Friday, July 28, 2006

New Under 30 Festival Is Up!!

Friday, July 21, 2006

Setting New Goals For Savings

Well Kira inspired me to re-evaluate, so here's what I came up with:

For August and September I'm paying off a 1500$ debt to an ex so I plan to save 50$ each month.
I would drop in more, but I'm also moving August 1st and I know how unexpected expenses can pop up.
I also dropped my 401k contribution down to 1% for these two months. What can I say? Times is hard.


10$ - 401k -- 2x a month
25$ - ING (emergency fund) --1x a month
25$ - HSBC (long term home/car fund) -- 1x a month

For October, debt will be paid, but student loans kick in (arg!). I will reset my 401k contribution to 9% (matched 1%) and up the payment to my debt management program. This works out to me paying 200$ for my loan and 300$ for my DMP. I end up overpaying them both, but that should help out in the long run.


130$ - 401k -- 2x a month
100$ - ING
100$ - HSBC
100$ - IRA
25$ - Sharebuilder stocks

I will be pretty much locked into that budget for a while unless I get a raise (gasp!), or my student loan payments increase! I know I'll probably make extra $$ from freelance, but I plan to use most all of that towards my debt.

Sounds good, eh? I sound so financially responsible!

Wednesday, July 19, 2006

Under The Thumb

So, did I mention my brakes went bad? Yep - everytime I stopped the car I came to a grinding hault...literally.
I was riding my brakes metal on metal which I had no idea was a bad thing. I mean, I knew it didnt sound healthy, but really...what do I know about cars?

Sunday, I went to a brake repair shop (cough, cough FIRESTONE), and was told it would cost something around $275 to get them fixed. Fortunately, I have friends with connections and got hooked up with a good mechanic who did the work for $40! I ended up paying $140 for 2 new brake pads and 2 rotors. Saved myself just about a hundred. Brilliant!

Yeah, except I didn't really have that money to replace the brakes.

I ended up taking $175 from my deposit money that needs to be paid on the 28th. So, of course, my budget for next paycheck is completely screwed. I also owe people money now.

As sad as I am that I had this unexpected expense come up I'm sort of relieved also. I have this horrible habit of putting things off (especially when it comes to maintaining my car) that really need to be taken care of ASAP. I kind of feel good about being able to get the problem fixed so quickly and 'technically' having the money to do it. Is that weird?

Friday, July 14, 2006

First Festival!

So, the first festival of under 30 finances is up over here. I didn't submit this time because i suck, but there are some really good posts! Need I say more?

Tuesday, July 11, 2006

A Mind Is A Terrible Thing To Waste -or- I WAS ROBBED!!!

First, let me just try to post some screen captures from my account: Exibit A...My current (or "original") balance on my student loans. Fortunately I was able to consolidate them on June 28th (haha, kind of late) and my interest rate dropped from 6.54 to 4.75. Now mind you I'm still in school, so I don't pay on it now, but of course by consolidating, I opted out of my 6 month grace period. Yeah, nice...

So, as you can see to the left. I owe about 45000$. I was able to have some of the cost of my 60000 $ education paid for by grants, but because I was the only one willing to shoulder the burden for higher learning I will probably spend the rest of my life paying back debt. Ok, actually the next 36 years. Uh, WTF ?! Does it make any sense for me to be paying for my education until IM 60?!!!! Now, I don't have a problem paying for education, but I don't think people should have give and arm and a leg to do something more with their lives. Seriously, you have to start asking yourself if it's worth all that. For example, I have a friend who tends bar and makes easily between 500-800 weekly. Now, techinically I make close to that, but shes not working daily 9-6, she only works 3 or 4 days. Sometimes I wonder if I shouldve dropped the 500$ for bartending school and called it a day.

My education was costly. Was it worth it? Sure, yes. 45,000$ is a big number, but it's not insane. My potiental for growth is pretty decent. I fortunately have nothing to do with my money but pay bills (no family), so it's not THAT BAD, right?

Exibit B:
I'm an optimistic sort of girl, I really am. I'd like to believe one day my career choice will provide an opportunity for me to make 6 figures. Is it possible? Sure! Probable? Uh...I don't know if my annual salary will ever exceed 75k. Certainly not here in my lovely city. Perhaps it could get above that number if I moved and planned to work 20 years in the industry. Paying 45000$ until im 60 is disturbing. Paying 78000$ until im 60 is $&@#^!$( RIDICULOUS. I was reading this article on CNN Money. Basically, this generation is getting shafted. I don't want to be living paycheck to paycheck for the rest of my life. Maybe I won't be eating ramen noodles anymore, but damn - is there really a way for us recent/future grads to be successful?

Upon receiving this horrible information about my loans, I searched the net for some consolation. Didn't really find any, but managed to score some helpful(?) hints.

How Not To Get Suckered Into OVERPAYING


The pitch "Pay us to search our vast database and win you a scholarship - and we'll apply for you!"

The truth Generally, you shouldn't have to pay to find or apply for any scholarship. Plenty of web sites have searchable databases that you can scour for scholarships and grants absolutely free.

Trusted sources


The pitch "From the U.S. government: Act by midnight or you'll miss out on consolidating your student loan at below-market rates."

The truth This isn't from Uncle Sam, it's from a marketer. Student loan rates do go up on July 1, however, so now's the time to consolidate. Also, rates are set by the government, not your consolidator.

Trusted sources


The pitch
"We'll submit your FAFSA for just $79.99 - don't worry about a thing."

The truth For starters, submitting a FAFSA is free - hello, it's called the Free Application for Federal Student Aid. This pitch likely came from a web site that had a URL suspiciously close to that of the official site, such as or

Trusted sources

Thursday, July 06, 2006

Who's A Good Girl?

Alright! Cupcakes all around! The lovely beachgirl just gave me an ING referral and helped me take that first step into my LOFTY savings goals. Eh, not really lofty...I just know how SLOW to follow through with anything I can be, so today is a big deal! Guess what else I did people?! Yessss, I finally called to have my previous 401k rolled over. ANDDDD I setup my new 401k today. 3 for 3 man! Next up, complete the rollover, setup ING Roth IRA, and setup HSBC e-fund. I am trying my hand at using Microsoft Money 2006 just to see if I can track what's going out vs. what's coming in. Since I also managed to collect some $$ that was owed yesterday, I was seriously considering taking a good portion and cutting my debt in half. I checked my balances today and here's what came up:

HSBC - 576.29
Orchard - 540.74
JCP - 391.21
Capital One - 472.93

So, I have 1000$ I can use. My only dilemma is whether to spread it across all 4 or knock out JCP and Capital One and leave the other two for my DMP.

So yeah, who wants a cupcake?

Monday, July 03, 2006

Taking Things Seriously

So, admittedly, I've gotten off track with this being financially responsible. It's upsetting to me. It's not that I've been especially foolish with my money lately (although I wouldn't say I've been smart), it's just that there's still alot of unresolved money issues that I'm avoiding/putting off. This is something I struggle with in every aspect of my life and it's come to the point where I'm fed up. I was talking to my friend over the weekend and I was trying to explain how I feel stuck in this mentality of 'struggle'. I was ranting about how the system is designed and how the man is always trying to keep us down and how there are so many opportunities to break free from this struggle but most people never realize and take advantage of them because we are so caught up. My friend said we aren't stupid people, we just don't know how or where to take our first step. I think it again goes back to our education and our experiences. We are stuck in the daily grind because we've been taught that this is how it is. Life is a struggle. Working for nothing, trying to get something, that we aren't sure even exists for us.

I'm sick of it. I shouldn't be struggling. I shouldn't be in debt. Not saying I'm making millions here in the burgh, but I do pretty good for my age. I have around 6 grand in debt. That's not an insane amount. I can certainly take care of it. I'm single, no kids, cheap housing...why the hell am I always scraping? THERE IS NO REASON I SHOULD BE!!

Yeah, that kind of blows my mind. So today, I'm finally (a month later) going to call and roll my 401k. I'm going to work on finishing some projects and collect some $$ owed to me. I'm going to take care of the rest of my bills. I'm going to call my debt management program and make up my missed payment(s). I know I'll feel better if I do this 'grown-up' thing right. If I'm trying to rise above this mentality, I know I have alot of work to do. I'm going to try and get another post up either Friday or next Monday, just to keep myself honest!