Financial Alterations

A semi-daily blog where I ramble about my financial situation. And talk about what stuff I've found out through reading blogs, other websites, and books.

Thursday, February 22, 2007

You've got some red on you

Like a zombie back from the grave here I am. We are sneaking up on a year and 1/2 since I updated this blog here. Pretty sad but things have been hectic.

Unfortunately we did not get out of debt during this last year but we are trying again. I think this is common for a lot of people. They try and try to get out from underneath the debt monster but (like the mafia) it just keeps pulling you back in.

I've been doing some website work lately on the side. Here's one and here's another. So that's a little extra money. Every little bit helps. All of the extra money goes toward debt payoff.

At this point we have about $32,000 in debt. That doesn't count our 2 car payments and our mortgage. So we have a plan to get out from under this in about 3 years. We'll see.

Our first big priority was to stop eating out. Mission accomplished. Not only is it good for our bank account but it's much better for our health.

Out 2nd big priority was to stop spending except for essentials. So far so good. It's nice to look at our current activity on our checking account and see almost no activity except for bill pays.

We also listed out our debts, bills, and other expenditures. We made a simple spreadsheet showing all of that information. This helps us visualize where the money is going and when.

We also created a snowball spreadsheet for our debt. This spreadsheet includes all of our credit card debt, our small loan debt, and our car payments. Once we get this down to one or two debts left we'll add our mortgage to it to see if we can pay it off a little quicker. We have a 30 year note and it would nice to get that down to at least 20 if not 15.

So anyways, I'm back. Not that anyone will notice but it'll make me feel better to keep this small journal of our progress. Wish us luck :)

Tuesday, November 08, 2005

New Car...finally

So I have a new car. Finally. It's a Mazda 3 S. And I had just about talked myself into a new car (just because I wanted it so bad) when I found a 2004 that was exactly what I wanted. I mean exactly. Bright Red color? Check. Spoiler? Check. Black leather interior? Check. 6 Disc CD Changer? Check. As good as new? Suprisingly, yes! It looks like a brand new car. Whoever drove it before must have bought it and then stuck it in a garage and barely drove it after that.

I have to heartily recommend edmunds.com. I knew exactly what the car should cost, exactly how much they should give me for my trade in, and then I made the dealer stick to it. Plus I even got them to come down some on the Mazda. It was no Super deal but I think I did the best I've ever done on a car purchase negotiation. Having the pricing information and good research ahead of time makes all the difference in the world. The dealer tried to tell me the car was worth 19,000 and that they had cut that price by $2000. I wasn't buying it (literally). I knew the car was worth 18,100 tops because of edmunds.com. So he came down even more off the 16,900 he was asking.
Here's a pic (maybe, if I can get this to work)...

Monday, September 19, 2005

Take Advantage

I just got back from a business trip in Atlanta. Before I left I signed up for American Airlines reward program. Why didn't I do this before? A couple of business trips and I'll be able to get free tickets to anywhere. That's pretty cool. That means the big vacation trip that I've been trying to plan for my wife and I will be significantly cheaper since I won't have to pay for plane tickets. This has made me start looking into other areas where rewards programs will help me out. Who knows what other free stuff is just waiting for me out there? :)

Sunday, September 04, 2005

Katrina

So my wife and I donated $50 to the Red Cross for Katrina victims. It's all we could really spare right now but hopefully we'll be able to give more next month and the month after. I'm just going to budget it in. I put off buying a new car for a little while because of possible huge gas price increases. Until I see massive increases I'll just donate that money that I would've been using for a new car payment. I'm going to Atlanta this week on business. I hear gas got up to 6 dollars a gallon there. I'm just numb. This whole thing is just mind blowingly sad. Please give what you can.

Donate to the Red Cross here

Wednesday, August 24, 2005

Cars

Hi again. Things are actually going pretty well on the financial front. Yes, we are renting our house but it allowed us to get our kids into the elementary school that we wanted to quickly before school started (side note: they just started kindergarten...can't believe it, where'd the last five years go). We are here until March so we'll see what happens then.
I've been looking at getting a new car as my current 99 Ford Contour is sneaking up on 100,000 miles and it's shows every mile. I drive my cars very hard. I've been torn between a reliable (and pricey) Honda, a reliable but kinda boring Corolla S, or a cool and fun to drive (and I guess kinda reliable) Mazda3. I was all but decided on the Corolla and had been for a while when my wife mentioned how cool looking the Mazda3's were. Then I found this review on Edmunds where they just can't seem to shutup about how awesome the Mazda3 is. It's almost embarassing how much they go on about it. Hmmm....I really really like a cool looking interior and the Mazda3 wins that competition hands down. No contest. Plus I like a car with a lot of get up and go. Mazda3 wins there too. Now I just have to decide if the old bank account can handle another car payment right now. My Contour is paid off and we are only paying on my wife's Toyota van. It's nice. Adding a car payment wouldn't kill us but it would be a definite adjustment...or a financial alteration if you would (yeah, I know..boo).

Friday, June 10, 2005

I'm not dead

Ok, so keeping this page up-to-date lately has been next to impossible. Thank goodness that nobody is really reading this (hi, flexo).
Anyways, we are in the process of moving. We've almost sold our current house (the process is rolling along). It's been bizarre. We had our house on the market for almost a year last year and while we had plenty of lookers we had absolutely zero offers on the house. We put the house back on the market this weekend and by Tuesday we had an offer - and not just an offer but a really good offer. It just blows my mind. So we are getting much more for the house than I would have expected which will make getting our next house that much easier (plus we can pay off some debt at the same time).
We are moving into a rent house for a little while so we can get our kids in the school that we want and save up some more money for a bigger house. Sounds kinda backwards but I think it will work out great. Plus the rent house is basically 2 minutes from my work and 5 minutes from my wife's work so we'll be saving a considerable amount in gas. Things are good and hopefully I'll be able to go home every day for lunch which will save even more money since we won't be eating out.
As of tomorrow I should have a working internet connection at home so the updates will start to flow like...something that flows by next week. Hooray.

Wednesday, May 25, 2005

The First Step is to Admit You have a problem...

I like to buy stuff.
I have a hard time not buying stuff.
I have 26,000 dollars in debt because I buy too much stuff.
I wonder what would happen if I chopped up all our credit cards and just used cash and checks. Could we make it on our income? Maybe it's time to find out and get out from under this weight. I find myself actually worrying about it through the day. Did I really need to buy that Coke and candy and chips after lunch? Would that money have been spent if I didn't have a debit card to use? I don't know. I do know that on average I probably buy about $900 worth of junk food on weekdays while at work during the course of the year. I should weigh around 500 pounds - luckily I don't.
Hmmm, I gotta do some thinking on this and see what I can change about how I spend money. I really need to get my wife seriously involved in this. She worked at a bank for like 5 years after all. She's some kind of math wiz and really good with money but I think she's happy with just letting me handle it. Which is weird cause I have serious issues with money spending. To the point of not telling her about large purchases until much later. Yeah, it's bad. It's one of those guilt cycle things. If I had a therapist I'm sure he'd tell me all about it. Anyways,Quicken, here I come!