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Archive for August, 2008

Grocery day ...

August 31st, 2008 at 03:16 pm

I'm still too depressed to add the $400 to my cumulative debt on the left of the screen ... although I'm thinking I may just not include it, and leave this blog to mainly grapple with CC debt. When it comes to priorities, I'm thinking medical debt comes before CC debt. Any thoughts on this?

Other than that, today was grocery shopping day. I went to Wal-Mart and Kroger, and spent $50 (actually $48.97, to be specific.) That includes food for 18 meals, seven snacks, dog food, and laundry detergent. My meals this week include homemade vegetable soup, homemade taco soup, simple salads, sandwiches and frozen pizza.

I'm keeping quiet and staying in until I get to feeling somewhat better. (No one wants to be out with friends in downtown Atlanta and nearly pass out.) So I spent the afternoon reading one of my faves, "Little Women," napping, walking the dog around the apartment complex and watching television. (I figure since I will be canceling my cable soon until I get at least the medical debt paid off, I should get in what I can.)

I'm also going to put up my collection of Sex & the City on Amazon tonight. On one hand I want to scream "Nooooooooo" and run into the sunset ... on the other hand, I don't even really like the show anymore.

Just FYI: Being in debt SUCKS. If anyone is reading this and is just a little in debt, STOP SPENDING RIGHT AWAY AND GET BACK ON TRACK. Do not be like me. Seriously.

That's about all for now ... I'm just going to relax tonight and enjoy having tomorrow off. It will be cleaning day ... there is a 10K on the road I live on tomorrow, so there will be no going out to just putz.

Mo' debt, mo' problems

August 30th, 2008 at 02:34 pm

More not so good news.

Long story short ... more blacking out, periodic numbness/tingling in face, hands and feet. The doc felt a CT scan was in order. Good news ... insurance picked up most of it. Bad news ... I still have to pay the $500 deductible. And as it's a holiday weekend, I won't know the results of the scan until next week ... Tuesday at the earliest. (Though I thought ... if it was something just terrible, they wouldn't let me leave the hospital, would they?)

So I'm scared, both because I just want to feel better and because it seems I was just beginning to truly manage my debt and now this happens. Of course, on one hand I just have to shrug and think that it WILL get paid eventually, to not stress ... on the other hand, though, I'm freaking out.

*But* I do feel somewhat better knowing that I have a supportive community here, backing me up every step of the way. It makes this news slightly more bearable. :-)

Food for thought

August 26th, 2008 at 03:53 pm

What are your personal standards? Some of you are financially secure, some of you are struggling like me ... but what will you absolutely NOT sacrifice on? It can be anything from a certain kind of food to ... well, anything. On the flip side, what did you THINK you would NEVER sacrifice ... then did ... and then were totally, 100% OK with it? And on the flip side, what did you give up *thinking* you'd be OK with it, and then end up freaking out and needing it back?

For me, there are some things I've sacrificed on ... but not nearly enough. I've pretty much given up any frivolous shopping trips. I actually desperately need a pair of sensible work shoes, but am holding off on that. (I can still get away with some of my more conservative, erm, flip-flops in my quite casual office, but the weather will soon get cooler!) I budget for eating out, but don't do it nearly as often as I used to, and plan to cut it down even more in September. I'm really conservative in that I now make sure any light that I'm not using is turned off ... and long, luxurious showers turned as hot as I can stand it are a no-no.

*But* still got the cable TV, the Internet, two phone lines (land and cell). I'm not looking for advice on how to get rid of any of the above, because trust me ... I've done the research. I know of the way cheaper alternatives. I could definitely go absolutely without the cable and one of the phone lines. But I just haven't.

It's a bit of laziness thrown in with a bit of panic ... it's not like I watch a lot of TV or talk nonstop on the phone, but I feel that if I cut them out completely, I might just go insane. (Overly dramatic? Sure. But don't tell me that I'm the only person in the entire world that has ever felt this way!)

*But* they are also a source for additional debt repayment.

And here the logical versus the selfish parts of me continue to battle it out.

So did YOU ever face a struggle? And what was it between?

Discuss.

Rainy night in GA ...

August 25th, 2008 at 05:17 pm

We're feeling the effects of Fay here in Atlanta with cloudy skies, drizzle and an occasional downpour. It's actually kind of nice to just curl up on the couch in front of the TV and listen to the rain.

I sold a couple of DVDs on Amazon, so I should have a few extra dollars deposited into my account soon.

The dog has a grooming appointment on Sept. 12, so that'll be $48 for him (includes tip). I don't trust myself to groom him ... he's very hyper and it's hard enough for me to trim his nails without fearing for both of our lives! Plus, he's a schnauzer, and does best with a certain kind of cut. Hopefully when he gets a bit older and calms down a bit I can teach myself how to groom him, but for now, it's totally worth it.

Plus, our groomer is a good family friend. I like supporting small businesses. :-)

I have another doctor's appointment on Friday. :-/ Not exactly looking forward to it. And I need to make an appointment for the dentist. DEFINITELY not looking forward to that.

Not much else to report ... just watching some TV!

Blogoversary: Part Deux

August 24th, 2008 at 12:22 pm

Two missed blog posts in a row! A friend of mine was in town last night, and we were so busy catching up that I didn't even get online. But I'm back, and plan to continue posting at least daily from now on!

Let's celebrate my one month blogoversary, shall we?

From July 22 to August 22, I eliminated $288.98 of my credit card debt. I have $8,755.09 to go.

If I continue at this rate, my credit card debt will be eliminated in 30 months , or a little over two years.

My goal is to have my credit card debt completely eliminated by December 31, 2009 . That gives me 16 months , or just over one year. (Just a note ... I know this is very ambitious and looks highly improbable, but who cares? I'm paying down the debt one way or another, so let me set an ambitious goal! The hope is that even if it takes longer than 16 months, hopefully it will take fewer than 30!)

Some months will be better than others in chomping away at the debt, but I feel disciplined enough to contribute any extra bonuses, gift money, tax refunds, etcetera to this goal.

So far, I've been very focused on eliminating debt and have pushed saving to the side. I'm carefully carving out room in my budget to set aside a little out of every paycheck to an emergency fund. My goal is to have an EF of $5,000 ... but when? How? Still working on this part of my plan. But we should start seeing my savings go up (even if just slightly) during September.

So here's to another month! Thanks again to EVERYONE in this wonderful community. I'm so glad to be here! :-D

My blogoversay!

August 22nd, 2008 at 02:03 pm

First of all, I apologize for not posting yesterday. I meant to check in, but I spent the night with my parents as I had another appointment this morning. They did a two-hour blood test for hypoglycemia, and also prescribed some meds to clear up any possibility of an inner ear infection. Hopefully I'll start feeling better soon and they figure out what's going on. I'm tired of being light-headed and headachey all the time!

I want to thank everyone who took time out to respond to my last post ... while punching in the numbers in my calculator, I think I should be fine. It will be a close call, but I should be able to make it. I'll keep everyone updated ... and thanks again for all of the thoughtful advice!

Finally, I've had this blog for one month! When I get back to my apartment and my personal computer, we'll celebrate ... and talk goals to hit by the second month anniversary. But for now, I just want to say THANK YOU again to anyone and everyone who has followed along on my journey so far. I have so much left to learn, but looking as to where I was and where I am now ... well, it's not the biggest of dents but it's a start ... and I can't help but be proud of myself! :-D

Just FYI ... I have a few rather ... erm, controversial blog topics that I want to write about in the coming weeks. So stay tuned! We're just getting started in here!

A little worried

August 20th, 2008 at 05:31 pm

Ugh.

So I'm a little worried that I won't be able to financially survive until mid-September. Car insurance is due this month, and of course with my new fiscal responsible ways, I'm budgeting for this expense ... but since I haven't in the past, for this month it's a big expense.

I'll be fine for the rest of August, and will be fine to pay rent and a FEW bills, but the rub is that most of my bills fall near the beginning of the month. So I'm just a little worried. I have my dad's birthday to think of, too. Ugh.

Have any of you negotiated a due date extension on any of your utility bills before? Is that an option for me?

I lied

August 19th, 2008 at 06:14 pm

I promised there would be a longer blog today.

I lied. :-D

Just checking in to stay in the habit ...

Lata.

Sold some stuff, $6.24 to debt

August 18th, 2008 at 05:20 pm

Brings my total to $8,755.09.

Other than that, a good day! Sorry I don't have much else to report. I'll work on a longer entry for tomorrow, I promise.

Dreams, goals and motivation

August 17th, 2008 at 08:23 am

I've really been into the Olympics this year. Even without the champion that is Michael Phelps, the athleticism and dedication displayed is just amazing. Many of the athletes competing have literally sacrificed everything just for a chance at the gold.

It makes me think about my own life, and what direction I want to take. Some days, I feel quite confident. Others, it's like I'm floundering in the middle of the ocean during a hurricane. And there are still those days when I all I want to do is go home, curl up on the couch and watch reruns of 'Bewitched' episodes on TV Land.

There are so many things I want to do.

I want to publish my novel.
I want to become a respected freelance writer. (Enough so that I never have to work FT again!)
I want to race in two 10Ks next year.
I want to become a professional cheerleader.
I want to go skydiving.
I want to open my own bakery.
I want to write a screenplay (that actually becomes a relatively well-received movie.)

It's like I have all these things I want to do, but no clear way of getting there.

So last night, while writing in my private journal, it hit me. I write out my dreams, and turn them into goals by coming up with a clear plan. Then I ignore the plan. And it's not because I don't want something badly enough.

It's because I'm so afraid of failing that I'd rather not even try unless I know I'm going to succeed.

As dumb and hokey as that sounds, it's the truth. I stared at the television screen as I watched Michael Phelps make history last night, thinking to myself that I may never see this again in my lifetime, and wondering how I can transform myself to begin living the life I want to live rather than floating here and there.

I realize a lot of it has to do with my age, and a lot of it has to do with my depression over the past year. But I also realize that while motivation comes easy to some people, I'm going to have to make a conscious decision every single day to live out my dreams and to not become complacent. To not be so afraid of failure that when I'm on my deathbed, I look back with regret.

I once read a quote that goes something like this (and I'm paraphrasing): Every time you go visit a graveyard, you're visiting those unlived dreams. Those great American novels that were never written. Those musical compositions that were never heard. Those world records that were never officially broken. That cure for cancer that was never discovered.

Basically, what I'm saying is that I don't want that to happen to me. I don't think I'm being idealistic or reaching for the stars ... I just want to be happy and content with myself. And as long as I keep not trying to attain my dreams, I'll never be truly content.

My question(s) for you ... what are your dreams and goals? Have you given up on anything? What has stopped you from going after what you want in the past? How do you keep motivated to attain your goals in the future? And do you have any inspiring quotes/stories to share?

$64.80

August 16th, 2008 at 10:43 am

$64.80 to CC debt today.

Just trying to have a quiet Saturday. I went grocery shopping this morning and spent $50, partially due to needing to stock up on paper towels, TP and some other basic kitchen supplies.

Happy Friday!

August 15th, 2008 at 04:16 pm

I am soooo ready for the weekend.

Most of you have figured out by now that I love to go grocery shopping and cook good meals at home. We also have all noticed, in one way or another, how food prices are generally rising. How have you been dealing? Coupons? Store specials and preferred shopper cards? Do you plan your meals in advance? Have you cut out anything completely or nearly so (like milk)? Or is everything still the same?

As it's just me, I've found that I can pretty much spend as much or as little as I want. Some weeks are more expensive because I'll be stocking up on paper towels, toilet paper, dog food, etcetera. But other weeks I can spend as little as $15-$20 (as I usually can be satisfied with simple soups and salads.) However, I understand this is just me ... I really admire women who are shopping for their families!

So what's your strategy in the grocery store?

ETA: I forgot to say THANK YOU to everyone who offered me well wishes yesterday. I'm feeling somewhat better today, and truly appreciate all of your comments. Hopefully I'll get a conclusive diagnosis soon, and I'll keep everyone posted. THANKS AGAIN!!!

Wipeout

August 14th, 2008 at 04:46 pm

Just FYI before I delve into this whole story ... I'm no longer not eating meat. I gave that up a few days ago when asked if I wanted grilled chicken on my salad. I'm still aiming to cut DOWN on meat ... but for right now, I don't think I can cut it completely OUT.

That being said ...

So, last night, I began to feel a little lightheaded. No biggie. Drink some water, eat a little something. Next thing I know ...

BAM!

I hit the floor. Totally blacked out for a few seconds. I sat there, stunned, seeing little birdies flying around my head.

A wave of nausea swept over me suddenly ... then heartburn. BAD heartburn. Painful heartburn. I began coughing, gripping onto the floor trying to make the room stop spinning.

After a couple of minutes, everything subsided, just a little bit of lightheadedness. I drove (bad idea #1) to the nearest emergency clinic.

"Anything like this, we send straight to the emergency room," I was told. I began to panic. I hate emergency rooms. Plus, I've had these types of "episodes" before. My blood pressure and pulse checked out fine, so I knew I should be OK. Instead, I drove back to my apartment and called my mother.

"See how you feel, if you get worse again go to the E.R., if you feel OK, go to bed, and if you still feel the same in the morning, call the doctor."

"Can I come home?" I said, pleadingly.

"Of course!"

So I threw the schnauzer in the car and drove 1.5 hours home. (Bad idea, again.) Luckily, I got home just fine, still lightheaded. It got worse once I went to bed, but I managed to fall asleep around midnight.

Long story short, I ended up going to the doctor this morning. They jabbed me with needles, listened to my heart. See, I had something very similar happen in March, and they did an EKG and ECG back then, so they pretty much knew my heart is OK. "Maybe your thyroid, maybe hypoglycemia," I was told today.

I have an appointment first thing next Friday for a two-hour blood test for hypoglycemia. "If this doesn't show anything, we'll make you wear a heart monitor," the nurse practitioner said.

I'm back at my apartment, feeling better but still a bit shaky.

Thank goodness for health insurance, huh?

Budget?

August 13th, 2008 at 01:28 pm

A couple of you have mentioned my seeming lack of a 'budget' on some of my previous posts, most notably the ones where I'm feeling a bit down and 'hopeless' about my debt. "If you have a budget, those feelings of hopelessness would go away," they suggest.

Let me make it clear ... of course I have a budget. Just because I don't post every little detail of my personal financial life on an open blog (which, if you do, is perfectly fine - it's just not for me), that doesn't mean I'm just running around blind. I know what comes in, I know what goes out, and I have it down in writing.

Suggesting that a budget should completely take care of any anxiety is a bit extreme. Sorry, but while that may work for some of you, it's not the only factor for me. I still get very depressed over my amount of debt. Not all the time. But yes, some days I do. There's no magical cure for this, methinks. It's a battle, just like weight loss is a battle. Some days will be better than others. As I immerse myself into this new lifestyle, I know it will get easier and easier. But here, at the beginning of this journey, it's still not easy.

If this seems curt or rude, I'm sorry. I don't mean it to be so. I appreciate ALL comments. But I wanted to address that particular suggestion of 'getting a budget.' Right now, it's just not that simple for me.

Just FYI - I don't post my budget because there are a few, um, "frenemies" out there of mine who, by now, probably have some notice of this blog of mine. It's bad enough they know of my debt ... they don't need to know how much I make. Not their business. So it's not a slight to anyone here, or to suggest that anyone here is less than supportive. It's just me being careful, maybe a little paranoid, but probably with good reason.

OK. Again, I hope I didn't offend anyone. I'm not trying to be curt or rude ... I'm just trying to explain. So ... let me have it!

It can be overwhelming

August 12th, 2008 at 04:35 pm

Some days when I don't have an extra dollar (or one hundred dollars), and there's really no news to report, I sometimes look over at my debt and feel really overwhelmed.

Will it ever be gone? Of course, the answer is a resounding 'YES.' But it's easier to say that when it's going down than when it remains stagnant, like it's been for the past couple of days.

Oh, well. I guess it's best to just keep on keepin' on, huh?

Other than that, I'm doing pretty well! It's a rainy night here in GA, so I'm just staying in and watching the Olympics.

(Oh, and thanks to everyone who responded yesterday! Some great ideas there, so thanks!)

Any suggestions?

August 11th, 2008 at 04:35 pm

I'm currently reading "Smart Women Finish Rich" by David Bach. It's actually fairly decent ... I like it a lot (again, so far!)

I like Suze Orman's show, but I can't stand her books ... she comes across as incredibly condescending.

Of course I know of Dave Ramsey ...

Do any of you know of books/reading materials you would recommend to an entry-level money guru?

Not feeling well ...

August 10th, 2008 at 10:05 am

I don't feel so hot today ... just really tired. My right hand feels all numb and tingly and weird. I think I slept on it funny. And I think I feel poorly because I made coffee this morning (I hardly ever drink the stuff.) Dang coffee.

Anywho, I went grocery shopping this morning. $26 for a week's worth of food ... not too shabby! I even spent some at Whole Foods. (Authentic hummus and homemade pasta, yum!) Kroger also had my dog's fave treats on sale, and I had a $1 off coupon from this morning's paper, so I got a BIG bag of treats for him for $1.50. Niiiice.

Other than that ... just trying to relax and gear up for the week. I have this Friday off and a happy hour scheduled for Thursday, so I'm really ready for the early weekend already! LOL! And I should probably clean ... I'm feeling so lazy today, though. I haven't even gone out for my run yet. L-A-Z-Y!