Monday, March 30, 2009

Finally!!!


Well, the day has finally arrived: I paid off my horrible car loan!  I had no idea what I was getting into when I got that loan, and honestly my naivety (stupidity) was quite shocking.

I've talked about the horrible interest rate and how somehow the math really doesn't add up, but I don't think that I have ever mentioned the circumstances leading up to this purchase.  My old car (Old Red - a 1993 Maxima) was dying, and I needed a car that would be more reliable.  We picked out a 2004 Maxima (in 2006) and everything seemed to be going well until we met with the lending department.  I thought I had good credit - and I did - but it was only from credit cards.  This wasn't enough to get me a good loan.  But seriously, it's not like I would have even known what a good loan was - I did absolutely NO RESEARCH; all I cared about was whether I would be able to pay the bill every month.  The stupidity also stems from the fact that despite the fact that I miraculously always paid bills on time in the full amount, I barely had a job.  I worked at a store making $7.50 an hour and worked about 20 hours a week.

So, my husband (then fiance) co-signed the loan with me, and we got approved for a loan that was on the "second page," as the loan officer told us.  Thus came our 20k loan with 8.93% interest.

The payment was $429 a month!  In the beginning it was really difficult, but somehow the loan always got paid.  I remember I tried to pay a little bit extra to hopefully get the loan down, and month after month, I was disheartened to find that the amount barely went down at all.  Thankfully I got a job six months later where I was making mad cash (for a teacher anyway) and I felt more in control.

Last July, the loan was at about 15k when we decided that it had to go.  So since then I have been paying at least $1000 a month - plus last years tax return and a bit from savings.  But now, it has all finally paid off and it's DONE.

This frees up about $1000 every month!  The plan now is to SAVE SAVE SAVE until we feel a little bit more comfortable, and then we are going to try to kill my husband's student loans.

Saturday, March 28, 2009

pretty things!


Fellow blogger, broke and not so fabulous makes really pretty jewelry.  I bought this necklace from her etsy shop, and I love it so so much!  Check out her shop for really pretty and interesting jewelry, for really great prices!

Love it! :)

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Flipswap...ugh!

I sent in an old first generation ipod shuffle to Flipswap.  I had heard good things about them, but now I'm really annoyed.  So this shuffle, which I know was fine before I sent it, apparently has "bad/frozen" software so I don't get the money that they quoted and I also can't get the shuffle back.  I sent an email to them and I just got a lame response that repeated the whole "bad/frozen software" nonsense.  I really don't understand how a company could think that repeating themselves could help to solve a problem at all.  I asked questions - give me real answers!  Not just something that I already read in the first lame email!

Whatever, it's not like it was really worth that much, but I'm really annoyed about the canned answer.  Plus, the Ipod was fine! Grrrr!

Update: Flipswap is a total scam.  They never even responded to my email.  I hope those thieves enjoy my Ipod.

Monday, March 23, 2009

oh ING...

I just checked my ING account and the interest rate is down to 1.5%!  I remember the good ole days where the interest was over 4% - seems like just yesterday.  Oh well, it is still higher than a regular savings account, but it is sad that now that I will be able to save more money it won't really be doing anything.

I also checked my few stocks that I purchased awhile back, and I am down 33%.  Oops.  The total was only $200, so it's not a big deal.  

I did, at one time long, long ago have about $18k in mutual funds.  Let's just say, I don't anymore.

Oh well, I just have to keep plugging along, and hope for brighter days (and higher interest rates when they work in my favor!).

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Weekend update

Yesterday we used some more free movie passes to finally see Watchmen, which was pretty amazing.  The movie was pretty empty but a few minutes in a family walked in - a family with small children!  Amazingly the kids were quiet, but I would have to imagine that it would have been pretty disturbing for them.  I mean, there was a pretty brutal rape scene, tons of violence and dismembered body parts, and blue male genitalia.  

Then we went for sushi, which was delicious, but kind of expensive.  But so delicious...

Then today, we went to CVS and I spent a lot of money (but not really in the grand scheme of things) but we needed some cleaning supplies and other random things.

For dinner tonight, I made mushroom barley soup with spinach and it was pretty good.  I'm really trying to make new things for dinner and try out new recipes.  So then for dessert I made Chocolate Guinness cupcakes with Baileys frosting and OMG YUM!  I doubled the amount of frosting, but next time I might make even more because it was SO GOOD!


Friday, March 20, 2009

10 days until I'm debt free!

I'm getting so anxious and I really want to pay off my car loan, but I have to wait until my next paycheck.  10 more days - but it feels like forever!  I can't believe I only have $900 left!  

I've mentioned it quite a few times, but my car loan is terrible.  It makes no sense and I still have no idea what exactly happened.  The car cost about 22k and I gave them 10k in cash.  So how did I end up with a 20k loan??  I know I should have done research to know exactly what was going on, but at the time I just needed a car and didn't understand/care to understand the rest.

Hopefully, this can go down as my dumb money move and I don't do anything even dumber in the future!

Once the car is paid off, I'm going to spend a few months trying to save as much cash as possible in the ING account since there are still job fears looming.  Hopefully, once we stockpile some cash, then I can start putting extra money to my husband's student loans, so we will be 100% debt free.

Sunday, March 15, 2009

finance FAIL

I went to CVS today, and the deals were okay.  However, in a moment of insanity, I somehow managed to buy EIGHT BAGS of Cadbury Mini Eggs - the greatest candy EVER.  YUM!  



This weekend was kind of a bust, since I've been sick for the past few days.  I started feeling better last night, so I made banana cookies, which were pretty delicious.  

My finances are pretty much a mess right now, which is kind of embarrassing.  I know that I need to get a budget in order before things get worse.  My problem isn't even shopping anymore, but instead thinking that I can take on more than I really can.  My car insurance bill came, and there was a $93 surcharge because of my accident in December.  I called them because I met all the criteria for getting the surcharge waived, but I was told that they can't waive surcharges in New York.  Boo.  So anyway, I got so upset about my insurance bill that I wrote a check to pay it in full because I didn't want to think about it.

It would have been okay, except I had also paid $500 toward the car loan so basically my checking account is empty until the 30th.  Oops.  Hopefully the tax refund will come soon, otherwise things could get a bit interesting.

At least I can drown my sorrows in delicious Cadbury Mini Eggs. 

Sunday, March 8, 2009

snowed in! (A week late!)

Last Monday I was snowed in and I meant to make an epic snowed in post, but I was lazy and forgot.  So I will attempt it now, as I remember how wonderful and productive last Monday truly was.  

So first I present to you, the view from my window.  I am no photographer and thus, did not bother to lift the screen to actually get a nicer picture.  This was actually my first snow day that I've had as a teacher.

Since I am a teacher, and the end of the trimester is quickly approaching, I had a TON to grade.  Magically I was actually able to grade ALL OF IT last Monday, and it really was a TON.  Unfortunately, upon returning to school on Tuesday I received 3 sets of 9th grade essays.  But I have to remember, that for one amazing moment, I was done.  As you can see by the picture, it was really quite scary.  

Keep in mind, since I am so disorganized, I had actually been carrying all of those papers around with me for about a week.

So after I had spent HOURS working on all of this mess, I decided that I really wanted to bake something.  After scouring the internet for a yummy recipe, I finally decided on pumpkin cookies.  The only changes that I made to the recipe was that I used a whole can of pumpkin, since I knew that if I tried to save the rest of the can I would most likely forget about it and it would go to waste.  So since I was adding more pumpkin, I decided that I could cut back a bit on the butter, so I reduced it to 1.5 sticks instead of 2 sticks.  Also, I didn't have any nuts, so I just used chocolate chips.  But oh man, the cookies were YUMMY.

CVS 3/8 - 3/14

So I decided to go to CVS because I had some ECBs that were going to expire.  

Here's what I did:

(2) Garnier Mousse and (1) Garnier Hairspray - $10
(2) Garnier Face Scrub - $10
(2) Herbal Essence - $5.76
(1) Crest Toothpaste - $2.99

Coupons used:
(3) $1 off Garnier Styling Product
(2) $1 off Garnier Face Product
$3/2 off Herbal Essence
$1 off Crest
10, 4, and 4 ECBs

Total OOP: $2.65

Earned: 10 ECBs (Garnier), 2 ECBs (Crest), and 2 ECBs (Herbal Essence)

Friday, March 6, 2009

youdata!

YouData is another way to easily earn small amounts of cash on the internet.  You will not get rich, but what's pretty cool is that they deposit the money that you earn each week to your paypal account.  All together, I've probably earned around $15, which covers the few postage labels that I randomly print from paypal when I sell something.  

Basically, you are shown a few ads and you just have to click on them.  You will only get around 5-10 ads a week and all you have to do is click - no surveys or anything to fill out.

Just thought I'd share!  Every little bit helps. :)

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Survey sites!

Today was a pretty sweet day for surprise survey payouts.  First I got a check for $26 from Surveyspot that I had completely forgotten about.  Then I just received a $25 Amazon gift card from Socratic Forum.  Yay for free money! 

Monday, March 2, 2009

Another attempt at stockpiling...

So even though I said that I would never order grocery items from amazon again, I was swayed by an awesome deal.  However, if these items come and they are too close to expiration, you can bet that I will email amazon about the problem, since I've read on forums that amazon resolved the issue.  So I bought 12 boxes of Annie's Mac and Cheese for $7.19!  It really comes to $12.19 after discounts, but I also had a $5 gift card that I earned on Swagbucks.  We've been buying this Mac and Cheese at the grocery store and it is usually close to $2 a box, so this is a really great deal.  I just hope I'm not disappointed again. 

Sunday, March 1, 2009

February recap

We spent another month without a strict written budget, but I have to assume we still did okay because I was able to put $1600 towards the car loan in February.  The remaining balance on the loan is $1401.21!!!  I can't believe I am so so close to being done with this!  It started at about 20k in October 2006, but we've only really started trying to kill it in the past 8 months or so.  Once we get our tax return (about $1000) this burden will be DONE and we can focus those payments on my husband's student loans - our only other debt.

Other than that, I've been pretty nervous about possibly losing my job for September, so we added another $500 to savings in February as well.  At least if something happens and I do lose my job, I will still teach until June and get paid until August.  Plus, if that does happen I should find out by April, so I will have some time where I am still getting paid to try to find something new.