Current economy is killing me!

Posted February 28, 2009 by thedebtguy
Categories: 1

As the title suggests, the rough times are catching up. Thanks to all the negativity in the media, everyone is holding out on spending, and I’m definitely feeling it.

At the restaurant I work at, we are getting less business, and the people that do come in are tipping less than they usually do. Can’t say I blame them, but it does hurt the pocketbook.

My DJ job is being affected as well. I just lost a bar gig I was doing on Thursday nights because of how slow it was, and we are getting significantly less business on the weekends for mobile events. Once again, the people that do book with us, are cutting back their options.

I’m still trying to plug away at the system. I currently decided to start working on the MCSA (Microsoft Certified Server Administrator) which would help me get a better job out of college. Once I land that certification, it is much easier to start branching off into better certifications.

My buddy works at a firm that might possibly have an internship spot that I would be able to apply this knowledge, which would give me on the job training, experience, and the certificate for when I enter the job market. I only have about 5 months though, so I’ve really been spending every spare minute I have to accomplish this.

Other than that, I’m still plugging away at staying afloat. I’m trying to find a more steady means of income to budget appropriately. Working for tips and sparatic (firefox is telling me that sparatic isn’t a word but I think everyone knows what I mean) DJ events is making it very tough to try to keep track of my finances.

Harder Than It Looks

Posted February 18, 2009 by thedebtguy
Categories: 1

Getting out of debt is a lot harder than it looks.

Too many blogs and webpages talk about how easy it is to manage your finances, reduce your debt, blah blah blah.

I’m a victim of this as well. I continuously posted about how easy it became. I have decided that it’s not so easy anymore.

First of all, tracking your finances is a lot more cumbersome than I had initially predicted. It’s easy to use Quicken Online or Mint.com to track your finances, however these only represent your credit or debit transactions. No luck if you are spending cash.

Maintaining records of spending cash is a pain too. Sometimes I only spend 2 to 3 dollars here and there, and to be truly efficient, I need to track that spending. Many times I find myself losing the receipt or simply forgetting to track a purchase.

Changing spending habits isn’t easy either. Many people will tell you to start making life changes and figuring out ways to save money. This is true, important, and obvious. Here comes the saying – easy to talk the walk, but how about walk the walk. The only thing I have remained relatively consistent on is cutting back on eating out, and bringing my lunches to school. All of my other expenses are mostly things that I can not avoid.

Overall, I think that I am doing well, it’s just harder than before.

Here’s the financial situation right now. I had to spend $315 to fix my car, which really set me back. My boss gave me another advance on my payment to help me pay for my car, so I have to adjust the budget to accommodate for that. Bills have been paid on time, which is good, but I’m not quite sure how I am going to put together the bills for March. Thanks to the auto repair, my savings took a major hit. I also had to skip a week of paying down my credit card, and may have to skip this week as well. It is still being paid on time.

Times are Tough

Posted February 13, 2009 by thedebtguy
Categories: 1

The times have gotten real tough over here.

Less important on the tough scale is that my car is in the shop. My tierod broke on my front right wheel, and I am going to find out how much that is going to run me later today. On the positive side, my mechanic friend told me to expect that to be around $100, and I have $91 in my “savings”. At least this hiccup won’t get in the way of bills or other important purchases.

Ever more daunting is the fact that my girlfriend’s father just passed away. It has been really tough on her, and has trickled down on me as well. Her family is out of state, so there is not much I can do for her here (I didn’t go with her because I can’t afford to miss school). I am planning on attending the funeral service as long as my car gets fixed. The service will be a military one, since he served. If you have never been to a military service it is very emotional, however very honorable. God Bless America and his service to our Country.

As you can tell, I haven’t had much time to really dig deep into the financial world. Right now I am not making progress or declines, simply riding the wave. I’m hoping March will be a more positive month for us.

Developing a Mindset Towards Financial Freedom

Posted February 9, 2009 by thedebtguy
Categories: 1

This article was originally featured at Budget Pulse and was written by me. I re-posted it here just to give some more food for thought.

Every year, thousands of people, out of thin air, decide they would like to eliminate their debt. They decide to take action, lay out the bank statements, credit card bills, a calculator, pen and paper then get cracking. How many times have you found yourself in this situation?

Within a few hours you are frustrated, can physically see the hole you dug yourself into, and become unmotivated. You feel how in the world is it possible to get out of this mess?

Everyone’s first step should be developing a positive goal driven mindset. My realization was simple: I accumulated this debt over at least 5-6 years. It makes perfectly logical sense that it will take at least this long to get myself out of it. Problems do not typically appear out of the middle of nowhere, and if you haven’t learned it yet in life, they do not disappear that quickly either.

How many times have you read that you need to take baby steps to tackle the bigger problem? Probably on any financial blog, personal finance website, professional advice, etc. Here’s the inside scoop: IT’S TRUE.

I set bi-weekly goals, monthly goals, quarterly goals, and yearly goals. Each one of them builds upon the other. For example, my bi-weekly goal is to pack my lunch twice a week, find a way to have fun with friends with less than $10, clip coupons, etc. You can do as many or as little as you like.

The monthly goal is a lot simpler. The savings that I obtain from meeting my bi-weekly goals will automatically contribute towards my monthly goal. Say for example that by meeting my bi-weekly goals I save myself $20 every 2 weeks. My monthly goal would be to pay an extra $40 a month to my credit card bill. As long as I meet the simple bi-weekly goals, it’s easy to meet my monthly goal.

My quarterly goal could be to pay off my credit card. I would have put an extra $120 to my card, and could possibly eliminate it there. This requires crunching your own personal numbers. It may be possible that trying to pay down your credit card in 3 months is impossible, so simply make that your yearly goal.

I personally don’t like planning past a year because it’s way more difficult to plan that far ahead. Life can get in the way at that point and you need to have some wiggle room to accommodate for that

Financial Answers

Posted February 6, 2009 by thedebtguy
Categories: 1

I just wanted to throw a quick shot out to my friends at beingfrugal.net. They feature the Ask The M Network Series which takes questions from average people like as and provide financial advice. Some of the answers come from regular people who have had great financial success and stability after being in a situation similiar to ours, or some are financial experts.

They featured my question this week and you can check it out here

Planning Life – Is It Possible?

Posted February 5, 2009 by thedebtguy
Categories: 1

I have officially given up on planning life! I’m being somewhat sarcastic, but it does have an underlying truth to it. Planning too far in advance has it’s cons and pros as does anything. It gives me some direction, and what I would like to work towards, however life tends to frequently get in the way. As you may have noticed, my blog suffered a lot of neglect. But, the reasons were very positive ones for me in my personal life:

My girlfriend’s brother has moved in, so that is an extra $200.00 a month towards rent. We get along great and are both working to fix our current financial status.

I got a new gig spinning at a bar on Thursdays. I normally allow for $50.00 of income on Thursdays – the bar is paying me $150.00. Although this is a poor amount of money for DJ’ing, it is a lot more than I can expect from serving. I have been very disciplined in putting $50 of the $150 towards my credit card every week. So far I have knocked off $100 towards my credit card.

One of the new things that happened is I broke the piggy bank and counted my coin change. I had approximately $63.00 in coins that I used to open a free checking account that will act as a savings. Once the balance is larger I will open a regular savings account, but most banks require about $300 minimum balance to have one (which I obviously can’t afford). I have decided that I will deposit $10 every week into the account to act as my emergency fund. My emergencies tend to be small things like car repairs and the like, so that should be adequate. It’s also a positive because it is getting me in to the habit of saving. In order to insure that I am regular in my deposits, I have my bank automatically transfer $10 every Tuesday into the account. I can stop the transfers at any time if the situation calls for it.

Overall everything has been running a lot smoother than expected. I have been getting some great feedback from all of my readers and good tips from Twitter friends too!

So Far So Good

Posted January 28, 2009 by thedebtguy
Categories: 1

Everything has been going extremely well so far on my path to freeing up this debt. I paid all of January’s bills on time, and I already have money budgeted for the first of Febuary. This is a massive improvement for myself.

What’s really getting tough is being creative. I am sort of hitting a brick wall on creative ways to approach things. For example, I have been packing myself a lunch on Mondays and Wednesday. It’s becoming monotonous because all I have been making myself are peanut butter and jelly sandwhiches. The tough part is that it has to be something cold because I don’t have access to a microwave. I probably need to spend some time looking up ideas, but haven’t really had the time yet.


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