

Saturday, May 24, 2014

What goes up must come down...

I remember being so excited after seeing my credit score.  Unfortunately, as a result, I applied for and was approved for a Discover and American Express card.  Of course, old habits came back and I am not back in credit card debt.  I am so disappointed in myself.  After working so hard I am back in a rough spot again.  My new goals are to maintain/improve my credit score, pay off my debt, and not fail another semester in pharmacy school.

Yep, this last semester was rough and I earned a D in one of my classes.  We can't make anything lower than a C, so now I am on academic probation and my graduation date is now pushed back a year.  I was going to take a leave of absence in the fall (I have to make up my class in the spring) but after putting some numbers together I do not think I will be able to work enough to make what I need each month.  Full time work is not guaranteed in the area where I attend school.  Therefore, I have decided to take some classes over part time so I can receive federal aid for living expenses, as well as work part time to pay off my credit cards.

I know it sounds silly paying off debt with debt, but I really do feel that this is the best option for me at this point.  With me taking fewer classes this year, I should be able to work much more often and pay off my debt more quickly.  I have a summer internship that starts next week and I plan on saving money for now in case something comes up or I am not able to work as much as I think I'll be able to in the fall.

Until I receive my first check from my internship, I'll still be living off my credit cards.  I barely made my car payment for May and hopefully I'll have enough paychecks in June to cover it.  One good thing about this summer is that with paychecks showing full time work, I should be able to refinance my car loan because the payments are really killing me.

Here are the quick numbers that I put together...I will start with my new variable expenses allotment in June...

Rent...400 (paid through August)
Car insurance...94
Renter's insurance...15
Cell Phone...86.18
Entertainment (Netflix and Hulu)...8.75 + 8.15
Debt (CC Payments)...100
Cancer Insurance...17.90

Total fixed payments (not including gas and food):  1450.23


1875.23...New total to live!!!