A friend was teasing me about my hobby of chasing freebies and cashback. According to her, shopping through sites like Fatwallet and always paying with my credit card isn't really worth it. I disagree. I won't get rich doing this, it is a hobby after all but it's fun and more importantly, it's a way of spending my money that insures I am getting the best value for my dollar. I had applied this way of thinking 10 years ago, I wouldn't be in debt now and I'd be a lot wealthier. So for fun, I've decided to keep a running tally of money and items earned through cashback, surveys, fatwallet, trial offers, Mypoints, etc. It'll be under the About Me section. If I must say so, I don't think I've done so bad in the past 6 weeks!
Well in the middle of this kick-ass heat wave we're having down here, our central air died. DIED! My brother is an industrial heating and air conditioning guy and he'd advised us we're going to need a new one; the guy from the residential air place confirmed it. That's $4073 that I had no intention of spending. I feel so deflated. The only good thing about this is that for once my husband and I are going to work together to pay it off. I put the whole thing on a credit card at 1.99% interest, rearranged some bills that I was trying to pay off early and we should be through paying for it in 4 months. By my estimate, we'll pay less than $100 bucks for finance charges.
Add to that the cost of putting the kids back in school(supplies and fees for band and football) plus the bloodbath on the stock market(not that I had a lot invested anyway) and I am feeling pretty blue this week.
Here are some current numbers and you can see my "progress" over the past 4 months.
Student Loan: $10,774.56(May) $10640
Credit Card: $8,894.73(May) $8319.73
Auto Loan: $12,325.50(May) $10558.05
Savings $2239(May) $2637.75
Roth IRA $2,698.40(May) $2507.26
Individual stocks $2,026.60 $1921.19
403B $1753(May) $2285
I took a mini-vacation this week and instead of going out of town I decided to spend the week doing things in town with the kids, sort of being a local tourist so to speak.
Well last weekend, there was a sale at Restaurant.com $25 off for 5$ plus 25% cash back at Fatwallet. Great deal right? Wrong. For the first coupon, it was $25 off with $35 minimum purchase. Well for a family of 4 that should have been easy BUT for the extra conditions they put on the usage of the coupon. Long story short, I ended up spending $34 for a meal with the first coupon and $45 for the second meal! We never spend that much on eating out especially at the types of restaurants we went to in the past couple of days. This pretty much reaffirms my feelings on using coupons: they just cause you to spend more money! Genius on the part of the businesses but bad for the consumer.
Here are the latest numbers(last posted in March):
Student Loan: $10,774.56 down .86%
Credit Card: $8,894.73 down 5.3%
Auto Loan: $12,325.50 down 8.5%
Savings $2239 up 54%
Roth IRA $2,698.40 up 6.6%
Individual stocks $2,026.60 up 12.5%
403B $1753 up 40%
I really want to increase my cash savings. I'm pleased about the increase in my ROTH IRA since I am not currently contributing to it in favor of my 403B. I can't wait to flip-flop those numbers between the debt and the assets!
Well a drop here and a drop there adds up. Occasionally I do insurance assessments on the side. Very occasionally. I've been wondering if it's even worth my time. Wednesday I went to see a lady and it took me one hour to do the interview and 1 hour to do the paperwork. $60 for the assessment=$30/hr. That's not too bad. So I've decided to keep doing them and I'm hoping I can keep it up at the rate of 1 per week at least until June. Also I got a check in the mail today for $200! I did a survey about rheumatoid arthritis(my specialty) for this company. The interview was online and it took about 20 minutes and I did it at work. Now that's what I call an efficient use of my time. So now with that money + the 3 recent assessments I've completed, that puts me at ~$350.
So vacation budget looks like this so far:
1 free night at Choice Hotel( from Choice points)
1 free round trip airline ticket(from that old Polident promotion)
1 free one way airline ticket (from Airtran Airways Visa promotion)
It's a start...
I just finished my taxes. Big deal since we owe the feds $35 dollars and we got back a whopping $52 from the state of GA. Oh well *shrug*.
I was surfing in one of my credit card accounts and I found out that I get my credit score for free. I don't even know why I was looking on the site since I don't have a balance or anything but there it was. That's pretty nice since you usually have to sign up from TrueCredit or one of those credit monitoring services to get it. I never noticed it before and I was so excited that I went into all my other credit cards to see if I got any other little perks but nope.
My credit score is 735. I can live with that since I'm not planning to buy a car or get a mortgage any time soon. Once I pay off some of these balances, that should improve. Yippee!
I've been thinking a lot lately about how I ended up almost 40 with a very meager savings and retirement. What amazes me is how quickly the years went by. I kept telling myself that I'll save once things settled down and I had the extra money to invest. That day has never come. When I graduated from college in 1991, I was in a good place with no kids and no debt. But over the next 10 years, I had a couple of kids and like a lot of women, I put my home first and worked either very part-time or not at all so I could be here for my family. I also fell into the monthly payment mentality, you know if you can make the monthly payments, you can afford it. Now the kids are older and I am working full-time again and I am realizing how behind I am. To make matters worse, my husband is a spender and he has over $30,000 in credit card debt! I can't tell you how angry that made me when I found out especially since he ran up this debt while he was working overtime! What in the @#$@#$ was he doing with his money? Geesh, well no more. I am on the road to financial peace of mind. Within the next couple of years, I plan to pay off my debts and build my emergency fund. Better than planning, I am actively making it happen. I of all people know that there are no guarantees in life and I have to be prepared.
I've decided to join the blogosphere in my journey to financial peace of mind. To begin with a few stats: I've been married for 17 years, I have a 14-year old daughter and an 8-year old son and I've been an RN for 16 years. Except for two years in El Paso, TX, I've lived in GA my entire life; not that I'm complaining.
That's the personal stuff, now the financial:
Student Loan- $10868
Chase MC- $9394
Auto Loan- $13,484
The good news: except for the mortgage, I don't have an interest rate higher than 4.75%. That's the only good news about this.
Assets(I'm not including property like my jeep and the house):
Personal savings- $1445
Individual stocks- $1800
Pretty pathethic huh? I am what is referred to in "The Millionaire Next Door" as an UAW-Under Accumulator of Wealth. How did I end up like this at such an advanced age? More on that tomorrow......
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