Category Archives: Frugoal Lesson

Debt UPdate

Adulting.  Why did I not relish in the glory of being a child as much as I should have?  Why didn’t I take more naps?  Draw on more walls with crayons?  Eat more dirt?adult-life

Don’t get me wrong, there are plenty of amazing things about being an adult!  You can go to bed whenever you want and even spoil your appetite before dinner.  Hell, you can have ice cream for supper if that tickles your fancy.

However, all of the luxuries of being an adult are outweighed by the one cruel reality that comes with living on your own:

BILLS.

It is ALWAYS something!  Every time I feel like P and I are getting a handle on our debt and we are starting to make progress in the road to one day being DEBT FREE …

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Cue joyful Whoopi gif

life throws in a speed bump, then a pothole, and finally just for shits and giggles one heck of a financial detour.

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Followed by discouraged Whoopi

Let me preface this rant by just stating a few things.  I’m so incredibly lucky.  Everyone is healthy, I am 33 weeks pregnant with a healthy baby that I can’t wait to meet in mere weeks, and we have a roof over our heads, a bed to sleep in and bellies full of food.  Life for the most part is amazing…

BUT why does there always have to be a BUT?

When we found out I was pregnant we had been trying for years.  We had definitely planned for the extra finances that a baby requires.  We also bought (ok, we actually financed) a new vehicle that was safer and more family friendly for myself and baby.  We crunched the numbers and an extra car payment could squeeze into our budget.

BUT…

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The reality of your computer’s motherboard dying isn’t nearly as stylish as when it happened to Carrie in Sex and the City

Then my husband’s computer crapped out (his motherboard died). It was 8 years old (which is like 150 in computer years) and he works in IT and has to have a top notch computer in order to do his job.  Well, a top notch computer is expensive.  P built it himself with all the bells and whistles.  Let’s just say it’s black with red components (he was going for a Darth Vader theme ) and the red LED lights he placed in his new computer now make our office look like a XXX store.  It was definitely an expense (not to mention office decor) that was unexpected for me.  We ended up having to finance it.  Boo. On the upside we were able to get 12 months no interest, but still its an extra monthly payment that we were not planning on this year.

Then a few weeks later P’s Jeep decided that it was sick and needed to go see the Jeep doc.  That damn Jeep racks up more medical bills then any other Jeep I know.  Then the following week, my old Jetta decided it also wasn’t feeling well and racked up another bill 4 times over what the Jeep bill was!!!!

WTF!

So in a nutshell, our debt is back to where it was last year.  All the progress we made is now back to square one.

BUT…

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I’m discovering that all of the bills, the stress, the responsibility, and the unexpected twists and turns are just a part of being an adult.  Time to put my big girl pants on (and oh, how BIG my pants have gotten) shake it off and start all over again tomorrow with a big girl panty attitude!

 

Til next time,

Ang

5 Simple Ways To Start Getting Out Of Debt Now

After years of drowning in credit card debt and student loan debt, this gal started a blog 2 years ago in the hopes of chronically her journey to becoming debt free.

2 years later…

Well, shit!!!   I am still in debt but at least my head is finally above water enough to breathe again.  Ahhhhh.

Even though there is still a loooooong way to go for me to becoming debt free, my debt is dwindling little by little each month.  If you can relate to being in debt (which according to an article published by nerdwallet.com most of you can) I would like to share some simple things that YOU can do NOW (God, don’t you just love the power of capping specific words) in order to get out of debt sooner rather than later.

1.  Get Honest.

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Though I am sure there is a more eloquent way of expressing this step, to put it simply this step sucks donkey balls.

Get honest with yourself.  Get honest with your partner if you share (or are planning to share) finances.  Find out how much you owe, to whom you owe it, and how much interest you are getting slapped with each month.

Yes, this means opening up that stack of mail you have been avoiding.

Yes, this means getting on the phone and trying to lower your interest rates.

Yes, this means being proactive about your money…or lack thereof.

2.  Put Those Credit Cards On Ice.

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Saw this trick in one of my fave guilty pleasure movies Confessions of a Shopaholic.  Any credit card you have in the house, freeze it.

Now.

If by chance you don’t heed my advice, think of it like this:  Credit cards are like the Kardashians.   Evil, vile things made of plastic that do more harm than good for the American public.

3.  Cut Off Your Cable.

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This step sucks too, but only initially.

Do I miss my DVR?  On Demand?  Bravo?  Yes, yes, and sweet Jesus, YES!

By shutting off the cable, am I saving money?  Am I still breathing?  Did life continue to go on?  Yes, yes, and YES!

My husband and I shut off our cable last spring and we ended up saving an additional $70.00 a month.  That is an additional $840 a year we can put towards our debt.

With options like Netflix, hulu and youtube do any of us really need cable?

4.  Staying In To Eat.

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It is amazing to me how much it costs to go out to eat.  I didn’t realize it was an issue for our household until my husband and I had an epiphany a few summers ago.  We could not figure out where our money was going each month.  When I went back a few months to review our bank records (step 1, getting honest) I was shocked to learn that we had been spending an average of $1,000 a month on eating at restaurants and going to bars with friends!  Shocking and also embarrassing.  Now we try to prepare breakfast, lunch and dinner ourselves 85% of the time.  That extra money we save goes to extra payments on our debt.  You live and you learn.

5.  Start Now.

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When it comes to getting out of debt, it is a marathon, not a sprint.  Unless of course you win the lottery, then getting debt free is a sprint.  A beautiful sprint that ends up with beachfront property in Maui, and with a pool that comes with a pool boy named Fernando with washboard abs and an ass you can bounce a quarter off of…errr…sorry, got off topic.

Where were we?  Oh yes, start getting debt free by making small changes in your everyday life.

If you go to Starbucks twice a week, change it to once a week.  Then cut it down to just a monthly visit.

If you make it a habit to routinely go out to dinner with friends/family and order an appetizer, an entree and a couple of cocktails, cut it down.  Opt for just an appetizer or entree and a water (alcohol is waaaaay more expensive at bars/restaurants, and people won’t judge you as much when you down a few drinks in the privacy of your own home).  Not only are you cutting down on the price BUT you are cutting down on calories too.  Win-win.

Instead of going to an expensive salon, try out a beauty school instead.  This past fall, I got a great haircut for $10!

Prioritize what your “wants” are vs. your “needs”.

You will be feeling like a baller as your debt gets smaller.

Thanks for reading!  Now go get honest with your bad self!

Ang

Also, don’t hesitate to like my facebook page and follow me on instagram!

Love and Money

When you get the good fortune to find someone in this life that you can tolerate for the next4fdaa3b92775483bba6715652ec615ee 60 years, the next step is usually the combining of households. Nothing says “I love you” more than the willingness to live in the same space and share the same toilet. Only love could bring us to the point where we would want to share the most intimate of spaces. However, more intimate than the sharing of time on the porcelain throne is the sharing of money.

Now there are some couples I know that keep their finances separate. Their money is their money and all combined bills are split in half. If it works for you then that is fantastic. However, this is not the case with P and myself. From the second we got engaged for the third and final time (sometimes a girl needs to be proposed to several times in order to make sure her gentleman caller is serious) we knew that there would be a melding of what little money we had at the time. That is the nice thing about being poor, no prenup is necessary because nobody wants half of nothing.

The agreement we had before we walked down the aisle was that I would be in charge of paying the bills and the finances. The reason for this was simple: P was the dreamer and I was the realist. I am finding out that when it comes to money you have to be real.

couple-fighting-over-moneyThis worked the first few years of our marriage. I paid the bills, we budgeted out what we could afford and had very little debt besides our *shiver* student loan debt (I’m not going to rage…errr…I mean write about that topic in fear of developing carpal tunnel syndrome).

Then resentment built up on both sides. P felt like he was constantly on a budget and being told “no” when he wanted to buy something. I felt like I was constantly saying “no” and was tired of being the responsible one.

P’s dreamer mentality was appealing to me. So much so that I let go of the financial reins, closed my eyes and became a dreamer too. It was pure bliss, until I woke up after a couple of years to find us in over $12,000 of credit card debt. A very rude awakening indeed.

That is when I realized that there is only room for one dreamer in this marriage and it is not me. I have always been the girl with her feet firmly planted on the ground. A realist when it comes to life, love and finally with money again. My realistic mentality is getting us out of debt that my dreamer mentality got us into (but it sure was fun to be a dreamer while it lasted).

If you combine your finances and you want to be financially secure there has to be one person who is a realist.  There has to be someone who is talking sense (or cents, *wink* *wink*) when it comes to money.

So let me end this post by making a confession.  My name is Angela and I am a realist.  There, I said it.  I am no little suzy homemaker, I am a healthy proportionately sized suzy sensemaker.  And I am okay with that.

Thanks for reading, and leave a comment below.  Would love to know how many of my readers are dreamers or realists when it comes to money.

Ang

Living in procrastiNATION

“Why do today what you can put off doing tomorrow?”  That has always been a mantra of mine that has served me…well actually, not so well over the years.  Putting off those pesky daily chores, workouts and errands is part of who I am.  I am just going  to come out and say it (or rather type it):  My name is Angela and I am a…procrastinator.  So much so, that if I was a superhero my not-so-super superhero name would be “The Procrastinator”.  Hmmmm, I wonder what people would say about “The Procrastinator”…

Look up in the sky, it’s a bird, it’s a plane…Oh S*#t, it’s The Procrastinator showing up 15 minutes too late again.

She can leap to her phone to hit the snooze alarm in a single bound.

The Procrastinator!  Saving the world the day after it needs to be saved.

Not really digging what people think of “The Procrastinator”?  Me either.

So let’s get back to the real world since this female Clark Kent is spent, and talk about what procrastination has to do with finances.  Turns out, procrastination costs money.  Which brings me to…drum roll please…

Frugoal Lesson #2:  Procrastination WILL cost you money!

How many of you live in this constant state of waiting until the last minute to do things?  Please tell me I’m not the only one.  But seriously, TELL ME, I love reading your comments!  Alright, if you don’t want to tell me, then I will tell you:  Living and being a citizen of procrastiNATION sucks! If you don’t believe me, here is a real life example about how something as simple as waiting to register for Bloomsday cost this little lady some big dollar bills. 

Note:  For those reading this that are not from the Spokane/Coeur d’Alene area, Bloomsday is an annual run/walk (or crawl for some including myself) that is approximately 7 1/2 miles and takes place in Spokane, Washington.  For those of you that are from the Spokane/Coeur d’Alene area…made you look.

The entrance fee for Bloomsday is $17.00, which is very reasonable.  This girl didn’t register right away because things kept coming up, then this girl put it off (the three part Real Housewives Of Atlanta reunion needed to be watched so it could be deleted from the DVR).  Then kept putting it off (working, earning a paycheck, and paying those bills, very important stuff).  Then putting it off some more (housework had to be done…okay can’t lie to you guys, housework still isn’t done, couldn’t even type that with a straight face).  Ultimately, excuses were made and registering for Bloomsday was not a top priority.  So, long story longer, last Monday, I get a call from P asking me if I registered yet (he got to register for Bloomsday free through his work).  This is how the conversation went:

P:  Did you register yet for Bloomsday?

A: No.

P:  The entrance fee just got upped to $32.00.

A:  WHAAAAAAAAT?!?!

Side note:  I am very open to optioning the above script.  Have your people call my people.

So because of procrastination, I am now a late “bloomie” which cost me way more money than if I would have been an early “bloomie”.  The point of this blog is this:  My mantra of “Why do today what you can put off doing tomorrow” isn’t working for me and has to be rewritten.  How will it be rewritten?  Not sure how yet, but it’s a work in progress, just like the girl writing this blog, and maybe some of you who are reading this as well.

P.S. The ironic thing is I have always been a late “bloomer” which has saved me money in the past.

P.S.S. Real life example of how being a late “bloomer” saves money:  Didn’t have to buy my first bra until I was 19.  Pretty sure even Dave Ramsey would be proud of my savings on that.

P.S.S.S. “P.S I Love You” is a great movie!

Debit House Of Cards

Debit cards.  Our generation’s version of “The Electric Slide”.  Oh, how I have mastered that slide, as most of you reading this have as well.  My debit card ( let’s call her “Debbie”) is very convenient.  Debbie buys me gas and groceries.  She has taken me on trips and wined and dined me.  Debbie is essentially my sugar momma and I love it, or rather loved it.  See the thing about Debbie is, she used my money to buy me things.  Not only that but that saucy minx didn’t even bother to balance my checkbook either.  The result:  Going to my account online thinking there would be $800.00, and alas, only finding $200.00.  Oh Debbie!

This brings me to my first lesson that I have learned and want to share will all my “reader” (Hi Mom)!

Frugoal Lesson #1:  Never let anyone but YOU think with YOUR money.

While I was recently ice skating with a friend of mine, who happens to work at a very small bank in the area, we started talking about debit cards and overdraft fees.  My friend, let’s call her “Bianca” (her face reads like more of a “Heather”, but her hair is very”Bianca”ish) since she still works at this itty bitty bank, informed me that this bank makes over $100,000.00 a month in overdraft fees!!  Did I mention that this is a small bank.  Can you then imagine what a Wells Fargo, or BofA makes a month?  Too many zeros for this lady to count (not because I can’t, but because of sheer laziness.  Just wanted to clarify).  How many of us are letting our Debbie’s do the thinking for us?  How many of us have let Debbie leave us with a $35.00 overdraft charge, or more?  How many of us let Debbie use us, abuse us, whisper sweet nothings in our ear, while leaving us with nothing in our checking accounts?  Well this gal isn’t taking it anymore.  Time to get reacquainted with a past lover of mine called the checkbook (let’s call him “Chuck”). Don’t get me wrong, Debbie and I will never part ways, it’s just I am now running into the arms of Chuck.  Yes, Chuck is slower, bigger and more work, but Chuck also would always make it easy to see where my finances were going and how much money I had left to spend.  I’m sorry Chuck, please take me back and we can figure this out together.  As for Debbie, that chick works for me now.  Yes, she is easier and accessible, but now I’m only using her on my terms.

So let’s all fall back in love with Chuck, only use Debbie when we have to, and no more overdraft fees for any of us.

Lastly, next time you are in line at the grocery store and see someone whip out there Chuck (oooh, that sounds bad, let’s change “Chuck” back to checkbook).  Let’s try this again…next time you are in line at the grocery store and see someone whip out there checkbook, don’t start cursing silently or rolling your eyes.  Instead, give them a slow clap, an epic slow clap.  Then, before you are asked to leave the store for acting like you are intoxicated, give them a pat on the back and say “way to go sport”, or “great job being smart with your money”, or something far more clever, but you get the point.