2017 Goals for Double Debt Single Woman

2017-goals-ddsw

HAPPY NEW YEAR!

The new years bells haven’t even stopped ringing and yet I’m already posting about goals, because, well,  that’s what you do at this time of year.

See my past January goals and December check-in posts here:

2013 Goals  |  2013 Year End Review

2014 Goals  |  2014 Year End Review

2015 Goals  |  2015 Year End Review

2016 Goals |  2016 Year End Review

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DOUBLE DEBT SINGLE WOMAN GOALS FOR 2017


ONE
–  Pay down my student loan debt from $88,935 to under $65,000.

This is Read More

Goodbye 2015: The Year in Debt Review

 

BYE-BYE-2015

It is that time of year again…

My 2014 Year in Debt post summed up the happenings of 2014.  And I still want to be the ‘umm, no’ cat in that post when I grow up. 🙂

2015

In 2015, I started off the year in high hopes. I was eagerly awaiting the grizzly end to my evil credit card.  By the end of February, I’d paid off my credit card debt. $30k in credit card debt gone! I felt great about my accomplishment. Two weeks later, I landed in the emergency room. I had developed a health condition that could no longer be ignored. Several tests and doctors visits later, it was determined that major surgery would be required.   Read More

2015 Financial Goals for Double Debt Single Woman + FS-DAIR

Happy New Year!

2015 techno

It is that time of year again. I unveil my 2015 financial goals. Before I do, I’ll look back at my recent yearly goals.

2014 Goals:

  • Pay off  remaining $22,770 balance in credit card debt
  • Open and contribute to 401k up to point of employer match when eligible

2014 Outcome: [partial success]

  • Paid off $16,780 in credit card debt  [remaining balance: -$5,990]
  • Paid $8,720 in student loan interest [0.o -Yeah, this is insane.]
  • Opened and contributed to retirement funds [+$6,578 (including employer match)]

In the footer and sidebar, I have added a tracker for my retirement and other savings to help me have a fuller picture of my finances.

financial picture

2015 Goals:

  • Pay off remaining credit card debt of $5,990
  • Reach $20,000 in retirement savings
  • Reduce student loan debt to $108,000
  • Save $6,000 in savings  (Yes, my lack of an emergency fund is scary.)
  • Pay cash for an international trip – $??

My student loan goal doesn’t look like much of a drop, but you have to remember that the first $750 that I pay each month is just going to interest, not principal. So it will take nearly $15k in payments to get from $113k to $108k.

Undoubtedly, I have some more thinking to do to figure out how to prioritize all of these goals. Save for retirement or pay down debt?

Will a noble samurai rescue me from my quandry? Enter FS-DAIR

Financial Samurai has posted a formula for determining how to prioritize debt repayment vs. retirement funding. His FS-DAIR (Financial Samurai Debt and Investment Ratio), looks like the tool I’ve been hoping to find for a while now. How does it work? This chart lays it all out in a clear format.

FS-DAIR
Source and Image Credit: FinancialSamurai.com

Basically, any debt that you have carrying 10% or higher in interest, should be paid off post-haste, at the expense of any investing (beyond the 401k employer match). Once your debts have interest rates at 9% and below, things get interesting.  Read Sam’s FS-DAIR post for examples of how this works. For instance, Sam uses the following as an example for someone deciding how much to put toward student loans vs 401k.

fs-dair example
Source: FinancialSamurai.com

My student loan debt is made up of many separate loans with different fixed interest rates. I will need to run the numbers to see how this would shape my plan of attack. I’ll do a follow-up post on this in the not too distant future. Thanks, Sam for lending me a sword to use in my battle!

Net Worth – Double Debt Single Woman – January 2015

As my debt drops in 2015, I’ll be tracking my Net Worth.  My first goal will be to see it drop down into the 5-digit zone. Soon you will also be able to track it here @Rockstar Finance. I will be pretty low on the ranked list, but I will be gunning for higher and higher slots. Watch out Finance Phoenix and Feisty Finance!

Networth Jan 5 2015

“Debtor’s prison is real, and opportunity cost is a bitch.” (DDSW)

September 2014 Update: Health, Housing, Budget & a Mini-Rant

I know! Long time, no write!  You can stop sending me hate mail for keeping you waiting for details of my exciting and glamorous life…  Not!   🙂

In reality, I have the most boring life on the planet right now. Ugh. Work, sleep, work.

stethoscope

HEALTH UPDATE

I am feeling much better than I was the the time of my last post. My acute symptoms were mostly caused by something new in my diet (dairy, esp. ice cream) which tasted heavenly, but was highly inflammatory to my body. So I had to cut that back out and add it to the long list of things that I can’t eat anymore. 😦   Why can’t I just be normal?  If you can eat anything you want and don’t have food allergies and intolerances, be thankful for that. Seriously…

My credit card payoff will be a bit slower now, because I need to save and prepare for medical expenses. I may likely have to have surgery next year.  I’ve finally decided to max out my HSA (Health Savings Account) starting this year (~$3,000 /yr). Because I’ll need the money for medical expenses anyway, it’s better to save it and use it tax-free.  Better late than never. At this rate it is unlikely that I’ll pay off my credit card debt this year 😦 , but hopefully by February 2015…   Did I mention yet how much I hate debt?

basic plain bedroom of someone renting a room to pay off debt

HOUSING UPDATE

I’ve been in my new place for over 2 months now. I am renting a bedroom in a house that I found via Craigslist.   I have three roommates. We are all females in our 30s, 40s, or 50s. I never thought I’d say this about having roommates, but so far… it’s not bad at all. The mood of the house is calm and mellow, which suits me. They don’t have random visitors hanging out in the house all the time like my last roommate did. They are clean and are early birds like me, unlike my last roommate. We aren’t going to be BFF’s, but we get along well enough.  I could definitely do this long term. I hope I won’t have to move again anytime soon. I don’t want to lose this rent (only $500/mo for my room), dirt cheap in this region.

reminder to pay off credit cards

BUDGET UPDATE

The small bit of good news is that I was able to lower my phone bill from $110/mo to $60/mo while keeping pretty much the same service.  Yay. However, the $50 difference has been spent on food.

I’ve been failing pretty badly at staying within my $400 /mo food budget. I know that seems high to most people, but with all my food allergies and intolerances, etc. I can’t just slap together a bologna sandwich or a pack of ramen to eat cheaply.  Recently I tried cooking a couple of meals myself. By the time I bought all the ingredients and spices for one simple-looking recipe, it cost most of my weekly food budget. It also took hours in the kitchen to make and didn’t taste all that great. I’m not giving up, but it’s not going to be easy.

I’ve decided not to join a gym for now and will keep that money. The downside being that I’m truthfully not exercising at all now.  At least I’m walking more now, though.  Public transit to work is costing more than I thought now that i’m father away. I’ve raised my transit budget from $100/mo to $125/mo.  Hopefully, it won’t have to go higher than that.

people getting on city bus debt broke

MINI-RANT

Time for a mini-rant. Who / what am I ranting about now?

Bus-riders who pay with coins. I’m not in any way putting down people who pay a bus fare with coins, per se. Those of us who ride the bus have all paid with coins sometimes when we forget our transit pass, or when money has been tight, etc. I’m annoyed with people who run and push to get on the bus FIRST, and then proceed to pay the fare with a bag full of nickels while blocking anyone else from getting on. A bag full of nickels is what it sounds like to the rest of us waiting outside the bus in line.

Clink, clink, clink, clink….clink…clink, clink…….clink, clink, clink, clink……clink, clink, clink….clink…clink, clink…….clink, clink, clink, clink……clink, clink, clink….clink…clink, clink…….clink, clink, clink, clink……clink, clink, clink….clink…clink, clink…….clink, clink, clink, clink……clink, clink, clink….clink…clink, clink…….clink, clink, clink, clink……clink, clink, clink….clink…clink, clink…….clink, clink, clink, clink……clink, clink, clink….clink…clink, clink…….clink, clink, clink, clink….. .

“OMG. Seriously?!”  (My thought bubble while in line outside.)

…clink, clink, clink….clink…clink, clink…….clink, clink, clink, clink……clink, clink, clink….clink…clink, clink…….clink, clink, clink, clink……clink, clink, clink….clink…clink, clink…….clink, clink, clink, clink……clink, clink, clink….clink…clink, clink…….clink, clink, clink, clink……

Really…  If you have THAT many coins, you should let other people get on first and then pay while the bus is on route to the next stop.

This has happened twice in the last month, with the most recent occurrence happening a couple of days ago, so it’s just been on my mind.

Ok, mini-rant over.

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Can anyone relate? Let me know in the comments!

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“Debtor’s prison is real, and opportunity cost is a bitch.” (DDSW)

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2014 – A New Year with an Old Goal

happy-new-years-2014

It is hard to believe that it is already 2014.

I started this blog a little over 1 year ago to chronicle my climb out of debt. My goal for 2013 started off nobly enough.  I was fed up with debt. I was going to pay off $30,000 of credit card debt as Phase 1 of a larger debt reduction plan.  Did I accomplish this goal? No. Not even close.

Total paid down:  $7,000+.  That’s it??!!

I still have $22,599.00 of credit card debt remaining. How is this possible?  

2013 Recap:

I set up a budget, sold a bunch of stuff,  moved to lower my rent from $1265 to $425, and got a second job. Moving and giving up my stuff and my privacy, was a bittersweet experience, but I was ready to start eliminating some major debt. Life, however, had a curveball for me.  Things had been going downhill at work at that time and after a particularly stressful rough patch I lost my full-time job immediately upon preparing to start this journey. (To be honest, I’m still a little bitter about how it all went down, but I’m trying to move on.)  I collected unemployment for three months until I found a new job that required a move to a new state. This process, including the expense of moving and having to quickly find a new place to live, put me further behind in my debt repayment goals.

I’ve been thinking about the silver lining of my debt cloud. I was lucky to land a job that paid more than my old job, but I now live in a much higher cost of living area.  I set up a new budget, but sticking to it has been a challenge, as it was likely too tight.

Last week I quit my second job.  I deliberated about it for quite a while, but the number of hours that were expected of us for the same pay, made the effort not worth it.

paperwork

The second employer advertised that employees would only have to work 8-10 per week, but after starting, they made more and more requirements that we had to meet in order to “meet expectations” for continued employment. It was more like 15-20 hours/week worth of work that they wanted for the same flat payment.  I was already putting in 50-55 hours per week at my full-time job. Working 65+ hours per week started to wear me down. I’ve started developing a few chronic health issues. I’ve also been sick multiple times and stress has been a part of it.  I had to let the second job go.  It was not worth losing my health over.  I will still seek additional income, but only after a break.

What will I do in 2014?

I will focus on lowering my living expenses. When my lease is up will move to save as much on rent as I can without sacrificing safety. I will start a few months early so I don’t have to overpay on rent out of desperation like I did when I moved here not long ago. Not sure if I should throw everything at the credit card debt or start a 401k. I’m leaning toward the latter. I’m almost 40 and have NO retirement savings of any kind, which scares me. That is part of what burns me up about debt. Now I understand the meaning of opportunity cost. I think about all the money that I am going to spend paying off debt. If I put that same money into different investment vehicles, I could retire early and have a MUCH better life right now.

Never-Regret2

But I can’t dwell on that.  You live and you learn. I’m going to have a different standard of living than I envisioned for myself, probably for the rest of my life. Extreme frugality is not for everyone, but it is for me. It is my only hope. I have to take my own advice and start paring down even more.

I want to pay off the credit card this year. Next year I focus on maxing out retirement funding and pouring everything else into my six figure student loan debt.

Here is to an electric 2014!

Colourful 2014 in fiery sparklers

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“Debtor’s prison is real, and opportunity cost is a bitch.” (DDSW)