October Wrap-up

Rent10500Total is 2100
Cell120+13I pay for mine & bf's
Car Payment3700

Oil Change15+45yearly
Misc Car17+40.10yearly

Our groceries/eating out155+18.49

Eating out w/friends50+63.29

Eating at school50-50Using $50 gift card
Gas 100+12.08Two 80 mi trips
Braces450-450Payments start 11/1
Misc Health20+322cleanings & filling; yrly
Health Insurance100-82.41Pay this every 2 mos
Dry Cleaning20-20

Entertainment20+9.53books & movie
Misc0+34.37shipping, ebay fees


Unfortunately, I exceeded my budget in nearly every category! :( BUT the food and gas costs are partially so high because I had to travel much farther than usual two days this month (160 miles in total) to help out my sister. Next month I'm almost positive I can stay within budget.

Goals for November:
  1. Sell 5 purses. (sold one today (11/1))
  2. Use the money towards the Visa.
  3. Call Macy's and Capital One and try to get the negative marks lifted from my credit reports.
  4. Speak to a recruiter and possibly get a full-time job, starting in December (I reeeally have to think about this one.)
  5. Keep working on a consistent exercise routine, consisting of exercise bike, yoga, tennis, and Wii Fit.
  6. Keep trying to eat healthier.
  8. START STUDYING FOR FINALS!! Finish my last paper for one class by 11/10.

Woo hoo!

I've paid off nearly half of my credit card debt! It's now below $10,000. The rest I'll have to tackle more slowly... but I'm feeling really motivated! This blog (and my awesome readers, all 2 of you! haha) has helped so much. :) I know this is an obvious thing to say, but -- I can't wait to rid myself of the rest of this debt!! I see the end in sight! (...ok, this is me being in denial about the student loans. but I have to maintain my sanity somehow! ;) one thing at a time)

As of tomorrow... Mastercard is paid off!

I figured I might as well pay off the card so I wouldn't have to keep dealing with the monthly interest charges. I also have a few things left to sell so that should boost my bank account back up by at least $1000. I still have around $6500 to live on, so that should sustain me at least until January, when I get my next loan payment.

I can't wait to update my debt totals tomorrow, when the payment posts!!

Emergency Fund

I updated my Emergency Fund sidebar to adjust the goal to $8000 (about 3 months worth of living). I'm not going to start contributing to the fund until my credit cards are paid off... unfortunately, that probably won't be for another year. :(

Update: I changed the number to $15,000 to provide me 6 months of living.

Fun Night

My bf and I were able to have a fun night out without spending any money. :) Partially courtesy of my dad... he treated us to a very nice Japanese restaurant for a late lunch, and then we headed over to a museum to catch a new exhibit that was opening. Tickets were free because we're members (we paid for a two year membership over the summer). And now we're just relaxing at home, playing video games.

We also picked up our first Christmas present earlier in the day at Circuit City. I had a gift card, so my bf just paid $3 for tax, and we walked away with a (nearly) free DVD for his dad.

So all in all, a good non-spendy day. :)

Health/Diet Blog

Taking a cue from SavingDiva, I'm starting my own diet blog detailing my (hopeful) weight loss and my exercise regimen.

It's called A Path to a Happier and Healthier Me! :)

Could you live in a 100 sq. ft. home?

I was reading this article on CNN about a couple moving from their 1800 sq. ft. house to a house the size of a small shed.

Would I voluntarily move into a house that small with my bf? Absolutely, positively, NO.

I love the idea of lessening the amount of possessions... we definitely have too much clutter. But I like room to breathe, room to move around, do some stretches, have friends over who can sprawl on couches and on the floor. Having a house that small, especially living with another person, would make me feel desperate for privacy, edgy, and claustrophobic. I really have no idea how they're doing it.

I understand feeling trapped by rent and mortgage payments and wanting to get away from that, but living in something so small would make me feel just as much if not more trapped. It would be suffocating. The house would no longer be a sanctuary, it would merely be a place to sleep at night. That seems incredibly stressful to me! And for 15k, couldn't you just get a mobile home, which would be bigger and allow you to sell your car?

One Negative Mark down, Two to Go...

I have good news about my credit report. About a month ago, I accessed my Experian credit report and had them launch an investigation into two negative records. One of them was because a relative basically stole my identity and then didn't pay a bill for a looong time. The other was because I (stupidly) forgot to update my address on an old credit card (which I never used) and so didn't receive the bill with my annual fee... I was kicking myself over that one (although WHY they didn't call me, I don't know!), but thought I would try to get Experian to remove it anyway.

I got an update from Experian today, and they said the first mark has been deleted, and the second has been updated. I'm not sure what "updated" means (it looks like that notation on my credit hasn't changed), but I'm thrilled that the first one was deleted! I can't wait to see how far my score has gone up as a result. :)

Today's Spending

I spent a little bit of money today. I took my friend out to lunch (she had paid for my meals earlier in the month and I wanted to pay her back), and we were planning to go to yoga, but the class was full, so we went to the movies instead. I don't go to the movies very often anymore, so the prices always shock me. Over $11 for a matinee??

Here's what I spent today:
$2 parking
$11.75 movies
$42.18 lunch
= $55.93

I'm going to update my budget again to factor in entertainment. I have a bit of a cushion (to accommodate miscellaneous spending), but I should figure out exactly how much I have and exactly how much I can spend.

I want...

I went to the mall today to use a Macy's gift card (I got Lancome eye makeup remove and makeup primer), and as I was browsing the other stores a few things caught my eye. I thought it'd be fun to compile a list of things I'd like to buy in the next few months/years (maybe things I'll never buy, but just lust over a bit ;))

Health & Beauty

  • Vince Paper Leather Jacket
  • Royal blue, pink, white and brown cardigans
  • Black Mini Skirt
  • Black Thigh Highs
  • Black belt (to be paired with colored dresses)
  • Black Knee Highs
  • Colored Tights
  • Gunmetal/gray heels
  • Red heels
  • Red flats... like these Choos!

Sticking to my budget

These were my and my bf's expenses:
= $297.57

That's $3 under our budget... but we still have 2 weeks left in this month!

This is what I've spent on food:
= 41.47

I haven't spent anything at school, because I'm still using my $50 gift card. So I still have 58.53 left for food this month! My friend has bought me a couple meals, so I owe her... I'm going to take her out for Indian this weekend (I've been craving chicken tikka masala...
hopefully my mouth will be able to take it!). That will probably cost $30ish (update: this actually cost $42.18). That will leave me with $28 (update: $16.35), which I'm going to put towards my and my bf's food budget. That gives us the ability to go grocery shopping one last time.

= $80.17

I'm going to use half a tank to drive to my friend's house today. But I think I should still be able to stay within budget, as long as I just stick to driving to and from school for the rest of the month.

Balance Transfer

I mentioned the other day that I was approved for a Capital One credit card with 0% interest for 6 months. When I received the card yesterday, I found out they had only given me a $1000 credit limit. Bummer! I did the balance transfer anyway, for $999 (I know that's weird, but I don't like going all the way up to the limit). Capital One has some program where, after 3 months of payments, they automatically increase your limit. So, I'm hoping in 3 months I can do another balance transfer. It doesn't give me much time with the 0% interest, but at least once that ends, I just have to contend with a 12.99% APR, as opposed to 24.99% on my Mastercard!

I'll update my debt totals once the transfer posts.

Car Expenses

Today I took my car in for an oil change. I had a coupon from the dealer that would've made it $28 for a multi-point inspection and an oil change, but I missed my appointment (not through fault of my own... hmph). I've been putting it off for awhile and needed to get it done today, so I went to EZ Lube. I was shocked to find that they're more expensive than the dealer?! I normally pay $30, but paid $52.99 at EZ Lube. Maybe if I had requested the lowest grade oil the price would've been the same? I have no idea what kind of oil the dealer uses; they've never offered me a choice. I requested the second most expensive type. If I ever go back, I'll check the internet and the manual first to see what oil is recommended for my car.

There were two distinct differences between EZ Lube and the dealer. EZ Lube was much faster - I think my bf and I waited maybe 20 minutes - while it always takes hours at the dealer (we usually walk around town and get lunch while it's being done). And while I have no idea what the mechanics are doing to my car at the dealer, at EZ Lube you can either watch the mechanics at work through a window, or watch them on the live feed broadcasted in the waiting room. The manager brought me out to the car after he had done the oil change to show me the filters and talk to me about what he'd done. He also offered me two other services. I can't remember the first one, but the second was a power steering flush, which I agreed to do (I'm past 35k miles, and I've never had one done). The price seemed steep though -- 59.99. In total, plus tax, I spent $117 on car expenses today.

I'm going to add a line in the budget for "Miscellaneous Car Expenses." I'm going to set it at 100/yr. Everything beyond that will have to come out of my emergency fund.

Cell Phone Bill

I figured out why my cell phone bill was higher than normal. I had the international roaming feature turned on for my bf's phone. I'm almost certain I canceled this after we came back from our trip overseas, but I guess it's possible I forgot.

I also lowered our plan to the cheapest one available (only $10 less, losing 150 minutes! But we've had tons of rollover every month, so we don't need the extra minutes, and this will bring the monthly bill down to the amount for which I budgeted).

We have Iphones, and though we both love them, I think AT&T is gouging us with the internet cost - $20 for each of us. We both use it, but not THAT much.

Making Progress

Yesterday I finally went to yoga class. It was very relaxing, and served as a good distraction from my teeth.

Also, today I started taking vitamins (NatureMade Multi for Her). I know I usually don't take in enough vitamins and minerals, and now that my diet is severely restricted (due to the braces), I'll take in even less. I'm hoping this will help my overall health (and maybe stop my hair from falling out?! It seems to be doing that alot lately - maybe from stress).

My mouth hurts a bit worse today, so I think I'm going to stay in, maybe clean the apartment a little, and read for pleasure while on the exercise bike. I'm also going to try to do another yoga class this weekend - I'm hoping I can convince my bf to come with me. He's stubbornly against yoga right now, for whatever reason. I'm going to try hard to change his mind. Yoga is great!

Braces, part III - On they go

I went in for my appointment at 10 (to prepare, I thoroughly brushed, flossed and used mouthwash). The first thing the lady did was remove the spacers. Then I think she polished my teeth. Then came one of the worst parts - putting the metal brackets on my molars. It seemed to take forever for her to find the right size, and every time we tried a new one, she had to shove it on, and I had to bite, bite, bite on something that felt like the backside of a toothbrush. The orthodontist checked her work, and then the brackets had to come off, glue had to be placed on them, and the shoving/biting process repeated. The glue tasted vaguely like cherries; I heard it would be disgusting, but I swallowed very little, so it wasn't bad. Next she dried my teeth and then began placing the brackets. She put the lower right hand side brackets on, and the ortho came back to check. I'm not sure if he didn't like her work or if he normally puts some on himself, but at that point he stayed and finished the bottom half while she did the top. I was happy about that. I mean, although the staff member was very nice, and seemed knowledgeable and competent, I'm paying over $5000, I want some face time with the orthodontist. After the brackets went on, she had me rinse - my mouth felt so strange at this point. It was very scratchy, very dry, unpleasant. I wished at this point I had brought some chapstick or vaseline with me for my lips. I put alot on in the morning, but it wasn't enough. She told me it would feel better once the wires went on.

So, next step was the wires. She placed them in the brackets, cut off the ends, took them out (she said something about soldering the ends, I think?), and then put them in again. She made sure they weren't poking me in the back (thankfully they still aren't), and then tightened the wires. I felt a decent amount of pressure through this process; it was probably the second worst part, but totally bearable. I was done and came out looking like this........

I feel a bit freakish right now, to be honest. :( But I know it'll just take some time... I (and my mouth) will get used to it.

Two things I like so far about this ortho: (1) I can log-in to their website and view all my records, appointment dates, etc; and (2) their staff is very knowledgeable, friendly, and patiently answered all of my questions (and also are very responsive to e-mail). There were a couple points where we had to wait for the ortho to finish with someone else, and the staffer used the time efficiently, going through their "guide to braces" booklet with me, giving me a braces starter kit, and showing me how to use everything inside of it. I know this is probably common practice, but I liked the way she did it.

In short, although I'm not happy with my appearance, I am happy with the way everything was handled by the ortho, and I know this will all be worth it in the end... and I can't wait to have them off!! Only 8-10 months left.

Notes for myself: Eating curry or drinking red wine will stain my bands (yellow for curry, red for the wine). She said anything with dye in it will stain the bands, so I might want to hold off on eating/drinking that stuff until right before the bands are changed. (No more chicken tikka masala?? nooo) I read a website that tomorrow and the next day I will feel like I was "punched in the mouth." I'm hoping that's an exaggeration.

I miss my old job

More specifically, I miss the money I made from my old job. And the benefits. And the 401k.

I'm considering looking for another big firm job come January. Or maybe I'll try to up my hours at my current job (to 20, netting me $1000/mo), and then start the job hunt next summer. I'm really enjoying my class and work schedule; I have a lot of time to study, and I have time to relax. But the lack of money is stressing me out...

I guess I need to figure out what is more stressful - a full-time job plus school or very very tight funds.

Probably the best thing to do would be to up my hours at my current job, or try to find another part-time job that pays more. That coupled with getting a roommate in January would be perfect. Then next year, when my class load is lighter, I can get a full-time job at a place where there's potential for upward mobility...

Latest Finance Charge

The latest finance charge on my Mastercard posted today - $146.27, bringing my balance to $5959.

I have 10292 in my checking right now. I need $9782 to make it from now until the end of January. That means I can make a $500 payment to the Mastercard and still pay all my bills. That will bring the total down to $5459. I also will make a $450 payment as soon as I receive the funds from my bag. I also am returning a $480 bag today (I was trying to sell it, but then found out the store I bought it from would accept a return), so after subtracting those amounts the balance I'm left with is $4529.

The minimum payment I can make on my Mastercard is $210... so that will have to be factored into my budget. I'll take that from my paycheck every month.

I applied for a Capital one 0% balance transfer card over the weekend and was approved... BUT they didn't tell me my credit line. It could be as low as $500! That would be unhelpful.

I'm trying to put Christmas (and the fact that my boyfriend's entire family has birthdays in December) out of my mind... other than the presents I can get for my friends from my return to Revolve, I have no idea how I'm going to buy presents for everyone else. It's depressing...:\

Braces, Part II - Cleaning & Filling

Today's cleaning cost me $76 (plus $6 for parking - there was nothing in the street, so I had to park in the structure). Tomorrow's filling should cost (at least) $100. That coupled with last week's cleaning means I've spent $300 at the dentist (and an additional $1200 at the orthodontist). Damn teeth.

My spacers aren't bothering me as much anymore, except for the molar next to the spacers on the upper right hand side. It hurts to the point that I can't chew on that side (and I can only gingerly chew on the left side, so I'm still pretty much eating soft stuff - sigh. I REALLY wish I had eaten a couple steaks before the spacers went on). The dentist didn't find anything wrong up there (I'm getting the filling on my upper left hand molar), so I'm not sure what's causing that. Still just pressure? Or maybe I'm grinding my teeth at night? I'm going to mention it to the orthodontist on Thursday.

This hasn't been a fun process, and I'm being constantly reminded by friends that it's only going to get worse. Thanks, guys! Hmph.

Update: The filling actually cost $148 (and the cleaning yesterday was $79). That means I've actually spent $351 at the dentist in the past two weeks. I almost missed my appointment this morning because I overslept, but I'm glad I got it over with. The novocaine shot and the tool that causes brain shaking were unpleasant, but overall it wasn't too bad. Took about 45 minutes. Now my jaw is aching, but at least I don't feel any pain.

Bad Influence

Remember my friend G, who helped enable my last major slip? When I spent the day with her yesterday, I had another slip (though, thankfully, to a much, much lesser extent).

My purchases (everything went on my debit card):
Chai Tea Latte: $3.93
Korean lunch: $8.46
Indian dinner: $21.12
= $32.51 (I budgeted for $40-50/mo eating out with friends. This leaves me with $17.49 for the rest of the month.)

Nordies Belt: $73.27 (I have NO budget for clothes, so this was bad. I'm going to hunt in my closet for something unworn & with tags to return so I can make back the money. I think I can wear this belt with a variety of outfits, making them look dressier. So this gives me all the party looks I'll need for the rest of the year. BUT I am definitely going to try to exchange it for a smaller size. If I can't find that, it's going back)

Sephora: $154.08 (I budgeted for $160/yr -- I might be able to stretch what I bought out for another year. But likely will need another powder refill). I did need under eye concealer, and the extra powder. The rest of the stuff was unnecessary... but fun.

Happy Nails: $43 (I budgeted for $31/2 mos. I splurged and got the "deluxe spa pedicure" this time. My nails were chipped and looked horrible and I wanted them nice for my anniversary, so I felt this was justifiable)

In total, I spent $303.86. (I also used up half a tank of gas!) The next time I'm going to see G is on the 17th, but I'm going to be helping her run a booth, so I'm hoping I'll get a free dinner out of it and will spend nothing (other than the half a tank of gas to get to her).

To be fair, I think in the past we've been bad influences on each other. I'm really trying to be a good influence now. I told her I've made a budget, I've started a pf blog, and that I'm serious about reforming my bad habits. It's hard though, because all our fun in the past has revolved around spending. I've also noticed that I'm becoming anal about splitting meals (she shortchanged me by $1.50 at lunch, and she shortchanged me the last time I saw her) and that makes me feel like a jerk, so I don't say anything about it. But it still bugs me. In the past, measly amounts like that would be overlooked, probably on both sides, but now - every penny counts, you know?

I might guilt myself into taking everything back. I need to look at this stuff, and my budget, very carefully. And next time I go out with G, or any friend, I need to make it clear (to myself and to them) what I can and cannot spend. I need to find something fun and free for us to do! Must stay away from the mall!

Productive Day

I got a few things accomplished today:

  1. Returned my Madison Marcus dress (I mentioned it here). I didn't like it enough to be able to justify the cost. I have a green dress that I'll probably wear for my anniversary instead.
  2. Deposited $300 check (transferring the live.com discount from one bank to another)
  3. Deposited $40 cash (from my relative)
  4. Dropped off package at UPS (the purse I sold)
  5. Dropped off package at USPS (returning a shirt to Revolve for $285; I can only get back store credit, so I'm going to use it to buy Xmas presents for all my friends)
  6. Mailed my request for absentee voting ballot (I can't wait to vote!)
  7. Filled my gas tank (-$35)
  8. Got a car wash (I normally get this free with my oil change, but my car was so dirty that it was getting hard to see out of the windows, so I couldn't wait) (-$9)
Now I'm going to clean our room, clean the closet, and eat some dinner 'cause I'm starving!

Complete Debt Disclosure

My debts, for your perusal...
Student Loan Debt

$20,000 (undergrad - need to confirm #)
$215,162.00 (law school)

Credit Card Debt
SV: $4,786
V: $4,843
S MC: $6,745
S: $1,335
CO: $1,379
B: $600
M: 0
(credit limit = $22,605)
Updated on 07/25/13

Boyfriend Loans
Original Loan (paid off my car and my credit cards): $21,415
Loan for Mom's car (I'm repaying half): $5000
Loan for Living (July-August): $3939
Loan for Living (September): $1200
= $25954 out of $31,554
Updated on 09/16/10

Grand Total: $283,471.00
Updated on 09/2010

$0 / $5400
Updated on 5/05/09
Car Loan
$0 / $25,018
Updated on 3/31/09

If I lived in another city, that would be the price of a house! Here, it's half the price of an apartment. I guess that makes me feel better?

Pricey education, eh?

Yay, Money!

My $295 from live.com arrived today (just have to transfer it from one bank account to another). I also sold a bag for $450 (which will be, at best, 390, after ebay and paypal steal from me). That's $685 total that can be thrown towards the Mastercard. I'll update my debt totals as soon as this money is safely in my checking and I can authorize the payment.

Copyright © 2008 - The Debt Chronicles - is proudly powered by Blogger
Smashing Magazine - Design Disease - Blog and Web - Dilectio Blogger Template