Thursday, August 27, 2015

Plodding Right Along

Sometimes when I do not write, it isn't that I've neglected the blog.  It's often because I do not feel like I have anything new to say.

Today is a little different, as I'm plodding right along hitting my little markers so I can reach the big picture.  And it's about time too.

With a little perserverence, a little creativity, a little more gumption, I can get this thing done and done in record time.

The reason for this?  Coming soon I have a big announcement to make.  For now, you'll have to do with the little teaser I just dropped.

Life is going to become a little more dynamic.  A lot more busy.  And most definitely there are changes in store for me.  The reason I can't tell you now?  Because the ink hasn't dried, the details haven't been finalized, and the flow hasn't been worked out just yet. 

In other news, I'm working through my debt with much more efficiency, clarity, and resourcefulness than I ever have.  So many wonderful things are coming out of it, and I"m able to truly understand what is important for me in my life.

I've been relieving quite a few items as of late, and have been able to put that money toward the debt as we go, and alleviate and handle some of the unexpected items that crop up every once in a while, despite your best planning efforts.  These have been handled quite well with this little bit of extra, and I'm not breaking the bank or the budget to get it all handled.  It's a wonderful feeling!!

Life is good!! 

Monday, August 10, 2015

Traction!

Sometimes when you make plans, they fall through because the other party needs to make a change.  Sometimes when you make plans, you find that you really don't want to continue with them, so you make a change.  And sometimes, when you make plans, you let yourself slip and slide on them - especially when they seemingly only affect you.

We all do it.  We have all done it.  We will all do it again at some point in the future.

For the last 8 months, I've systematically made this debt repayment thing non-negotiable with myself.  In doing so, I finally, after long last, set up automatic payments to my debt from my account.

Some of you have read that statement, and decided there's no way you can do that because you need to read the statement, and you don't have set amounts you are paying, or how do you know what the interest will be so how can you calculate that before you make a payment?
In other words you are saying:  I could never do that!!

Yep, was right there with you.  So what changed me?

I have a nifty little spread sheet in EXCEL (nothing fancy for this girl) that sets up the calculations for me, so I don't have to think.  That is the purpose of EXCEL.  Can't write a formula?  NO PROBLEM!  The program has them already ready to go, you just clink on the cells and make them happen.  Don't know what a cell is?

Ok - Let's do a quick little lesson in EXCEL for everyone, and I'll post a document you can use to help you with your won credit card payments:

A cell is the little boxes in EXCEL.  There is an alphabetical label along the top of each column, and a numerical value down the side of each row.  So you can now name your cells like A1, B7, AB237 etc.   So when you are building a formula, it can be as simple as =A1 * B1 and I want the answer to return in cell C1, so I'd type that formula =A1*B1 and hit enter in the cell C1.

For my credit card repayment page, the page itself looks like this:


01-Jun-15  $23,762.17 1.67%  $396.83  $24,159.00 $459.00
 $23,700.00 PAID
Jul-15  $23,700.00 1.67%  $395.79  $24,095.79 $1,495.79
 $22,600.00 PAID
Aug-15  $22,500.00 1.21%  $272.38  $22,772.38 $1,477.42  $94.96  $21,200.00
Sep-15  $21,200.00 1.21%  $256.64  $21,456.64 $1,459.05  $97.59  $19,900.00
Oct-15  $19,900.00 1.21%  $240.90  $20,140.90 $2,970.68  $70.22  $17,100.00
Nov-15  $17,100.00 1.21%  $207.01  $17,307.01 $1,466.76  $40.25  $15,800.00

 So, the first cell is the month date.  The second cell is the starting balance.  The third cell is the interest rate I'm paying per month.  The fourth cell is the actual interest calculation.  It is the math of Cell 2 * Cell 3.  Cell 5 is the addition of Cell 2 + Cell 4.  The sixth cell is the payment I'm making.  The cell is reserved for any additional monies I put onto my credit card...little snowflakes.  The eighth cell is the math of Cell 5 - (Cell 6 + Cell 7).  And the last is the return of PAID once I make the projected payment amount I already listed in cell 6. 

You'll notice that after the first line, Cell 2 matches the amount in Cell 8 for everything AFTER the first line.

This is how I track my payments.  Until just recently, I was allowing myself off the hook for bad budget management, by removing dollars from the amount I'm supposed to pay each month on my credit card so I can stay balanced.  No more!  Now I pay that amount, and if I goof up on the budget, I am S.O.L. now.

The biggest key to this whole thing working, is to stop every single item going onto the credit card that you are trying to pay off, hiding that thing in the house somewhere that you'll forget, but can logically find when you've paid it off...or better still simply cutting it up until you've paid it off. 

And so, that is how I roll with my budget and my tracking.  Each year, I save as a new page, change the dates on the new saved document, so I have the integrity of the previous year for me to look back on and trend from, and keep on trucking.  Having the entries with a strike-through is an easy visual for me to know that I did what I said I would, or even better, did just a little more than I said I would. 

I took a look at some of the past years worth of statements on this particular credit card....and realized, I had it in the bag to have it paid off by the end of summer 2013.  Then, something happened and I started putting thousands on the card each month.  When I look back, some of it was me not wanting to be so stringent with myself anymore.  And some of it was catalyzed by my nerves during a surgery for my guy, and having to support everything for 9 months there after.  I wasn't prepared for it.  And I made a giant mess of things I could have handled better.  This is not to beat myself up.  It is to learn the lesson.  And so, 3 years later, I'm now completing something I could have finished a while ago, and changed the tone of this blog to the savings game.  It didn't happen.  I've moved forward.  The plan is working, and I feel good about how everything is moving along.

The part I didn't place in my snippet from my speardsheet....in December, once that payment is made, I'll be at $14,000 owing.  On the day the payment clears and shows on my online statement, I'll be calling this particular company, and taking a huge bite out of the available credit. 


Because really....unless I make $30,000 a month, why do I need a card balance of $30,000 of credit?  It is hurting me big time with the mortgage stuff we will be looking to do in the next 2 years.  I need to get it gone so I can get it off the available credit side of the ledger, and into the closed account side of the ledger. 

I'm super happy that my first pre-authorized automatic payment went so well, and I have enough left in my account for the transportation requirements I have over the next week.  I am so happy that the me of the past, set up a plan that is now being worked by present and future me!  Debt Free - Here I Come!!