Debt Tracker Update

Yup, it’s that time of year again. For those tracking with me, while I won’t my $$ goal this year (for the first time) I have reached my goal of paying off 10 debts. With only $ 570.99 paid off this year so far, I don’t know where I’ll top out this year but the big debts are behind me and I am now officially below $ 5,000 on my debts. Who would have thought that it would be the small debts that are the hardest to pay off. The reason being is that, and this is a switch, I have to track them down.

I started this back in 2007, almost 10 years later I have paid off $ 28,648.46. This total doesn’t include my student loans. this does include credit cards with small limits and high interest rates, new debt, and what I call stupid debt- which are debts accrued via stupid means- like that new debt. Now, I didn’t go out and buy a car or a $200 pair of riding boots. No, this stupid debt was accumulated from spending a little more here and a little bit there- on things I didn’t need and ending up with a few overdraft or stop check fees. Then there were months when I slacked on watching my spending and oops. Yeah, that hurt and set me back.

Lessons have been learned, so hopefully by sharing my experiences someone else will avoid my pitfalls. Someone well will stay away from those high interest credit cards that promise a savings break on the interest if a charge is paid in full within so many months. Take it from me, someone who walked that path, if you go passed the time limit they will hit your account with the interest going back to the initial month of that charge. Also, avoid having multiple cards. This is another area where people get in trouble. Guess what- if a place accepts Visa, chances are they’ll also take Mastercard.

Also, avoid having multiple cards. This is another area where people get in trouble. Guess what- if a place accepts Visa, chances are they’ll also take Mastercard. These days, I have one of each. My Visa is my debit card, zero interest. My Mastercard is reserved for large purchases or emergencies. I stopped nickel and dime charging to the interest card. That’s another way people get in trouble with cards. $5 at fast food places, a few more here and there- places you forget what you bought etc. If you find that you can’t break yourself of the chump change spending, use your debit card for it- there are no interest fees.

 

Changing of Plans

Do you ever get that feeling? You know, that you might be in the wrong place? I’m talking about where you live. It just doesn’t seem like where you’re at- you’re not getting anywhere, zero to little progress in life. Maybe you feel stalled or like you’re treading water. The wheels are spinning but you’re not moving forward.

That’s about how I feel this passed week. At least, since that phone call telling me that the class I signed up for was pulled from the schedule. The class I really wanted was full, in all slots. To make things mushy, I took a more in depth look at the catalog for the school I plan to transfer to (another community college) and saved for 2 or 3 classes- they have what I’m looking for. Kirkwood even has a much larger selection of courses in creative writing. WITCC has one.

This leads me to feeling like I’m at the wrong school! Save for those few classes.

I have 18 transferable credits to date. I need 64 / 65 to earn my Associates of Arts – English degree.

With things as they are it seems to make sense that I move across state for Kirkwood. I’m going to shoot for the courses I need that WIT has / Kirkwood doesn’t, Then, save my money for the move East to the Cedar Rapids area.

This is assuming the classes are / will be on schedule with openings.

HUM 101 Intro to Humanities

SOC 250 Sociology of Deviance

And I need to repeat

LIT 101 Introduction to Lit

Creative writing- science fiction is not taught at either school

Hopefully this will be the last time I need to adjust / change my plans.

About My Move

Hey all,

I am writing this out of frustration. Someone has accused me of not following through- and yet my plans, what I’ve been saving have not change- they are only delayed.

Some time ago I came to the notion that Sioux City was not the place for me. So I resolved to move. I told a few people this specifying “I will move once I have saved $2,000.” This is so that I can afford the expenses of the move plus the next apartment. This has not change. I am still saying this. I will move when I have the $2,000.

Now, here’s the problem that’s causing the delay.

Part 1 is in one word- DEBTS. I need to get a good portion of my debts paid off- especially the local ones. I have $5,000 to $6,000 to go. When I started the debt pay-off (because I wanted to buy a house) I have well over $25,000.

Part 2 can also be summed up in one word- RENT. Every year I get a cost of living increase in January. When June arrives I get a notice that my rent is going up. In and of itself, not a problem- it’s the ratio that is. While the reason (imo – excuse) is different every year the result is the same. The ratio is usually $ 20 / 25 on income vs. $30 to the rent. It’s a two steps forward and one step back scenario.

This year one of the ladies in the office claimed “fair market value”. However, in comparison to other complexes across the area – they are over-priced. The rent rate is now competitive with complexes that offer in-unit laundry connections, heated swimming pools, and workout centers. While my current place does have a pool it is not heated and they do not offer the other amenities. Laundry facilities are in the basement- 2 washers and 2 dryers to each building of 24 apartments. It’s not enough.

There is a light at the end of this tunnel. As I mentioned- I have $5,000 to $6,000 to go on my over all debts. I will soon be done paying on my student loans. And the last of the credit cards will be paid off between December 2015 and February 2016. Even while still paying on the remaining debts, this will put over $200 back into the budget. This will become the savings for the move. IF this plan remains ‘on track’ I expect to have the $2,000 for the move.

As for the actual move – there are several places I am considering. I have not hidden this fact nor is not the first time I have mentioned it. The list consists of

1. Home to Pinellas County, Florida.
2. Cedar Rapids, Iowa.
3. Phoenix / Flagstaff, Arizona
4. Montana
5. Colorado
6. St. Louis (I’d like to live here at least 1 year.)

A 7th option has recently been added – the idea of moving to another / cheaper apartment in order to resume my academics at Western Iowa Tech. That is… to at least finish my Freshman courses. That’s 32 credits ( half of the value of an Associates of the Arts Degree). At this point I have 24 transferable credits. So, I need another 8 credits. If I choose this route I will end up being over because the courses are worth 3 credits each.

I admit that this idea is appealing and I did enjoy several classes – which has a lot to do with the instructors- specifically Ms. Lewis, Mrs. Fox, and Dr. Renshaw. Mr. Hall made it easy to understand math- his class was the first A in math I had ever made.

Then there’s my church family at Southern Hills Baptist Church. I would miss them and Sunday mornings. I have learned so much from them.

To highlight I have options and snags- it only means a delay. As I have said, and I will say is again- once I have saved $2,000 I will move.

The only thing that I can fore-see as another delay is if I say “screw this” and buy a car.

I will keep you all updated as this progresses, evolves, etc.

Goals to Date

Well, we’re encroaching on the middle of the year. This is when I like to pause and take a look back and see where I’ve been and what I’ve done in the year. Today I’m going to go back further and account for the accomplishments I’ve had over the years.

The biggest one is that I quit smoking! I made this decision when I had moved into my current apartment on 11-01-04. The draw back is that while food tasted like it should, I regained the weight back that I had lost since leaving Colorado – and then some.

Another big one is the debt project. I started this in 2007. I have budgeted $2,000 per year to do this. Admittedly I wasn’t smart about it when I first started. I stumbled, faltered, and struggled. Of course it didn’t help that some of the collectors were out right bullies in their tactics to collect. I don’t know how I made it through without the Grace of God. My sanity remains intact thanks to Him.

I have long forgotten what the total was in the beginning. It seems to have floated around $20,000 the entire time- despite the records showing that debts were getting paid off. I blame the interest, it is an evil creature. :: wink ::

To date, I have paid off close to $27,000. While this includes my credit cards, it does not include the student loans. Like I said, interest is an evil creature. One loan is under $1,500 and the other is well over $12,000. Despite my payments of $105 a month- the so called ‘low interest’ of 6 to 7% is making a marginal dent if at all. The small loan may see a credit of $20, sometimes more each month. It’s the large loan that often balances if not cancels that effort. This is the price to be paid for such a small payment- so they tell me. The sad part is that I’m on the income-based payment scale. Things will change though and soon. Once the final credit card is paid off I’ll move this money over to the loans.

There’s a lesson to be learned in this, be smart with your money. I did save money by attending a community college vs. a traditional 4 year school. However, I wasn’t smart with what money I had and it caught up to me. Believe me when I say “I’ve paid for it.”

In looking ahead, 2015 will see an end to my credit cards. It is my hope that I will be able to move forward with plans that have been set to the back burner during these last few years. There are many things I would like to do and accomplish, things that I need to and have to do. For the time being they have simmered, ever on the edge of my thoughts.

These are more than wishes, plans and dreams. I am reluctant to say more as there are those who criticize and object to even the simplest of objectives. This is something I resolved with myself that I will never understand about people- friends who make ‘well meaning / intended comments’ and yet their words only serve to discourage and deter.

Which brings me to my final accomplishment for this post. I have finally relieved myself of the last of these naysayer friends. If you find that a friend is more negative, or that you feel angry / frustrated at them more times than not- perhaps this friend is a naysayer. These people are best left to fade into obscurity rather than kept around.

Day 1

As I tweeted- I have a plan- the questions are: will I go through with it? Will I be brave enough to share on the internet?

The plan is to finally lose the weight and get into shape. The problem has been that, over the years, I have had what equates to anti-support. Friends have done and said things that ultimately sabotage even the notion of doing this.

Women / girls have said things like:

“Oh, you’re not fat.”

“You’re not the one who’s fat, I’M the one who’s fat!” ( this from the girl who weighed no more than 110 / 120 pounds. )

And from the guys:

“200 pounds isn’t so bad.”

“As long as you don’t lose the tatas.”

When showing a friend the stationary bike I’m saving up for- he commented “It’s pointless to exercise just one part of your body.”

I have decided that today I am taking back the power. I’ve banged my head on the proverbial wall for the last time. These people are no longer either a part of my life or an influence. Today I am taking this back and making it mine.

Today is my regular check up with my doctor regarding the PCOS. I’m going to ask the nurse to take 2 pictures with my disposable camera. 1 of the scale- ( because there are those who refuse to believe my claim of weight. ) and one of me because people on a weight loss kick usually start with the “before picture.”

Wish me luck.

Goals Achieved July 2014

07-16~2014-

Okay, so it took me longer than expected. I did take a short break to get munchies and a few other things. Still, I’ve finished the comparing and deleting of the clones for # 38. Now, it looks like I’ll be able to get through the copies of # 39 by the end of tonight.

5:43pm DONE!!!!

By 5:45 pm I finished with comparing and deleting the clone files of Psi-B Homecomings.

Along the way I did make some edits. However, phase 2 ‘the editing stage’ will be put on hold for a while. I’m going to set this one aside so that I can focus on “Return’ and my Long Ridge Lesson.

Current Stats: Psi- B Homecomings

file size: 387 kb
page count: 188
word count: 59,813

07-17~2014~

Another goal achieved. Today I finished LRWG Lesson 7 part one- revising the story from a previous lesson. I chose ‘Choices’ from lesson 4. This is by far the most popular piece among those who’ve read my work. As it is one of mine. For me, I think that it’s because how people respond to it. People view the 3 main characters as I had intended and hoped. They have sympathy for Sharon, adore her best friend Tabitha, and David is a toad.

After yesterday’s achievement with Psi-B Homecomings, this feels like a double-victory. I have 2 more parts to write for lesson 7- the cover letter and a note to my instructor. I already expressed to him that I intend to focus on fiction for the remainder of the course. In this letter, I need to tell him is (as it’s part of the lesson requirements) about what I intend to write about for lesson 8.

The trick for me is selecting ideal magazines to solicit. It’s not intimidating, however, despite the plentiful options in the Market Place book- I can’t seem to find one to fit a piece.

The 1 Year Plan

I’ve already shared about my 5 and 10 year plans. It has to start somewhere though. And that is with a 1 year plan. Since there are 3 months left in 2014, technically this will be a 15 month plan. That said, this is my list of objectives to accomplish by December 31, 2015. I’m starting the list with the academic ones- meaning the ones that will happen.

Things that will happen

  1. Improve my faith walk with Christ – back to church + Bible studies.
  2. Finish the course with Long Ridge Writers Group ( 4 lessons to go )
  3. Pay off another $ 2,000 from the debts ( includes #’s 4, 5, & 6 )
  4. Pay off the debt to HCC ( using rent rebate )
  5. Pay off the Visa Card ( happens in April )
  6. Pay off the MasterCard ( happens in August )

Things that to make happen

  1. Lose weight- drop below 200 lbs. – weight as of 10-08-2014 is 238.6 lbs.
  2. Continue working on Break-In novel
  3. Finish edits on RPG Archive Project: Some Things Never Die… Some Things Do
  4. Get back into Toastmasters and finish the Competent Speaker manual
  5. Stand my ground against those who would sabotage my plans and efforts
  6. Cut the bad rubbish from my life
  7. Finish the Stargate DVD Collection
  8. Purchase one new product from Melaleuca each month (new to me)

I’m thinking these projects should be enough for one year. Once these are finished I’ll take a look at what else is on my 10 year plan list and see what can be added- based on the time remaining in the year. Some projects are automatic and some will take longer or more time and attention. As with all plans there needs to be room for unplanned chaos and times when I just don’t feel like doing anything.