My Life

I recently started blogging to bring some accountability to my efforts to reform my financial problems. I moved to Ohio two years ago with a plan to eliminate my credit card debt as I started my life as a “grown up.” For nine years, I had been in graduate school or teaching part-time. I had finally landed the dreamed-of tenure-track position and figured my money worries were over. When I moved, I cashed out my one-year-old 401(k) with plans to get settled and pay off my remaining credit cards.

Flash-forward sixteen months. I’m engaged, planning for a wedding that we’re mostly paying for, and have $8700 in debt spread over three credit cards. How did that happen?? I can’t even point to one major purchase on those cards! I knew I was in some trouble and didn’t want to drag my consumer debt into my upcoming marriage. A short stint on Wesabe helped me see that my spending on my credit cards counted just as much as my spending in my checking account. From there, I stumbled into the wonderful realm of personal finance blogs. I’ve Already Paid for This Twice Already’s concept of snowflaking really hit home. I saw how lots of little bits of money could pay down debt, and conversely, how all those little bits of money had snowballed into my current problems. Now, six months later, I’ve paid $7810 down on my cards, paid for our wedding, and plan to be debt-free by October 2008. Well, I’ll be debt-free except for my pile of student loans. As I explain in “A Tale of Two Budgets”, that steady diet of loans helped form the behaviors that led to my current debt.

With this blog, you can see all that I’m making, spending, and saving. I’ve found that it really does keep me focused on my financial goals. Just knowing that I have to post here makes me think twice about dumb purchases. It’s also a huge weight off my shoulders to know that I’m not hiding all that debt anymore. If you’re stressed by debt, there’s hope! Keep reading around all these great personal finance blogs, and you’re bound to hit on a metaphor, or a plan, or a story that changes your thinking about money. I try to link to stories and blogs that help me. I hope you can use this blog as a jumping off point or a small signpost on your own journey to a healthy relationship with money.

My Finances in a Nutshell

Starting Credit Card Debt: $8,770
Monthly Budget: $2,770
Wedding Budget: $4,050
Fun Account: $202.33
Emergency Account: $700
Consolidated Student Loans (gulp!): $114,342.01 @ 3.0%

4 responses to “My Life

  1. Hello, from one professor with high student loans to another!

    Great blog; I’m really enjoying reading it. Good luck on your journey!

  2. I am from Sri Lanka and am fascinated with the subject of weddings having my daughter’s wedding coming up hopefully end of this year. Despite major differences weddings still involve a considerable amount of money irrespective of where they are held. Over here, parents stll spend for the wedding (exceptions of the couple spending very rare!!!) so am always on the lookout for ingenious ways of cutting costs. We dont have the system of community centers etc and weddings are held either at a hotel or your home, food is very important, and the other things are the frills. will keep on reading

  3. mydailydollars

    @ Mystica, thanks for commenting! In some ways, weddings are a really beautiful thing to spend money on. I love that I’ll be celebrating with all my friends and family. In America, the toughest part is sorting out what I want versus what the wedding industry wants for me. Sounds like you may face similar pressures. Keep us updated; I’d love to hear more!

  4. Hi,

    Not sure how to contact you otherwise! I’m writing you because I know that you have linked to me in the past, and I wanted to let you know about a change in my site. I’ve been blogging at My $mall C€nts, but I recently switched names to self host a wordpress blog. I would appreciate it if you could replace My $mall C€nts with my new blog Almost Frugal (http://almostfrugal.com) in any links you have.

    I’m also going to be holding lots of frugal giveaways over the next few weeks in order to celebrate!

    Thanks in advance,

    Kelly

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