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One month later

April 26th, 2009 at 05:23 am

Well, it's been one month since I took a part time job. So far, I have learned to adjust my schedule in order to meet my deadlines for my full time job.

This is truly a great learning experience. I have run across and seen some old friends and faces.

Having a second job has shown me first hand the hard life that many others have to make ends meet.

For me personally, the second job is not an absolute necessity, but it has helped me when it comes down to paying my bills.

At the time time, I have actually been able to save a few hundred bucks which gives me some comfort knowing that I won't be starving any day soon.

The hardest part will come when my wife will no longer be working and depend on me totally.

The part time work, and extra income has helped in keeping up with my goals of paying my credit cards aggressively. I am still months away from being debt free, but each month, I am a step closer.

I decided that my part time employment is temporary and that by the late fall, I would spend more time at home.

The shift might be hard after getting used to the extra income but someone we'll make ends meet.

Life is full of every day challenges. I am sure that through some ingenious way,I can make things work.

The beginning of a new month!!

March 1st, 2009 at 08:56 am

Sometimes I think I am working too long without taking some time to get a breath of fresh air.

Its already March 1st, and it feels like December 31 just passed a few days ago.

My point, two months have passed, and I don't think I have done anything productive this year.

My goals: I don't even remember them.

On the positive side: I do consider the next items a great success:

1. I have manged to pay all my bills on time
2. I have managed to pay $500 in principal towards my credit cards as I originally planned.
So far the plan is to stay on scheduled, and eventually my day of debt freedom with come.
4. I still am happy with life...
I think this is worth mentioning...

Everyone needs goals in life and if they aren't worthy ones...there's no real satisfaction with what we actually do..

I have set news goal for myself for this coming month.

1. I am in the process of trying to see if I can get/obtain a part time position during the weekends, and evening during the week, if necessary to ensure that I can start saving some money this year.

2. I also have the intention of applying to a local law school.

This is by far one goal that has come and gone, but I have decided I will shoot for the gold.

It requires me shifting my priorities for the next 4 years, as I plan on pursuing this part time.

I want to ensure I can keep working full time, study part time, and balance my personal life as well.

Its quite a challenge, but I am ready and up for it.

Here we go....to to start working on my personal statement....

I just bought a MATRIX 2009!!

February 8th, 2009 at 04:51 pm

Talk about spending money.

I just spent $18,900.00 on my new Matrix. I needed a new car because my previous one was having mechanical issues.
I didn't want to deal with it anymore and this deal should permit me to live trouble free for a good while.

Talking about finances: I managed to get myself a good deal.

I got 2.9% on a $18,000.00 loan and payed the rest as the "down payment."

The breakdown on my costs are the following:

$18,900.00 purchase price
$945 (5% sales tax)
25 (transfer registration fee)
50 (new title fee)
298(document fee-financing applic. fee)




LOAN AMOUNT $18,000.00
Special rate financing at 2.9%.

My next 60 monthly payments will be $323.03 each month.


Hope this gives an insight into the hidden extra fees associated with purchasing a car.

I will discuss "Negotiating the price" momentarity...but believe me...the better prepared you are the better you can handle the situation..with NO SURPRISeS..

I got grilled for a good amount of time before they gave me the price I go..

...I feel like I got a good deal...considering the options in the car.

They were asking $22,259.00 & I got it for $18,900.00; a reduction of $2259.00

Oh well, I am spending a lot of money...and getting in more debt...in the end I am doing it all for Barack Obama.
I am helping stimulate the economy...

...now if I could only stimulate a pay raise soon....

-More to come-

First steps to a proper budget

November 8th, 2008 at 04:51 am

We have all heard that in order to be in good financial order, you need to take a budget into account.
Well, I am sure most of you have at some point have had the thought that budgets are something only businesses need. (Not you as an individual who can't possibly live on more than what you earn).

But the truth is, as much as many are you angry that the government is living on a negative budget (it owes more than it takes in). Many of us, as individuals also are living on a budget being our means.

Time for get back on track.

But where to start, well, like any problem, first you have to be honest with yourself and admit you have a problem.
But don't be disappointed. This is the first step to the new you.

To initiate setting up a budget, it is recommended that you write down your moth to month recurring expenses. I would start with items that don't vary. Afterwards, I would add any month to month bills (utilities) that vary and list the average monthly bill, or base it on last month's amount (whichever is the greater amount, you don't want to under budget).

Here is a list of my expenses:

RENT $900
CAR Insurance $160.36
Car Insurance $138.17
Commuter Pass $59.00
Phone bill $118.00 +-
Cable Service & Internet 85
Credit Card $150
Credit Card 2 $150
Student Loan $60.00

Once you have the basics, list any utilities that you may pay.
I don't have many, so here they are:

Gas $45 +-
Electric $35 +-
Food $225.00 +-

Once you start writing down what you pay on a month to month basis, it is important to keep updating your information. I am sure that there will be items that you may have missed.

For example, you may forget to add a water bill, if you pay it on a quarterly basis. The same applies for taxes.

Also remember to try to add excise taxes n vehicles for the month the car registration renews each year.

Its a tough job nailing down all your expenses but this is the very beginning.

I use a notebook, so I can list and check off the items as I pay they through the month.
I also have the due dates written in to ensure that the wills are taken care of with a priority.

Next step:

Try to take note of all your cash & credit expenses on a day to day basis.
Its not necessary for you to cut back, you just need to start becoming aware of where your money is going.

If possible, it's a good a idea to budget for small expenditures such as morning coffee, dinner out on weekends, gifts, and unexpected expenses (i.e. emergency cash).

Getting in the habit of checking where you are is a good idea. You don't need more than an hour each week or two.

Once you have a list of what you typically pay on recurring expenses on a month to month basis, you can set aside funds to ensure that your month to month expenses will be covered, and you won't get caught not having cash to pay bills on time.

This information is also useful to determine where, if desired, you can cut back and not be hurt.
It also helps you determine what services you can cut back on, so that you can save more. (or if in debt like me, save some cash to cover other expenses).

Analyze what your take home pay is and try to budget so that you are no longer in need of using a credit card.

I have not used my credit card for over 6 months. I have had to sacrifice a lot, but not that much. Since I currently have a hefty amount of debt, I don't anticipate using my CC any time soon. I look forward to the day that I will be credit card debt free.

It is a day that is coming, each month I see how much progress i have made, and although it feels bad to be in debt, it feels great knowing that each month the balance is a little less.

Let me know if my information has been of use to you.

Oh no!! The 15th!!

October 15th, 2008 at 05:44 am

Amazing, we are in the middle of another month. For me this means that I have more bills to pay. I am sure that all of you are aware of the dealines associated with the different bills we get.
Today is not a day of smiles as most people have to pay their mortgages of face penalties.
Penalties are free money to lenders for no other reason other than as a fine for not having paid on time.
I sometimes wonder why people who can't pay on time are the first to have to pay more.
At times I wonder why it's not the people that pay early that should be fine. (Aren't lender's making less money since they can't charge interest for a longer term.)

Actually, I advocate for no fees at all.

I am sure most of you are aware that if you pay a credit card late, they charge you anywhere from 15 to 40 dollars as a late fee. (Even if all you owed was $20.00). You should also be aware that credit cards will almost automatically hit you with the highest interest rate possible once you haven't made your payments.

Not only that, if other credit cards know of your default; other credit cards who are getting paid on time can also punish you.

Someone once commented to me that banks no longer make the bulk of their money from interest earned on loans, but rather from the fees they charge people when they pay late, when they default, bounced checks, etc. etc.

The lesson for the delay...STAY INFORMED.

That is the only way to get ahead these days.

taboo words-- Money!!

October 12th, 2008 at 06:20 pm

I have been working from a very young age. I learned to take care of myself early on. I haven't really made much money during this time, just sufficient to cover my expenses as the years have gone by.
I have also had my struggles at times. During college, each semester I could barely afford my tuition. In order to make it through, I would purchase all by book with a credit card, roughly $400 to $500.00 each semester, and would pay it off gradually during the semester.

Each semester I had two goals. The first was to pay off my credit card, and the second was to save the roughly $3,000.00 to $4,000.00 that I would need to pay out of my pocket for tuition.

I was very lucky to have made it. But I did have to sacrifice a lot of time. I worked roughly 20 to 30 hours each week.
I worked as a bus driver, so at the time my pay was between 8 and 9 dollars.

I did have to sacrifice my free time. Rather than going out to have some fun, I would look for extra hours of work.

There were things I wish I could have changed, but at the same time, had I not had to go through what I did, I wouldn't be the same person.

Not many know that I also took extra classes each semester to take advantage of what I was paying for. Rather than taking the full fours years to graduate, I manages to complete my college education in only three (3) years. I did this by taking a few extra classes each semester and taking two summer session courses.
There was an advantage to this.

I could keep working on campus, and at the same time advance my academic goals.
In the end, in three years exactly, I graduated with a 3.24 GPA with a double major in economics, psychology and a minor in Spanish.

I can't believe it myself. But its all said and done. I still struggled finding work after graduation because in reality no had had taught me to think about the future.
In reality, I thought I would be going to law school. But I was rejected. There is no worst feeling than being rejected.

How did I get where I am, well that's another story for another day.

Wednesday is almost over

October 8th, 2008 at 06:27 pm

The day almost slipped by and it almost seemed as if I would not be able to tell you all what exactly I did. It wasn't exactly the most exciting day of the week, but I felt like I accomplished quite a bit.
First of all, I did manage to have a very productive day during work. My work varies throughout the week, but still manage to work only during my 9 to 5 hours on weekdays.

I work as a real estate paralegal. I handle pretty much everything in a purchase or refinance transaction. I did want to mention that today, I really felt I made great progress in clearing up my desk. The work never seems to end.

Anyhow, my day went well. I schedule closing, prepare the closing documents, draft up the loan policies, and while I enjoy researching discharges, there can be at times frustrating and a challenge.

As for the rest of the day, I went down to the local laundromat with my wife to take care of our laundry. There isn't anyone in the work that doesn't need to get their clothes washed on occasion.

By the way, to the left, you will see the great challenges that I am currently facing. Two credit cards with the accumulated debt of about $19,000.00.

I have gradually been paying this off and so far, the current balances are indicated. Its a challenge to be in a hole while trying to keep up with my daily expenditures.

I wish I made more money. (But as many of you may have already realized, more money doesn't necessarily mean less debt.) It has been shown that as we get increases, we then to overshoot when we spend, and hence aren't anywhere better than we were before.

In my case, I was not careless. (Well 50/50). The first half of my debt (1 credit card- debt of $10,000.00- was a bad decision- perhaps one day I will go into it and explain.)
The other has a perfectly good explanation. One worth the challenge.

I may have mentioned it in passing, but I got married recently, MAY 08.

I needed to finance my own weeding and did just that. On the one hand, I got the almost perfect wedding that my wife and I wanted. On the other, there's debt.

My goals are to be debt free within three years. It's a little aggressive and haven't made much movement, but I need to set a goal and will aim for the one just stated.

For those of you that may be in shock about 19K in credit card debt, and wondering what I pay in interest. I have a pretty good deal actually.

My first credit card has an interest rate of 4.99% until I pay the balance off in full. *By the way, I will not be using this credit card any time soon, otherwise charges at a higher rate will kick in. I believe I spend about $45 in interest each month, with an average payment of about 150 being the minimum due.

On the other card, I have the same interest rate of 4.99%, but it is only good through Jan 2009.

I will have to either pay it off very very quickly, or move the money to another card (make a transfer).

I wouldn't recomend transfer unless there is absolute no fee for doing so.
Credit card companies get you with the transfer fees.
Sometimes they are about 3% with a maximum fee. But recently, I have noticed most credit cards have eliminated their maximum fee. Now you will pay 3% regardless of the amount of the transfer.

Sometimes its just not worth the effort.
Remember that the transfer fee is due the following month of the transfer. Its is charged as interest due.

Well I hope you all learned something today.

Time for bed, I will continue with this later....

Cash is King!!

October 7th, 2008 at 12:45 pm

With all the problems in the stock market right now, the famous quote "Cash is King" applies. With everyone facing harder times, now is the best time to start being conservative on credit card & debit card use. One of the first things most people should do is carry cash to buy daily things. For example, I have limited my use on my credit cards and carry roughly $100 dollars in my wallet. My goal is not to spend it, but rather to see how long it will take me. By having cash on hand, I am more able to limit my spending, especially when I have the goal of having it last me the whole week. I commute to work via mass transit, so I have to purchase my monthly pass ahead of time.
There's no daily commuter expenses. There will always be other expenses on a day to day basis. On occasion I will actually run into a situation where the business only takes cash.
If you get used to carrying cash to purchase anything you need, you will see where your money is actually going.
The goal at the very beginning is not to cut spending...unless you are ready to do so..but rather maintain your lifestyle, just physically see where you are spending your hard earned money.

Eventually you will release that physically counting away your money mentaly will prepare you to start conserving. There not much differnce in buying a $2.50 cut of coffe on your credit card, with buying a $105.00 item. Both require the same actualy on your behald. Sign the receipt, give it back.

But when you really hand over $2.50 to buy cash, you say "that's agood deal".
And when you are about to spend it on an expensive item, you wonder "What else could I do with this money."

Take a minute to count your $100.00 dollars. You will notice it takes longer. The longer it takes, the harder it is to part from it.

Try spending $100.00 in singles.

Not a delighful experince, but you would be surprised about the emotions that will run through your body.

Give it a shop.

All you reading this, please let me know -