Monthly Archives: July 2005

Epic!

Wow, what a blessing! I received a check today for 250 bucks for some work I helped out with over the summer. Totally unexpected. I am trying to decide whether to immediately put the 250 towards debt reduction, of put it in savings to rebuild the old emergency fund. Contrary to how I usually do things, I am thinking about putting all of it against the debt and keeping a smaller amount in the emergency fund. Why? Because, I am in the home-stretch and I really, really want to be debt-free by 10/10. HMMM…A good “problem” to have.

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The Sound Of One Hand Clapping

Well, here is my latest update, as of Closing of Banking Hours Friday:

Account April 16th Paid So Far July 29th
Auto 1 2656.33 $1,972.41 683.92
Auto 2 3255.23 $1,681.70 1573.53
C Card 5598.66 $95.00 5503.66
Totals $11,510.22 $3,749.11 $7,761.11

So, that is a total of 32.57 percent of my debt paid since April 16th when I began this blog.
As for my mini-goal of 100 dollars a day since July 19, I have been able to pay a total of 836 dollars. That figures (at 836/11) to be 76 dollars a day. So, I am a little behind schedule, but considering that we are also paying for my son’s recent hospitalization, I think we are doing pretty well. We have about 50 things up for eBay, and if they can avg. about 12 bucks a pop (some will be considerably more, some less) then we should have an “extra” 600 dollars to put down. (I am also trying to rebuild my emergency fund since the car repairs.)

2 Ways to look at the above:
1…Wow, I am doing pretty well, budgeting my money, and paying my debts off quickly.
2…Darn, I am not going nearly fast enough. Re-Focus, Daniel-San.

Quick note:
Anyone who has gone to college in the last 5 years or so, check through your old school books, and run a search for them on eBay. I got FIFTY bucks for a book I was ready to throw away. YAY!

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We’re Moving On Up…

Okay…I read a bunch of blogs everyday, including those listed on the right side of this page. One that I read is Credit Card Victim and there is a post there that I wanted to reply to, but I can’t cause I am not a registered user. So, I will reply here.
Over at CCVictim the author takes issue with one of my previous posts about moving debt around, via multiple balance transfers. I’d like to take this time to further state my points, with some clarifications.

1. An initial move of credit balances to lower-interest rate cards is okay, even a good deal.
2. A subsequent movement or two, between one or two, or even three cards, I can live with.
3. Here is the fundamental issue…AS LONG AS you can continue to move your balances back and forth and back and forth, you do not have to deal with your debt.
4. Dealing with the basic problem, not interest rates, is the concern of this blog.
5. Debt, while beneficial in certain, limited situation, can be very, very harmful in many, many situations. Kinda like fire. Fire is nice if it keeps you warm. It is evil if it burns down your house. SOOO…how do we handle fire? Carefully…we don’t play with matches!
6. Check this out. Say you have 1000 bucks at 10 percent, and 1000 bucks at 0 percent, and you want to pay 100 dollars per month. Okay, here are those 2 basic charts:

Month Payment Interest Paid
1 $100.00 $8.33
2 $100.00 $7.57
3 $100.00 $6.80
4 $100.00 $6.02
5 $100.00 $5.24
6 $100.00 $4.45
7 $100.00 $3.65
8 $100.00 $2.85
9 $100.00 $2.04
10 $100.00 $1.22
11 $48.58 $0.40
Month Payment Interest Paid
1 $100.00 $0.00
2 $100.00 $0.00
3 $100.00 $0.00
4 $100.00 $0.00
5 $100.00 $0.00
6 $100.00 $0.00
7 $100.00 $0.00
8 $100.00 $0.00
9 $100.00 $0.00
10 $100.00 $0.00
11 $0.00 $0.00

Okay…the first chart shows that, at 10 percent, it would take you 11 months to be debt free. You would pay a total of 1048.58. That is 48.58 in interest. The second chart shows that you could be debt free in 10 months, for a total of 1000 dollars, interest free. Big savings, RIGHT? Well, perhaps. But, really, really look. While your interest rate was a stated 10 percent, in actuality, on a per year basis, it was only 4.85%. In other words, because you were aggressively paying down principal, the effect of interest was lessened.
The problem with most debt reduction strategies, they only use math, and not the emotional strength of momentum. It’s like walking to lose weight. Will I burn more calories if I walk as fast as I can, for 4 miles, the very first day I do walking? Of course I will. But, I might get so tired out from this, that I give up walking and quit, thus worsening my over-all health. But, what if I started out with an attainable goal, and worked up to 4 miles? Hmm…then I might stick to it. Finances are not all math.
CCVictim, we can move out debts around, we can rearrange them and create fantasy payoff plans, etc. etc. etc. We can get loans to pay them off in x number of years, or we can move balances after balances after balances. Yes, we CAN become victims of our credit cards. OR…we can take ownership of our financial disorder, and DO something about it. Get an emergency fund in place, attack the principal of our debt, and refuse to use our cards ever again. Please note, I AM NOT against finding the best rate for my debt. In fact, my credit card balance is at zero percent, and my 2 cars are less than 5 percent. BUT, if my focus is only on interest rate, and trying to shuffle my balance here and there and everywhere, then I never focus on the REAL issue, my actual debt. Perhaps, and this is entirely possible, that my first post failed to communicate my intent. I am not AGAINST finding a great rate, I AM against using the rate of our cards as an excuse for not attacking our debts. Every single extra cent that we put towards the principle goes to fight the good fight.

PS…I am not sure if I should spell it principal or principle, and am too tired to look it up. So, I went with one of each.

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Financial Reality Show Ideas


Okay, so I was watching Mad Money (Jim Cramer’s Show on CNBC) the other night, and right after it, this show called “The Restaurant” came on. This got me thinking. “The Restaurant” is not REALLY a financial reality show, because the finances involved are so huge, that the average person cannot really relate. SOO…what IF CNBC (a financial channel, after all) decided to create some really neat, finance-based reality shows. Here are a few ideas I came up with. Feel free to comment and post your own.

1. College Finances: Follows a group of High School graduates through their first year at college. Watch them get jobs, spend their parents money, try to afford school, accept credit offers, etc.

2. Graduate Finance: The opposite of the first show, this follows recent College Graduates, dealing with finding their first “real” jobs, dealing with college debt, living own their own, or moving back with the parents.

3. Job Reversals: Daddy does Mommy’s job, Mommy does Daddy’s.

4. Basic Finances 101: Sounds boring, but what about a show that just showed you how to balance your check book, open a savings account, use online bill-pay, etc. I bet tons of people still don’t know how to do this way.

5. Advanced Finances 201: Just like the above, but you learn how to buy a home, buy and sell stocks, choose retirement plans, etc.

6. Startup: Okay, a person gets 50K to try to start the business of his dream. Cameras follow him as he makes choices, decisions, payments, etc. Pretty cool.

7. Broke: This would be cool…find families that are dead broke (hehe…like mine) and just watch them try to get out of debt and get financially sound. The hook? Just like those weight loss shows, you give them financial counseling along the way. I can see this being a big success on TLC or Discovery.

Okay, there are my 7 ideas. Basic, I know, but I think that it would be fun (and informative) to see how people cope in these various situations. Hey, if “Meet Your New Mommy” can survive…well, I don’t see why these wouldn’t be interesting shows.

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