Archive for the ‘Motivation’ Category

Blue Friday

It’s payday. You might think a day of joy — time to get bills paid, take a small step towards debt reduction, and maybe even put a few dollars in the emergency fund.

But this morning, when I sat down with my coffee to hit the the online banking, by the time I was done I was almost in tears. I don’t even have enough to cover everything and if I don’t find some extra cash pretty fast, I’m going to be farther into some debt wormholes.

(BTW, I know I mentioned getting that desk below and you might be wondering how? My dad gave me a gift card for Office Depot recently he recieved at work and with the coupon I have it’s just enough to buy the desk, thankfully.)

So why am I here?

  1. I overspent on my emergency trip home to California and the proverbial chickens are coming home to roost
  2. I am not budgeting.
  3. I need more income or to reduce expenses even more. But I’ve cut a lot of the fat and still am dealing with a lot of payments on old debt.

So where do I go from here, without adding further to the debt load?

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I’m Back!

First of all — apologies to my 1 or 2 regular readers (ha!) who I’m sure have all but abandoned this blog. I don’t blame ya’. I mean — where the hell have I been? Here’s the scoop — I spent two weeks in April in California helping with a sick family member. I literally flew out in one day and headed straight to the hospital.

Things are all well now, thankfully, but with my lacking emergency fund and resources, I did find I had to charge some of these things. I’m glad I was able to be there for my family and that is the most important thing, but I admit to some depression after the fact for sliding further down the debt wormhole.

It’s taken me over a month to face that I need to deal with my financial life. Bills have been getting paid, but I haven’t brought any focus to my money. No question — I’ve been overspending.  But I’m getting myself back on track. Here’s a few things I’m doing this week:  

  • Blogging again!
  • Tallying up the debt totals and refocusing on the goal, no matter what the number
  • Organizing my home office — I know I use clutter to hide and not deal with what is in front of me
  • Making money!  I’ll be serving beer Friday and Saturday night at a local hog rally and hope to bring in at least $200 in cash to give myself a boost.

It feels good to be back.

Whew! It’s been a crazy few days at work.

My employer is a well known corporation, but where I work, we are a bit of a maverick operation in business processes.  I’m responsible for a small administration team as well as executive assistant duties for the general manager.

Profits are way down. Revenue is stagnant but costs keep rising.

Things are tough and we are being challenged to dig deep quickly to trim the fat. Cut spending and get more efficient.

Sound familiar?

It’s a busy but exciting time. Some hard decisions are ahead but I’m thrilled to be taken seriously and to be a part of the team looking at how to streamline many of our critical services.

The energy I’m feeling taking on these challenges is the same energy I’m feeling taking on my personal challenges with my finances. Feeling empowered, but also a little scared.

Am I biting off more than I can chew? Isn’t it easier to just not try that hard and get by ok?

How long can I sustain this level of energy? Does it get easier or harder as time goes on?

I promised last week I would report back on my results to get my credit card APR’s lowered. However, I was tied up most of the weekend and not really free to make long calls — which I didn’t know they would be until I tried one. After speaking to a customer service rep at Capital One who then promised to transfer me to an “account manager”, I was on hold for 10 minutes and hung up because I had to get off the phone.

But I’m nothing if not persistent and will get these calls done this week.

However, I did accomplish a few things:

  • I filed or shredded about a year’s worth of statements, records, bills and reciepts for larger items. I can see my desktop!
  • I found my copy of Microsoft Money 2006 (for small business and personal finances) buried under the piles and installed it
  • I talked to family members about my new “cash-only” life — to let them know that I won’t be going out to eat as much, I won’t be spending as much, and I’ll be working more on my side business on the weekend than before
  • I also calculated the last 9 months of utility bills to start seeing what I pay in energy costs throughout the year — part of getting ready to budget
  • Spent very little going out on St. Patrick’s Day! About $10 on drinks. Flasks are a wonderful, wonderful thing!
  • Cut some coupons and had a very “smart” trip to the grocery store last night — preplanned several crockpot meals that should get me through until next pay period

Goals for this week:

  • Complete calls to credit card companies
  • Download statements and begin to work with Microsoft Money — time to see where the money has been going before I start thinking about budgeting
  • Finish taxes

Here’s to a great week!

Over the last few months, I’ve spent a portion of each day reading blogs about personal — with an emphasis on the personal aspect. Blogs about being frugal and becoming a smarter consumer, blogs about how to save money, and most recently blogs about paying down personal debt.

Tricia, in Blogging Away Debt, is the first I’ve come across (though looking at her blogroll I have many more to discover soon) to lay out her debt, income, struggles and successes. A few days ago she wrote about what is keeping her motivated to pay off her debt — and for her it came back to her family. She also goes on to say that writing her blog keeps her focused daily on reducing her spending and paying off debt.

I hope this blog will do the same for me.

In days to come, I will post exactly how much credit card debt I’m facing (on top of some “good” debt like my mortgage), what I’ve done in the last couple of months to reduce some expenses, how I’m going about getting extra income, and share a few insights I’ve gleaned from others lately.

But now it’s time to drink some of my coffee — brewed at home so I don’t spend $$ stopping to get some on the way to work — and start the day.