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.