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Wednesday, August 15, 2018
    October 1 Debt Check

    I’m struggling.

    Financially, no.  I’m struggling with the direction of this blog both from a perspective of where it is and where I want it to go.  Every month for the past five plus years I have filled you in on how I was doing financially.  For the past two months I have not done so because I’m beginning to become to struggle with what the “right” amount of information is to share.

    It’s not that I have a problem with the process that I am going through of getting my finances to a comfortable place.  What I struggle with is maintaining some level of privacy in the age of the internet.  Now that I’m officially out there with my photo appearing on the front page of this blog more national brands and magazines are popping messages into my inbox.  The problem is that once information is out there, you cannot take it back.  In the meantime, while I struggle with where to go and what to do, I at least owe you the consistency of reporting back on what’s going on.

    As most of you know this blog was established with the express purpose of  documenting my way out of debt without filing bankruptcy.  It’s been a great way to monitor what works and doesn’t work and how my own thought process has evolved.  When I started blogging, I felt as if I had been chasing a white unicorn known as freedom from debt.  I mean, it was a fantastic fantasy but honestly, did it even exist?  Now, I know that not only does it exist, but a regular Jane Dough – I mean Sandy – can not only achieve this goal but can thrive financially.

    The Numbers

    October 2014 debt

    October 2014 graph - Debt Check

    At of the beginning of the month my debt was down by $21.605.35 for the year.  When I began the year my goal was to hit $28,000.00 down by the end of the year.  For the first 7 months of this year I was more or less a temp.  You can call it consultant; I say temp.  Anyway, I didn’t have a full-time job.  What I did for months was basically prepay as many of my bills as I could just in case the job ended and it took some time to find another one. At one point my car note was prepaid by four months.  My student loans were prepaid by three months.  My mortgage was ahead by one month. Those were the most critical bills that I knew that I needed to have money pushed to in case I stopped working.

    We talk a lot about an emergency funds but honestly, if you’ve prepaid your bills like I had done then your need for emergency money is greatly reduced. So, while it would have been nice to have all of those extra car payments in my bank account, I slept pretty well at night knowing that I need not pay my largest bills for months if I lost my job.  Is it a strategy that you should employ? Maybe. This extra cushion really just gave me piece of mind.  Not knowing how consistent your income will be is the price you pay for being independently employed.

    I definitely believed in the “make hay while the sun shines” method of saving and paying.  Now that I’m employed full-time, it’s a tiny bit less of a concern, but a concern nevertheless.  We like to think of our jobs as “permanent” but in actuality, if your employer decided that they no longer needed you that would be it.  I say all this to say that for me, prepaying my bills is almost as effective as having a cushion of cash for an emergency fund.

    I have a plan to make it to the $28,000 goal. That’s my best case scenario.  The worst case scenario will have me reach a tad under $25,000.  This isn’t too bad because I hadn’t planned on getting engaged.  This whole wedding thing has me funneling some money into savings for a frugal wedding. That money would have gone directly to debt servicing otherwise. The good thing though is that I do not plan on going into debt just to get married.  I’m putting everything on my rewards card and then paying it right off with good ‘ole cashola.

    Speaking of cards, you’ll notice that I did a big switcheroo with the debt a few months back.  I basically continued to take advantage of all of the 0% balance transfer offers that I receive.  So, with balance transfer rates about to expire I just swapped my debt around on my cards. Total cost? $100. I’ll saved more than that in interest for the first month alone.  I’ve got 18 months of 0% on one card and 12 months on the other card.  If all goes well, one card will hit a zero balance by at the beginning of 2015 and the other card should be paid off next year some time – barring any crazy purchases. Then I’ll consider transferring more of my student loans onto my card.  You don’t remember that? Yeah, we’ll talk about that again some other time.

    So What?

    So last month I went to the Financial Blogger Conference.  It’s a meeting of the minds and an opportunity to recharge my batteries.  Every year that I attend this conference I am reminded why I blog.  I’m also reminded that it was through writing on this blog that I have completely changed the trajectory of my life.  I’ve met wonderful new people and helped others in the process. It’s been awesome and I’m grateful that I’ve made it this far.

    What’s coming up?  Well, I don’t really know.  My inbox runneth over but my job taketh over. I’m working on balancing the two to get a better handle on how much of my energy is being devoted to everything that I have my fingers in plus plan a frugal wedding at the same time. Speaking of weddings, can I just say that so many things in the wedding space is a complete and total rip off? I’m bound and determined to pull off a wedding for $5,000 in New York City and I’ll be damned, but I’ll get it done.

    So many things to do, so little time. I wish that I had just five more hours in the day.  Or maybe a clone.  That’s it. I need a clone.

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    This messy little blog was all my doing. I started this blog four years ago as a way of keeping myself accountable to my own debt reduction plans. Now I'm using this blog to help others get out of debt as well. Consider subscribing to get more delicious posts like this at least twice per week.


    The Phroogal Jason October 20, 2014 at 1:28 pm

    Keep doing what you’re doing. I hear you on how much information is too much information especially concerning our finances. I love that you felt recharged and reminded on why you blog and as you continue to serve your purpose you’ll find it easier to find others willing to support it (financially too).

    Lee @ BaldFinance.com October 22, 2014 at 1:52 am

    Congrats on continuing to make progress on paying down the debt. Wow, if you can pull of a $5k wedding in NYC, that would be impressive. Good luck!

    Anne @ Money Propeller October 28, 2014 at 10:10 am

    The trend line on the debt still looks good.. down, down, down. Pre-paying your bills is a system that buys time, for sure. Do your student loans work the same way? I have a friend for whom that was the case. She was trying to pay off her student loans, but it was essentially pre-paying, so if she was ever in a cash flow crunch, she could hold off on the student loans.

      Sandy Smith October 28, 2014 at 2:33 pm

      Yeah my student loans allow me to prepay so technically I don’t have a payment due until January. I pay what the government is holding while paying my credit cards off which pretty hold some student loans that I keep transferring over. I’ll take advantage of 0% balance transfer offers for as long as they keep sending them to me.

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