Recent Divine Discussions

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

On my way to credit card debt freedom!

Finally. CC Debt Zero Day is sooo close I can smell, feel, and taste it!! I'll get straight to the point. I have saved a total of $6734 to date since I started my new job in late July. I plan on using $6K of that to pay off some debt.

I sat down today and did some analysis on my current credit card debt situation and looked for the best way to go about paying them off. I looked at each card's balance, limit, APR, minimum monthly payment, and last month's finance charge. I ran different pay off scenarios focusing on different key points. For example, in one scenario I focused on paying off my credit cards by balances starting with the highest balance first while in another I looked at paying off the cards by APR. Here is what my credit card debt situation looks like:


CARD

BALANCE

LIMIT

APR

MINIMUMS

1

$7165

$8500

19.99%

$200

2

$3976

$6500

16.99%

$93

3

$865

$1100

9.99%

$25

4

$735

$1500

14.99%

$20

5

$172

$1200

9.99%

$10

6

$95

$1150

24.99%

$20




Based on the my analysis, the best way to pay off my cards that will save me the most money is the following:



  1. 1. Pay off credit cards 2, 3, 4, 5, and 6. Total = $5843.


  2. 2. Transfer $6K of credit card 1 to credit card 2 @ BTR of 5.99% until 01/10 and no BT fee.


  3. 3. Transfer remaining $1165 of credit card 1 to credit card 5 @ BTR of 0% until 03/09 and 2% BT fee.

As of 10/28/08

* 4 cards have been paid off
* $250 is freed up from my budget & will be used on debt payoff in Nov.



  1. 4. Apply $1500 payment to CC 2 and minimum payment ($25 est.) to CC 5 in November.

  1. 5. Apply $1500 payment to CC 2 and minimum payment to CC 5 in December.

  1. 6. Apply $980 payment to CC 5 which should pay it off and use portion of tax refund to payoff the remainder of CC 1 ($3000 est.).



CC DEBT FREEDOM BY FEBRUARY 1st 2009!!!!!!!



The only thing that could get in the way of the joyous day is me. I need to keep a firm hand on the purse strings and make sure I do not over spend and keep to my budget. The fact that the next two months are binge shopping months won't help.

*sigh*

Black Fridays!

Cyber Mondays!!

mmmmmmm

Needless to say, a couple of things are in the works to help me keep on the path to ZERO CREDIT CARD DEBT bliss.

I received my 401K distribution from my past employer yesterday. It is $403.20. Because it is under $1000 I will have to cash it out. Minus the 20% tax, I'll receive $322.56 back sometime next week. That money will go into a Holiday fund that I created. My goal for that fund is $350. Once I receive my $10 check from MySurvey.com and $20 from TextLink Ads, I'll add them to the account to reach my goal. Of the $350 budget for the Holidays, $250 will be allotted for Xmas gifts and the remainder will be put towards decorations, food, and other misc Holiday stuff.

I should be receiving a $125 refund sometime this week from an AmEx card I closed (annual fee refund). That will be put aside in my Travel fund and be used for the traveling I will be doing for Thanksgiving and Xmas (primarily for gas).


My birthday is almost around the corner (Jan 3rd). My plans are to relax, relate, and release at a spa in a far away city with some wonderful girlfriends and have a fun filled weekend. I am saving my $50 SpaFinder gift card that I got using my AmEx rewarsd to use then. I don't need anything specific for Xmas so I'll request to get cash instead and put that away to use during my birthday. Aside from that, I'll be working on earning some money from my side hustles and saving up for a fab birthday weekend that will soothe the soul without hurting my pockets.

I updated some goals (top right hand corner of blog).

I currently have $734 in my emergency fund. I will add $266 to it in November to make it an even $1000. After that I will be directing all my excess money to pay off my credit cards. That should be done by the beginning of February 2009. Once that is accomplished I will work on my $5K Home Fund goal which will consist of the remainder or my tax refund, and excess money in February, March, and April . I'll most likely start house hunting in mid March. Once I buy my first house (fingers crossed!!!) and IF plans go my way, I'll use $2000 of the Home Fund to furnish my home and transfer the remaining $3000 to my emergency fund. With $4000 in the emergency fund I will then work on increasing that to $10K by the end of 2009.




I'll give an update on my 2008 Goals and Career Goals next post.


CIAO!!!!



Sunday, October 12, 2008

Interesting Articles to Read

Here is some interesting articles that I found this weekend. Check them out. Remember, knowledge is key.



- All that money you've lost — where did it go?



- Decoding the Lingo of the Financial Crisis


- Don't panic!, and other words of wisdom from market vets

Excerpt:

"Finally, I'll leave you with this gem from Nick Perry. "Take everyone, including me, with a grain of salt," he asserts. "This is just simple common sense. The advice given out in the media may come from a great source and be perfectly valid. However, you need to make sure it fits with your goals and risk tolerances."


- So the guy in charge of spending the $700 billion used to be a rocket scientist?! Great....



- A rare silver lining amid the chaos? Who would have ever thought that this was the way to lower gas prices.....


- CDs seem to be the way to go at the moment. Check out the top 100 high yield rates for 1 year cds


- Bailout goodies beyond Wall Street

by Kay Bell

Good news, taxpayers! Congress has adjourned!

Better news, taxpayers! Some popular tax breaks that affect those of us living far from Wall Street were included in the Emergency Economic Stabilization Act of 2008, otherwise known as the bailout bill.

While many folks are upset with the special provisions included in the bill, they also might be happy about some of them.

AMT patched: The alternative minimum tax, that nasty parallel tax that produces larger tax bills for millions of folks, was once again patched as part of the bailout package.

The biggest problem with the AMT is that it's not indexed for inflation. So Congress effectively took around 21 million folks off the AMT rolls by increasing the tax's 2008 exemption amounts to $46,200 for individuals and $69,950 for married filing jointly filers.

Extenders OK 'd: The extenders, those tax breaks that are reauthorized temporarily by lawmakers, were part of the package.

That means if you want to deduct your state and local sales taxes instead of state income taxes, you can. This tax break for itemizers goes through 2009.

Also extended for two years are the above-the-line tax breaks for tuition and fees and for some of the costs incurred by teachers and other educators who buy supplies for their classrooms. These adjustments can be claimed directly on Form 1040 or 1040A, meaning you don't have to itemize to get the benefits.

Special tax situations: The standard deduction for real property taxes for nonitemizers, up to $500 for single homeowners and $1,000 for married couples filing jointly, is now in effect through 2009.

And older IRA owners can once again directly roll distributions from those accounts to a qualified charity. This means they won't owe tax on the money that's transferred to the nonprofit. This donation option also goes through 2009.

Energy considerations: The energy portion of the new law includes renewed and expanded tax breaks for residential solar, wind and geothermal power. But most folks will take advantage of the easier-to-complete energy home improvements, such as adding insulation to walls and attics or putting in new thermal windows and doors. Even window film counts.

These home improvement tax breaks were part of the 2005 energy bill and expired at the end of 2007. Now they're back and good through 2009. That gives you this and next tax year to fix up the old homestead with some financial assistance from Uncle Sam.

Driving down fossil fuel usage: A couple of transportation tax and energy benefits also were part of the package.

Plug-in hybrid electric vehicles aren't widely available yet, but Capitol Hill wanted to make sure that when they are, we have a tax incentive to buy them. Not surprisingly, this vehicular credit is set up much the same way as the hybrid one. That means there's no one tax break.

The tax break starts with a base credit of $2,500 then adds additional tax break amounts based on the vehicle's battery pack capacity. The maximum credit could amount to of $7,500 for light-duty vehicles; that's most of us. It goes to $10,000 for vehicles with gross vehicle weights of more than 10,000 but less than 14,000 pounds, $12,500 for vehicles with a gross vehicle weight of more than 14,000 but less than 26,000 pounds and $15,000 for any vehicle with a gross vehicle weight of more than 26,000 pounds.

And again like the hybrid tax break, the electric vehicle credit will phase out based on how many of the autos are sold.

Folks who rely on their bicycles to get to work also get a bit of break, but not for a few months.

Tax law already allows companies to provide workers with tax-free transportation fringe benefits, such as transit passes. This benefit will be extended to employees who commute by bicycle. Companies can start offering the new benefit of $20 per month on Jan. 1, 2009.

Saturday, October 11, 2008

The Economy and Dimples

Craziness.

Ri-damn-diculousness.

Straight bull.......


Those are my thoughts on the current state of the economy. I could go further but I don't want to. I am economic crisis'd. I have been on the net searching here and there trying to understand what exactly is going on and how all this may affect me. I have been searching and there doesn't seem to be a positive out look on what's going on and it doesn't look like it is going to get better any time soon. It may actually get worse.

My 401K has decreased by $3000+ in the last 2 months. One day last week, I lost $1000 overnight. That was too much for me. So after doing some research and talking to a financial advisor I decided to move what was left in my account into a money market fund. Prior to that I had 40% in aggressive and 60% in growth. Since rebalancing my account on Monday it has actually gained $50. Now I know some folks aren't going to agree with my decision but I felt it was the best thing for my situation. I worked hard for that money and I don't like seeing it being basically depleted because some stupid rich CEOs and their croonies did not know how to run their business. I feel "safer" with my decision.

I don't believe the current economic situation will get better any time soon. Actually I believe it will be getting a whole lot worse. Especially when it seems to have had a domino affect and other countries are feeling the same chaos. Everyone except for Iraq of course. Hmmmm let me not go there. Don't need to start my Saturday off on a pissed off note.

Along with the change to my retirement account, I have made some changes to my spending, budget, and financial plan. I was going to put a hold on buying a house but I am rethinking that decision. I think now (within the next year or so) is the best time to buy a house (one that I can AFFORD) because I will get more house for my money. I am seeing 3/2's with a square footage of 1500+ going for as low as $125K. And these are beautiful houses in great locations. With my new salary and great credit (coming soon), I should be able to get a nice house with an affordable monthly payment.

Anyways I gotta go get ready and head out. My mom called me late last night to task me with some shopping to do for her at Ikea. Just wanted to drop in and say hey. I'll post more about my financial plans later today. I'll be posting more regularly also. I finally got myself on a schedule and life is not so hectic anymore. Let's pray it stays that way.

Ciao