Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Debt Progress

I haven't posted about my personal financial goals since the beginning of February.  In December I purchased Quicken, I spent a ton of time inputting every penny into the program so come January - it would start a nice trend/summary and give me great insight into my spending and paying off debt - and to constantly see all my balances right was near impossible to forget my goals.

I was off to a slow start, but I kept putting $1,000+ towards the credit cards each month, but I was also still spending so my balances weren't decreasing as quickly as it should have been.

In April I started a new job and spoke to a financial advisor who confirmed my plan was a good one. 

But in late April, my laptop died. I did not backup my quicken data.  The 5 months of financial data I spent hours on, all gone.  Because of this I felt so out of the loop. There was a month I couldn't remember if I paid my bills, so I double paid, which would be good, if it didn't leave me in a bad situation the next month when I was short on cash.  I went to staples and purchased a budget ledger so I could hand write all my expenses - but this proved more difficult for me because I would forget to record charges, I had piles of receipts to enter...I missed Quicken.

When my laptop was rebuild in late August one of the first things I did was to install Quicken and try to get back on track.  Unfortunately it only synced with up to 3 months for some accounts...but at least I can see my balances again.

So here it is:
  • One credit card I paid off in August 
  • The second card is about $1,500 away, but I keep using it, and will soon be registering for some continuing education classes, which will run about $800 back up to $3,000+
  • I've only been paying the minimum amounts for the student loan and the mortgage
  • The mortgage - I haven't refinanced still...not knowing what I am going to do with my apartment: continuing to rent, sell, move back in?  I didn't want to waste the closing costs on something that wouldn't pay off. 
  • Savings: I increased my automatic deduction by $40 per paycheck, not enough since I am still a LONG way away from having a minimum of 3-5 months expenses saved up.  Now that my credit card balances are much lower, I will increase the savings a little more and put some of that 'extra' money from credit card 1 towards the mortgage/student loans.
  • My car is old.  Although it has a lot of problems (windows and doors get stuck, can only open the doors from the drivers side front door, etc) it gets me where I need to go and I don't use it a ton during the week.  I am glad I haven't purchased/leased another car yet.  However, I had to buy a battery a few months ago, then the car was leaking from a clogged up pipe-  easy, cheap fix....but it took me 2 months to get it repaired and the car smelled for a while.  Then just this morning, my car doesn't start again...another dead battery.  I hope it keeps running for a few more months, I don't want to waste money on something else yet.
  • I have also been more social in the last few months, so I've spent some money on "fun"...dinners, drinks, Broadway shows, ziplining, etc.  I justify this because we all need a little fun.  I can't sit at home all day, every day, even if I am a bit of a homebody.
  • I have spent a bit of money on a nutritionist too...not the wisest choice, but in the long run, health is more important, right? I've been meaning to blog about this experience. 
  • Job: the commute is the same, the standard increases every few years.  However, I have revamped my wardrobe a bit in the last several months.
  • I have been trying to be better about using cash/debit card more.  I haven't charged groceries/gas in a long time.  If I go out to eat, I try to debit card it, provided I know there is money in my checking account. 

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