Monday, September 29, 2008

Le Sigh....

So I got myself down to only $1000 left on the last credit card as of my last paycheck. I felt really great about that, and even though it meant that finances would be really tight until the next payday (today), I just tightened my belt and behaved really well financially and finally - finally - the glorious day arrived. Payday, phew.

Except my paycheck is pitifully, pitifully small. I received my annual bonus two weeks ago, and the way they do it here is to just give you the bonus check and then take the taxed for it out of your next paycheck. I have no idea why they don't just take it out of the bonus check immediately. Maybe they want the bonus to look bigger and more impressive, I don't know. But in any case, even though the bonus wasn't nearly as big as it was last year, all of the taxes on it came out of the check I just got today. So this paycheck is several hundred dollars smaller than usual.

Note that I am not being ungrateful for the bonus (I appreciate any extra money I get!); and it's not that I made a colossal financial mistake and will now be in trouble: the bills I have to pay during the first half of the month will still all be covered. But it *does* mean that I'll still be flat broke until next payday. No additional debt payments, no fun money, no going out to eat. Kinda took the wind out of my sails (Ha ha, when I first typed that I wrote "sales"). Because that's another long 17 days away. Ugh.

But hey, I've made it through that long without spending money before, I can do it again! And at least I'm "only" broke - even having zero dollars is much better than having to go into the red to pay for things. I won't have to make any late payments, I have a pantry full of food at home, it's at least not Christmas or something, and if something catastrophic were to happen I do have the cc's to fall back on. Of course I don't want to fall back on them, though. So I'll be doing all I can to not spend anything except for absolutely must-pay bills until my next payday. Maybe I'll even come online here and post the days that I can manage to spend $0.

Wish me luck, and try to help me not spend! :)

Wednesday, September 17, 2008


So like I said I was reading through the Women in Red message boards again yesterday.. it's a nice way to stay motivated when I've made payments and am just stuck waiting around until the next payday. Some highlights (lowlights? surprises?):

* A thread entitled "29 years old and 74,532.84 in debt"

* Someone 475k in debt (including house debt - although the one above doesn't)

* People out of jobs

*People who got blasted by unexpected expenses

* Financial websites/suggestions

* Awarding little smiley emoticons for progress paying off debts

* Easy cheap dinner suggestions

* Dealing with identity theft

* Monthly/weekly/etc. financial "challenges" like spending less than x dollars on groceries, or going more than 7 days without spending any money, etc.

* A student who is $24k in debt but makes $719 a month

* A husband of 17 years who won't work on eliminating their family's debt

But my favorites are the groups. There is one called the "Women in Red Racers" - all women who are 'racing' (against themselves, but they do post the 'rankings' as well) to pay down their debt. Some people only have like $500, some have $500k - some from houses, some from cars, some all on credit cards, some their fault, some not. But they all post (all the time!) and support each other, push each other, are accountable to each other. I only have about $5k left but I up and joined and so I'll be able to post and encourage other people and share advice for what's worked for me so far. It's really amazing what good things the internet can do, you know? These women are all so supportive of each other, and are really giving each other a good kick in the butt when needed too. It's awesome. And, as a whole group, the "Women in Red Racers" (WIRR) have paid off a combined five million dollars in debt in two years.

Isn't that unbelievable?!?!?

The "Women in Red Savers" is another group - I'm sure you can guess the purpose. I plan on joining them after I "win" and "graduate" from the WIRR. Then I can start working on becoming a millionaire!

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Bonus post

Oh yeah and I forgot to mention. Our school has not done their annual September "salary adjustments" yet, because the economy has been so poor and enrollments were down in July/August. They have also not given out bonuses. Now, it doesn't say anywhere that they have to give out bonuses, but they usually do, out of the annual profits from the company. My bonus last year was almost $5k. I was expecting about $50. I almost had a heart attack.

This year, though, no bonus so far...

...I am hoping that is not a permanent decision :[ Not that I was counting on one (or, certainly, one that big!), but if it happened once....

Keep your fingers crossed.

Monday, September 15, 2008

Wax and wane

I feel like my motivation is waning. Doesn't that seem wrong, that it should be tapering off right now when I've finally got my balances so low and am so close to my goals? It's irritating, but it's still true. I can feel the difference. I'm wanting to be lazy and go out to eat, and it's been awhile since I had one of those "$0" days. I am not out wasting money on useless crap or anything, but I'm definitely not feeling as fanatically devoted as I was. Or maybe I am when I think about it, but I'm just not thinking about it all the time.

I am not surprised that this is happening, really... I can be dedicated to something over the long term, in a rational way, or I can be insanely devoted to something for a short amount of time, but then get bored. This is why, early on, I told everyone I had to be so good. "You're doing great," some people said, "it's okay to reward yourself with a little splurge." Or "well you have to have some fun in the meantime, or you'll go crazy!" But really, I had to have NO fun and NO splurges and be REALLY good in order to get it down as fast as possible. That way I wouldn't run out of steam while the balances were still high enough to keep me in trouble.

Because I can see the light at the end of the tunnel, however, I know that I will be able to persevere! (I also started reading the
Women in Red threads again on MSN, and even joined one called the "Women in Red Racers" where everyone is racing to pay down chunks of debt. I think it will be really motivating to get me through this last little bit! But more about that in a later post.)

So back to the update:

I am now down to one credit card (locked at 2.99% for life) and a debt I owe to my mom. That's it for consumer debt, which is my focus at the moment. We'll worry about school loans later (especially since I have to find out if there is a pre-payment penalty on them anyway).

Last cc: $1000
Mom: $4200

Total paid off since November 16, 2007: $22,085.52