Archive for Cars

Debt Consolidation & Reduction

After checking out a debt consolidation company’s website &  the Better Business Bureau’s website, my dad decided to give them a call. I helped him print off all the credit card accounts that we have access to online & helped him get everything in order. My parents have two options to choose from. One that has a much lower payment per month, but will probably negatively affect their credit score. Or one that has a somewhat lower payment per month & probably won’t hurt their credit score. They’re obviously going to take the second option. This option will lower the amount they are paying now towards their debt & will help them get it paid off in 5 years. However, they will not be allowed to own any credit cards. I don’t see a problem with this, but my mom did. She thinks everyone “has” to have at least one credit card. I explained to her that no one “has” to have a credit card & there are many people who have taken the road less traveled & choose to live without one. The perfect example is NCN over at No Credit Needed. He doesn’t use credit cards & neither do a lot of people. There’s a lady that works with my aunt who doesn’t even have a debit card. I know this because back when I worked for a department store, we had this “event” we had to sell fragrance & cosmetic items for & this woman was nice enough to order a few items from me. The only problem was we needed a credit card or a debit card number to charge on the day of the event. She explained to me that she had gotten herself into some trouble with credit cards. After she got herself out of the situation she was in, she vowed never to use a credit card or debit card again. She said it was just too great of a temptation.

I think she’s right. I too sometimes get the urge to spend what I don’t have. I love cosmetics, even though most of them are not good for the enviroment, & I love electronics! I’ve had several different brands & styles of cell phones since I first got one at age 18. I have a habit of wanting to have the newest & best out there. I know I don’t really need these things, but these are some of the things that sometimes drive me to spend money I don’t have. That’s why I think it’s great that my parents won’t be able to use credit for a while. Maybe they will find out they’re much happier without the cards & choose not to get new ones when they’re able to. I would love to go back to the days when I didn’t have a credit card. It’s much easier to talk yourself out of buying something if you don’t have the money or the ability to charge it. I think once I get my credit card paid off that I will cancel all credit cards & try going without them for a while.

And since we’re talking about credit cards…

I posted earlier about my Citibank card offering a 0% interest rate on any balances I transfer until March 2009. I did go ahead & transfer my balances over. So now I only have one card with a balance!!! I can’t really consider my other accounts paid in full until the balances are paid off on the Citibank card, but at least it’s just one payment now instead of several. This should make my budgeting a little bit easier & hopefully I’ll be able to pay extra money towards it since there’s no interest. Once the credit card is gone I can focus on paying off my auto loan. That would be awesome! It’s been several years since I haven’t had to pay a car loan. That is definitely something I’m looking foward to. And I have every intention of driving my vehicle until the wheels fall off, so to speak. I don’t want to have another auto loan for a very long time!

[Edit: Asgreen over at Always The Planner has made reference to my post & has done some research about a company called Freedom Debt Relief. Thank you for the mention! 🙂 The company that my family is using is called Amerix Corporation. They have a satisfatory rating with the BBB. ]

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Two Jobs

I’m currently working both my full-time job Monday – Friday, 40 hours a week. Plus I work part-time on Saturday & Sunday at a convience store. I really like my full-time job. The company is great, the benefits are very good, & the people are good people. The second job on the other hand sucks. Seriously. I’ve only been at the convience store since the being of summer, but it’s taking its toll on me. Working 50-58 hours a week is wearing me down. My feet hurt all the time. At my full-time job, I sit at a desk all day. So I’m not used to standing all day. And although the part-time does afford me another $250-$400/month in additional funds, I don’t know if not having time to spend with friends & family is worth it. Plus, working another 2 days a week means another 2 days of driving. Which also means additional wear & tear on my vehicle. I should be using the full amount of extra money for paying down my debt. Instead I usually end up on puting part of it towards the debt & the rest goes towards fuel & other stuff. I don’t know how much longer I will last at this extra job, so I should try sticking to the budget I figured out & get my debt paid off as quickly as I can. Then I can drop the extra job & start sending more of my regular pay to my savings.

On a side note, I managed to come up with enough money to send my car insurance renewal payment early. Now I won’t have to worry about it at the end of month. A down side is that I got the notice for the utility bill & it was up $45-$50 more than it was the month before. We leaving the AC on too often & we aren’t unplugging things like we should be. That bothers me!!! I’m always good at keeping things unplugged, but the others in my family aren’t. I wish they would care more about the utility bill. I’m sure they’d be more concerned if they were paying it.

I’d been reading some other PF blogs about credit cards. Although I’m trying to stay away from them, I did sign up for the Chase Freedom card. Only because you get $50 cash bonus back after your first purchase & you don’t have to spend a certain dollar amount to receive the bonus. Also you get 3% back on any of the 3 out of 15 categories you use most often. And those categories can change from month to month. I have a gym membership that is charged monthly to my Bank of America card. Now I will change it over to the Chase card so I can get the cash back. I also heard that Chase was offering $125 to its Freedom card members that open a checking account. I could definitely use the extra money.

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I have a few small savings accounts. They all serve different purposes. I actually need to set up another as a “Pet” fund for my dogs’ vet & other expenses. Here’s what I have so far:

Regular Savings: $85.42

Emergency Fund: $657.23

Car Funds (Insurance, Registration, & Maintenance): $184.09 – this one is soon to be $334.09 once I can transfer the $150 I set aside from my most recent paycheck

My car insurance is due at the end of this month, so I’ve been tightening other expenses in order to have enough to pay the amount in full. I like paying in full to get the discount, rather than paying extra for making partial payments. Also, then I only have to worry about it twice a year, rather than having to keep track of another bill each month. I currently have a set amount being direct deposited into my car fund. In order to avoid having this problem in the future. Actually, after doing some math, I need to increase that direct deposit.

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