Friday, April 30, 2010

If we someday adopt the metric system, will I have to call these kilometerstones?

As of this morning, I've made two big accomplishments.
  1. I paid off another credit card!  This is the last card from my college credit card debt and I am so happy to finally be rid of it.
  2. With the payments made today, I've crossed the next big marker on my debt-o-meter.  I have now crossed the $4k threshold for debt paid off.  That means I've paid off more than 11% of my debt in under three months!

So, here's the update in numbers:

Direct Deposit Advance - $0/$550
Store Card 1 - $0/$323
Credit Card 1 - $0/$400
Line of Credit - $0/$510
Credit Card 2 - $0/$685 - PAID!!
Student Loan 1 - $1950/$1951
Store Card 2 - $2,638/$2,800
Student Loan 2 - $2,765/$3,148
Auto Loan - $3,735/$4,140
Credit Card 3 - $4,376/$4,577
Credit Card 4 - $4,910/$5,150
Student Loan 3 - $5,610/$5,614
Student Loan 4 - $5,904/$6,048

Total paid to date:  $4,131.05

(plus I have my $1,000 Emergency Fund in the bank, which didn't exist before this process started)

All of those little balances are out of the way.  The remaining larger balances look a little daunting, but I'm determined to keep the momentum going.  I'm going to skip over Student Loan 1 for now and knock out Store Card 2.  Student Loan 1 has a whopping $6 monthly payment which must be spread over about 72 years or so, but it has an incredibly low 3.25% interest rate.  Store Card 2, meanwhile, sports a 25.24% interest rate and a $80 minimum payment, $56+ of which goes to interest every month.  I'm looking forward to the day that I never again have to look at a statement with a double-digit APR.  In fact, when I'm through paying off this debt, the only interest rate I ever intend to see again might be for a mortgage.  Maybe, but we'll see.  Maybe I'll just save up for a house and pay cash.  Or maybe I'll build one a little at a time as I can afford whatever Lincoln Logs are needed to build a real-people house.

If I can keep going at this rate, I can be debt free in less than two years.  That would be amazing.  Most or all of this debt is going to be gone before the girls start kindergarten.  That means that I'll be in savings mode throughout most of their school years.  I can't believe that as a single mother raising twins I'm going to be able to pay for both of them to go to college by myself!  Paid-for college is going to be a reality!

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

I'll do a really bad robot dance for $150 if you want to pretend this is Chuck E. Cheese.

The chicklets turned four at the beginning of April and we celebrated with a dinosaur-themed party at our apartment with a bunch of good friends.  I'm not much one to spoil my kids, generally, but it's really hard not to get them a ton of presents and throw big party.  I find myself thinking, "but there are two of them and they have to share a birthday..."  In the end, though, I know that I really want to do those things for me, not for them.  I want to buy them lots of things because I usually don't.  I want to throw a big party because most of our fun is just the three of us.  But, seriously, they were turning FOUR.  Would the girls (and the guests, for that matter) really have that much more fun if I spent $200 for bad pizza and jerky animatronic entertainment at Chuck E. Cheese rather than spending less than $50 for surprisingly delicious Costco pizza and cupcakes at our place?  $150 cheaper and far more interaction between people.  Granted, there was no giant dancing mouse, but I'm pretty sure that would've resulted in at least one terrified child anyway.

One of my birthday gifts to the girlies is a membership to the Minnesota Children's Museum.  I contacted their membership coordinator and finagled a modified membership.  Many museums, zoos, etc., provide family memberships for married couples with children or two cohabitating adults with children, but I've never seen any membership specifically for a single-parent household.  Since I usually bring a second adult with me but don't feel that a museum membership is justification for asking someone to move in with us, I asked if I could get a family membership without naming the second adult.  I figured it was worth a shot.  The membership coordinator contacted me yesterday and she's going to make it happen!  We're going to try to go this weekend to see the dinosaurs (this is R and K's current obsession).  This birthday present is going to get us out of the house and keep us entertained all year, so I have no doubt that it's worth it.

I also got some great deals on some new Leapster games for R and K by using's price-matching service and the referral credits I haven't needed to use for diapers/pull-ups (yay!).  After all was said and done, I ended up with $50 worth of games for $6.  Bargain shopping WIN!!  I've been using this site since the girls were teensy.  I've always been able to get good deals but, honestly, my favorite thing was that I didn't have to carry cases of diapers up to my third floor apartment when I was also juggling a pair of squirmers and umpteen million other things.  The UPS guy got to haul them up the stairs for me.  Some days, I probably would've rather he carried the kids and I took the diapers, but c'est la vie...


I forgot to post the best birthday present ever!  My mom and I made dino-hoodies for the girls and they turned out awesome!

Thursday, April 8, 2010

metamorphosis of a blog

This started a bit over two months ago as a kind of diary just for myself.  It was private, unreadable, and could not be found by any search engine.  After deciding that there may be benefit not only for myself but also others who read it, I chose to share it with those who knew about battles with debt throughout the years; my immediate family.  Then it was discovered by a reporter from The New York Times.  It was at that point that I realized that I'm not shy about talking about these things and with the state of our nation's economy and our spendthrift culture fixated on instant gratification, chances are that many share my plight either currently or have at some time in the past.  I suspect that I know a lot more people in debt than not.

This blog started as personal accountability, but it has become motivation.  I have no idea how many people are reading, but I know there are a few.  I don't even know who they are, but someone has been looking at these pages.  Knowing that someone is taking an interest in what I'm trying to do makes me want to work harder to pay off my debt so I can post another big accomplishment.  YOU, dear mystery readers, have become a piece of my motivation.  I hope that I can inspire you, too!
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