Recent Divine Discussions

Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Cash Duck and Extra Money

Just made $101 dollars on Cash Duck tonight. I will try to make another $100 in tomorrow night.

Remember to withdraw your total balance by the end of tomorrow night. That way you can receive your money on 6/15/07. If you don't do it before 11:59 on the last day of the month you will have to wait a month and a half to receive your payment.

I really want to do the whole NSA (Notary Signing Agent) thing but work has gotten extremely busy and I wouldn't have any spare time to work signing appointments in. So I'll have to put becoming an NSA on hold for now until work lightens up.

I received my $4 check from American Consumer Opinion. I haven't received any other surveys form them yet. Oh well. Its not like I can get rich of that anyways.

I wish AGLOCO would get their act together and launch this viewbar. It seems like a good way to make some nice money.

I need to put my Hustlette hat on and find new money making avenues.

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Citibank, where is my money???

I am so ticked right now. I made an online transfer from my credit union checking account to my Citibank savings account last Thursday for $500. I received an email confirmation and everything. It usually takes 3 business days for the transfer to go through. But Citibank withdraws the $500 from my checking account the very next day (25th). Ok fine. I have no problem with that. What I do have a problem with is that Citibank still shows my balance at $151.10. WTF? It is now 4 days later from the date they withdrew the money from my account and still nothing. So I call them to inquire about my money. This dude tells he has no record of any recent or pending transfer on my account. OH HELL NAW!!!!

(breathe.....breathe.....breathe)

After I basically let him have it he proceeds to hang up on me. LOL. I don't even blame him. I can get a little nasty when it comes to people playing round with my money. *Grrrr* Anyways I call back and speak to the another rep. She was able to find the dang on transfer and it's status. Seems like it takes Citibank 3 days for the money to show up on their side. Even if they withdrew the money from your other account already. Does this not seem a lil awkward? I am not use to seeing money gone from one end and not show up on the other. Its always been either or. Either its still in my credit union account or it has been withdrawn and now shows up in my savings account. Never just chilling in the middle of space somewhere.

Oh well. I was told the deposit should show up tomorrow or Wednesday. I am not too happy with Citibank. Seeing that I have already received my bonus from them I may just close my account and open up one with HSBC or another company that is giving a bonus.

Dimps

Saturday, May 26, 2007

Monthly Report, Work, and Other stuff

I finally reached a settlement amount on a case that I have been going through for the past 2 years. I have been trying to figure out what I will do with the money. I have already put $500 into my E-fund and another $500 into my Home Fund. I also took $500 and put into my personal spending account. My mom is going to have surgery in the next month or two so I am going to keep some of the money on the side to help her out in anyway possible. Either it be to pay some of the out-of-pocket expense for the surgery or to pay some bills while she rests at home and recovers. The remainder of the money will go to paying off some of my credit card debt or my personal loan or both. I'll do an analysis later and see what works best.

With that said I have inserted my monthly report for May below. I realized I skipped out on April's report. The "Last Month" column in the report is referring to April so April's monthly report is kinda there. I increased my credit card debt by $1000 due to the move and having to pay two rents in April. Even though my credit card debt increased my ratio decreased. I have read many posts about calling your credit card company and requesting a decrease in your APR and/or an increase in your CC's credit limit. Last weekend I decided to finally look into that and I was able to increase my overall credit limit on all cards total by $3500 and had 5 company lower by APR by at least 4%. So this is why my credit-to-debt ratio actually went down .5%. As I stated in my previous post from last week, I met my extra income goal this month. And I have met my credit balance-to-credit limit ratio, I just need to stay at or below my mark.
I have decided to put off my MBA until next fall. Work has become too hectic to comfortably handle that, school, and my daughter. I am actually happy with the new and heavier workload. I have been praying about getting more recognition at work which hopefully will increase my chances of a big raise and an even bigger bonus. Well God answered! LOL. In the last month and a half I have been put on 4 new projects. I am coordinating 2 of them and I am actually the Engineering Lead on this latest one. My supervisor has given me numerous praises on my work and my handling of each effort. I am really excited and love the new projects I am working on. Unfortunately this means that Dimps work week have changed from 40 to 53 hours. And now I am finding less and less time to do things such as going out with friends, work out, or even sleep. But I will find a way to work all that out. Even when I do I know I wont have any extra time to take 3 graduate courses. So grad school will have to chill for now. Maybe its all for the best. Prayerfully next fall I will find another way to cut the cost of obtaining my MBA.

After I started receiving the extra income on top of my regular paycheck that I have been working on I decided it would be best to keep both incomes separate. I have my paycheck direct deposited into my credit union checking account and I have all extra money that I will use for spending going in a WAMU checking account I opened up. This has turned out to be a good decision. My finance are clearer when I separate my money and there is no chance of dipping into other funds. This is why I currently have 5 accounts with 4 different banks. I have my E-fund with ING Direct. My Home Fund is with CitiBank. My bills are paid out through my credit union checking account. I also have a savings account with the credit union which serves as a "safety net" for my checking. I maintain at least $200 in there. Lastly I have my WAMU checking out which I use to for my personal spending. WAMU was the best choice since I receive $.03 reward for each debit purchase transaction.

Well I gotta go make some money on Cash Duck. Hope everyone has a great Memorial Day Weekend!!!!

Dimps

Saturday, May 19, 2007

$200 Citibank Bonus - Expires 12/31/07

$200 Citibank Bonus


Citibank is offering a $200 checking account bonus and the expiration date is 12/31/07. This is not an online promotion. There was a flyer with the promo code MGCH. The easiest way to apply for this promotion is by calling the Citibank number 1-866-810-9043 and mentioning this promo code. Warning: Citibank does do a hard credit inquiry through Experian! Also I am not positive on the minimum opening deposit requirement or minimum balance requirement. I suggest calling and finding out all the info from the rep you speak to.

Friday, May 18, 2007

Credit Card and Bank Bonus Sites I found

I decided to do some searching on other available credit card and bank bonuses. Here is a list of websites that list many credit card and bank bonuses. Some are current, others have expired:

www.icardbonus.com

www.cardbonuses.com


www.ibankbonus.com


www.ibankdesign.com


Take caution in applying for many credit cards or opening many bank accounts. ALWAYS read the fine print. If you are trying to work on your credit score then opening up many credit cards is probably not the best thing for you to do right now. I have only opened 2 credit card accounts in the last 3 years. I will be willing to open up one more if the credit card bonus is a nice amount ($200 or higher). But aside from that I will stick with surveys sites, cash duck, and any other avenue I may discover.

Dimps

Thursday, May 17, 2007

Credit Score Update

Credit Score as of4/19/07 (average of all three credit scores):

667


Credit Score as of 5/17/07 (average of all three credit scores):

678

11 points in one month. Not bad. Smaller increase then what I have been seeing in the past 4 months but its an increase no less. My goal is to reach 700 was originally by August but I believe I will change that to July. I am only 22 points away so I hope I can achieve that by then. Then I will look into refinancing my car loan.

Dimps

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Cash Duck payment received!!

Just received my cash duck payment. $160 right in my paypal and a couple of days earlier than I thought. So needless to say Cash Duck has been confirmed as a legit thing. I plan to make about $150 plus from it a month.

:-D

Two down and one to go.

Monday, May 14, 2007

Received my Chase Rewards $$$ today

I received my $250 Rewards check from Chase today. I am so psyched. I took a pic to prove it. Kee kee.

One down 2 to go (Cash Duck and ACOP).

:-D

Wednesday, May 9, 2007

Code name : Hustlette

I've decided to reach my financial empowerment goals via another route. I have tried to do the whole frugal biznass but that mess aint working for me. I want to live and have fun. I am too young to be knit-picking every single purchasing decision I make. Obviously, my current salary alone will not allow me to pay bills, work on eliminating my debt, and enjoy life and it's perks. So if what you working with ain't getting you what you want.....then upgrade. What's my plan? I intend on finding different ways to bring in some extra moola each month. The following is a list of avenues that are currently working for me:

  • Cash Duck:
    • CashDuck has many different offers (surveys, trials, etc). Some are free and some are not. You get paid various amounts for each offer you complete.
    • I made $160 in the span 2 weeks
  • Pinecone Research:
    • get paid to do surveys ($5/survey)
    • the only way to sign up with them is via a banner that they might have on a random site. I found an ad by googling "Pinecone Research sign up banner" and was able to find one after 15 minutes of searching. It was well worth it.
    • I have been with them for 3 weeks and have done 3 surveys ($15). I received the payments via paypal the day after I completed the surveys.
  • American Consumer Opinion:
    • get paid to do surveys ($4-$50 per survey)
    • I have done one survey and got $4 for it
    • Only con is that the payments are checks that are mailed to you. So you wont received payment for about 2 weeks or so.
  • Hustler's Money Blog:
    • This man has his stuff together. Blogs about all types of ways to get free or close to free stuff and free money.
    • I have made $325 from his blog alone.
      • $25 bonus for opening an online ING Direct savings account
      • $50 bonus for opening an online Citibank savings account
      • $250 from applying and getting approved for a Chase Freedom CC
  • Hustlerama:
    • Same man. Different concept
    • Info on bank deals, credit card bonuses, etc
    • Have no clue why he has two sites but who cares. Both are da bomb! Haven't made anything off this one though. But I plan to.
The following is a list of avenues that I intend on testing out so I can't say if they are good or not:
  • Epinions:
    • Simple. Get paid to write your opinion about various products, services, companies.
    • I signed up with them about 3 weeks ago but haven't taken time to go through the site and post a review. I'll keep yall informed how it goes when I do.
  • Blogvertise:
    • Simple. Mention and talk about their website, products, and/or services and get paid.
    • Just joined them today. They look alright.
  • Notary Signing Agent:
    • Become a NSA and get paid to process home loans
    • A friend of mine got her license 4 weeks ago and has already done 8 signings at $100 a pop. She registered on some site that sends her loan packets and based on the amount of work needed she quotes them a price. The signings average around an hour or so.
    • I am definitely going this route. I need to talk to my friend and get more information. I will give updates as I go through the process of becoming an NSA.
  • AGLOCO:
    • Short for "A Global Company."
    • Concept is pretty simple: Join for free, download a viewbar, get paid for actively surfing, and get paid even more for referring others.
    • Speaking of referrals, use this link to join.
    • The viewbar has not been released yet. As soon as it comes out I am on it.

Well thats it for now. My goal is to bring in $500 plus in extra money a month. In the last 4 weeks I have brought in $504 (add up the amounts from the sites that have worked for me). Yeahh!! So I am happy and confident that I will be able to reach my goal. As soon as the other avenues kick in I know I can surpass that $500/month. This will be my current breakdown on my income:

  • Regular paycheck from work
    • Expenses
    • Savings Goals
    • Debt Elimination
  • Extra Money
    • Personal (hair, nails, etc)
    • Fun with Daughter (theme parks, trips, school events)
    • Fun with friends (lunches, Spa Days, Happy hour)
Yall get the point. I don't plan on spending all the money I make on the side. Each month I will either transfer a large portion of the remainder to one of my high yield savings accounts or I will apply it to one of my debts.

Let me know what yall think??

Tuesday, May 8, 2007

Chase Freedom $250 bonus and Anti-frugality

Anti-frugality..........lol is that a word?.......well it is now. HA!

Anyways I applied and got approved for a Chase Freedom credit card about 3 weeks ago. Chase had a promo going on where you would receive $200 bonus points after your first purchase of $.01 or higher which you can then redeem for a $250 check. I received the card 5 days after getting approved and made my first purchase (gas). My statement closed on the 5 of May and my $200 bonus points were applied to my account. I just redeemed my points this morning and it says my check will be mailed out on Thursday.

Yeahhhh! So I should receive that check sometime next week. I am so psyched. I plan on putting a $100 dollars in my E-fund with ING Direct and $100 in my Home Fund with CitiBank. And I will take $50 and spend it on myself and my daughter.

I will post more about this later today but I am sooooooooo done with the whole frugal living thing. I am a 25 year old single black mother and I have worked too hard to get to where I am now and to not enjoy my life. I did the whole frugal/cheap thing back in college and struggled and succeeded. Now I earn pretty damn good money and I will not allow my debt to consume my life and happiness. I will find another way to beat that b*tch down but refuse to let it rule ALL decisions in my life.

Ugh!!!

To be continued.........

Thursday, May 3, 2007

How Much Should You Really Be Spending?

Source: Springboard Non-Profit Consumer Credit Management (credit.org).

Expenses vary widely depending on where you live, but these ranges offer smart guidelines for budgeting your cash.

1. Housing

-% of Net Monthly Income: 35-45%

2. Auto and Transportation
-% of Net Monthly Income: 15-25%

3. Food
-% of Net Monthly Income: 10-20%

4. Monthly Installments (such as credit-card or loan payments)
-% of Net Monthly Income: 10-20%

5. Utilities
-% of Net Monthly Income: 8-15%

6. Medical (such as insurance premiums and prescriptions)
-% of Net Monthly Income: 8-15%

7. Personal (such as club dues and haircuts)
-% of Net Monthly Income: 5-10%

8. Savings/investings
-% of Net Monthly Income: 5-10%

9. Clothing
-% of Net Monthly Income: 3-5%


And why isn't tithing listed? Anyways, here is my current breakdown:

1. Housing : 21%

2. Auto and Transportation (car note and insurance): 21%

3. Food : 0% ----> Paid for by extra income (I'll post about this later)

4. Monthly Installments (such as credit-card or loan payments) : 23%

5. Utilities : 8%

6. Sweet Pea's Private School : 14%

7. Tithes: 10%

8. Personal (gas, fun, hair) : 0% ----> Paid for by extra income (I'll post about this later)

9. Savings : 3%

10. Clothing : 0% ----> Paid for by extra income (I'll post about this later)


My thoughts:


I don't believe in a perfect budget (unless you had no expenses and you could do whatever you wanted with your money.....then you would be living in a perfect world now wouldn't you ;-)).
I would however work on the following:

  • Get those expenses down as low as possible.
  • Increase income.
  • Add some investments.
  • Increase the cash flow going into savings.
  • Bring in more extra income therefore increasing my "fun" money.
  • Eliminate that debt.
What does your budget layout look like and what areas do you want to work on?