$10,000 by November. Here’s how I am going to do it.

I’m always messing around with my spreadsheets and making new scenarios for this debt pay down. Well I kept tinkering with it because I was coming up short on being able to pay the auto loan in time.

Current goal is to pay down approx $7,000 by November before the SL come out of deferment.

Well I forgot about the snowball. (duh! such a dork sometimes). once the Emergency Fund was back up to par, that money would then go towards paying off the auto loan in time. Which brings me to the next part.

Excursion Fund

Remembering the last part and repurposing a small savings account ($500) recently has now made it possible to add the new plans of saving  up for what I am calling a “generational growth excursion”. I realize some people may not agree with that. And I totally get it, as I have $70,000 of debt to pay off. I argued with it myself for a while. But this is an opportunity of a lifetime I couldn’t pass up for various reasons. Here me out: it will be the first time I am paying cash for a large purchase. None of the excursion is being paid on credit. And what is needed beyond the $3,000 will be raised:

  • asking friends and family to donate their recyclables to us
  • setting up for weekend hire (garage cleaning,  painting, mow the lawn, car washes, etc…)
  • grocery shopping trips – earning 5% cash back rewards with immediate payoff

Even with the mentioned above, the budget would still need to be whittled down a bit. Here is what was revised on the monthly budget in more detail:

  • clothing budget – $50 brought down to $0. This will be tough not buying any clothes. The child has mass amounts (even though she says she has none). And I can buy anything needed from my personal allowance (I am gong to stretch my $20 bi-weekly faaaaarrrr). Maybe I can participate in a clothing swap and/or hope for gift cards & clothes gifts when holiday or celebrations arise.
  • Household/Food – $700/m to $650/m – savings us $50/m. This adds some restraint, but will not be too much if eating out is done rarely and work meals continue to be packed. So far in the last two weeks, we have not been out to eat at all.
  • Cellular x2 – $100 to $85 – $15 savings per month. I happened to log in to see what the most basic plan was for data on the prepaid phones. At least for my phone since 90% of it tethers off wi-fi. Well, we are at the lowest plan, but found my provider lowered the plan rate for whatever reason.  Glad I checked it!

  • Internet/Ph/Cable – The $35 savings is tentative right now. I will explain in a future post when I get it set up. But essentially it’s moving my house phone to Google Voice (free) with the use an Obi phone adapter (one time purchase). I’m not stranger to Google voice – been using it for years – as its a great way to provide an alternative number to dates or businesses. I didn’t connect my home phone before because there was talk that years ago that GV was going away. But now I hear its not. Once installed, I will rid of the the cable once again. Leaving the house with wi-fi only at the “standard” rate (these companies drive me crazy).

Total added savings per month: $115

with potential to save up to $150 (aka $1,800/yr).

Other: re-purposed savings account became the EF account; sinking funds account became the excursion fund account and dropped automatic transfers down a $100/m; added annual payments (aka, sinking funds) as a line on the expense report for now. but will be dropped into the EF account. really I just need to set up the money to be automatically transferred.

And that my friends, will just have us skimming by in November to make $7,000 in debt be paid off and $3,000 available towards an excursion equaling $10,000 I never thought I had to pull a trick like this.

ps – I would show you my debt payoff calculator scenario, but I want to leave an element of surprise to the amount snowballed this month. will post when all is past tense in the next week or two. :)

pss – I know you’re asking, “but what about paying the $2,394.40 of student loan interest before the deferment ends?” I’m using a 3rd paycheck in December to kick that too the curb. I never knew I had such monies. Focus works (hope I can keep it up all year).

Tackling errands, Cleaning out the closet & that antique thingamabob

This morning I tackled many errands. Getting the oil changed in the car, returned library books, made copies of Arabic recipes, picked up the child’s Easter present (with great savings due to a couple of Michael’s coupons – $10 total for cupcake decorating kit + cute Wilton tin liners. Then I bought 3 packages of cake mix $0.99/ea – all from my bi-weekly $20 personal allowance), stocked up on groceries we will need for the week and scrubbbbbbeeeedd my car. Love that it’s CLEAN and I did it myself (it’s been a while since its had a bath). So it was freeeeee.

The car still needs to be vacuumed. I was arguing with myself earlier if it would be better to get the car washed with vacuuming done at $20 a pop every 3 months or do it myself when needed. Still have not come up with an answer. But if I do spend the money, it will also come from my allowance.

My girlfriend told me yesterday that she was impressed I could maintain with a $20/bi-weekly allowance. So am I! Let’s see if it sticks.

After all my tasks were done I was ancy to do something.

Most of the time I feel like I am sitting around biding my time until my debt gets paid off. But today I actually tried to take my child to play in the city at a museum, have lunch, and explore on the dime of our summer savings account. She declined (teenagers! normally she loves the museum, but a video game won). I really should just go alone to the exhibit I have been trying to see, but its a distance. So I saved the event for another day and set out to declutter my closet. Vowing to toss anything that I haven’t touched in 6+ months.

Unboxed the china

I unearthed the china from the boxes that my mother passed down to me a few years ago. I have never taken it out of the boxes to observe. Good time to do so and to contemplate what to do with it all. It’s a beautiful birds of paradise antique set made in England.

I always wished I could drink tea in the English countryside. Sipping Earl Grey tea with cream & sugar and the pinky finger out.

the grandparents

There is a complete setting for six people (I need to replace one broken bowl). So… what do I do with the set? It’s all very fancy. I don’t own a china cabinet to put it in. The child says she is going to throw a tea party for her friends.

It’s not worth much financially, but has a lot of sentiment. I know I vowed, but I can’t part with this just yet.

Oh ya, does anyone know what the thing on the left is? There is a small opening at the bottom. The holes on the top are too large for salt (IMO) and I cannot imagine putting that much salt in something of decent size. Maybe there is supposed to be another one? Maybe just pepper?

Found it! It’s a sugar shaker!


I decided to part with a bunch scrubs I no longer need. I’m actually bummed they are not my daily attire anymore. Because there is a fondness there like one has with lounging in yoga or pajama pants.

So, I folded them up and will drop about 5 pairs off at the thrift store. I have two other sets in practically new condition. Will list them to see if I can make a few bucks.

And I have a great Lorna Jane double zipper vest from the premium black collection I will list too (unfortunately that doesn’t fit me anymore. but I only wore it once or twice anyway).

The other stuff is odds and ends that will be donated:

  • one decorative pillow
  • nice pair of Salomon trail running shoes
  • pair of heels and pair of slide ons
  • 4 small decorative pictures in frames
  • a new cat toy the feline didn’t find entertaining
  • 3 blouses, 3 t-shirts and a jean jacket that never fit right
  • floating shelf and 2 curtain rods
  • a bag of the child’s clothes allotted for a friend but never made it there

I did not get rid of too much, but the closet is clean.

Today’s savings: $25.80

$20 washing the car myself and $5.80 by using coupons on the child’s gift (and I’ll get to the be the taste tester of delicious cupcakes)

Cost Saving Initiatives: Saying “No”

I just hit my April mid-month pay and can happily say (with much effort on my part) I am under-budget by $10. But then I found out I paid ahead on one bill last pay period. Leaving me $60 total under-budget. At the same time I also re-purposed a small savings account. It will work better this way and my emergency fund is half filled again. Thereby I transferred a little money from that account and the remainder of my paycheck towards my auto loan.

Snowballing: $150 + $60 = $210

Here are some of my Cost saving initiatives I ran across these past two weeks:

  • I brought my breakfast to work as usual – but my toast flipped behind the  counter  and my cream of wheat was bland. Spent $0.98 for a better breakfast. #fail
  • Said “no” to attending a theme park with friends. That was super hard to decline because it was Spring Break and I know my child really wants to go again. But this getting out of debt pain is temporary, right? #win
  • I am going on first date in like 4 years. Stuck to the budget buying one blouse & necklace within budget and with a $10 coupon. Then paired it with items from my closet. Painted my own nails. Plucked my own eyebrows. Trust me, I would love to be pampered, but in the name of debt… (The date was enjoyable with lots in common. I much enjoyed the dinner & conversation. But there was not a romantic connection for me).
  • Didn’t go to the Grand Canyon because the financials of the trip were not preplanned. I really wanted to go for the astronomy talk and to see the stars. But it would have went on the CC. That would need to be a nope. #win
  • We did not go to a really cool dance competition as a spectator for the same reason. Least the child didn’t know that this event was happening. But it would have been really fun to attend. #win
  • WonderCon is here too. Didn’t go. Same reason. #doublewin because if we went then we would need to create cosplay costumes.
  • I ate Cream of Wheat (package in my desk) instead of a taco lunch. Saved spending $6 (and maybe I’ll get better at prepping my lunch the night before).
  • Using the espresso machine daily at work (free).
  • drove less
  • we went to the library and walked the park for frugal entertainment.
  • increased my reading habits. Which has been a nice way to wind down.
  • hemmed a skirt the child bought from the thrift store. sewed an apron. crafting at home

I had a hard time saying “no” to the event activities and was bumming when I did. Especially because it was so beautiful outside and I wanted to give my child fun times. But those bummer feelings are temporary right?  I may try for the Grand Canyon in Autumn with cash available for the trip.

Meals that were made made this week to stay in budget:

  • Waffles & peanut butter with a London Fog (earl grey tea, vanilla syrup, steamed milk)
  • PB & Honey toast
  • Tostada salads – I bake my own shells
  • cast iron skillet hash – my fave meal – this one had kale, sweet potato, carrots and an over-easy egg cooked on top. It’s a great way to use up veggies needing to be used up.
  • spaghetti, sauteed veggies, and Italian sausage (with evoo, lemon, and capers, too)
  • cereal and Cream of Wheat
  • veggies, rice and tofu
  • tuna salad w/lots of veggies (tomatoes, carrots, avocado, kidney beans, green onion…)
  • PBJ, chips & fruit
  • PB-cacao-banana smoothie – my nighttime fave because it’s like ice cream with the frozen banana and raw cacao is high in magnesium to give me a good night’s sleep.
  • individual apple crisps with vanilla-honey yogurt

How has your week in personal finance, frugality or otherwise?