Becoming Debt Free in 2009

May 8, 2009

DEBT FREEEEEE!!!!

Filed under: Debt,Journey to Debt Freedom — ambercouric @ 8:18 am

We decided to take the plunge and take the money from our savings to pay off the car.  I am just tired of having bills.  So I checked online this morning and the payment cleared so we are officially debt free.

I can’t believe how far we have come.

March 1, 2009

Paid In Full News From PF Blogs

Congratulations to the following bloggers for making some progress recently.  I always enjoy reading the payoff stories.  Stop by their blogs to see just what and how much they paid off.

Debt and the City

Won’t Go Down Without A Fight

Shaking the Money Tree

Our Debt Blog

Again, congrats to you all. 

If I missed your recent pay-off leave a comment with your blog address so we can all visit and see what you paid off.

February 24, 2009

I’m back and some good news

Filed under: Car,Debt,Journey to Debt Freedom — ambercouric @ 9:32 am
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We are all feeling better and things are slowly getting back to normal.  Unfortunately, I am behind on almost everything but I will slowly catch up.  No point in trying to do everything in one day.

I need to put the finishing touches on my take on credit card issuers and then I will post.  I’m only about a week late.

Now for some good news – I’ll go so far as to say some GREAT news.  Anyone remember when I started this blog back in October where I wrote about all of our debt?    I wish the great news was that we were debt free but it’s not.  Not yet anyway.  Everything has been paid off except for the car.   We still owe $6,200 on the car.   The car will definitely be paid off in  2009 but I’m not sure exactly when.  We have a big expense coming up in August (more about that later) and need to save a little more to cover it.

We are $6,200 from DEBT FREEDOM.

February 17, 2009

Credit Cards – Cardholders (#1)

Filed under: Credit Cards,Dave Ramsey,Debt — ambercouric @ 10:19 am

I have thought about this post for some time.  I have come to the conclusion that I will need to have several posts to say all I want to say.  Today, I will discuss the cardholder.  Tomorrow, the card issuer.  Thursday, I will combine the two. 

 The cardholder.  The person who uses the plastic.  We come in various sizes and shapes and our attitudes vary widely on the use of the credit card.  I have only chosen a few types here and many people will see themselves somewhere between these categories.  This in no way represents all cardholders.  These are groups that I see most often written about in the PF blogs.

Cardholder 1 – THE REWARDS ARE MY FRIEND -is the person who can use the card, pay it off each month and collect the rewards.  There are many people in the PF blog world that are able to do this successfully.  These people probably have their financial house in order and understand that credit can be used as a tool.  By the way, these are the people that the credit card companies don’t like.  The companies aren’t making money from them.  These are also the people who are shocked when their card limit is decreased and the interest rates go up.  These are the perfect customers IF you are giving them a mortgage, car loan, or personal loan not  a credit card.

Cardholder 2 – THE MAJOR PURCHASER -is the person uses the card for big purchases and pays off relatively quickly.  Usually a few months maybe up to a year.  This person probably weighs the cost of the interest to be paid over having the item sooner.  This person doesn’t charge the daily expenses or buy just because they have available credit.  My guess is that this person carries only a couple of cards.  The cards aren’t maxed out and more than the minimum payment is usually paid.  This person understands using credit but isn’t as disciplined as cardholder 1.

Cardholder 3 – THE SPENDER – is the person with numerous cards.  Lots are maxed out and have high interest rates.  The spender may at times feel like the banks are out to get him.  The spender likes stuff or uses the credit cards to live.  The spender may use his card for groceries, gas, the day to day expenses. In the early days of the spender’s credit card  use it was probably cool to be able to get whatever he wanted immediately.  Initially, the spender planned to pay early and more than the minimum but month after month as the charges went higher and more cards were added this became a vicious cycle.  This is actually the person the credit card companies like the most.  The person is paying the minimums at a high interest rate.  Once in a while there may even be a late charge or over the limit fee added.

Cardholder 4 – CREDIT CARDS ARE EVIL and is no longer a cardholder- is the person who swears by Dave Ramsey and truly feels that credit cards are the worst thing in the world.  Their card went in the shredder, blender or it was blow torched.  This person can’t imagine why anyone would even consider carrying a credit card.  Most of these people were at one point  a cardholder 3 person but has been disciplined and gotten rid of all of their debt and vow never to be there again.

I am more like cardholder 2 – the major purchaser.  I can tell you pretty close to every transaction ever made on my credit card.  The $8000 I have been paying off since I started this blog was a new refrigerator, washer, dryer and sofa.   Now that I have it paid off I will plan a little better for major purchases.  But I will still use it for online orders and travel. 

What type of cardholder are you?  Can you think of another category that I left out?

February 12, 2009

Credit Card Debt FREE

Filed under: Credit Cards,Debt,Journey to Debt Freedom — ambercouric @ 10:01 am
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Anyone who reads my blog knows that I HATE my car payment.  I had all intentions of working to pay off the car first.  My husband on the other hand HATES the credit card payment.  So we compromised and decided to pay one debt in full.

We took our tax refund, tutoring money, regular debt reduction payment and a bit from savings and PAID off our credit card.  The reasoning is that with the car the payment is fixed and we can continue to aggressively pay it down.  Who knows what would happen with the credit card the way the companies continually change the rules.

I have no plans to cut it up and throw it away.  I like to use it for online ordering and air line tickets, etc. but I will not use it unless I can pay it in full.  I have never been one to charge day to day expenses so I am sure that this will work for us.  I will also remember how hard we worked to pay it off.

Wow!  What a feeling.

February 5, 2009

Debt Free in 11 Months

Filed under: Budget,Debt,Journey to Debt Freedom — ambercouric @ 11:34 am
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As I was going through the bills and shredding all the old stuff this morning, I realized I will be DEBT FREE in just 11 months. 

I really need to start  focusing on the end – DEBT FREE DAY – instead of the daily ups and downs of the process.  It seems that my attitude has been – Gosh will the day ever come – and my attitude needs to be – IT’S ONLY 11 MONTHS AWAY.

Hope you all have a great positive day!!

January 29, 2009

Student Loan Info Needed

Filed under: Dave Ramsey,Debt,Personal Finance,School Loans — ambercouric @ 10:26 am
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I know very little about student loans.  I know that there are those that think they are great and those that think they are the devil.

A friend was asking me some questions and I thought I would just stick the info out for all of you to answer.  If you know of other bloggers who know a lot about student loans, I would appreciate if you either let me know their site or ask them to stop by here and answer.

Here is the situation:

My friend’s son wants to go to a school that is private and in another state.  The total to attend is $47,000.   The EFC calculator gave them a figure of $8,000 for them to pay.  They have no idea what kind of financial aid will be offered but she says they have NO money to pay.  So for a hypothetical situation say he has to borrow $30,000 per year.  That would be $120,000 over four years.  How are the terms set up -over how many years?  What types of loans should she look for?  How much would the monthly payments be if they borrow this huge amount?

Again, I know nothing about student loans but will be doing some research.  Please share your student loan experiences with me.  I would like to be able to have an intelligent conversation with my friend about student loans and what to expect.  She does have the option of paying by taking out a  second mortgage but I think this is a bad idea.

I must also say that before reading several PF I would have said ABSOLUTELY NO LOANS – but with insight from Dog Ate My Finances and Shtinkykat my opinion has lighten up a bit.

I welcome comments from parents, students, or anyone with any opinion on this

January 26, 2009

Weekly Budget Cut #1

Filed under: Budget,Debt,Food,Goals,Weekly Budget Cuts — ambercouric @ 10:19 am
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In an effort to make $400 worth of cuts to our monthly budget, we have decided to find one item each week to cut.  We have only one rule – if for some reason the “cut” doesn’t work we can replace it with another cut for the week.  We do have to have at least one cut each week that will stick.

So now for the cut of the week.  Sara Lee bread.  We normally go through 2 loaves of bread each week.  We only buy Sara Lee bread because that is all my older son would eat as a child.  He thinks bread has a smell and Sara Lee didn’t.  So, this cut was replacing Sara Lee bread with store brand.  With the total savings per month being about $12.  I will say this was Kennedy’s idea.  Well, it didn’t work.  Half way through the first loaf of store brand bread DH and Kennedy both said they just couldn’t eat it.  It had a funny taste and the ends were hard.  For the record, I am allergic to wheat so I can’t eat it so I can’t speak for the taste. 

So, how did we make up for the failed budget cut?  We changed what we put on the bread.  I normally spend at $12 – $15 on deli lunch meat each week.  I buy turkey, salami and roast beef.  We have decided to buy only one lunch meat per week and buy no more than $6 (usually a pound of one of the items on sale).  Once the meat is gone the rest of the week will result in peanut butter and jelly sandwiches.  We expect to save $24 per month with this change.

We decided to be very specific with each cut.  Instead of cutting the grocery budget, we have to list exactly what we will cut and how it will affect the budget. 

Only $376 more to cut.

January 22, 2009

Procrastinating Costs Money

Filed under: Budget,Debt,Journey to Debt Freedom — ambercouric @ 10:40 am
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I’ve needed to book a flight for a week or so now.  When I first looked at the prices the cost was $98 round trip.  Before I booked I wanted to check a few other details of the trip and just put the tickets on the back burner.  Well, I checked this morning and the tickets are now$205 round trip.  I went ahead and booked but I ended up paying more than $214 more for the two of us just because I waited.  I knew about this trip earlier enough but procrastinating costs me a lot in the long run.

Focusing on all the “little” things doesn’t help a whole lot when something big like this gets overlooked.

I am ready for January to be over.  I have spent more money this month while I’m trying to save than I spent in probably the last six months of last year. 

 One step forward 10 steps back.   Anyone else feel like this?

January 21, 2009

The Weekly Budget Cut

Filed under: Budget,Debt,Journey to Debt Freedom,Weekly Budget Cuts — ambercouric @ 1:13 pm
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We had the “family meeting” to talk about the mandatory pay cut my husband has to take.    While we didn’t go into specifics as to the total amount we came up with the idea of making a weekly budget cut.

The goal is to eventually cut the budget by $400 per month.  But instead of doing it all at one time we will decide on one cut per week and implement it.  No “cut” is to large or to small.  It just depends on what we agree to as a family.  Ashby won’t get a big say in this since he is not here much.  Of course, when he is here during the summers he will feel the effects of whatever we decide.

We decided to do this as a slow process for two reasons -1) to make it a game 2) to make it an easy transition so no one feels deprived.

I realize that we could go all “gazelle” but since we do have a good emergency fund we feel like the cuts are more likely to stick with us having to put effort into making decisions based on our priorities as a family.

Each Monday I will post our “Weekly Budget Cut”.  Give an idea of how we decided on the particular cut and post an update of the total we will save per month.

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