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Thursday, December 27, 2007

Semi-Annual Bonus, CC Debt Snowball Update, and some other ish...

I got my semi-annual bonus. It was $3K which makes $7500 this year. After taxes I got $2020. I still have $400 of my Christmas bonus and the $300 that is available since I skipped my loan payment with my bank. That makes a total of $2700 available to do as I please.

And after much consideration I decided to go ahead and put ALL towards my credit card debt and not spend it on a trip to Hawaii like I originally planned.

JUST KIDDING!!!! I only considered the trip for like a second..........OK maybe like a full minute but ya girl ain't crazy. tee hee . *ahem*

Anyways. Here are the cards that will be paid off:

CREDIT CARD

BALANCE

Old Navy

$126.70

Avenue

$127.19

Providian

$173.24

Tire Kingdom

$669.90

Capital One

$727.23

Target

$953.55


I updated my CC Debt Payoff chart with my new balance. Check it out. Almost under $10K. I am so tempted to use my E-fund money and pay the balance down even more. But I won't.

On to other debt news.......

I closed my Office Depot credit card today. I paid off my Providian earlier this month and I will close that account next week. I will most likely wait until February to close the next set of accounts. Here is the breakdown of the credit cards I currently have and which ones I plan on keeping after I have paid off my cc debt:

Credit Card

Keep Card?

MBNA

Y

DISCOVER GAS

Y

DISCOVER

Y

TIRE KINGDOM

N

AVENUE

N

OFFICE DEPOT

N

PROVIDIAN

N

OLD NAVY

N

CAPITAL ONE

N

MACYS

Y

TARGET

N

CHASE

N

AMERICAN EXPRESS

Y


  • *MBNA and Discover are my oldest cards so I gotta keep those open. I don't plan on using either regularly though. I will use them once in a while in order to keep them active.
  • *The American Express is a business card so it is not tracked on my personal credit report. I plan on starting up my business in 2008 so it will come in handy. Only problem I have with it is the annual fee which was waived for the first year on the promotion I signed up under. Do all business cards have an annual fee?? If not I will look for something else. If so then I will just get rid of the AmEx. But since it has no balance and doesn't affect my credit report I see no problem in holding on to it for a while.
  • *I love me some Macys and I especially love the wonderful coupons I receive because I am a card member. And it is also one of my oldest cards (not as old as MBNA or Discover though). So I going to keep that.
  • *Finally, I am keeping the Discover Gas card because it has some awesome cash back incentives that none of my other cards carry. I will be using it regularly and paying it off each month. Also, the credit limit on that card is pretty high so that will add on to my ratio.

On to the real estate front.........

I am renigging on my decision to purchase my first home. I am putting that ish on hold YET again!! Why? Because, as much as I try to pretty it up, my current financial picture is straight shitty at the moment. I DO NOT want to become one of those folks out there who are knee deep in the foreclosure chaos going on right now. I don't know when I will be ready to go at it again but it definitely will be AFTER I get rid of this credit card debt. Once I get past that milestone, I will analyze my financial picture again and see how I stand. Until then I am chilling with a $650 monthly rent payment for my 1000 square foot 2 bedroom apartment with no one above or below me.


Wish List Update.......

I used the $33 I saved on Christmas budget to get a couple of things for myself. I bought a shredder for $14 at Biglots and the Transformers movie from Best Buy for $10. For Christmas I got all of Tyler Perry's plays on DVD and also his new movie, Why did I get Married?. I didn't ask any questions about that latter gift. It is better not to. LOL. I bought my sister's PC off of her for $100 bucks. She won the computer from the college she attends back in August. My brother accidentally downloaded a virus onto the computer and now it won't work. Her boyfriend bought her a new laptop for Christmas so I decided to take the desktop. I was able to reformat the hard drive and load Windows XP back on there and so now I have a back-up. And one my daughter can use to play her games on. :-D

Here is my updated list:
  • Camcorder
  • Living room set
  • Bedroom set for Dimples (mahogany/dark chocolate color)
  • Sleigh or Platform Bed (Dont know which one I want yet)
  • Shredder
    = $14
  • LCD TV - 20in
  • Bedroom set for Sweet Pea (lilac or periwinkle in color)
  • LCD TV 26in
  • Dining room table set (mahogany/dark chocolate)
  • Desktop computer (just the PC) = $100
  • projector
  • projector screen
  • Wolfgang Puck cookware set = $73.94
  • Microwave (black) = $0 (free)
  • Grill
  • Techie cell phone - Palm pilot or iPhone type
  • All Tyler Perry's Plays that are on DVD = $0
  • Transformers DVD = $10
  • Why Did I Get Married DVD = $0
  • Rolling File Cart = $8.56

Alright this post is starting to get real long. I'll end it here.

Christmas List Update

Here are the results of my Christmas Budget.


Person

Gift

Budget

Actual

Mom

Spending $$$ for her trip

$100

$100

Dad

??

$50

$121

My Sweet Pea

Her 1st pet - Goldfish

$50

$50

Sister L

George Foreman Grill

$45

$37

Sister E

Luggage Set & DVDs

$40

$35

Brother

Zune

$50

$0

Godson J

Toys & Clothes

$25

$30

Godson A

Smackdown vs Raw 2008 game

$40

$40

Best Friend K

X

$30

$25

Best Friend's son

Shoes

$20

$14

Best Friend D

Shredder

$50

$15

TOTAL

$500

$467



I got my daughter a 5 gallon little mermaid fish tank and 5 goldfish for starters. I can't wait till she sees it in her room. She is gonna love it!

My godson called me and told me he didn't want the Smackdown vs Raw and that he wanted Transformers and a Karuto game. Mind you I had already bought the Smackdown game. The ONLY reason I went ahead and returned the game is because the other 2 were $20 each and I would essentially save $10 on my budget. But I will say this....."I will NEVER again ask a child what he/she wants for a gift!!". They will take what I give and deal with that ish. I mean seriously........naw I ain't gonna go there. Lets just say I was real hot with my Godson but its my own fault and I have learned my lesson.

My dad loved his gifts. His sweaters were a little tight on him so I returned them to Macy's for a bigger size. You know them mofos had the same sweaters on for $5 LESS! Can't be surprised. So I winded up saving an additional $10 off his gifts.

Next year I am going to plan way ahead of time and hopefully save even more. We will see.

Hope you all had a wonderful Christmas. I was hoping to post while I was down there but them folks had be slaving in the kitchen and had no internet. I am officially going on strike. I cooked Thanksgiving and Christmas dinner while my sisters and mom sipped on champagne and told jokes. Next big holiday meal is Easter. If I don't show up they are gonna have to do something right?? LMAO.


Sunday, December 23, 2007

Christmas List Update

I am about finished with my Christmas list. I have gotten everyone's gift except my daughter's main gift.

Person

Gift

Budget

Actual

Mom

Spending $$$ for her trip

$100

$100

Dad

??

$50

$131

My Sweet Pea

Her 1st pet - Goldfish

$50

$15

Sister L

George Foreman Grill

$45

$37

Sister E

Luggage Set & DVDs

$40

$35

Brother

Zune

$50

$0

Godson J

Toys & Clothes

$25

$30

Godson A

Smackdown vs Raw 2008 game

$40

$50

Best Friend K

X

$30

$20

Best Friend's son

Shoes

$20

$14

Best Friend D

Shredder

$50

$15

TOTAL

$500

$447



Mom: $100 spending cash for her trip

Dad: Leather coat and 2 sweaters

Sweet Pea: Dora the Explorer Digital Camera (Thanks Single Ma!)

Sister L : George Foremen Next Grilleration Grill

Sister E : Luggage Set and 5 movies

Brother : Zune (no $ out of my pocket)

Godson J : Shrek Build-A-Bear Babies (Thanks SM again :-D) and Clothes

Godson A : Smackdown vs Raw 2008

BFF K : Bath and Body Works set (Pomegranate), Pomegranate scented candles, and Terry
cloth sandals from Chadwicks

BFF D : Shredder (Turned out to need a shredder)


I know some of you guys are wondering how I managed to get my brother a 30G Zune without spending any money. And NO I did not steal it. LOL. Well remember that bed and breakfast trip I received as a Christmas gift at my employer's holiday party? Well I decided to trade the trip with coworker for the camera and memory card gift he won. I then went back to the store that my employer had purchased the gift from and returned it. I was given back $270 on a Staples gift card. The reason I did this was because of a couple of things:

  1. 1. Staples currently had a 30G Zune on sale for $189.99.
  2. 2. I had a $25 off $50 Staples coupon.
  3. 3. I had 4 days left until I leave for the peeps and still hadn't purchased anything for my brother.
  4. 4. One of my friends works for Hilton.
  5. 5. She gets rooms at any Hilton at a discounted rate...sometimes even $0.
  6. 6. After some research I concluded that, although quiet, St. Augustine was an old folk town.
  7. 7. Although Dimps needs some peace and quiet, I would like to be able to shake my thang or hit up a jazz or poetry club if the mood hit me.
  8. 8. Cuz I can! :-D
Anyways I bought the Zune for my brother for $175 and I still have $95 left on the gift card. I plan on keeping that in my free $$ box I created. Anytime I need office supplies I will go to Staples and use the gift card until it is used up.

As of today I have spent $447 of my $500 Christmas budget. The last thing left on my list is my daughter main gift - Aquarium and Goldfish. Pet Supermarket has a Little Mermaid tank kit for $30 but I heard that Walmart has the same one for $17. So I will check that out when I get back.

Dimps Out!

Sunday, December 16, 2007

Unexpected Monies - Current and Future (cont)

The company holiday party was off da chain! And your girl Dimples came out on top. I walked away with a $500 cash bonus and a $250 gift certificate to a bed and breakfast in St Augustine. As I said in my post, I was going to attempt to get an iPod for my brother for Xmas. Unfortunately, they only had a grey 4G iPod nano and my brother would not have liked it. So the search continues.

I am real psyched about my bed and breakfast prize. I haven't had a vacation since I became a mom 5 years ago. I really need to take one before I wear myself out and straight lose it. My birthday is January 3 and I am trying to think on how I want to play the festivities out. I have two other friends whose birthdays are Dec 25 and Dec 29. We have been talking about combining our birthday festivities into one big thing, either it be a cruise or trip somewhere or just maybe a big party. We are trying to do that the weekend before New Years so I may cash in on the bed and breakfast getaway the following weekend. I'll keep yall posted.

As for the bonus; well that is going straight to the bank so that I can pay down this credit card debt.

We usually get another bigger bonus this time of year. I got mine last year right before we went on vacation. I have been hearing some things through the grapevine about them making bonuses once a year around our yearly assessments rather than twice a year. Again this is just gossip of which I am hoping turns out to be hog wash.

I will be posting my 2008 Career Plan and 2008 Goals soon. So stay tuned.


Friday, December 14, 2007

Unexpected Monies - Current and Future

I have been truly blessed this past couple of weeks. With my Xmas gift budget impeding on my debt snowball plan I decided to kick my side hustle game up a notch. I must admit I am extremely impressed with myself. :-D

  • *I purchased two Altec Lansing M604 Powered Audio System for Zune from Woot last week for $39.99 a piece and $5 shipping. I then resold both items on Amazon for $99.99 each. I made $110 in profit. That $$$ is sitting in my new Wachovia checking account.

  • *I received an offer in the mail from Nissan a month ago. I would get a $50 AmEx gift card for test driving a 2008 Nissan Rogue. Well I did the test drive and sent in my completed certificate and I received my $50 gift card in the mail a couple of days ago. I am planning on using that during my birthday festivities the weekend before New Years.

  • *I just received 3 checks ($4 a piece) from American Consumer Opinion for a few surveys a did a couple of weeks ago. I deposited that moola into my Wachovia checking account.

  • *I did a couple of surveys for Pinecone Research and got paid for those via paypal this week. So that is $10 waiting there.

  • *I received my refund from YTB in the total of $550 bucks. (Yeah I know) I went ahead and applied that to one of my credit cards.

  • *I currently have 800+ feathers with Cash Duck. I am going to redeem them tonight for a $50 Walmart gift card. I should receive the gift card sometime in January and I plan on using that towards my grocery budget. For my fellow Cash Duckers who are looking for some good offers, I have listed a few below:
    • - AAA Auto Club South - Get a 2 month subscription for $10. 250 feathers (Very good deal. Just make sure you cancel before 2 month trial is up)
    • - Gym America - Sign up for the 10 day free trial. 250 feathers (No out of pocket expense and you get some good dieting tools. Again remember to cancel before your trial is over)
    • - Free online credit report - Get a 30 day free trial and a free credit report. 175 feathers (No money out of pocket. Remember to cancel before trial period is over)
    • - Complete Home - Sign up for the $1 trial. 175 feathers (Very nice site and concept. You pay $1 for the first month and also get a $10 Lowes gift card. Remember to cancel before trial period is over)
If you complete the offers above thats an automatic 850 feathers which can be redeemed for a $50 gift certificate among other prizes. I am not really feeling the whole feather business with the site though. It seems that you are getting less for your effort then before. I liked it much better when you received cash and feathers for each offer. Oh well. I am liking Vindale Research. It has the same concept as Cash Duck. You just get the offers emailed to you instead of searching for them and all the offers have good payouts. I need to find some time to get on there and make some serious flow.

That is it for my side hustles as of now. I have other things in the works and I will keep you guys posted on those.


Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Christmas List Update

I bought my sister's grill today at Macy's. It was a George Foreman Next Grilleration Grill and on sale for $49.99. I had a $15 off $50 coupon that I used and I ended up spending a total of $37 on her gift. While I was at Macys I bought my Godson J a cute lil Cars hoodie set. That finishes up his gifts.

I sent off the $50 to my BFF D and that mofo sent the money right back. Ugh! Damn men and their pride. Anyways he said all he want for X-mas is for me to take the $50 and put it towards one of my credit cards. So I plan to do just that BUT I am still going to get him something. I just may make it instead. I went to this craft store to purchase a few items for my new quest of starting some new hobbies and I just fell in love with the store. I could just imagine the wonderful handmade things I could create. So I am currently brainstorming on what exactly to make him and then I will see what I will need to make it happen and how much it will cost. By the look of the prices at the store, I could easily get all my items and spend under $10 bucks.

I have one week left till I go to my parents for Xmas and I got gifts for half the folks on my list. I was going to get my daughter's gift after Xmas but I think I will get the aquarium and stuff now and then buy the goldfish when I come back up. I will be sending my mom her spending money for her trip on Saturday (I get paid Friday). I will be getting the shoes for my BFF K's son tomorrow. As for my brother, I will be waiting to see if I can cop an iPod at my company's Holiday party. Each year at our holiday party we get gifts from my boss and his wife. We play this game where your name is pulled out of a hat and you have the choice of either keeping the gift that you are called up for or stealing someone else's. A gift is "dead" after the 2nd time it is stolen meaning no one can take it from you and it is yours to keep. Well a lil snitch told me what gifts were bought and the list included an 80G black iPod. :-D So let's just say I will be trying my hardest to acquire that iPod. It's a long shot but it can't hurt to try.

I still don't know what I am going to get my dad. Any ideas?? And as for my Godson A, well he is getting a call on Sunday regarding him choosing a more affordable gift.

Anyways enough rambling. Here is the updated list:


Person

Gift

Budget

Actual

Mom

Spending $$$ for her trip

$100


Dad

??

$50


My Sweet Pea

Her 1st pet - Goldfish

$50


Sister L

George Foreman Grill

$45

$37

Sister E

Luggage Set & DVDs

$40

$35

Brother

iPod

$50


Godson J

Toys & Clothes

$25

$25

Godson A

????

$40


Best Friend K

X

$30

$20

Best Friend's son

Shoes

$20


Best Friend D

$$$

$50


TOTAL

$500

$115