Sunday, June 29, 2014

and so it begins.... my first credit card[s].

Today I'm going to tell you how my journey started, and that was with my very first credit card.

Well in all reality my first card was a Zale's card, I was helping out a friend who was like one credit app short of her goal for the week. Anyway, I had that card in my wallet for I don't know how long and it went un-used for a long time... until I was dropped off at the mall by my then boyfriend so that him and his friends could go play disc golf. I went to see my friend at work and I found a necklace and earrings that I really liked and "had to have." Now, these were not super expensive pieces of jewelry, I spent less than $200 total. But I put it on my Zale's card. I paid it off within a couple of months and all was good. I do still have that card and I do use it from time to time (but I'm not buying any more jewelry until I've paid down some serious debt).

But my first REAL credit card.....

My Discover card.

When I was about 22, I made the mistake of moving in with a pretty good friend of mine. Keyword: mistake. Well needless to say we are no longer friends, but that's a story for a different day. One important thing for you to know is that this friend of mine only worked for fun money, her parents paid EVERY bill she had I'm talking phone bill, cable bill, household bills, car payment and gave her gas money and a pretty regular allowance. The house that she lived in was owned by her parents and was paid off so there were no house payments that had to be paid. She paid for everything on her Discover card and then made payments on it with the money that she made at her job.

One day she told me that if she sent me a link to sign up for a Discover card and I was approved we would both get a $50 cash back bonus. I don't know what made me think this was a good idea but I said okay. She sent me a link, I filled out the application, got approved, picked out my card design and then got the card in the mail. Here's the kicker: when I called to activate the card I mentioned that we were supposed to receive the referral bonus.... the guy I was talking to told me that she must have sent me the wrong link because he didn't show that my card was done with the referral program. The guy was nice enough to credit me with like $25 cash back bonus or something like that for the "inconvenience." (For those of you who don't know Discover really does have the best customer service, they are always real nice and extremely helpful.)

So I had this card and for awhile it was a scary thing to me. I made sure the balance stayed low and I paid it off as quickly as I could. But then I got comfortable with it and that translated to irresponsible. My balance got higher and I would make more than the minimum payment but I just couldn't get it paid off.

Fast forward two years and here I am with way too much debt and a net worth that is seriously in the red. And my credit card is locked in a box in the vault at my job. Yeah it sucks, but ya know what? It's character building. Or at least that's what I have to tell myself. 

I would love to go back in time and tell myself that I was going to get myself into a load of trouble with that card but I can't so I just have to live in the now and own up to the fact that I've made mistakes with my money and I'm now working to fix them.

Friday, June 27, 2014

so i locked up my credit card....

"Hi, I'm SB and I have a credit card problem..."

I don't know what has been wrong with me lately but I had to give myself an intervention. They say that drug addicts and alcoholics get worse before they get better.... is it the same for credit card abusers? I'm so upset to admit this but I went a little crazy and added like $500 back onto my credit card. I felt so bad when I looked at my app the other day and I knew something had to give, so I had one of my co-workers let me into my safe deposit box and I locked up that card. No one is to let me get it out unless it is a legit emergency (and even then I hope they don't). 


One of these bad boys is keeping my card safe and unused.
But just locking it up wasn't good enough for me. I called an acquaintance of mine at the credit union where my debt consolidation loan is and I asked her to change it and basically increase it so that I could pay off the card (and since it's locked up the balance can't increase anymore). She did it for me and now my balance at the credit union is ridiculous $4535.63.

I promise I really am serious about paying off my debt but life has been getting in the way lately and it's been rough. But I am so tired of feeling bad about my debt and now I'm going at it like crazy. I adjusted my budget and knocked my envelopes down to 6 instead of 13. I got paid today, filled my envelopes and paid my bills I pay online and then I deposited $400 into my online savings account. Once I get $1000 in there I will feel like I'm on the right track and then I know I can pay off that loan with no problems (well, I hope...).

I don't really want to update my net worth at the beginning of next month like I planned on because I'm scared to see the numbers. Then again I feel like I should just so I can own up to it and move on. What do y'all think? Has anyone else ever fallen off the wagon hard before they really kick it into high gear?

Monday, June 23, 2014

a quick update...

I keep meaning to get on here and do a quick update but things are kinda hectic in my world! But now I have a free second so here we go:

As we all know I have a Discover card. I love Discover. They really do have the best customer service around and since I have the "It" card I get my FICO score with my statement. So a couple months ago I saw that the APR fees I had gotten were ridiculous so I called customer service to see if they could help me out. They had lowered it for me in the past for like a 6 month period but this time the lady said there weren't any offers available. She said to call back in 6 months. No way! I called back the next month, I was told the same thing except this time the lady said "you'll be getting an letter in about 10 days to explain it." Explain what? I was at work so I couldn't continue the conversation but its been past the 10 days and no letter! I'm definitely interested in knowing what it was about so I think I'll call them back.

I've been doing the envelopes for a week now and I just want to say I really like it! I do have envelopes that are empty (which is fine) and I moved some money from one envelope to another (which is also fine), I didn't have a purchase that I didn't have enough for or anything like that I just decided that the leftover money from my "Misc." envelope should go to my "Groceries." envelope. No big deal.

And my final update: I have a friend who is [graciously] spending his free time getting my ".com" ready to go up. I'm really excited about that!

How's everything goin for yall?

Saturday, June 14, 2014

envelope time!

Yesterday was pay day, know what that means? Time to start this envelope budget! Woop, isn't that exciting? My co-worker made us a spreadsheet for our budgets and I forgot to send it to my personal email so I can't upload an image of it. I did for some reason print a copy of the budget so I can upload a picture of the printed document. Hahaha! 

So at the top in the middle column it says "Paycheck 1" and the one next to it that is too dark to read it says "Paycheck 2." I sat down one day and figured out my "bare bones" paycheck. The amount came out to $713.06, that number is (40 hours only, no overtime or bonuses) after taxes and after taking out health, vision and dental insurance and my 6% to my 401k. So at the top you see that number and then you see the amount of my actual paycheck and then the difference of the two. The plan was to do this bi-weekly and it should still work that way but there are obviously some things that we don't need to pay with each check so we adjusted the budget to account for that. Ex: it says my cell phone budget is $50 when really it is $100 but I actually make a payment on the cell phone with every check, the same goes for my car insurance. (Also just so we are clear my cell phone bill is NOT that high, but like I've mentioned before if I pay extra then I have a credit for the next bill)

I have a total of 13 categories but I only have 10 envelopes (my car loan, savings account transfer and Discover bill are all done online). Each envelope has a register sheet in it so that I can keep track of where I spend the money that is in whichever envelope. I do plan on rounding UP to the nearest dollar just because I don't want a bunch of change in the envelopes, so I have a coin purse that I'll keep all my coins in. I took the $217.06 (which was the difference of my actual paycheck and my budget amount) and put that in my checking account for safe keeping. At the end of this first 2 weeks I'm not sure if I want to take the cash that is left over in the envelopes and put that towards my debt or if I want to leave it in each envelope and then add less cash to them with my next check. Any suggestions on that would be wonderful. 

Hope this system works out well for me!

These are my envelopes!

Sunday, June 8, 2014

pet peeves part 2.

And now ladies and gents, for your viewing pleasure (hopefully), I give you.....

pet peeves part 2.

  1. Loud music in the drive thru- Don't get me wrong here... I love some bass thumpin, super loud, sometimes obnoxious music. However, there is a time and a place for it. That place is not the drive thru at my bank! And while we are on the subject, your bass probably isn't that great anyway and the music your listening to is probably not any good either. So when you pull up into one of the lanes just turn the volume down for a couple minutes. I promise you can handle having some quiet time for the 3 minutes it takes me to do your transaction. Not only will I appreciate it but it will keep you from getting dirty looks from other customers who don't care to hear whatever mess of tunes you have decided to listen to today. 
  2. FILL OUT YOUR OWN SLIPS!- First of all, if you don't know your account number and all you do is write your name on the slip then I cannot be held responsible for what account that money goes in to. Example: A lady needed to put $7000 into her business payroll account so she sent in a check and a deposit slip with just her name written on it. The teller had no other information (and the customer was on her phone, please reference pet peeves part 1) so she looked up the name and found the customer that she thought was correct. The next day one of her employees comes to my window and guess what? "I'm sorry sir, this check won't clear at this time." And that's when the shit hit the fan! The woman called and wanted to know where her money was and she was furious that it was done incorrectly. The whole thing was fixed but it just proves my point that people should know their account numbers and FILL OUT THEIR OWN SLIPS. 
  3. You don't need your balance before AND after your transaction- Yes, some people actually do this. And it will even be after a deposit of $100! Your balance was $100, you deposited $100, your balance is $200. I don't mind if you ask for your balance after your transaction. I don't even mind if you want it before your transaction. But do you really need it before and after? No. You have a calculator. Just do the math. It's really not that hard. 

And this concludes this episode of "pet peeves."

Friday, June 6, 2014

relapse.

Bad news, y'all.
I had a relapse. Oops.
Okay, it's totally not as bad as it sounds...

First of all let me say that I'm having some issues in my personal life that are basically causing me some serious stress. If I was the type of person who could just let go of stuff that isn't working and move on with my life then I would be much better off... but I'm not that type of person so I hold on to things and let them wear me down. 

Has anyone noticed that when you're stressed out or upset then you're more willy nilly with your money? No? Maybe that's just me. Well I definitely have not tracked any of my cash purchases and haven't really cared about where it's going so I'm down to like 50 bucks to last me until the 13th. Totally do-able since I have a fridge full of groceries and gas in my car, not worried. The good thing here is that I have not used my credit card at all (and normally if I stress out and feel the need to spend money then I just pull out that card), and I've only touched the bank account because I needed to buy a baby shower gift for my best friend. 

So while this setback does make me feel kinda crappy I know it's something that I can bounce back from. In fact, I have a plan! My co-worker and I have decided to do the cash envelope budget.... well I'm going to do it, I'm not sure if she is actually going to commit. I know this method isn't for everyone (Ashley over at Blogging Away Debt tried it and had some ups and downs and decided she didn't like it) but I'm hoping it will work out well for me. I'll try anything once! Me and the co-worker decided that instead of doing our envelopes monthly we are going to do them bi-weekly, some people do it monthly and I talked to a customer who knows of people doing it weekly.... both of those options do not sound awesome to me! I plan on starting this with my next check which like I said above will be June 13th. So when I start it I will let y'all know how I'm setting it all up and everything. 

Fingers crossed!

Monday, June 2, 2014

updated numbers.

Well here we are, the beginning of June and I'm ready to present to you my updated numbers. :)

Now before I post the updated summary I would like to say a couple things: 

  1. I PAID OFF MY VICTORIA'S SECRET CREDIT CARD!!!!
  2. I realized while I was doing my numbers that my credit card balance actually increased... At first I a little mad at myself but then I remembered that setbacks happen and while that balance is higher so are the balances in my bank accounts. 


Summary of debt
June 1, 2014
Loan:                                     Balance:                               Payment:
Auto                                       6664.17                                 135 (bi-weekly)
Credit Union                           2650.12                                   49.31
Discover Card                          1440.18                                  43
Victoria's Secret                             0                                        0
Current net worth:  -$10,027.95

So as you can see my net worth increased by like $1100, which I think is really great and I am super proud of myself.