Monday, November 9, 2009

Free $10

I love to share.

Ruelala is offering a $10 credit to anyone who joins between now and Dec 24. I talked about ruelala here if you are not familiar with the website.

Here is my invitation link (it's invitation only). Happy shopping!! (wisely of course)

P.S it says the credit should show up within 48 hours

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Thank you Chase

The 10k drama has finally been resolved :).

I got a cash advance from one bank and then about 3 days later I got a chase card that I had applied for and it has a 0% balance transfer for 12 months. I promptly transferred that balance and paid off the parentals.

Now you can bet I will do everything in my power to pay that sucker down in 12 months. So I don't think you'll be hearing too much about that anymore. Once all the transactions clear (I've paid quite a bit of finance charges with all this moving around) I'll update my sidebars with the new numbers :(.

A friend of mine just realized she is going to owe the government a huge chunk of money because her 2nd job was not witholding enough (think $20 on 20K). Everyone, make sure you doublecheck your witholdings so you don't get hit with an underpayment penalty.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Why I hate credit cards (BOA in particular)

In my last post, I told you a little bit about my frantic search to get all the cash to pay my parents back. I forgot to mention I even tried to open a new CC to get the last 4K. Finally Bank of America approved a cash advance for that amount (that CC was paid of with a limit of 6.6k).

Fast forward 8 days, I get a letter from BOA telling me that my cash advance could not be approved b/c my account had been closed. Further more they had gone ahead and reduced my limit on my ML to 100 greater than my limit. I was baffled. I had spoken to the customer service person and we had a conversation about why I needed the money. She said it was being processed and would be in my account within 3-5 days.

At this point, I didn't even want to call BOA to complain. Truth be told, if I had zero debt, they would be the first company I'd severe ties with. I have had bad experiences with their customer service and I really don't like them as a company. Plus, technically they can close whatever cards they like, i just didn't like the manner in which they did it. You have to keep in mind that i have NEVER in a 10 yr history been late on a payment or over drafted my card.

I am done trying to understand how credit companies work. You would think that a person who carries a balance, is never late and pays more than the minimum would be their ideal customer. That's a crapload of interest they make from said customer. If I were to pay my balance in full every month but got for example, airline miles, I don't think I would be considered a target consumer.

I just wish they would stop taking such a mathematical approach to how they run things. That's what got them in trouble in the first place. There definitely should be a person who looks things over with a more subjective analytical mind.

Anyway, the issue was solved because for a reason I don't understand (and I'm not going to question), I got an access cheque from a CC. I have promptly depoisited the required amount and I'm just waiting for it to clear.

Hopefully, there will be no more updates on this except me updating my sidebar.

****Random tip. I found out that you can just take you credit card to a bank and withdraw the money from a teller. If I'd just have done that instead of calling, I'd have the money I needed already.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Finally feeling the effect of the Recession

I know it's been almost a year that we've been hearing about the recession on the news. I've had my fair share of friends and people I sort of know get laid off or receive a salary cut. However, I must say that I haven't personally felt the effects of the recession... until now.

Since I've been in debt reduction mode, I don't really shop so prices don't affect me. Luckily for me, I was just hired so I wasn't laid off. My company froze salaries but since this was my first year working, I wasn't accustomed to salary increases at the end of every year so that didn't affect me. Some credit cards reduced my limits or closed my cards but since I have been trying to not increase my debt, that was just fine with me.

Today, the state of the economy came pretty close to screwing me over. Like I said in my last post, I am giving my folks back 10k (it's actually 9.6k since I had already made a $400). I had to pull money out of my credit cards that I had paid down.

First shocker came when I called USbank and was told that cash advances had been limited to 25% of my credit line. In the past, I could borrow up to the whole amount. 25% was not going to be enough to pay my folks back.

Okay, on to Bank of America. I hate them but I have a line of credit with a ridiculous limit. I call them up, only to be told that my account has been closed. I'm confused because I have a letter stating they were reducing the limit not closing the account. I am not really in the mood to argue so I hang up.

Solution happened when I called my Bank of America Credit card. I was able to get the advance from there but they are definitely more thorough about the process. For one thing I was asked a lot about my job and what I did. They also wanted to know what I wanted the money for.

I was definitely scared for a minute that I wouldn't be able to pay back my parents. I'm glad it worked out but I can see that now is definitely the time to beef up savings. If there's an emergency, you need to have something to rely on.

Monday, October 12, 2009

That 10k will just not go away

As you guys can probably figure out by now, when I don't post for a while, it's usually because I'm not being good.

In what some of my friends have called a very stupid decision, I have decided to give my parents back the 10k. I don't really want to go into too much detail because I'm not debating the issue but basically, they started wanting to know every detail of my financial life (don't get me wrong I can understand where they are coming from with that) and I was not willing to share. Basically, it boiled down to the fact that there were too many strings for me and I just felt too old for all that.

The bad news is that I'm going to have to take cash out of my credit card because I used part of that money to pay down the credit card. Luckily, I have a card that charges same as purchases for cash advances so it's not going to be at an astronomical. I haven't updated the sidebars yet, but it's definitely not going to look pretty.

I know all the arguments against my choice and I know saying I've already made up my mind about it is not going to stop people from telling me anyway, so just know I probably won't respond to comments of that nature.

I'm no longer in a race to pay down my debt. I just want it to go down.

Friday, September 25, 2009

I'm slowing down my debt payments

I feel like I write a variation of this post every couple of months. The truth is, I really struggle between saving and paying down debt. In the beginning, I was very gung-ho about reducing my debt. My outstanding debt was a big prickly thorn in my flesh.
Nowadays, I feel like it's more like joint pain that comes and goes. In plain english, I'm tired of focusing on my debt. I feel like I'm in my twenties, and there are a lot of things I am sacrificing in order to be debt free as soon as possible and I don't have to be that frugal. On top of that, the fact that I have very little savings is becoming the new thorn in my flesh.

I thought everyone that wanted to get rid of debt did it the way I had been. Pay down as much as you can, as quickly as I can. An article over on debtkids site made me rethink that. He has a lot of debt, and he is paying it down, but he also has close to (or over, I don't remember) 10k in savings. I started thinking about it, and I think that is smarter.

Hypothetically, if he were to lose his job, he could pay his personal expenses AND continue making payments on his debt for say, 3-4 months. In this time, I'm sure he could find another source of income. Now if you look at me, I'm paying a high percentage of my income towards my debt, but if I were to lose my job - I wouldn't be able to pay next months rent AND I would miss my next credit card payment b/c I wouldn't have any extra money. See?

Additionally, I want to be able to do fun stuff. I want to travel and take dance and writing classes. I'm tired of feeling like a college student when I make 62k a year.

All this rambling is just a way to say that I am reducing my payments to my credit card by $200 a month. That money will go towards my various savings accounts (I have like 10 accounts at ING hehe). I'm still going to throw any extra money I get towards my debt, but $1100 a month towards my debt is a bit high and I'm ready to change.

I think I'm going to look at the extra interest I pay due to my decision as the cost of enjoying my life. I'm okay with that.


Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Good News for Bank of America Customers

I read this on and thought I would share it with you guys. As they say on headline news, we could all use some good news in a bad economy. Basically, bank of america will no longer charge an overdraft fee if you go over your account by under $10 (as long as you correct it withing 5 days). You can read the full story here.

That's right folks, no more $35 for withdrawing a penny more than you had in your account. Additionally, they are limiting the number of times they will charge for overdraft in one day to four (currently it's 10, bloody thieves).

While I'm clearly not advising anyone to spend money they don't have in their account, I'm sure some of you have experienced those darn fees that can occur when a charge you were not expecting came through and took you over.

Something to smile about I guess.

Monday, September 21, 2009

Third Quater Check in

9/15 finally came and passed and I am back to being a human being again (I'm sure some of you can guess what I do by now). In the interim, there's been a couple of changes to my debt bars.

I got some more money from the parents to pay off what they think is the last of my loans and I applied that to my credit cards. It feels good to have only 2 cards with balances even if said balances are high. My usbank card is almost back to zero paid off (lol).

I haven't done much online writing so side income hasn't been pouring in. I have made some money of my ehow articles and surveys but nothing major.

Right now, my focus is finding a new job and working on my side business. I'm creating a writing a photography business but I need to get my photography skills at a competitive level. I'll let you know how that goes.

Definitely expect more regular posts from me.

Saturday, August 22, 2009

What I did with the 10k

It's been pretty crazy at work. I am definitely looking into other options - working 7 days a week till midnight at this pay is not for me. Anyway, this has obviously impacted how often I can post as when i do get some free time, all I want to do is sleep.

I realized on my train ride back that I never told you all what I did with the money my parents offered. At first, I had told them I was not going to take it because they kept adding all these caveats (which made sense but made me feel like I was 12) and I thought there were too many strings attached for something that would not really ease my cash flow.

After thinking and thinking (and thanks to a comment by a reader) I decided to take it. However, I would use 5k to pay off a card (you can see my ML now says paid in full in the sidebars) and I would keep the other 5k in savings. I realized that it was best to think like i received a 5k gift instead of 10k because I would still have to pay 5k back albeit interest free. 

So now I am going to pay them back from the money sitting in my savings (and have it earn a little interest) and it gives me some extra money to play with each month. I put some of that extra to m groceries because $40 a month is not really allowing me to eat as healthy as I want.

I think I am going to try to write a couple of posts at a time an schedule them so that you have regular content. 

Oh, one more thing, my ebay stuff did not sell and I relisted them. Here they are again. Calvin Klein leather bag and Purple Prada bag. If any of you are frequent ebayers, fell free to give me tips on things I should modify or add to my listing.


Monday, August 17, 2009

Cheap Prada & CK bags

I can't post much b/c my job is holding me hostage again.... but I figured some of you might be interested in these bags I'm selling.

The first is a purple prada satchel. It's brand new and I've never used it. I just feel now is not the time for me to own such expensive items.

The second is a White leather Calvin Klein Collection bag. It's also brand new and in fact the tag is still attached. I've never used this either and I figure someone else might want it.

They are both on ebay - so if any of you use it, you should check it out. There's about 1 day left to bid.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Great travel Deal!

Someone just brought this to my attention and I thought I would share it with you. Jet Blue is doing a month long special - Buy a pass for $599 and travel as often as you want between September and October.  Of course you are limited to the routes that Jet Blue travels and you have to book 3 days in advance for each flight. Jet Blue goes to the Caribbean so I am so sad I can't take advantage of this (no spare money + no time) but I know some of you have enough savings that this might be something to consider.

Definitely read the rules and conditions. The general thing I saw was that taxes and fees for international flights were not included but they were for domestic flights. I've never flown Jet Blue before but I've heard good things.

It's times like this I really hate being so broke. I love travelling.

I should warn you guys, I've been put back into full slavery mode at work (they want us working all day Saturday and Sunday now and during the week I get back between 11pm and 1am) so posts will definitely be sporadic and shorter.

I also have an update about the 10k but I'll have to work on that later. Already late.

Monday, August 10, 2009

Oh what a tangled web we weave...

I have so many things to cover in this post that i just might have to break it into two. First of all, Welcome to all the new readers I got this last week. If you haven't yet, subscribe to my blog via this link.

Subscribe to Debt and the City by Email

I noticed that by posting almost daily last week, my readership grew so I guess I have to work on being more consistent. Okay, I have a bunch of personal updates. It's a mixed bag and I'm not sure how to take it all.

The first major thing is that my parents are going to be having a major impact on my debt. They have been hounding me for the longest time about my credit card debt. They kept saying they had a feeling I had a lot and wanted to know the amounts. I never told them, not because I had a problem accepting money from them (if indeed they wanted to pay it off) but because I knew if they paid it off, they would put numerous (understandable) restrictions and I didn't want to deal with that. I also didn't actually want to tell them how much debt I was in because truth be told, it's embarrassing and I didn't want to deal with a lecture. I resolutely told them, "I got myself into this and I'll get myself out." Fast forward to this past weekend, I got a call from them and the long story short is, she has decided to give m 10k to pay off my debt (I have more than that but that was the amount I was willing to admit to) and they would forgive half and I would pay back the other half over one year. The point of this she said, was so that I would avoid paying interest on my debt.

Now I know some of you have issues with "free money" but I'm not really trying to discuss that. I have heard that point of view and I see your point but I don't feel the same way. The downside of this is since I didn't' admit how much debt I have, I actually end up paying more each month b/c I still have to make payments on the other CC's I didn't admit to. Paying 5k back in one year adds up to $420 a month. So while I will pay off my debt faster (and be debt free before 30) but my monthly situation has not really changed. Now I (almost) which I had told the truth. I say almost because I truly think my mom would have had a massive attack if she knew how much debt I was in.

Second thing is not pf related but it also relates to lying. My mom is having a landmark birthday this year and they wanted to go to Europe (and bring me along). However, my friend is getting married on her actual birthday and I've known about this wedding for a year and a half. Knowing my folks, I couldn't just say "hey, I'd rather go to s friends wedding" so I told them I could take 3 days of work but I'd have to leave the day before her bday. I blamed it on my crazy work schedule. My mom was a bit disappointed but I assured her that we could celebrate the day before and it would not make much of a difference. I thought I was in the clear...until I got a message that plans had changed and the whole family would come to NYC to celebrate since I couldn't get that day off.


I can't win. Now I don't get to travel AND I miss the wedding I wanted to go to. What do you guys think? I am a bad daughter for wanting to go to the wedding? At this point I might make up a story and say "oo, now I can make it to Europe."

Dear bloggers, what would you do?

Thursday, August 6, 2009

The Value of (My) Time

I did a guest post a couple of weeks ago over at debtkids website. It's something I feel really strongly about and since (most of) the readers on this blog have been with me since I started I thought I would share it with you.
Basically, as this year has gone by, I have become more and more disenchanted with my job. I get paid well by the average American's standards. 62k a year in my first year on the job. However, my job is one that feels it's okay to ask employees to work 16-18 hr days 7 days a week. Our weekends do not belong to us and you are considered a write off if you leave before 7pm. I have heard about and seen peoples marriage, relationships, and friendships deteriorate because of this job. One day I decided to calculate how much I got paid an hour - $15!

You're telling me that if I went to work as an assistant manager at McDonald's and worked the same hours, I'd make the same? That's crazy. One of my coworkers left my job to go to medical school. He figured if he was going to work these hours, he might as well get paid more. I totally get where he is coming from. I have decided that my time is worth way more than that. Which means I'm scouting for other opportunities right now.

It's not just the time i put in that's bothering me. It's the fact that I'd like to get another job that I can use specifically to pay my debts and speed up my debt free day but I can't. I am basically chained to the whims and caprices of seniors and managers that might decide they need me to come in and make copies on a saturday morning.

I think we definitely all should take the time to figure out if we are getting paid what we deserve. I know that the economy is tough and jobs are kind of scarce but it's not a reason to stay in a position that you don't feel you an grow in.

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

I lost my rebate!

Things are getting frustrating. Right after I found out that I would not be debt free till I was thirty, I decided to update my progress bars. Imagine my surprise when I saw that my balance on my undergraduate loans had gone up about $600 dollars. Now i know that I had stopped paying on my loans when my priorities changed and I wanted to focus on saving. I also know that my interest is calculated daily. But heavens! $600 in 2/3 months? That was ridiculous. I poked around the website and found out that I had lot my rebate because I had not made "one or more of my payments on time."

I was flabbergested. My loans are prepaid till late 2010. I checked my payment history and I saw that I had made a $10500 payment in May of 2008 and had made a payment every month since then. A couple of months I had even made two payments. So what the heck were these people on about? Everyone knows that when you pay school loans ahead of time, they advance your due date.

Filled with righteous indignation, I called customer service ready to give an unfortunate person a piece of my mind. After explaining the situation, the rep. told me that basically i made that 10K payment when my loans were still in their grace period (I graduated in december) and therefore it did not count towards my payments.

Needless to say I'm pissed. I guess it's my fault for not learning more about the rebate terms so I'm sharing my story so nobody else has the same issue. I plan on writing them a letter asking them to overlook it and give me back my rebate (fingers crossed). I'll keep you guys posted.

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

I won't be debt free till I am 30!

When I started blogging about debt I picked a random date that I would lie to be debt free. January 2011 I believe. In 2008, that seemed far enough away - 3 years.

Now that I am a more seasoned personal finance blogger, I decided to let excel speak for me instead. I filled out a debt payoff template and discovered that my random date was waaaay off. About 3 years off to be precise.

According to the template, I will not be debt free till November 2014. If that's not enough to depress anyone, i don't know what is. Some people are making their first million by 30 and I'll just be getting started on wealth building.




Now I know my D-day (or d-free day) will be a bit sooner because the calculator does not take into account any pay increases I might have or other money I might receive (tax refunds, gifts etc) but it's still depressing.

I'm going back to extreme saver mode.

Monday, August 3, 2009

This is why I track my money so closely

Sometimes my friends laugh at me because I count for every single penny I make and spend. I can spend half an hour trying to figure out why there is a 10 cent discrepancy between my budget sheet and my bank account. I admit it, I can get obsessive. The other day my friend told me she was tired of hearing me talk about money. "We're young," she said. "We are not supposed to be worried about all these things now." Well to that friend (and all the others) I say a big fat HA!

The obsessiveness pays off every now and then. It's attention to the minutiae that allows you to cut out all unnecessary income loss. Alright let me stop philosophizing and tell you what happened. I got paid on Friday and immediately recorded the income in my spreadsheet. I was a little taken aback because it was about $60 less than what I normally receive. Since I was home, I could only check the details of my paycheck on my blackberry and saw that income from a giftcard I had received was part of my income. "Oh it's just the tax on that giftcard," I thought in my half awake stupor.

Once I got to work, my brain kicked in and I realized that it made no sense whatsoever to pay $60 tax on a $100 giftcard. Upon further inspection, I noticed that some of the deduction for my transportation that should have been taken out BEFORE tax was taken out AFTER. I won't bore you with all the details but suffice it to say that Payroll is working on it.

I know that if I didn't keep such an eagle eye on my finances I probably would have missed this. It's only when $60 less means that you can not pay a bill that these things have a big impact. This habit is something that I take with me when I go to the grocery store. I scan my receipt like a hawk and make sure everything (including sales) ring up correctly. I have caught a couple of things in the past and I think it's a good habit for everyone to have.

Monday, July 27, 2009

I'm slipping into that credit mentality

All it takes is one swipe.
I swear sometimes I feel like I am on a 12-step program. I can empathize with alcoholics and drug addicts. Not in the sense that I feel I am addicted to debt but moreso that I understand how just one _____ can send you sliding backwards so fast. Even after staying on the right path for so long.

What happened? I used my credit card. I used it and I had no idea or intention of paying back right away. It's not like this was for an emergency or anything. I was going to a friends birthday party and had nothing to wear (blame that on weight gain) and I wanted to look cute. So I bought a dress. Actually, backtrack, I almost forgot what set all this off.

It started with a flat tire. My car had one and I had to pay $80 for a new one. Which I put on my CC b/c I didn't have the money. Once I swiped that first time, it was like unlocking the door. Then I bought the dress and it was like opening the door. Once the door was open, it was like people running out of a burning house.

Okay, I exaggerate but still, I spent a lot. I don't even want to sit down an calculate it but i figure somewhere in the range of $350. I already returned some of what I could but it wasn't everything. The positive thing is that I made about $45 doing some freelance writing for people. I also am going to get a check from ehow this month. I know I would be happier if I just had the extra income without the extra expense.

I'm just going to call this one a mistake and learning experience.
Since misery loves company, what's the dumbest thing you've done while you were trying to get out of debt?

Friday, July 24, 2009

Do you elance?

This is just a quick check to find out if any of you use elance or What was your experience? Is it worth it? If you haven't do you know someone that has?

Thursday, July 23, 2009

I'm going to write a book

I was passing time at one of my favorite sites - stumbleupon - when I came across this gem. I might have mentioned that part of the reason I started this blog was to keep me writing. I would love to write a book one day.

cue music. Enter Nano Wrimo

Then I stumbled across this gem. National Novel Writing Month. The big idea is to challenge the entire world to write a book. In one month. I'm not joking, I swear. The organizers say that this is one time the writing is not about quality, it's all about quantity. You don't win anything but it's a challenge and all those who complete it get a badge :).

I think it's just what I need. A deadline with no pressure. It starts November 1st and ends November 31st. I'm sure some of you might be interested in entering this. If you are, let me know in the comments. I'd love to have some writing buddies.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

How to lower your rent

If you guys remember, I pay a lot to rent my apartment ($1675). Blogging for the past couple of months and staring at my budget convinced me that I needed to move. I was apprehensive b/c I really like where I live, it's convenient and I hate moving. I decided to suck it up though when I received my renewal lease. Just looking at that number depressed me so I started checking out craigslist. I wanted to see what was available before I committed to moving.

I thought about asking my landlord to drop the rent by like 50-100 dollars but I never got around to it as I didn't think it would work especially after reading this. Anyway, I was looking daily on craigslist to see what was out there and I saw that they guy that sold my apartment was advertising apartments from 1475-1675 and I gave him a call. I asked if I could move from my apartment to the 1475 one and he asked which apartment I lived in. I told him and he basically told me that the 1475 was much smaller and not as nice as mine (i didn't mind) and that I should call up the management company and ask them to drop the rent to 1525. He changed his mind and said, ask for 1475 they'll probably settle ate 1525. I called them up and (stupid me) asked if I could pay 1525. He asked what apartment I was in, I told him and he said ok.


Obviously, I'm kicking myself for not asking for 1475 but $150 less a month is an extra $1800 that can go to paying off my debt so I'm happy! Like they say, ask and you can receive. Here are some tips on how to lower your rent.

  • Call up your landlord and tell him/her that you can no longer afford the apartment and you want to know if you can pay less. With many people suffering salary cuts due to the economy this is something they will not find to hard to believe.
  • If you pay for utilities, mention this. I know at least in New York, electric and gas delivery charges went up so many people play more for utilities. Ask your landlord if they would be willing to pay the utilities or subsidize the increased cost by lowering your rent.
  • It pays to see how much building around your area are going for. Stalk craigslist and point out your findings to your landlord. If similar places are going for less, it might be hard for them to find a new tenant (in my case, i knew the apartment next to me sat empty for 6 months).
  • Pay your rent on time. Landlords hate to see reliable tenants go.

Hope that helps

Wednesday, July 8, 2009


I did a guest post over at Debt Kid's website. Nothing major, I was just introducing myself and sharing my story (you should head over there and read it. It's the most detailed I've been) but I noticed something. He's been blogging a lot longer than I have and so obviously has a lot more readers and therefore more commenters. In the comments section I got a vibe from some of the comments that were made and it ties into a theme I've noticed across the personal finance blogosphere.

There seems to be a school of thought that views money given to you by your parent as tainted. It's somehow something bad and a handout. The thinking is, you are supposed to work for every single cent you earn otherwise it doesn't count. Maybe it's an American thing (I didn't grow up here) but it baffles me.

In my experience (and maybe it doesn't apply to most people), parents generally support their kids through college. When they have kids, it's part of the cost the calculate just like buying clothes and what not. My dad actually was confused when I wanted to work at 15. His first statement was, "don't you have enough money?" I did. But I was excited about the idea of being paid. It sounded so grown up. In college, I was given an amount every semester to cover living expenses. My dad made me write a budget before hand of what I thought I needed and usually gave me that plus 200-300 dollars extra to cover fun things. It was enough to be ok but I still wanted to work. After he assured himself I was not working out of necessity and that working would not interfere with my school work (which to him was the whole point of going to school) he was actually satisfied that I had the drive to work.

I wouldn't say I was spoiled. I never lacked basic things and my parents were not tight with money. They didn't buy me everything I wanted but if they travelled they'd ask what I wanted and buy me stuff of the list.

However, the problem lay in the fact that I was not allowed to have pocket money. Ever. If anyone ever gave me money as a gift (relatives and others) they would take it away from me and say they were "keeping" it for me. The reason I call this a problem is that because of this, I never learnt to budget. I never learnt to save. I never said, "if I buy this, I won't be able to buy that." The end result was that when I finally got my hands on some "money" I went a little crazy. To this day, I keep having to remind myself that you are supposed to save up for things you can't afford. That just because you see something and it IS a good deal doesn't mean you can buy it. I posted a while back that I had to learn the phrase "I can't afford it" and that it just doesn't apply to unimportant things like electronics and clothes. That sometimes you really can't afford to go to your brothers graduation in another state or that you might not be able to afford to go out to eat with a friend that's in town for the first year in years.

I don't want to veer to off topic here so i'll leave it at that. I think my parents also made a mistake by not talking about money with me. I had no idea (and still really don't) what my parents made growing up. Money was just something that was in the background. I wouldn't be able to tell you what, if any financial difficulties they might have had and I think all this fed into the excessive spending I did a while back.

I just wanted to know what you guys feel about parent's giving money to their children. I hope to have some great discussion going on in the comments.

Monday, July 6, 2009

I've paid down almost 20k in less than a year

Yes. It's true. As much as I have regressed and spent money on things that I didn't need I have managed to pay down almost 20k since October of last year. To be precise, my total balance on October 6 2008 (when I started tracking my debt) was $75, 142.37 and the current balance is $55, 632.60 which i $19,509.77. Granted, I got some money from my parents but that's amazing. I only figured this out because I wrote a guest post at which should be posted soon and I had to add it all up. I am floored. This is the kind of motivation I need to keep going. Every penny towards debt counts. I have already exceeded my 2009 goals which was to have my CC debt at under 35k by the end of the year. Right now it stands at $27, 603.37. We're only in July.
This weekend I got $300 from my mom. I debated with myself about what to use it for. I have my car insurance that just started up again that I forgot to budget for at the beginning of the year. I had to insert it into my budget and play around with some numbers to make it work. Basically, I'm back at having only $10 a week as "mad money". I wanted to put the $300 towards my car insurance so that it would be paid of faster and I could have more wriggle room in my budget. In the end, I put it towards my ML card because it doesn't financially make sense to pay down something that's not being charged interest when I have so many debts I'm being charged interest on. It would have been a psychological boost to pay the car insurance because it would be eliminated a lot faster (like in 7 months) whereas it will take me about 3 years to get rid of the ML balance. Sometimes, you can't follow emotions and just have to look at things logically.

I need a new debt goal since I've already met my previous goal. I'm still aiming for 3k in savings but now I want my Credit card debt to be under 25k by December 31, 2009.

Remember, every penny counts. Keep snowflaking.

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

If you have student loans read this!

I just wanted to share this information with those of you that are trying to pay down you student loans. This is a must-read for you. Basically, federal loans are going to drop to about 2% if you consolidate after today. Not everyone is eligible (you can't have originated your loan after a certain date and private loans are not eligible) but it's definitely worth checking out.
For those of you that went to med school, law school or private school (and those that didn't) this could save you tons of money in the long run.
Just thought I'd share.

20k on Alcohol

I've been out of commission because I went away for the weekend. It was my friends birthday and they had a 3 day celebration to mark this year. I had a wonderful time (only spent money on food) but being there made me think.
In my conservative estimation, $15,000 was spent on drinks in one night. Over the course of the weekend, I'd say that around 30K was spent on alcohol. This made me pause. I don't know that even if I had 30k and no debt, I would spend it on something that's gone right away. My friend does well but is not Paris Hilton wealthy so it seems a bit excessive. I had fun though, it just made me think. Where do you draw the line between having fun and just being wasteful? I mean, at one point, the opened a bottle of champagne and poured it on the celebrant. There was a pool party one of the nights and champagne was being used in water guns instead of water (granted, they were shooting it into people's mouths but still).

What's your take on it? Is there a point where you are just too rich to care about money? Is that ok?

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

How to add a 2nd Sidebar to Blogger

You guys must have noticed that I'm doing some "interior decorating". It's still a work in progress but I definitely like a 3 column template better. Since working with the free version of blogger means that you have to tinker with html if you want any major layout differences this task seemed daunting in the beginning. I read through tons and tons of blogs that claimed to show me how to create an extra column in easy steps. They just made me feel very slow and dumb.

Finally, this blog showed me how to do this. In THREE steps. There was a little learning curve for me but as you can see it worked! I just wanted to share with my any other budding bloggers in case you've had the same struggle trying to figure it out.

If you're confused, send me a message and I'll try to troubleshoot. I had so many issues that I think I can solve most problems.

I NEED HELP: If anyone knows how to make the color on my sidebars extend to the end of the page (that white space is annoying) please let me know. I'd really appreciate it.

One word of caution, that website seemed to have make my computer a little slower. It seemed like it had a lot of things loading on the page.

Saturday, June 20, 2009


I noticed some of the blogs in my blogroll have not been updated in a while so I figured it's time to clean it up. I've found some new blogs in the last couple of months that I wanted to add. Let me know if you're interested in being added and I'll check out your site.

Decisions, Decisions.

I wrote a while back about Capital One jacking up my interest rate, forcing me to close the account. Even though it meant closing a card one of the first cards I ever had(which has a negative impact on your credit score), I took it as a blessing in disguise. Closing the card means that I lock in the interest rate (7%) and I can't put any more charges on it and the balance has no choice but to go down (some of you might want to consider closing some cards).

My usbank card which earned me miles for northwest airlines is being closed as well. Northwest merged with Delta airlines and they are phasing out my worldperks card effective today. In place I have flexperks card which only earns points. The dilemma is that all my miles on my northwest card (and i have A LOT) will not be transferred to the flexperks card. To keep my miles, I have to open a delta card (with american express).

I want my miles. I don't really want another credit card. What to do?

I have until the end of June to apply. I'm not really sure. I definitely travel often and have used my miles 3 times in the last year to fly to other states and countries!

What would you guys do?

Friday, June 19, 2009

Why you need an emergency fund.

Back to personal finance.
I seem to talk a lot about an efund but it makes sense since it's really important. A while back, I decided to cut back on my contribution to my student loans and divert some of that money to my savings account. I decided this for a couple of reasons. The number one being my realization that if I got laid off, I wouldn't even have enough to pay the next months rent. I was truly living paycheck to paycheck. Number 2 was that when big emergencies came up (or big events), I didn't have the money on hand to pay for them and then I'd have to rely on my credit card and take 2 steps back in debt reduction (i.e. $500 gas bill, $350 down to renew my car insurance). I'm proud to say that my savings account now has $40.

That won't completely cover my rent but here's why I'm proud. I had actually saved about $800. Then I had to pay for my car insurance and I was reminded I had about $300 to pay on 2 parking tickets (nyc for you) and on top of that I had to start making payments on my gas bill. All these could have sent me running for my VISA but this time around, I had the cash sitting in an account. These are precisely the reasons, I tripled my efforts towards growing my efund.

I'm not perfect, I used some of that money to by some divine shoes but at least it was a cash splurge. I'm going to keep contributing although I'll won't be able to contribute as much since I have to pay my loans again. All my outside income - ehow, surveys - are going to go to my savings account till i reach my $2000 goal.

If you don't think you could survive a month after being laid off or losing your job, you should think about building up your emergency fund even if you have a mountain load of debt.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

5 best websites for people on a budget

I decided to do something a little bit different today. As much as I love to talk about my financial life (thanks so much for listening), I think it's time for me to give back. Hopefully, you have learned some things from my mistakes but I wanted to give you something you can use right away. Don't get too excited, I'm not giving away an ipod or anything that cool. I'm just compiling a list of links that I think might be useful to someone on a budget. This will also be useful to those that are not necessarily in debt but just want to watch their spending and do fun things at the same time. I'll link to the sites and put a mini-description for each. Come back and let me know if you liked anything.
Here's my Top 5 Most Useful Links on the Web (for those on a budget)

1. Groupon
This website is kind of cool. They basically are using the power of collective bargaining to get good deals. Basically, they talk to retailers and arrange things like 50% off a spa if X number of people sign up. If you like the offer, sign up. You will only receive it if the required number of people sign up for it. If that happens, they charge you, otherwise, too bad. They have a new deal everyday and the selection has been pretty varied (restaurants, spas, merchandise etc).

2. Ruelala
I talked a little bit about this site here. Basically, it's a private sale online. They have high end designers like prada and Gucci and other not so high end like theory and bcbg on sale for 2-3 days. Their merchandise is usually about 30-70 percent off and you can often find good deals. You can read more about it if you want. If you're interested, send me a message and I can invite you as it is invitation only for the most part. I get $10 for every referral that makes a purchase.

EDIT: You don't have to email me for a code I just found out. You can click on this link to get into ruelala. For beyondtherack you can enter in invitation code

3. Beyond the Rack
This is pretty much the same concept as ruelala. They just have different designers. I find that in terms of absolute cost, the clothes here are usually cheaper. However, the percentage off might not be so great. This is because they tend to have more mid range items like pastry and uggs. I find it more affordable sometimes though because a Gucci bag that is 70% at ruelala that costs $5,000 is still $1,500 - about what I pay in rent. Just be smart and buy only what you can afford, not what you think is a "good deal." If I invite you to this, I get a credit as well but I think you can just sign up for it without being invited.

4. Price Grabber
I love this site. It's the first place you should check before you buy anything electronic. It basically scans the web and tells you the where they are selling a particular item the cheapest. So you just put in the exact item you want to buy (Canon EOS 50D) and it comes up with a list of places that are selling it and how much they cost. It's a must for price-conscious folks.

5. Retail me not
For all those that shop online, bookmark this site! It gives you all available promo codes for tons of websites. I use it a lot to get free shipping! People also post other codes for percentages off or free items. Unfortunately, in the past couple of years, some retailers have prevented the site from sharing codes so sometimes you don't find codes for your favorite sites but it's definitely a good idea to check it out before you buy anything online.

Alright, that's it for now. Hopefully, some of you might not have known about all these sites and you learned something useful. I'll put more stuff up as I think about them and I will try to make the blog a mix of tips and what's going on with me. I'd love to hear what you thought about these sites so please comment.

Monday, June 15, 2009

Calling all Fashionistas.

Just wanted to let you guys know that I wrote an article on how to buy designer clothes when you are on a budget over at If that interests you check it out. I'm gonna do a proper post later on today. Till then, Good Morning.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

I was tagged!

I've never filled one of these out so I guess I can start now.

The Rules:

  1. Link to your original tagger(s) and list these rules in your post.
  2. Share seven facts about yourself in the post.
  3. Tag seven people at the end of your post by leaving their names and links to their blogs.
  4. Let them know they’ve been tagged.

The Original Tagger

Seven Facts

  1. When I was young, I wanted to be a Ballerina
  2. Half my paycheck goes to rent (NYC is expensive!)
  3. I recently just started writing at ehow.
  4. My total debt is just under what I earn in a year.
  5. I would LOVE to leave corporate America but my debt situation makes it hard for me to turn my back on my salary.
  6. Smart Passive Income is one of my favorite sites.
  7. I would love to be a backup dancer on a worldwide tour.

My Tags

1. Dog over at dogatemyfinances.

2. Debthater at debthater :)

3. Green at greenizblack

4. sunflowers at chronicles of debt

5. Candie at broke and not so fabulous

6. Beks over at Blogging away debt, and

7. Sallie over at Sallie's niece

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Update on Merrill Lynch

This post did not come on Saturday as I promised because I just got around to calling Merrill Lynch today :(. Procrastination. Not a good thing.
The long and short of it is that my balance transfer was only for one year because as the kind lady on the phone told me, they don't have any deals that are for the life of the balance (if anyone knows different let me know).

I signed up for this card right before I went abroad for three months (to learn a language). This was before my debt reduction days and before I decided to take charge of my financial and credit health. I guess I was not paying enough attention. Or maybe I thought I could pay off that credit card in a year. Who knows? The effect now is I still have just over $5k at 9.99% which is not horrible but it's going to be slow to pay down because this card receives the smallest amount per month based on my financial plan. I paid $100 a month which was ok when that card was charging $8 in interest a month and minimum payments were around $60. This statement has $43 in interest charges and my minimum payment is $95. So I'll only be paying $5 more than my minimum which makes me cringe. The moral of the story is pay attention to details when you sign up for a balance transfer. If it has a time limit on the APR and you think you can pay it off, don't go for it. You should know you can pay it off and preferably have a set plan of how instead of an idea.

I can't really shuffle my payments around and pay more on this card and my budget is stretched pretty thin as it is. I think I am going to focus more on trying to get additional income which will just go to this card. I am toying with google adsense and might add it to this blog. Let me know how you guys feel about that. Does it turn you off reading blogs that have ads? I'm not sure if google allows you to customize where your ads go but i'll look into it. I'm also going to spend more time on ehow articles. I've earned about $5 so far on 3 articles. Here's a link to one of my articles on how to learn another language. I would like to earn about $100 a month. Pat from SPI really inspired me and made me determined to increase my side earning in this post. He does a lot. Finally, I'm working on posting regularly. This is a learning process and so far I have learned that I need to improve my productivity and make better use of my free time. As someone said, "Mother Teresa, Nelson Mandela and MLK all had the same number of hours in the day."

Saturday, May 30, 2009

Out of the Blue

I just logged on to my ML account to see if my new statement had been generated. Even though today was payday, I wanted to wait till my minimum payment was generated so that I wouldn't have to pay twice a month.
Imagine my confusion when I saw that my minimum payment had increased from $65 to $95. I did some investigation and I saw that for some reason I was taken of my 1.9% APR and put on the regular 9.99%. I am pretty sure that my promotional rate was for the life of the balance. Seems like I am going to be on the phone with Merrill Lynch tomorrow. What a fun saturday to look forward to!

Friday, May 29, 2009


Today is payday.
Time to pay some bills yay!

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

I'm still here

I've been working on getting myself together.
I just updated my sidebars and unfortunately, it seems as though I have taken $1000 backwards in my credit cards. It's been a combination of turning a year older and some unexpected travelling and some plane old indulging. I seemed to have forgotten how $50 here and $30 there adds up really quickly. Especially when you stop keeping track.

Capital one card is officially closed. This means it has no choice but to go down down down. I guess, thinking about it, them forcing me to close my card was a blessing in disguise. I think I should probably just take my other card out of my wallet. When I don't see my cards, I don't think about them that much.

I would say that when I started this blog, I was a bit naive in thinking I would just watch my debt go down. I thought I had learned from everyone else's mistakes. That's not the case as my $1000 increase has shown but I still know that I have learned a lot and my debt will eventually hit 0.

For those that have suggested that I should concentrate on my debt before and e-fund, thanks for the suggestion. I am sticking with building my efund though. The $500 that i put towards it last month instead of paying my student loans has already helped a lot. There were some expenses that I might have had to charge that this will come in handy for. For instance, I didn't realize my plate tags were expired. It's only $41 but I didn't have it in my regular checking and as I didn't want to get a ticket, I needed to renew it. It's the type of thing I might have charged and then not paid off immediately because it's "only" $41.

Don't worry, I didn't just decide to let my student loans lapse. I just happen to be ahead of schedule on both (next due date for one is in 2010). I'm only diverting those funds for 2 more months though because the interest keeps accruing and even at 2.87%, that's still a lot of money. It's a price I am willing to pay in order to have the security that if I ever lose my job for whatever reason, I have enough money to pay at least one month's rent. I didn't have that before and it was scary.

I found this great website via dogatemyfinances, it's called smartpassiveincome and the author has some great ideas on how to make money on the side. He has a great post on ehow that I'll link to later but I just wanted to say that, I wrote an article in 2 minutes and it's already making money (little = $.22) in one day. I will probably post about this another time because this post is long already but you should definitely check him out. He's a great writer.

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Changing my focus

I just thought I would let you know that I will be switching gears for the next couple of months. So many things have cropped up that it has shown me that a sizable Efund needs to be set in place. In the last week I have learned that I might have to buy 2 more plane tickets. Granted, not as much as the 650 pound one but it's money not in my budget nonetheless. My grandma is sick and alone in a hospital so I feel it would be good to go see her sometime in this month or next month. Other things have come up and basically I have decided I am just going to pay a little over the minimum on my cards until my savings account has $1500. I am going to skip my loan payments for a month or 2 because they are pre-paid till next year. As soon as I tweak my budget i'll let you guys know what i'll be putting towards savings. It should only take about 2 months or so to get it there and then i'll shift focus back on paying my debt. I just don't want to charge anything else on my card.

Things seem funky at my job and I'm not sure how much longer i'll have this job so I need to make sure I have something to fall back on. Hmm, maybe my goal should be 1675 b/c that would be 1 months rent. We'll see. How much do you debt payers have sitting in your efund?

I made one sale on but that's it. From talking to my friends it seems that the website is best for selling textbooks and new releases. Do you have any suggestions as to where I could sell regular novels? Also, has anyone ever used the auction feature of ebay? I have a brand new prada bag I want to sell.

Can't wait for summer

Thursday, April 30, 2009

600 pounds of debt

I feel like I am always writing "update" posts. That was not my original vision for this blog. It's part craziness at work and part lack of discipline on my part. I think I need to set specific writing goals for myself. Idk. I'll figure it out.

Well to let you know what happened with my ridiculous gas bill, I called the company and apparently, the just picked a number out of the air because they have not been able to read the meter. Actually, as I write this, I think I might have told you guys this already. Oh well.

I am facing a lot more setbacks than I thought I would. After the minor crisis I had a few weeks back, I thought I was in good shape to continue my journey. I had loosened my budget and stepped up my contribution to my e-fund so I would be more prepared for emergencies. I guess fate really wanted to cement the fact that I should have been saving more all this time.

I went to the UK for a family engagement. I bought the ticket with a combination of cash and miles a couple months back and I was really proud that I had been able to pay cash for a plane ticket (2nd time ever!). I had some pounds I had been sitting on that I received from my dad last year and was planning on changing them to dollars and putting that amount to my debt when I returned. My dad also sent me 200 pounds extra because he wanted to make sure I had money when i travelled (he didn't know I still had the money he gave me last year). All in all, I was looking at close to 700-800 dollars if I didn't spend too much in one of the most expensive cities in the world.

Everything went well till the last day. I didn't spend much money and I had fun. On the day I was too leave, I packed very early in the morning and somehow managed to miss my late evening flight. I don't even want to go into how dumb that was of me. I think I just didn't budget enough time to get to the airport on time and all the Jack Bauer moves in the world couldn't change that. I had to be back in NY that day as I had another plane to catch to go to a job obligation. If I missed the work conference, I would get charged $5000.

The short version is that my airline that would have re booked me for free didn't have another flight till late the next morning and I ended up having to pay for a ticket on another airline. 580 POUNDS!
I was so upset I couldn't even make myself think about it. I mean, it was good that I had enough credit to cover that because if not I would have been even more screwed. However, I had just got that card to under 10K. I was looking forward to bringing that balance closer and closer to zero and there I was adding another $1k to the balance. I had no idea what exchange rate the CC was going to use and I knew I would be charged a forex fee. I had the pounds I wanted to convert to dollars and now instead of significantly reducing my balance, it would just go towards paying this off bringing me closer to where I started. 3 steps forward, 5 steps back. So frustrating.

Anyway, I made it back stateside. It's not as bad as it could be. Don't get me wrong, it's still a crappy situation but some things happened at the right time. The total cost to me was $897.89. Crazy. I used to pay $1k in rent in my last state. Anyway, I had just received a $50 check from my online surveys and redeemed $50 from my capital one rewards so I put the $100 to that bringing the balance to 797.89. Luckily today was payday and I paid $413.25 on that card so the balance sits at 384.64. I think converting my pounds to dollars gave me like $600 so when I get back to NY and deposit that cash the ticket will be paid off. I just won't have reduced my debt by as much as I could have without that ticket. Oh well, thankful for small mercies.

I'm gonna stop now because I find my posts get long since I don't post as often as I should. Tricia over at has paid of ALL her credit cards after 3 years and I can't wait to be in her shoes. I think the lesson I take away from her is that I need to be patient. It took her 3 years, I've been at this 6 months and I have way more debt than she started with. That being said, debt free day came for her and it will for me as well!

Monday, April 13, 2009

When it rains...

you know the rest.
It's been a really interesting week financially. Last week seemed like I was repaying some mortal sin I had committed. It was that bad. After the news about capital one almost tripling mu APR. I got hit with a $600 bill. Due this week. Are you shocked? Because I was. It was from my gas company who has never billed me since I moved in (October 2008). I had called in November, December and January to let them know I hadn't received any bill. The first time they told me that their guy was not able to get access to my building and the second time they said a bill would be going out the next week. I called them of course because I was not about to be charge a late fee for not paying $600 with a weeks notice. The long and short of it is that they still have not read my meter. The last time it was read was in August (before I moved in). Nobodies meter in my building has been read actually. I guess another department saw the gas was being used and issued an estimated bill and closed the account. They put a hold on the bill and I have to call my landlord to find out what's going on. I'm not sure how they are supposed to gain access to the meter so that's on hold.
Then i got two parking tickets. Both for $115 dollars. Total $230. Looking at the second ticket I notice my plates expire at the end of this month. Which reminds me that my insurance is up in June/July. All these financial curve balls made me panicked and helpless. I hated the fact that I have all this debt. I hated the fact that I make a supposedly good salary (62k) and I can only afford to give myself $10 a week to spend. That despite that sacrifice, I still don't have enough. I was definitely in depression mode. I quickly went to my budget and revised what I could. I increased my credit card payments from $700 a month to $800. I reduced the amount in unplanned spending. Cut eating out to $15 a month (from $20). I found all these little spots I could shave $5 here $3 here and resigned myself to living a life of poverty even though I make double what I made in my very first job.

Time is wonderful. It shows why we shouldn't rush into decisions. After thinking more this weekend, I realized I was panicking for nothing. Yes my APR went to a ridiculous percentage and I would be charged ridiculous monthly interest effectively slowing my debt reduction. But that would only happen if I accepted the changes. Which I didn't. I opted out and the account will be closed in May. I get to keep my 7% interest rate. So nothing changed in terms of payments. These unexpected bills I have coming up will not get paid because I increased the amount I pay on my credit card. Matter of fact, putting all that extra money towards my credit cards will mean i can not pay for those expenses.

Looking back, I think I just really want to be rid of this debt TODAY. It's not possible. There's not magic about it. It takes time. I didn't get all that debt in one month and it's not going to take 3 months to get rid of it. I have to start thinking in terms of years and just be happy that the number keeps going down. I mean, I owe about what I make in a year. I pay about half my salary in rent. Which means that even If i only used my salary on rent and debt, it would take a year to get rid of all of it. Obviously, that's not a feasible situation. I have to eat. I have to pay for transportation and all. Basically, I think I am going to go back and play with my budget. I need to contribute more to my savings. That way when things like parking tickets come up, I can pay it off without thinking too much about it. This means my debt reduction rate will slow down but hopefully I'll be able to avoid these anxiety-ridden moments. I'll also be able to enjoy life a little more.
Trust me, I'm not about to input $80 a month for clothes. I'll definitely still be frugal and look for ways to cost cuts. I'm still going to ask myself if something is necessary. There is just no need for me to be a martyr. I think that if being a martyr meant I would pay by debt off in 3 months, I would do it. I don't think I want to live like that for 2-3 yrs. The key is not to add to my debt.

I'd really like to know what you guys think about this strategy and If you've had to make this decision yourself as well.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

I am closing my Capital One

I just got off the phone with the rep. She claims there is nothing I can do to make them review this change. The rate is fixed(technically, it's a variable rate) and it has affected majority of their customers. My current rate is even lower than i thought. It is 7.6% and the want to increase it to 17.9%. Even typing it out it sounds ridiculous. 10% higher and I have done nothing wrong. Simply because of the economic times? Sounds like they are taking the piss to me.
This is the only option I have and I think I am going to take it. I have to think about it a little more (so any opinions are welcome) but I am leaning towards it. I can opt out of this increase by April 17 (thank God I read this letter today) and it will keep my current APR but the account will be closed on May 17. Then I just keep paying until the balance is paid off.
The pros and cons to this I can see are as follows:
  • I won't be able to spend on this card anymore therefore I will be forced to live more within my means.
  • This account will only go down helping my budget reduction plan.


  • There will be less credit available for an emergency. However, my other cards do provide sufficient credit.
  • I've had this card for a while so my credit will take a hit. My credit will also suffer b/c it has a large credit line (12,500). However, your credit score is not the end all be all and it bounces back pretty quickly. I am not trying to buy a house or anything soon so it doesn't play a big factor. The lady over at bouncing back from bankruptcy has a credit score close to mine and she filed for bankruptcy.
  • I get miles on this card and that has been pretty sweet. No hassle miles were great. I guess I will just keep using my other credit cards to get miles although that is tied to specific airlines. I guess I'll redeem the balance for something else.
  • It's just annoying to be put in this situation.

Although there are more cons than pros, I am still leaning to closing the card. That kind of interest rate on such a large balance is really not something I can deal with. It would be a true case of 3 steps forward 2 steps back.


Read your Mail carefully

I brought a whole stack of old mail and papers to the office to try and purge. I saw this letter from capital one saying important information about your account. I almost tore it and threw it away because I get a lot of those and they are usually purchase checks. Thank God I didn't. Apparently due to "extraordinary changes in the economic environment" they are increasing my purchase rate to 17.9%. from 9.89%. This is effective April 17.
I am so annoyed, scared and hopeless. What is wrong with these people? In my entire life, I have never had a late payment or anything that indicates high risk? I just moved over a ton of money from the BOA line of credit because the APR was so much lower. They said that this rate will affect balances transferred at the purchase rate but not affect any special transfer rates. WTF? That means my whole $12,000 balance is going to be charges 17.9% Back at square one. This was the situation I was in with the line of credit in December and I aggressively paid down and moved that balance down! I don't even know what to do. I don't want to pay fees to move my money again but this APR is ridiculous. Come on, capital one has never been that high for me. When I got the card the APR was 14%.

If you have any suggestions let me know. I'm all out of 'em. :(

Monday, April 6, 2009

Seems my readership has dropped off since my mini-hiatus. Well, hopefully people will be back soon. I took the plunge today and listed some books on I need to get aggressive about producing side income. I have been wary of ebay, amazon and because I didn't want to spend money to make $2. I knew that ebay had listing fees and they also charged a percentage of sales but I wasn't quite sure how it worked out. Since I am not an established seller in any of those communities, I was afraid I would spend money listing things that never sold. You might laugh, but every penny seriously counts right now. was the perfect avenue for me because they only charge you if you actually sell something. 25% if I remember right. I think your rating on can transfer to ebay which is great because I have a couple of expensive purses I want to sell. The highest I have priced any book is $6 so I'm waiting to see how fast they go. I hope i have a good experience because I have loads of books I have accumulated over the years. I want to become an active seller for 2 reasons.
1. Side income
2. Purge my apartment of clutter.

My next project would be to clear out my closet. I just have no idea if used clothes sell well or if i should just donate them. What do you guys think? Anyone out there really good at making income on the side? Care to share?

Hope the weather changes soon. This rain is just not inspiring.

Friday, April 3, 2009


Hi all.
I'm very upset I haven't blogged for a while (a whole month!). It wasn't due to lack of trying believe me. When I moved to NY, I was under the impression that I had accepted an offer to work for a great firm. I was wrong. I apparently signed up for one of the last legal forms of indentured servitude. I have worked 80 hrs a wk for the last 4.5 wks for absolutely no extra pay. No, I don't earn 6 figures. Anyway, all that is going to be saved for my next post.

What's happened in the interim finance wise? There's great news and some bad news. Good news first. My mom came to visit from out of the country (couldn't see her btw since I was at work the whole time) and she came bearing gifts. I'm not sure if I've mentioned this before but my parents took on to pay my student loans. My dad gave her a check for 10k to wipe down most of the student loans. I used that to pay off my BOA credit card and used the balance to pay a combinations of loans and other cards. I updated the meters a while back so that should be reflected. This means I don't owe Bank of America any money!!! Yay.

Bad news. It's pretty bad folks.
I regressed in my not spending money I didn't have. This month made it clear to me that blogging had a direct inverse correlation with how much money I spend. The more I blog, the less I spend. It's that simple. I think it's because when I blog, I am more focused about debt reduction and it's easier to talk myself out of dumb purchases.
What did I do? I spent about $200 on a juicer and lots of fruits. I read a book "slim for life" by Jason Vale and it inspired me to overhaul my diet. I have gotten so unhealthy but that's also a topic for another day. I do think my health is important but I could have carved out a portion of money I pay each month on my credit card to save up for this. I shouldn't have put it all on my card. Buying that triggered some of my old habits. Buying things without any concern for cost and acting as though swiping a credit card is not really taking money from me (trust, i think a LOT before spending lots with my debit card.).

My friend was coming from out of the country to celebrate her birthday in NY. With all the weight i've gained, none of my clothes fit so of course I had to go shopping. While I was at it, I needed new work pants and oh, I went to a wedding and HAD to buy a gift for the bride. I'm being sarcastic for those who are wondering. All this led to me charging $166 on my macys card (to take advantage of the discount) and leave with a couple of bags from H&m and NY& CO. Phew, crazy huh?

That's not all.

I also bought a dress on ruelala from Nicole Miller. It was such a Great Deal, I had to have it even though it won't fit (i'm gonna lose the weight duh!). Yea silly. The only positive in all this, is that at some point I felt guilty and I ended up using my savings account to pay for some of this. The damage isn't horrible. Probably set me back a month. I am definitely going to try not to go this long without blogging.

I need a new job. Depression and debt should not be friends. I was excited about tackling my debt before. A job that depresses me makes me look for ways to feel better and since everyone is asleep by the time I get out of work and since they have taken away my saturday and Sundays, and become my friend. Not a good look.

Numbers wise, this is what my finance charges look like for the month of February
Total $295.63. Great drop from back when it was $443.63. March looks like it's going to be under $200. Waiting on my capital one statement to generate then I can post that info too. I am so glad to be done with Bank of America and their 24% interest rate. The highest interest I pay now is 9.99%.

That's it for now. I should be more regular from now on. Expect the debt bars to change in the next couple of days. I just got paid and made some payments I want to go through before I make updates.

Friday, February 27, 2009

Paid in Full!

I stared at that screen for 10 minutes. I can't believe it. I want someone to pinch me.
My BOA Line of credit is paid in full!!!
Wow, when I started, I didn't think this time would come so soon. I'm very thankful to have found the PF blog community. I want to attack my BOA CC next b/c the promotional rate of 0% is ending soon and the interest rate (14.99) is higher than all my other cards. I also hate BOA so I don't want them earning any interest from me. I am so thankful to be rid of that 21.99% line of credit. I'll keep it open just because the credit available is huge and it helps my credit score. I should mention that I forget how finance charges work so I'm mentally prepared to expect a bill next month for finance charges. I can live with that.

I got my last check of the month and was able to look at my budget. I had an ending balance for February that was $269 higher than budgeted (yay for being frugal). I decided that 50% was going towards my credit card, 25% is going to savings and the other 25% is going to stay in my checking to give me some breathing space in march. I like this plan. I think it will help me a lot in a very painless way.

I got a shock when i logged into my mobile phone account this morning. I was told I owed $169.39! I almost fainted. My bill is about $55 a month. Sometimes I might go over by $10. The customer service person said I went over by 210 mins. I find that very hard to believe as I have mobile to mobile and most people I talk to use the same carrier. I guess I'll just have to wait till the actual statement comes out so I can go over it with a fine tooth comb.

All I know is that they won't be getting that money up front if it is indeed true! I have a corporate phone too, that I use to make calls so I have no idea how i could have gone over by that much. We'll just have to wait and see.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

These are my Confessions

Hi all,
You know, when I first started this blog, I was determined to post daily because I like reading blogs that do. As you can see, I haven't been so successful. I'm not too bummed about it because work has been busier than I thought it would be so I don't really have time. Plus, interesting stuff just does not happen everyday.

I've noticed that even though I have a lot of blogs on my reader, people have not been updating as frequently. I think it might be partly because most people seem to have gotten into the swing of things. Random question. For all you experienced bloggers out there, how do you tell when a person that contacts you about advertising is for real or not? I had a comment early on and I got really excited but then I saw the same thing on a bunch of other blogs so I figured it was just spam.

On to all things financial. I have a very big confession to make. I used my credit card. More than once. I don't know why. It's not like i really needed or really wanted what i bought. It was just like that switch that keeps me from doing dumb things like that was stuck. It didn't activate.

I was just like, oh, I want this. can't spend the money in my bank account without going over budget (warped logic) so i'll put it on my credit card. I'm pretty sure it was a one off thing. It shouldn't have happened but it did. I guess it's good for me to know that as much as I think I have everything under control, it is indeed possible for me to slip.

I know some of you are chomping at the bit to find out

what i bought:
I spent $48.77 on a book. Hella expensive for a book i know. it's called the writers market and is apparently a bible for those who want to break into free lance writing. I was at an event that gave %10 off of all books in the library and I thought "hey, good deal" and I bought it. This is exactly what I meant by it wasn't spent on things i needed. I had looked this book up before, decided it was too expensive and that I wasn't at the stage where i'd really utilize it and therefore i would buy it later. So why did i buy it this time? Honestly, I can't tell you.
I spent $49.31 on alli. It's a diet pill for those of you that don't know (fda approved). I have gained A LOT of weight and I am not really happy with what I look like. I know what it takes to lose weight and I don't believe I NEED Alli to do it. Nevertheless, i passed by a Duane reade and bought it. IDK. Can a person be addicted to spending? Seriously. It's almost like you gain some satisfaction fro purchasing an item.
I also spent about $50 bucks on random food purchases. That's $150 i put towards my debt reduction down the drain. How bad do I want this?
Regretfully, those are not all my confessions. I have also gone above budget in the food category (i need to make a note to post my budget). I think this was b/c I was so low on groceries towards the end of the month and I just had some random cravings. That's fodder for my other blog though so I won't go into too much detail. Thankfully, I seem to have been frugal enough in other departments that I will be under budget for the month of February. I am planning to put the excess to my debt.
So that's it folks. Do you guys have anything you want to confess? What's the most nonsensical item you have bought recently?

Thursday, February 19, 2009


For some reason, my lack of money is getting to me today. There are so many things I would like to do...but they all cost money. Not a lot mind you. Nonetheless, it's too much for my budget.

Bikram yoga @ $200 for 3 months? Can't afford it.
Dance classes @ $10 a class? Not in my budget.
writing class for $300? Not happening.
update my wardrobe? Not if I want to eat.
A digital SLR camera for $1400? Haha, that's a joke right?

You get the picture. I want to be debt free but I want to live too. The thing is, I don't really like my job. It pays well but I don't enjoy what I do. I like writing and would love to improve my writing so I can get paid for it. I like taking pictures and I would love to invest in a camera and some lessons so I can make money on the side. That way, even though I don't like my current job I have something to fall back on that brings me happiness. Why does everything that can bring in money involve making an investment first?

Bottom line.
I need more money.

I decided that since I've already brought my budget down to the minimum level I can live with I need to focus my energy on how to increase my income. I just started working so I don't expect a raise. Especially in the current economy. All the side activities I would consider doing require me to spend money first. I can't get a 2nd job b/c my 1st job is erratic when it comes to my schedule (i get out anytime between 6pm and 11pm).

What's left?
I am so frustrated that I am going to go home and inventory every single thing in my house. I will sell the $450 prada bag i bought when I must have lost my mind and never used. There has to be other things. I need to do some research on ebay though b/c I am not sure how it works. I know they take a percentage, but what about returns and stuff. I don't want to sell something and have the money only to find out that the person wants to send it back. Is ebay the best way to sell stuff? How straightforward is it?

My company also pays for referrals. I am going to actively recruit people to come work here (even though i hate it, lol) and try and get as many referrals as possible. After that, I'm stuck... what else have you guys done to make extra money? I am definitely moving out of my apartment when the lease is up. $1675 every month is ridiculous.

Sorry about the complaining guys.

Oh and by the way, I updated my debt bars. You'll notice that BOA is almost paid off :) (waiting on state refund) and my EF has dipped significantly :(

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

I love free stuff!

Hi all,
This is going to be a happy post. I am delighted to have my debt journey take such a positive spin. My federal return came in so I put 2k on my BOA. I have to wait on my state to come in so I can put the other 1k on it. I also initiated the transfer of money from my online savings (it takes 3 days) so I have that ready to go and that account can be PAID OFF! In other good news, freeing up that money allows me to tackle some of my other debts more aggressively. Unfortunately, the card I am attacking next has a pretty high balance so it might be a while before I have posts talking about paying off another card.
My title is the result of 2 things. I had a victoria secret $10 card from being a card holder. I usually use it to get bras since it's a decent reduction but this time, the debt-savvy vixen decided that $10 off $40 is $30 too much.
What else does this store sell? I wonder.
Hmm, let's look around. Panties? No. I have too many of those. Ahh! the beauty section. I never look in that dept. at all. So I found some body butter that cost $10 AND i had a coupon for free underwear (or 2 bras for $25 off or something) and i used it for the free panty. So, I got some rich body lotion and underwear for $0.89 which i had in my wallet. whoop-dee-do!
Then to put some icing on the cake, i got other free stuff. I was walking outside on my lunch break and saw a sign that sephora was giving out goodie bags to promote real housewives of nyc (or desperate housewives of nyc as my friend calls it) at noon. I knew there would be a line so i got there early at 11.30. waited 1.5hrs in the cold (can we say extended lunch break) and finally, ta-da, got my goodie bag which was soooo worth it. i think i got about $150 worth of product.
Very. Happy.Camper.
What not so good things have i done recently? Well I am already over my budget for eating out this month. I think it's because i was under budget overall for jan. and subconsciously I feel like i have some wiggle room (like jello :)). This is why I should have used my excess from january to pay down some other credit card. I will do that this month.
How have you all been faring?