debt debs

Personal Debt Wrangler – Had my money head in the sand – but no more!


81 Comments

Debtity-do-da! – Debt Repayment Plans

debt-repayment-plans

We’re #1!!

Our debt repayment is now listed in Money Smart Guides Debt Payoff All Stars and we show as in #2 position, but I will advise Jon Dulin after this post to move us into #1 spot, baby!  Yep, we’ve paid $160K in 2.5 years!! :-D  Go check out his list and if you’re on a debt repayment journey you may want to add your numbers to the list.  Nothing like misery loves company, I always say!

So let’s take a look at the numbers since I’m actually on time with my update to our Debt Repayment Plans.

debt-update

click to enlarge

I’m very happy with the consistent progress.  $48.6K paid so far this year – on track to pay my target of $60K and there’s a good chance we will exceed this.  Whether we meet the stretch target of $65K is looking like a possibility, but I don’t want to count my chickens as there’s a few unknowns which I’ll get to in a bit.

Debt Repayment Plans ~ Progress by Type of Debtdebt-repayment-plan

  • Timewise we are 41.3% through our debt repayment journey targeted to end May 18, 2018.  Our debt is 40.7% paid.  So technically we are 0.6% behind but so close!
  • This means our debt remaining is 59.3%, so we are below 60% remaining of our original total debt at 2.5 years into our debt repayment plan.
  • At right is the % paid to date by type of debt.

e-fund-20141004

Our Trusted e-fund

Steady eddy is fine by me, especially with how the year started out. This brings me to our forecast for September. Not sure if it’s because of back-to-school or what, but The Irishman’s income for October will be below our minimum goal of $2,400 / month.  He’s only made $2,200 in September to be paid in October.  He’s been quite busy the last few days so hoping it’s just a temporary blip. Of course, this is why I’m building up my emergency cash fund again.

Plan is to get it to $15,000, because technically it’s not only our emergency fund but also our property taxes fund which are approximately $5,800 and have to be paid in two installments in March and June.

Anyways, I increased it by $2K in September, on top of paying off $5.6K of debt above, so ya, hash-tag winning!!

Plan is to do the same in October but that’s not looking so promising.  We have $1,200 bill for The Irishman’s professional fees and with only minimum income, it’s going to be difficult.  Meh, I’m not going to get worked up about it.  It could be worse.

debs-devotions - MediumDebs’ Devotions #3

Thanks so much to the following blogs for linking my recent posts:  Dan @ Our Big Fat Wallet and Travis @ Enemy of Debt featured my post Credit or Cash?  Pick Your Poison in their weekly round-ups.  Travis is a big fan of cash, as are many of my blogger friends.  However, I also have many blogger friends that endorse credit, like me, mainly for the rewards points but also for easier expense tracking.

In retrospect, I wish I had conducted a poll on that post, but better late than never, I have one for you here folks.  Just for your info, I did a quick tally based on the comments left on that post.  If anyone mentioned that they use cash or debit, even partially (except for really small amounts of cash) I put them on the CASH side, and all others who use Credit and were big on paying of monthly (a must!) and getting rewards I put on the CREDIT side.  Totals came to 20 for CREDIT and 22 for CASH.  So that’s a 48% / 52% split.  Let’s see how the poll comes out.  Even if you already commented last time, please vote in the poll again.  Merci.

Last time I did a poll, I didn’t get a lot of responses, but that was in my early blogging days.  I kind of like polls, to be perfectly honest, so hopefully I can do more on here as inspiration strikes me.

Some favourite posts that resonated with me or were helpful to me:

Stop Dehumanizing The Poor, Homeless from Sam @ Frugaling.  I get overwhelmed when I think about the suffering in the world.  But then I think, I’m no good to anyone, if I let this feeling overtake my emotions.  I do what I can, and I pray.  Please take a look at Sam’s insightful post.

10 Bare Necessity Blogging Tips from Steve @ Kapitalust.  Still learning myself and I like to help others, so I want to share this with fellow blogger readers.  Go check out Steve’s Fluff Piece also for some fantastic photos he took.  So beautiful!

You Don’t Know Jack (and Neither do I) from Laurie @ The Frugal Farmer.  Full of inspiration, Laurie tells us like it is. Incidentally, Laurie was the winner of the Plutus Award at FINCON for Best Green/Sustainability PF blog , worthy of mentioning, just sayin’.

Can I Retire Today? Yes, but I Won’t from Jean @ Nearly Retired.  Jean is finding her way to retirement, like me, so I find lots to think about in her posts and including her FREE Retirement Readiness Assessment which was very helpful.

Scheduling a Side Hustle from B @ Banishing Loans.  She works and full-time job, a part-time job and runs a blog.  Seriously, that is a lot of work and I’m always looking for tips on how to up my game so I can achieve this.  Not only that, but B has opened a second blog Miss on the Money.  Go check out her first official post there.

Society Makes It OK To Te Broke from Kim @ Eyes on the Dollar.  Kim has a perfect everyday example of how some people live, but maybe don’t need to.  Not saying all financial hardship is easy to solve, but with some effort, I would think that situations like this could be turned around.

BATB TV: Tips to Save Money from Tonya @ Budget and the Beach.  Oh how I laughed and laughed.  Seriously, who needs Cable TV when you’ve got great content right here on your lap!

Filed Under Life as We Know It

Monkey-Butt-DepartsOK, that’s a wrap.  I’m doing Brian’s 31 days of Writing this month and I’m not gonna lie, it ain’t easy.  I was doing okay until last night and fell asleep on my daughters couch as she was putting Monkey Butt to bed.  He’s gone for ten days so I’ll just have to come and stare at this picture taken last night just before supper.

Tweedledum-TweedledeeThis means we’ve got our two grand-dogs for the next 10 days or what I’ve dubbed “10 Days of Misery”.  LOL  We love dogs but these two are seriously high maintenance.  The wiener (let’s call her Tweedledee) has a back problem and has to be carried up and down stairs and has been diagnosed with renal (kidney) issues after a recent sickness.  The black rescue (Tweedledum) cannot be trusted with free reign of the house as he marks his territory.  One whines for food (and she’s off most stuff except special kidney food and green peppers) and the other whines for us to throw his toy.   They are pretty cute so all errant behaviours are quickly forgiven. Nama thinks they may have a bath and hair clipping in their near future if she get’s around to it.    October is our dog sitting month.  Next week we have the neighbour’s dog for a few days and we have another neighbour’s dog for 2+ weeks after the grand-dogs go home!  Go big or go home, so they say!

Would you consider joining the Debt All Stars List?  Did you vote in the Cash versus Credit poll?  Have you ever dog-sit before? 

Part of

Friday Jet Fuel #14


71 Comments

Frugal FinCon Fiesta Update & Blogger Awards

debt-debsdebs’ devotions #2

Well I may have been a little to ambitious in my Six Month Blogiversary post (you know, the one with a poem disguised as rap song), when I launched my WEEKLY edition of Debs Devotions.  For a personal finance (PF) blogger who only publishes twice a week, that may have been a little lofty to call it WEEKLY.  I haven’t decided yet if I’ll do it biweekly, every three weeks (that would be strange but definitely in the realm of possibility), or monthly – sue me.

So since it feels like a long time and I have a lot of updates, lemme start.

Frugal FinCon Fiesta (FFF)

Well that was really fun and exceeded my expectations.  A bunch of us PF bloggers who were fairly new and focusing on our debt journey joined in a blog party to entertain each other while all our blogmates were boozing it up networking and learning at FinCon 2014.  Well I could say that a libation or five were enjoyed while we virtually partied on blogs and google hangouts but I’ll stick with what goes on in the internet, stays on the internet – ain’t that the truth?!  :-D

I’d like to thank the following Fantastic Frugal FinCon Fiesta-ers for participating with their Ask Me Anything posts: Femme Frugality, pftwins, The Daily Whisk, Cottage Retreatist, Frankly Frugal Finance, Two Kids and a Budget, Downstairs and in Debt, Frugalwoods, Shoeaholic No More, Indebted and in Debt, Debt Discipline, Millennial on a Budget, Busted Budget, Nearly Retired, Messy Money, The Single Dollar, House of Tre, The Spunky Banker, The Intentional Penny, Sunburnt Saver.

I really enjoyed reading all of your Q&A’s and answers and getting to know the person behind the PF blog more.  The sense of community is quite welcome.  It’s like you can talk to other PF bloggers about your deep dark secrets about your financial history and mistakes but you feel less comfortable talking to your friends and family about this topic which can be sensitive.  I want to break that mold and am doing this in a gradual manner starting with family and friends.  I need to be careful to protect my anonymity (for career purposes) and have no link between my blog and career which makes things quite tricky, since I’m basically just a blabbermouth at heart!

I will say that the support from PF bloggers is awesome, when you are on a debt journey, because you meet people with common goals.  You may not have others with the same issues in your circle of friends (they may but you just don’t know about it) and that’s why it feels lonely.    If you do know someone in person, then that’s a bonus way to get support.  Maybe you do know someone, but they are not treating their finances with respect and that frustrates you, so you really don’t have as much common ground as you should.

So as a PF blogger, I’d have to say it was well worth the $2.28 I paid to inLinkz for a monthly subscription to their linky tool. I put that cost in my Entertainment budget line, because at this point that’s what this blog is – purely for my entertainment!  :-)  I’m still trying to reach the broader community of people struggling with debt.  I have a few tricks up my sleeve, but more on that when I get a chance to start to implement them.

In the meantime, I’ve made $20.58 on Google Adsense revenue in three months and a big fat $0.oo on affiliate advertising.  Not sure what I’m doing wrong here, but when I figure it out, I’ll be sure to write a post on it.  I noticed that there’s a lot of generic posts on this topic but no specific posts on the how tos and I find navigating this area a little complex.

Thanks so much to No More Waffles, Budget Blonde, Freedom 35, Money Propeller for promoting our FFF!  Really appreciate it blogging buddies!

Also thanks to Young Adult Money for including my Reasons I’m Happy I’m Not Going to FinCon in his weekly roundup.   The plan is to definitely go to FinCon next year.  I don’t know where it is yet, but where there’s a will there’s a way, and I’ve got the WILL.

Versatile Blogger and Liebster Awards

I’ve been graciously nominated by other fellow bloggers (that rock!) for the above awards.

Autumn @ Barefoot Budgeter , Hayley @ A Disease Called Debt , Kassandra @ More Than Just Money and Tre @ House of Tre for the Versatile Blogger Award and Dan @ Our Big Fat Wallet for the Liebster Award.

versatile-blogger-award-trophyVersatile Blogger Award

The rules are different so I’ll take each one in turn.  For the Versatile Blogger Award:

  •  Tell 7 things about yourself (this is easy, even though I blabbed a lot about myself in Q&A at FFF and in this blog, I’m such an open book I can still think of more)
  • Nominate 15 bloggers (whoa, this is going to be hard because most of my blogging buddies have already been nominated, plus 15 is a big number (!), let me try!)

So here’s my list of 7, some frivolous and some deep:

  1. I love broccoli and zucchini.
  2. I was sexually molested as a child.  I may write about this some day but hard to tie into personal finance.
  3. A movie that  left a big impression on me was Sophie’s choice with Meryl Streep and Kevin Kline.  How could a mother choose between her two children in that awful situation?
  4. I hate making a salad.  Washing lettuce sucks.
  5. I had a cyst removed from my right eye as a kid, which left a scar.   I got what I think is a deep rooted pimple on my left eyebrow the other day but I wondered if it was another cyst.  I think it’s a pimple because it hurts when I touch it.
  6. I played touch football one summer.  I wasn’t that good.
  7. I used to love playing Lexulous (on line form of scrabble), but then I started blogging and have no time for this anymore.

Hard to know if people have been nominated before or not unless they display a button on their blog or you do a search.  I’m going to pick ones that I don’t think have been nominated.  If you have or choose not to participate, no biggie.  Also, I’ve noticed sometimes people just link to the blog instead of a particular blog post.  I’ve linked to the latest blog post so that the recipient gets a ping back:

  1. Everybody Loves Your Money – I’ve just discovered recently that is an Australian blog, so thought that was worth pointing out.
  2. Debt Camel – very useful debt advice here from the UK.  I’m not sure if she will consider doing a Versatile Blogger type post, but I’m hoping she can put a debt worthy spin on the topic if she chooses to.
  3. Budget Loving Military Wife  – currently posted in UK and shares awesome travel, frugal living, offers and debt repayment posts.
  4. Islands of Investing – Jason’s also from Australia and I think he likes doing these sort of posts, because he’s not on Twitter.  Don’t ask me what the correlation is, but it’s just a gut feel.
  5. Frugal Fringe – I nominated Noonan for Best-Kept Secret Personal Finance Blog for the Plutus awards but he didn’t make it to the five finalists.  Noonan also doesn’t have twitter but even still I tweet his posts as he writes good stuff.
  6. Debt Discipline – okay I’m cheating here because Brian already did a Versatile Blogger post and I’m linking to it here.  I just wanted to include him because he was a finalist in the Best-Kept Secret Personal Finance Blog and now gets to put that special badge on his blog!  Also he was in an awesome podcast recently – see below.  Edited to add:  Brian’s family is now debt free
  7. Couple Money – Elle’s a pro and has been at this for a while.  She started podcasting this week.  Go check out Brian’s interview.  Elle will you do a post on 7 random facts about your pregnancy and parenting?
  8. Millennial on a Budget – is a noobie blogger whom I just discovered during FFF, trying to find balance and a “rich” life.  I say Amen to that!
  9. The Intentional Penny – is also a blogger I met through FFF.  She’s almost halfway through he $40K of debt and a really new blogger.  Go check her out and give her a warm welcome to the PF blogging community!
  10. Debt Free Guys – These guys have the Money Masters Series which is cool, but since I like to know a bit more about the personal side of bloggers, I’m hoping they will share, like 3.5 points each.
  11. Eat Laugh Purr  - when I searched for the word versatile on this blog, I got a lot of recipes, so #1 I don’t think she’s done VB award and #2 if you need some great recipes go here.
  12. Makin the Bacon - is a new-to-me site, so I’m just gonna have to check her out and you should too!
  13. Busy Mom Budgets - is a SAHM whose making her budget work for their family!  I’m new to her blog but I’m trying to stay on top of SAHM’s in case my daughter decides at some point to stay home too!  She’s due to go back from maternity leave in November.
  14. Retired Not Tired – is a retired grandmother who I like to check out and see what she’s up to.  She likes to do the meme type posts, so I’m hoping she will graciously accept in the Versatile Blogger Award and tell me 7 random things about retirement that I can look forward to.
  15. This spots for you! – If you’re a blogger I read or don’t read and have not been nominated for the Versatile Blogger Award, please comment and this spot is yours for the first blogger who responds!

Liebster Award

liebster3For the Liebster Award, here are Dan’s questions:

(1) Why did you start blogging? Has it turned out to be what you expected?

I started blogging for stress relief about our personal finance situation and for entertainment.  It’s turned out to be a lot better than expected.  There are some drawbacks due to time commitment, but since it’s partially for entertainment and support I try to look at the overall picture.  I used to blog many years ago and my old blog is still there but it’s a bit of a mess (headers from previous free theme template are now taken down, probably a lot of broken links).  My husband used to complain that I spent too much time blogging so I quit.  I didn’t have a focus for that blog like I do for this on personal finance.  It was purely for entertainment and personal support.  The Irishman doesn’t complain about this blog though. ;-)

(2) What has been your favorite blog post you have written so far?

I already put in my FFF post my favourite blog post was the one about my two mother figures and how important there were in my life.  They are both now deceased, so I will pick my second favourite post which is the one about my Dad, who is still here, called Father’s Frugal Finances.  I seem to have a thing about phonetically worded things especially around the letter ‘F’.  One that generated a lot of  traffic because it was featured on Rockstar Finance  was also really fun to make.  That was a good one too.  I guess I need to start a favourite posts page.

(3) How did you decide on the name of your blog?

Well it’s so true that I have this thing about phonetics, so I guess it just came easily.  It was also important to me that I have a brand established, in case there were other Debs in the blogging world.  My name is Deborah, I go by Deb or Deborah and sometimes Debs which is a British pet name which my Mum sometimes referred to me as.  I’m actually in the process of trying to change my nickname from Deb to Debs because I like it that much and prefer to be unique.  It can be done because when I started working full-time I gradually got people calling me Deborah instead of Debbie, which was my childhood name and I wasn’t too fussed on it, so I wanted to leave it in the past.

(4) Sum up your life in 6 words or less.

I started with ~ Happy to live, laugh and love.

Then found that too boring (even if true) and came up with  ~ The world spins, so do I.

My final version which combines both sentiments ~ My world rocks and spins.

(5) Earliest money memory? (If you would like to share)

Why, yes, I would like to share, even if not a happy one.  I remember crying and being in a hospital or a clinic and I seem to feel like my parents were leaving me there.  I don’t know if it was for my cyst surgery (suspect not) or if it was when I was climbing at the grocery store and fell and bonked my head and developed a big bump.  From then on I was known as Debbie Down because I used to climb a lot and my parents continually were saying “Debbie, get down” which eventually became “Debbie, down!”

 

Oh dear, this post is entirely too long!  Sorry about that.  Maybe I need to go to posting more than twice per week.  According to PTMoney’s World of Personal Finance Bloggers, you have to blog at least three times a week to get put on the map.

I’d like to thank Anne at Money Propeller for this post which was invaluable for this post Ctrl + K and I are Good Friends. You should check it out for faster keyboarding skills.  There’s also one on excel.

Now that FinCon is over, now can I go have my nap? ;-)

 

 


80 Comments

Debt Do Run Run

The above was from 1963, I was four years old and The Irishman was eleven.  We just celebrated his 62nd on 9/11 this week.  Yes, fate has linked his birthday to that tragic day never to be forgotten.

So excited about our debt repayment process, I alluded that August was looking good and I’ve had a sneak peak at September and so far so good!  Our debt dropped $6.4K in August (and $3.6K so far in September – not shown).  I’m just shy of my timeline – I should be at 40% paid off towards our debt repayment date of May 18, 2018 but I’m at 39.3%.  I’m hoping I may be ahead of schedule for my September update.  We’ll see.

debt-update

click to enlarge

Buoyed with this consistent and solid performance, I’ve added a new debt repayment date counter in my sidebar.  It says I am three years to debt repayment, but it’s actually 3 years 8 months.  My stretch target is 3 years 3 months.  I did some calculations yesterday and a got a glimpse that maybe it was down to 3 years 5 months but immediately figured I made a mistake.  I’ll leave a little more time pass and recalculate again.  I don’t want to jinx us, and we still have to get through that dreaded winter where income may fall short again.

This time of year is generally better for us cash flow wise.  The additional payroll deductions that hit in the first part of the year are long gone.  To prepare for winter/spring lower income, I’m boosting up my e-fund/property taxes fund to $15K.  I’m currently at almost $9K.
debt-emergency-fund
Now for some exciting news!

Frugal FinCon Fiesta Party

debt-frugal-fincon-fiesta
So while I’m running away all my debt, and don’t make enough on my blog to cover my costs plus many other good reasons (check it out if you want a laugh), I’ve conspired with some of my fellow bloggers to do something fun while the rest of you are lollygagging* away in New Orleans.  Before I tell you what’s in it for the rest of us, let me tell you a bit more about FINCON.

  • It’s a conference for financial media – bloggers, journalists and freelance writers, financial advisors and coaches, podcasters and brand marketing experts.
  • There are workshops and speakers on beginner, intermediate and advanced topics to help communicators write better content, broadcast their message to larger audiences, learn to work with new media platforms.
  • It runs from Thu Sep 18 – Sat Sep 20 this year, 2014.
  • There’s a $99 virtual pass where you get lifetime access to all the keynotes and breakout sessions including videos, slides and MP3’s.
  • It costs $499 for the conference fee.  There were other passes available for advanced sessions etc. but they are now sold out.  Hot stuff!
  • You can’t bring your spouse into the sessions / parties unless they are a registered attendee (Guess they’re taking a nap!)
  • There are FinCon mobile apps at the iPhone store or the Google Play Store (Android).
  • The tweet tag is #FinCon14.
  • For more information visit the FinConExpo.com

*I needed to check the meaning of lollygag to make sure I was using it in the right context.

lollygag

verb

    1. To idle about; goof off: He has the summer free for play, swimming, berry picking, and general lallygagging/ when my nephew and his companion lollygagged back to my house (1862+)
    2. To kiss and caress; dally; make out, neck, trade spit (1868+)

I think maybe I am, he he, but no worries.  But I just wanna say that if there is any of item #2 above going on, can you at least wait for next year when I can go?

Okay, on to the details about the Frugal FinCon Fiesta Party.

  • It will run Sep 18 – 20 to coincide with FINCON and allow people time to visit other blogs (after all, most of us are working during the day, or taking a nap ;-) )
  • It will be an open linky party using the inlinkz tool.  You do not have to get an account. I have provided the code to insert into your blog post.**  This will display links with pictures to all of the other partyers on your post.  Here is an example from #FinSavSat.  If you do not have a self-hosted blog but use WordPress.com, it will show up as little frog like in this post (from when I used to be on WordPress.com) but will take you to the linked blogs.***
  • The purpose is to entertain questions from your readers like J. Money did in Ask J. Money Anything Day and Crystal did in Ask Crystal Anything Days.  Answer the questions in the blog post (like live blogging over a 3 day period, as time permits, of course).  Indicate in the comments when the question has been answered in the post.  If you choose to get the party started by posting some teaser questions and answers about random facts about yourself, then by all means go ahead.  This can be a great way to spawn future blog posts, if the answer is quite complex.
  • I also would like you to encourage non-blogger readers to say ‘hi’, even if they don’t ask a question at this party.
  • Let’s do some banter in the comments as well, not the usual commenter comments and blogger responds.  Let’s mix it up and comment to other’s comments for some $hits and giggles.
  • It will be super hot if you put a picture in the header of your post which you can select for the inlinkz. (or it will give you the option to choose other photos on your blog).  There are tons of great shots if you search on “Fiesta” in MorgueFile.com to give your post some pizazz!
  • I reserve the right to take down any spammy links or otherwise party-poopers who are not participating in the party with the spirit in which it was intended.
  • TWEET #FrugalFINCONFiesta and HAVE FUN!

** Write your introduction to your post and then click on this link to get the code to be inserted in the text (html view) at the end of your party post.  get the InLinkz code Note:  You will not see it in preview mode.  It needs to be posted live to show up.  If you prefer to test, edit an old post.

Link your own post up to the party by clicking on the little blue box that says “Add your link” at the bottom.

*** Special instructions on how to set this up on WordPress.com is linked here from inlinkz. (non self-hosted blogs)

So what do you have to say about the ‘hotness’ of my debt repayment?  Are you in for the Frugal FinCon Fiesta (Hotness) Party?  Any non-bloggers wanna give me a wink?  ;-)
#FrugalFinConFiesta

This post is part of Friday Jet Fuel #10 and

brokeGIRLrich


85 Comments

I Just Paid Off my Cash Advance Credit Card

… and other stuff

But first

I am excited to be guest posting at Financial Samurai today.  Steps To Get Out Of MASSIVE Credit Card Debt Due To Lifestyle Inflation.

Steps To Get Out Of MASSIVE Credit Card Debt Due To Lifestyle Inflation – See more at: http://www.financialsamurai.com/steps-to-get-out-of-massive-credit-card-debt-thanks-to-lifestyle-inflation/#sthash.rlqueGIK.dpuf
Steps To Get Out Of MASSIVE Credit Card Debt Due To Lifestyle Inflation – See more at: http://www.financialsamurai.com/steps-to-get-out-of-massive-credit-card-debt-thanks-to-lifestyle-inflation/#sthash.rlqueGIK.dpuf
Steps To Get Out Of MASSIVE Credit Card Debt Due To Lifestyle Inflation – See more at: http://www.financialsamurai.com/steps-to-get-out-of-massive-credit-card-debt-thanks-to-lifestyle-inflation/#sthash.rlqueGIK.dpuf
Steps To Get Out Of MASSIVE Credit Card Debt Due To Lifestyle Inflation – See more at: http://www.financialsamurai.com/steps-to-get-out-of-massive-credit-card-debt-thanks-to-lifestyle-inflation/#sthash.rlqueGIK.dpuf

And second

I want to thank everyone who commented for their support on my last post Thoughts on Suicide which was incredibly difficult to write.  Actually I take that back, it was quite cathartic to write and was written very easily.  What I didn’t expect was the after effect.  I felt quite drained for a few days.  But that’s okay, it needed to be said.  It is very comforting to see the number of people who have written on this topic recently, not only from the sufferers perspective but from the caregivers perspective as well.  I know both sides of this coin, so I fully endorse these views.

One Year Blogiversary from Green Money Stream – Kay has shared that she recently has been dealing with depression and I want to support her in any way I can.

Why Do We Wait from Budget and the Beach – Tonya has written some wonderful prose that is well worth reading and heeding.  Thanks for sharing my post, too!

The Impact of Mental Illness and Suicide from The Money Pincher – her experience with her father’s death, full of regrets, laments and frustrations, keeping it real.

You Are Not Alone from The Pursuit of Riches – Debby’s been touched by this illness and has learned much compassion, something we can all use a little more of.

Being Grateful: Thirty-Ninth Edition from Journey to Saving – E.M. shares her dark ages and her journey to the light, and what a bright light she is in our PF world!

I was so inspired by some things said, I turned some quotes into picture tweets:

 

 

Thanks to Shannon for linking my post in her roundup: Blog Round-Up: Week of August 11, 2014

 

There is hope for all those who are suffering.  Keep trying and tell someone who can help you.  Do not suffer alone in fear of being a burden to your family or friends.  Give them a chance to help guide you.  If you don’t get the support you need, tell someone else (and forgive them, they may have their own burdens not yet known).  By all means draw on your support network, and part of that support network is you.

And finally third

I’m so late in getting my debt update from beginning of August done.  I was supposed to do this Sat and well, read above.  It’s going to plan which is great.  I don’t have my little graph updated but will do that next month.   So here are the numbers:

cash-advance-credit-card

click to enlarge

 

Time wise I am 39% through to our May 18, 2018 debt payoff date, but I am only 37.6% through the debt.  Not going to get all panicky about this yet.

Okay, so you are going to say what does this post at all have to do with Low Rate Cash Advance Credit Cards?  Well see the number under credit cards above for $6,014 above?  Well that was as of August 1, and included in that number was $2082.21 still owing on our 11 month 0.99% cash advance credit card for which we paid $24K against our mortgage and have been slowly paying off all year.   That is now paid off as of Friday!  Yay!  All of my angst about the winter months of low income and having to dip into our emergency fund are behind me (for now!).  So ya, whew!  All in a day in the life of a personal finance debt blogger.

Now you have a good week now, y’hear.


94 Comments

Thoughts on Suicide

I never thought the day would come when I would write about this. In fact, I immediately dismissed the idea when it popped into my head.

But here it is staring many, many of us down, like a big festering pimple.

The ‘S’ word.

We have all been touched by the loss of Robin Williams. His uniqueness, his notoriety, his talent, his presence, his diversity, his accents and his laugh will be missed. No doubt his family will miss so much more. Most that only knew him as a celebrity, may have heard of struggles with alcohol and drugs. I had not heard about his depression. But in retrospect, it makes sense.   Issues with any addictions are usually about trying to cope with something like this.

It’s been many years, but I know the darkness and pain in the world of people who face this disease.

I was in my late twenties. My self esteem was in the toilet in the middle of difficult relationship. I felt unloved, unworthy, untalented and just really sad. There was lots of alcohol and risk taking during this period. Then the pain began. Then I started fantasizing about a pain free state. I thought about the hows. I thought about the sadness I would cause my family. I couldn’t bear it, but still the pain persisted.

I soldiered on, I continued to manage to work and I started psychological counseling. I was pretty together when I first met my psychologist but she did some testing on me to evaluate the depth of my depression. That was very appropriate for her to do because I was faking a lot without even realizing it.

As soon as she got the results, she was flabbergasted and went into full damage control, setting up a suicide pact with me. If I ever wanted to do something, I promised her that I would call her first.   She prodded me and needled me on this like a mother bear manages her cub. I barely knew this older Jewish lady, yet I felt comforted that she seemed to know her stuff and was very concerned about me. Someone knew the depth of my secret and that was the first step in opening a tiny crack in my darkness to let the light in. I would learn later the importance of the connection between counselor and patient when I went for therapy at other points in my life. Since she was my first, I didn’t know how good she was, but would find out later with other therapists. [Take away: If one doesn’t click, find another]

The drinking continued and so did the bad thoughts. I thought about accidents, how I could stage them. Jumping off a chair lift, driving into a wall. It scared the $#!+ out of me, but yet I still kept thinking. The pain persisted and I found some relief at the butt of a burning cigarette put into my arm, for which I still bear the scar today. The bad thoughts had jumped out of my head and were now evidenced in physical terms on my body.  I could not deny it any longer. The physical injury and reality of this act was enough for me to say, man I’m <#(%ed up. I guess it was my rock bottom, because I knew if I continued this way, I would be self-harming a lot because it brought great relief. I sought that crack of light and continued to practice my coping strategies which then started having some impact. Once I started moving up instead of down, things moved quite quickly, but like a scuba diver going to the surface, my psychologist didn’t want me to surface too soon in case my recovery was premature and then I would relapse.

This was my worst depression. I was brought out of it without the use of drugs but strictly with very good cognitive behavioural therapy. That’s the best treatment for me. I have been quite low since, with some thoughts but not to the same extent. I’ve also used medication during some periods of depression which helped quite a bit. I’ve been medication and therapy free for five years, but it doesn’t mean I still don’t have some lows. I don’t rule out that I may need either type of treatment again. You just never know. My mental well being is heavily influenced by my life circumstances.

I was thinking that maturity and experience has shown me that eventually I can bounce back so I just have to ride out the storm. But then I look at Robin Williams and wonder if he had never learned that he could ride out the storm. His storm must have been much worse, because from where I sit, I would think he had smooth sailing.  He certainly would not have had any financial worries, could he?  It has taken me a number of months to process feelings about a former colleague who ended her life earlier this year. She was the same age as me, had two grandchildren, beautiful home and seemed to be sailing into the sunset.  I did not see that coming. Not only is it incredibly sad but It scares me as well.   It seemed like she had been able to go even further in her life compared to mine.  Don’t compare.  A young indirect subordinate in her early twenties ended her life when she worked in my team back in the 90’s. She was vivacious and beautiful. I felt incredible guilt that I did not see that coming either. My daughter lost a friend in high school, the daughter of our neighbour.

I’m not even going to mention the number of attempted suicides of people I know or are very close to.  I am just so thankful they have a chance to dance again. Like my cigarette butt scar reminds me, it’s possible to be happy and laugh again.

I recommend some related reads on this topic from other PF blogs:

Depression and Christianity and Student Loans by Kirsten @ Indebted and In Debt

Oh Captain, My Captain by Tanya @ Eat, Laugh, Purr

What has your experience been with suicide or mental illness in your life?
Do you think it’s possible that if you are exposed to suicide a lot it makes you stronger, or more vulnerable or neither?
What was your favourite Robin Williams role or movie?

Part of Friday Jet Fuel #6 and

Messy Money
Multitasking


42 Comments

The New Multitasking – Fragmentasking

MultitaskingDoes the word multitasking make you feel energized and alive?

Not the first thing you think of?  It used to be such a cool word when it was the new black.  Kinda like twerking got popular this year (although that word wants to make be barf).  How about selfie?  It’s sorta cute in a narcissistic kind of way!

My form of multitasking is so fragmented, that I wanna coin a new term fragmentasking.  It basically means flipping around from this to that until the time allotted runs out or you go to bed.  Whichever comes first. Fragmentasking sounds like frugal and fraggles so I’m all over that.  Do you fangirls and bros think your tweeps can relate to that?

So on that topic, here’s what my fabulous and frugal days have me fragmentasking about lately, in no particular order, I give you…

THE FRAGMENTASKING LIST

UHF/VHF/FM/HDTV Compact Outdoor Antenna

Home Hardware: UHF/VHF/FM/HDTV Compact Outdoor Antenna – $134.99

Digiwave Digital TV Antenna ANT7286

WALMART: Digiwave Digital TV Antenna ANT7286 – $89.97

1.  Two weeks ago I let you know we were joining the cable cutting club even though, we actually starting discussing this back in March and I even reached out to fellow blogger Kay at Green Money Stream inquiring about what type of digital antenna they got.  The Irishman has been researching Walmart, The Source, Staples and Home Hardware but we still are antennaless, and alas not cableless … yet.  Enough already.  I still don’t know how I’m gonna watch THE LITTLE COUPLE yet (man I love that show! eeek… I forgot to watch it last night!!!  Oh, man, I guess I won’t miss it that much), so that’s on my fragmentasking list to research.

2.  I had a killer week last week – a project Go Live and there was a last minute glitch identified Tuesday that had to be addressed by Thursday so we could run all the batch jobs over the weekend.  Some configurations had to be updated that had not been detected during testing (grrr…) so three twelve hour days later all the work was completed.  I had to really ignore my fragmentasking during this time because I suck at it and apparently Stefanie from the Broke and Beautiful Life does too.  So I followed the advice I gave Stefanie and said “Hold all calls” (in my head, gee I’ve always wanted to say that), until the work was done.  A little bit of fallout this week that I’m dealing with, unrelated to the initial issue, but hey, that’s life my job.

3.  After a nice Father’s Day brunch at one of my daughter’s, The Irishman, my youngest and I actually spent Sunday afternoon working on stage 2 of garage cleanup.  It was easier with three of us doing it together and I was really pleased that my OCD daughter was able to put herself out there and brave the dirty disgusting garage.   We sorted through a bunch of stuff and The Irishman took a load of donations to Value Village.  Weather was great and we were tired and sore by 5 p.m.  A bunch of garbage got picked up today on trash day.  Good riddance!  Stage 3 fragmentask and possibly 4 will be needed, but they should get easier, now that we’ve cleared up a lot of room.  Not the funnest day to spend Father’s Day but he seemed pleased with the progress and I was a happy mama!  Here’s a before picture but you can’t see final until it’s all done!

garage-before-cleaning4.  So needless to say, with Father’s Day and garage cleaning, I haven’t made any progress yet on my stock portfolio tracking to get comfortable with making the big move to a self-managed retirement portfolio.   I’m very meticulous and very nervous so this will take me some time, but I’m committed to do this.  Is anyone else hearing about a stock market correction?  I keep hearing one is coming, but the quick glance at the daily emails I get, so far so good.

chip-system-grocery-saving5.  Another fragment on my plate is dealing with how to reduce our grocery bill which for us is $800/month but it includes pet food, paper products, toiletries – basically anything we buy at Costco, any grocery stores and Shopper’s Drug Mart.  I use MINT so it’s just easier to have all those stores go to our grocery budget line.   We’ve  been eating our pantry right now so that’s all we’ve done in the short term, but still need to delve in it more.  One idea I’ve had (since The Irishman seems to love going to grocery stores ug and we like to use credit cards to get the cash back rewards), is to use a copycat cash system.  I would get 30 poker chips and two baskets – one spent and unspent.  Every time one of us spends $20 of this grocery budget, we move a chip over to the spent basket.  This way there is a visual of how much money is left and we need to figure out how to make it last until the end of the month.

6.  On the topic of savings, Money Ahoy’s Derek is preaching to my choir when he said Turn Off Your Outside Lights at Night.  I don’t believe you need to leave the outside lights on when you go to bed or even later in the evening.  The Irishman likes to leave the back deck light on for security reasons but I think it’s redundant.  We had front yard lights on a few weeks ago when he left his truck unlocked and someone went in and stole his GPS.  Grrrr… laughs on them though because they didn’t take the charger and the dang thing never holds a charge anymore.

7.  I tried been trying to keep up with my blog reading and it’s not that easy.  Wave your hand if you also have that problem.  I can get caught up one day and then fall right back behind the next.  I’m a little anal and hate to miss a cool post so I pretty much scan them all or at a minimum read the title and see if it ‘speaks to me’.  That, coupled with finding new blogs to read and going back to read replies to comments I’ve left leaves me in a big taskfragging heap and we’ll just leave it at that.  :-D

8.  In my blog blitz catchup earlier this week I came across The Addiction of Momentary Pleasure and Seeking the Peak from Trent @ The Simple Dollar and I’ve been giving it some thought as I soak in the tub (fragmentasking at it’s best!).   I guess it’s really all about the law of diminishing returns and finding that sweet spot where pleasure is maximized and more doesn’t lead to minimize it.  Confused?  Go read Trent’s post.  It’s kinda cool.

9.   Speaking of momentary pleasures, for a fleeting moment I got to dream about my future after reading Mr. CBB’s Can you picture yourself living the retired life?  It doesn’t mean I’ll be fragmentasking any less, but on my own terms, you betcha!

The Addiction of Momentary Pleasure and Seeking the Peak – See more at: http://www.thesimpledollar.com/the-addiction-of-momentary-pleasure-and-seeking-the-peak/#sthash.KiE86Cf7.dpuf
The Addiction of Momentary Pleasure and Seeking the Peak – See more at: http://www.thesimpledollar.com/the-addiction-of-momentary-pleasure-and-seeking-the-peak/#sthash.KiE86Cf7.dpuf

Images courtesy of FreeDigitalPhotos.net
Prakairoj / Business Man And Post Memo Around Body
Salvatore Vuono / Casino Chips


54 Comments

Curve Balls – When You Are Hit With Unexpected Financial Events

baseball-curve-ballsSpring is here, B-B-Q’s have been lit up and summer’s just around the corner.  Kids are starting their summer activities, whether it be swimming, soccer, football or some form of baseball.  I’ve been thinking about the latter as I review the series of financial events that delivered us to this point in our season.  There were a number of ups and downs that I consider curve balls that we needed to ‘deal’ with and not lose our drive.  So it made sense for me to use baseball terms to relay to you how my winter – spring financial season went.

The Home Team

T-ballMy husband’s income is variable, based on the demand.  He is a real estate appraiser, so swings are inevitable based on the time of year and the market.  Normally, he does receive enough bread and butter engagements to meet a minimum – moderate level of income and that is what I base our debt repayment plans on.  The idea being that it should feel like we’re playing T-ball.  The figure I use for this is $2,400 per month, which gets paid in two installments, the 15th and last day of the month.  He gets paid one month in arrears, meaning he gets paid next month for the work he did this month.  Therefore I know now, what his income will be for June, as an example.

Basically, as part of the battery, all of his income and some of mine goes to debt.  Anything he makes above that budget amount is a bonus baby which we also apply to debt to help us meet our goals even sooner than our five year plan.   Usually, we are able to stick with this as I have all foreseen expenses budgeted (including car repairs, etc.).  However, I don’t move unspent budgeted money that may be needed later into a separate cash account.  Maybe I should, because it can get messy and feels like we have a dead arm, when all of a sudden we do have a big bill, but I’ve already skimmed off the money and applied to debt.

Opening Season

good-baseball-pitcher-curve-ballsSo looking back to the beginning of the year, January was a tough month, because he had not one engagement last December – a strikeout.  So there was no money coming from him for January.  That was our first curve ball.  Debt repayment goal could not be met, or at least not fully.  I scrimped together $1,000 from some actual and anticipated expense savings whilst declaring a bean soup and scrambled eggs on toast menu plan would get us through the lean winter months.  That $1,000 payment felt like damage control.  As the umpire, I had to watch the game closely, even if hoping the home team could steal a base to regain control of the game.

Then I got small hit on a curve ball, when he told me he could give me $2,000 he was saving in his business account which was for an upcoming annual business insurance premium of $3,100 due soon.  We decided we could put the insurance on the credit card giving us one extra month to pay and gaining cash back points, and hopefully business would pick up and we’d be in for a bit of slow pitch now that the Christmas season was over.  He never could explain what happened in December.  Normally it does slow down, but it has never come to a shutout like it did for him in 2013.   He did, however, land a large contract for the city which we could count on down the road because it wouldn’t pay out for a few months.

Regular Season Begins

baseball-player-in-the-airWell that softball turned into hardball pretty quick when we saw that January was not looking very good either.  He ended $1,100 short from our minimum goal.  With two away and two down, I was starting to get kind of panicky.  I had slowed our debt repayment, but we were committed on a low rate cash transfer credit card that needs to be fully paid by August of this year.  We had put a $24,700 lump sum against our 2.89% mortgage debt last Sept, planning to pay the 0.99% credit card off at $2,250 for 11 months.  Yes, I know this is just swapping debt for debt, but was at a lower interest rate and with no transfer fee. It seemed like a good idea since we were planning to make prepayments of more than that amount monthly.  Of course, we had no foresight of the earnings slump that was to come.

We were window shopping for strike 3 near the end of February when it looked like his income for that month to be paid in March was going to fall $700 short from our @2,400 target.  Not only that, but now we had an over $5K Visa payment due in early March (remember the $3,100 insurance above) plus $2,700 of first installment of property taxes due in March.  Normally I put $450/month in my Emergency Fund each month to build up enough to cover property taxes.  Well, with robbing Peter to pay Paul, that didn’t happen, and things were getting very precarious, indeed!

The Losing Streak

empty-baseball-fieldAt this point we are $4,200 negative on budgeted earnings plus I needed to find an additional $1,100 to make up the insurance payment for which he had only $2K for ($3,100 – $2,000).

What did I do?  Bring in a pinch hitter? I scoured the internet looking for part-time job possibilities and while I was doing that I turned into a blogger.  Overnight.  Magically.  Just like that.

I had no knowledge of the term side hustle.  I didn’t think I had the stamina to work 2 shifts per week at Shoppers Drug Mart after a brain draining workday.  I also decided early on that making money at blogging would, for me, be undoubtedly very difficult.  And yet, I was incredibly stressed and needed somewhere to unload.  So a blogger I became.

I dug-out our Emergency Fund.  I know JMoney says No Touchy! but we were dealing with a job loss of sorts (hey, where did all the fans go?).  That is what your E-fund is for.  Unforeseen events that you have no control over.  Okay, broken washing machines and vehicles kind of are too, I’ll give you that.  But hypothetically we are supposed to have a separate maintenance/stuff breaks fund to deal with that.   Some of us do not, but choose to keep our E-fund nice and high to cover that as well.   [Future post coming during the championships about how I plan to increase my Emergency Fund and why.]

Regular Season Ends

Batter-upThen we hit two home runs in a row.  The first was a due to a change-up with a family member and it was an out-of-the-park HR.  My husband is a licensed realtor and acted as agent for my sis and BIL to buy a new home and sell their existing home.  He had not intended on charging them any commission and in turn, return to them the fee he received from the purchase of their new home.  They insisted that we keep his earned commission from the purchase and in return for not taking a commission on the sale of their home they wanted to take us on a cruise (which we gratefully declined).

So that $4,000 yacker saved our home game and I started to relax a bit. Our second inside-the-park home run was that my husband’s March income exceeded our target by $1,600.  This was because of the completion of the large contract that he had been working on for a couple of months.  The regular small housing jobs were coming in, but at a rate lower than last year.  It was hard to say if business would increase to the same levels as before.  I might need to revisit my @2,400 / month projection if this continues.

I still kept blogging, as I soon realized I still had a lot to learn and I also had a story to tell as part of the Hot Stove League.   Maybe, just maybe, I could help others and maybe, just maybe, I could develop my blog into a retirement side hustle of my own.

Post Season

slide-into-baseAs we enter the seventh-inning stretch I see that I need to examine my slugging averages more closely because although the actual income has finally caught up with planned income, my Emergency fund is still $2,100 lower than it should be.  I can account for $1,100 of that being the passed ball shortfall in the insurance premium that I had not budgeted for plus $450 of missing tax savings that I did not fund one month when I was doing a suicide squeeze.

If I can continue to play ball, the plan is to pay $2K per month to the low rate credit card to have it knocked out of the park before the interest rate goes up ($6K – 3 more payments to go).  I’m not sure if I will deploy this strategy again, as it certainly has been a nail-biter.  I may just decide to become a patient hitter and just pay any excess towards debt as it comes so I don’t stress myself out so much.

Now I’ve got some good news about breaking balls and some bad news bears to share as we head into the wild-card playoff.  What d’ya want first?  Okay, the bad news it is – as in a grouch Uncle Charlie of My Three Sons curve ball when I received something in the mail yesterday.  I saw the word Justice on the envelope thinking it was a call to Jury Duty as I quickly tore it open only to find a RED LIGHT CAMERA SYSTEM OFFENCE NOTICE for my car which I was not driving on a particular day in a certain area to the tune of $325.  Ya, sucks the big ball$.

So that somebody, who shall remain nameless, worked his a$$ off this month (as luck would have it) and will bring in ticket sales of $3,200 next month which is $800 greater than minimum plan.  So two things we learned here folks – housing market is moving again in Canada and don’t run red lights when you’re debt wrangling or playing a perfect inning.

To mop up this post, I must confess that I knew little about baseball.  Just like me, you can learn how to manage your finances better too!  You just need to get in the game, define your level playing field and don’t stop short when things don’t go your way and you’re down and outHome plate will still be there, even if you need to round the bases a few times.  It’s practice and green lights that will get you the Commissioner’s Trophy and make you a champion of the series in your world.
Home-Game-Baseball

Images courtesy of flickr.com
Baseball glove / Andrei Niemimäki
T-ball / Chris Harrison
Baseball pitcher / Ralph Arveson
First base / Jonathon Assink
Baseball field / JACoxwell
Baseball batter / Eric Ward
Slide into base / Sherri Abendroth
Home field / Sherri B


24 Comments

Worth it Wednesday ~ Dear Debt Letter

debt debs ransom-note-dear-debt

Debt sent me a ransom note … I’m so ignoring him

Worth-it-Wednesday is here a little early because Melanie at deardebt.com enticed me to write my debt breakup letter.  It is such a great idea but as I started to write, I found Debt was sitting on my shoulder watching every word I typed.  In usual fashion he decided to chime in.  Go on over and check out what I and he had to say.  He’s a gnarly little fellow.  So here is me, writing my taking back my life letter, and this is how it went … Dear Debt …

In other news….Nutcracker by artur84 from FreeDigitalPhotos.net

DD#3_targetsMy #3 daughter gave me the best Mum’s day present on Sunday when she told me her student debt from her Masters degree was all paid off!   About a year ago we sat down and did a Gail Vaz-Oxlade analysis on her expenses to see if it fit into Gail’s guidelines for Housing – Transportation – Life – Debt – Savings of 35% – 15% – 25% – 15% – 10%.    Now, she did have more than could be paid off in a year but she received a very sizable income tax refund so was able to completely extinguish it this weekend.  I was so happy!! 

I didn’t know how serious she was taking it from when we last talked about it and I don’t like to nag.  Well, more honestly, I was probably afraid of being disappointed, so in usual fashion I buried my head in the sand.  (Hey, it’s her debt, not mine!  … even though I did feel partly responsible for not setting a better example on how to handle money.)  She used to be a bit spendy and she likes to travel.  Plus, her once famous quote “I’ll always be in debt” used to make me cringe, so I figured she was going to be a hard nut to crack.

Look the nut is cracked open into a heart shape ... ahhhh!

Look the nut is cracked open into a heart shape … ahhhh!

But I guess Mum’s persuasion and some new found frugalness on her part was just what was needed to crack that nut open.  She thanked me because she said I helped her to see it was possible to eliminate her debt.   :)   I guess I can really move on from my guilt trip now.  Heeee …

Image Credits from FreeDigitalPhotos.net:
Nutcracker by artur84
Walnuts In Love by Aleksa D

 


11 Comments

Where we are at now at the start of this blog … 2 years after D-day!

rough seas-personal-debtOK so I started this blog with my first posts explaining why I’m here and where we started from 2 years ago.

Now time to give you the current status.  In the early months I cried buckets of tears and lots of expletives were delivered.  Eventually I started putting one foot in front of the other and started to plan and deploy, plan some more and execute some more.

The Irishman pretty much left me to it, rather sheepishly.  I think he was burnt out on it all anyways so he tried to focus on making income and offering some suggestions on things we could cancel and save on.  It really is a process.  There’s stuff in the early days that I couldn’t even fathom doing without.  Now I’m a lot more brazen, in most areas… though I still have a few sacred cows that I’ll save for a later post (I’ll likely need support in order to ditch the bitches!) Continue reading