Sunday, September 30, 2012

Over Budget Weekend

I spent WAY too much money on Saturday night.  I now have to restructure my October budget because of this.  On the one hand, I'm really angry at myself about this.  On the other hand, I learned a few things from this.

  • Spending more money does not imply more enjoyment.
  • Don't take your debit card out with you.  At all.  Period!
  • Discipline over the long term is required for this to work out.  It's hard to keep discipline through a marathon and slip ups happen.  The key is not to let them happen again.

Friday, September 28, 2012

Cool Happenings

Last night I went to an upscale work event where I got to meet some very impressive people and world class employees.  It was a great event, but moreover, it was a nice social event that was free to me.  I've found that I've been very lucky to work for my company, that has so many interesting, enjoyable, and free social events to partake in.

Along those lines, I learned from a friend that the gym at my work (which is free) has boxing lessons which are free as well.  One on one boxing lessons from a seasoned veteran boxer at no cost is something I must take advantage of while I'm here.  It's great for my health, and moreover, such lessons would be extremely expensive from any other source.

I'm looking forward to finding more amazingly enjoyable opportunities like this!

Today's Debt Defeating Accomplishments:

  • Finding free activities at work.
  • Sending out monthly debt repayment check.

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Cell Phone: Toward Debt Defeating

I cut my cell phone bill by $40/month!

I called T-Mobile (my cell phone provider) to ask how I could cut down my cell phone costs.  The first thing I knew to do was:

  • Cut out my $5/month international texting.  I use this to text my brother but our text  #s average quite lower than the $5 would cost.  Moreover, it was essentially for when he was in an emergency, and that doesn't happen monthly.
  • Delete insurance, $7.99/month.  The main reason for this is, there's still a $130 deductible on the insurance, and the phone itself costs under $300, so the phone would almost pay for itself even *if* something were to happen.
  • Delete unlimited calls.  I'm not a phone chat person so there's no need to have unlimited minutes whatsoever.

All in all, a great debt defeater!

Today's Debt Defeating Accomplishments:

  • Slashing the phone bill!

Monday, September 24, 2012

Last Week of September

September is ending and I've been mostly on budget which makes me happy.  I get my monthly pay this Friday but won't use any of it until the beginning of October.  I'm looking forward to a prosperous October!

This month went very well overall, with some things I would have liked to have tied up.  In particular, this past weekend was a bit costly and frivolous but I enjoyed myself and stayed mostly within my budget.  

One of the tricky things coming up is wanting to join a sports team.  In some respect, this could be very easy in fact.  It just requires me to time public transportation correctly, which is not a big deal whatsoever.  I can't wait!!

Today's Debt Defeating Accomplishments:

  • Buying whole foods to reduce grocery cost.

Friday, September 21, 2012

Rough Debates

The past few days I've been really wanting to get a very cheap car now before paying off my debts.  Getting around has been quite fine, but I wanted to start picking up some sports and hanging out with friends from farther areas, and in order to do so I'd essentially have to drive (especially for more evening faire).  I'm at a crossroads really.  Wanting two things that seem disparate.  I'm not so sure what the smartest choice is.

On another note, I spent $20 frivolously today, which is something I really shouldn't have done, but since there's only just under a week left in September, and I've been under budget with my food expenditures, I figure I'd give myself the leeway to enjoy.

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

The Business

After completing my full-time work today I spent time building the website for my new consulting business.  I'm extremely excited that I went from never building a website to having one up and running in less than a couple of hours.  It's barebones right now but in a few days it'll be quite nice.  I'm looking forward to promoting my services worldwide, and using profits for debt defeating and money savings, along with giving some away as college scholarships.

I'm extremely ecstatic for the prospects of this business and have full faith that it will work out very well!

Today's Debt Defeating Accomplishments:

  • Online business website development.
  • Spending $3.80 on dinner out (go Subway!)

Monday, September 17, 2012

30 and Loving It!

I turned 30 this weekend!   This means, for instance, that I spent my budgeted $80 on my birthday fund.  I actually got a surprise extra $100 that I used toward shopping as well.  You only turn 30 once.

I've had a tough last few days in terms of discipline with the budget, mostly prompted from it being my birthday.  Moreover, I got an extra $400 for a job I did a while back, and I've been very tempted to use it on personal items:

  • A small laptop that I could use for myself.
  • A desk/chair for my room.
  • A bike for commuting to and from work.
But on the other hand, I know the huge advantage I will get by putting this money toward my debt.  I've got to stick in there, got to do what I can, and can't stop anytime soon.  I'm even on my way to being out of debt January 1st instead of my expected February 1st completion.

I'M ON MY WAY!!!!!

Today's Debt Defeating Accomplishments:

  • Avoided going out for beers w/ friends.
  • Saving my $400 instead of spending it.

Friday, September 14, 2012


Today I got a surprise check in the mail for $400 for services I did a while back.  When I opened my mail and saw the check, my immediate reaction was excitement.  I thought about the many things I could do with this, maybe buy a new desk for my room, or something along those lines.

I decided against all of this, and made the decision to just leave it in savings for now, and most likely put it toward debt.  That extra $400 could put me ahead of schedule in terms of debt defeating, and that my friends would be FANTASTIC!!  This is the first time in my life that I saved newly found money :)

Today's Debt Defeating Accomplishments:

  • Saved found money instead of spending it!

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Proactive: Road to Debt Defeating

After I finished up work today I spent some time trying to promote myself as a freelance independent contractor.  To do this, I called up a buddy who lives a time zone away and who is in the same business to ask him how he went about starting.  His suggestion was to directly call certain people who are in the area in order to establish contacts.

Let me tell you...I was *terrified*.  The thought of calling people out of the blue and asking for contacts freaked me out.  What if they said no? What if they hung up?

It turned out that most people were either mildly receptive or extremely receptive.  I was quite surprised and I'm elated at the success I've seen thus far.  I actually have some meetings for coffee in the upcoming weeks and I'm very excited about that.

On another note, I'm trying to promote my business by holding a free presentation at the local library.  This I'm excited about as well, and very nervous about.  My main worry is that nobody will show up, but at the same time, that'll leave me in the exact same place I am now.

Debt defeating has built my confidence up much more than I ever thought it would.  Really going out there and being motivated to get what you want brings a new level of confidence that is just unmatchable.


Today's Debt Defeating Accomplishments:

  • Making contacts for my new part-time business!

Debt Motivation

I've had many people ask me how I stay motivated toward this debt defeating goal.  I'm shocked it has almost been a month, and I've maintained my goal to the fullest, nickel and diming my experiences, and earning extra cash to facilitate my debt defeating goal.

One certain motivator is this blog.  Every day I have to write about what debt defeating accomplishment I made, and that motivates me to make sure I have something to write about each day! Yet another motivator is Joe Mihalic's blog.  His accomplishment of eliminating over $90,000 of debt in 7 months is beyond impressive, and I truly look to him for wisdom throughout this process.  A final motivator is my parents.  I speak to them weekly and update them on how the goal is going.  By now they're frustrated about hearing about it, but they really do egg me on each time I mention it, and are truly happy I'm working toward debt freedom.

Today's Debt Defeating Accomplishments:

  • Deposited $20 into my checking account that I made off a book.
  • Had a tasty Mexican dinner out:  under $5 total!

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Potluck: A Debt Defeater

Tonight I'm going to a potluck friends of mine are holding, which will be followed by a movie.  I'm really excited.  It won't cost me a thing, I'll just be cooking using ingredients I have here at home.  Debating between spinach salad and sweet potato fries, but we'll see.

I figured this would be a good idea to do because I did end up overspending on Sunday, going to a pool party in the afternoon buying mimosas.  I've found that doing this debt defeating thing over the long haul really takes daily discipline and some days are just a bit off, so you have to really balance that with days where you're very disciplined.

Today's Debt Defeating Accomplishments:

  • Social event with $0 expenditure!

Monday, September 10, 2012

Selling Struggles

Today I tried amping up my selling abilities, in order to increase income and get OUT of debt!  I took a look at craigslist to see if there were items being sold at very cheap prices that I could re-sell on ebay for a significantly lower price.  I also went to a local thrift store to see if they had specific items on sale that were sellable at a reasonable price on eBay.

Overall it was a learning experience that didn't turn out so well.  I got quite frustrated with it, and couldn't find anything that was reasonable to sell.  I think it might just have been the day, and I'm fully aware that great opportunities may lie ahead in this field, so I won't give up!!

I'm looking forward to giving it a try again and getting great results!

Today's Debt Defeating Accomplishments:

  • Shopping for items to sell on eBay.
  • Article published on InfoBarrel.

Sunday, September 9, 2012

$0 Weekend?

Okay, I'm not sure if I've done this *ever*, but I've literally spent $0 this entire weekend.  Now I know I'm trying to live frugally and save so I can pay debt off, but $0???  Friday night was a great relaxing event with friends from work (on work's dime), and Saturday I read, caught up on some chores, and watched some movies on Netflix.

Now it's Sunday morning, and I was invited to go to a pool party.  Will I truly be able to make this a $0 weekend, or will the pool party invite opportunities to spend some dollars?  I'm not against it; at this point I'm operating way below the expense level I gave myself.  I am slightly conflicted though, because I'm gaining so much momentum that I feel like I ought to continue not spending, especially because I know I'll be spending next weekend (it's my big 3-0).

Tune in tomorrow to see what happens!

Today's Debt Defeating Accomplishments:

  • Having $0 of expenditures for the weekend.

Saturday, September 8, 2012

A Talk With Mom

I typically call my parents on Saturday mornings to see how the week went.  This week, I decided to open up some discussion about finances, and I was quite surprised by how much they didn't know nor cared about their financial situation.  Both of them have had hard times in life, so they're just happy to be alive. I tried to convince them that some financial freedom might help them get out of their situation, but it didn't seem to help.

This is something I'm starting to seriously worry about, because in particular, I'm not convinced that either of them has the capability to live okay financial if something happened to the other one of them.  I'm also not convinced that they know how deep of a financial bind they really are in.

Despite this, they've been extremely supportive in my endeavor to defeat debt, and to start my own consulting business.  I'm very fortunate and happy to have parents that encourage me to do the best I can in life, and don't make me doubt my own ability.

Today's Debt Defeating Accomplishments:

  • Spent $0:  A night with me and Netflix
  • Booked a conference room to hold my first public talk for my business!

Friday, September 7, 2012

Evening On a Budget!

I'm quite lucky that I have plenty of opportunities to party on little to no money.  I'm taking advantage of such an opportunity this evening.

Every month, work hosts a get together for the younger employees.  This event is completely social, generally very fun, and involves lots of free food and alcohol.  That'll be my main social event for tonight, at no cost to me!  People typically go out to eat afterward, but I have a mean shepherd's pie that I made this morning that'll be waiting for me afterward (if I can even eat afterward).

If it's the case that you don't have such opportunities, I highly suggest having at home events with friends on Friday nights.  I know this is sort of annoying for the single people out there, but to be honest, if dating/relationships are your concern, most people I know who have found solid relationships found them through friends of friends at house parties and such.

Today's Debt Defeating Accomplishments:

  • Friday evening on the company's dime!
  • Put an extra $400 toward my debt!

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Dining-In: A Debt Defeater

A friend of mine is in town for the week and called me up to see what I was up to.  We know each other from graduate school and he happens to have grown up in the area I now live, so we've met up a few times since I've moved here.  Typically our evenings involving going out to a local bar here, so the expenditures look like this:

His Drinks + Tax + Tip:  $12-$18
My Drinks + Tax + Tip:  $12-$18

Total:  $24-$36

I spend most of it on this (mmmmm):

Now granted, this is not so bad, and we have a good time while we're there.  As I'm trying to defeat this debt, I had a different though:  dining-in as a debt defeater.  If you've read my blog you'll realize that this is something I've done before in fact.  Now what do the costs look like?

I Buy & Make Food:  Under $5
He Buys Beer:            About $7

Total:   $12

Not only is this half the minimum price we would have paid, but the benefits are astounding.  We don't just get two drinks each, instead we get:

A six pack of beer
A meal for two
Leftovers for afterward

More importantly, I know what's going in my food because I made it.  None of that hocus pocus crap that's in whatever you get when you eat out.  I'm really looking forward to dinner tonight!

Today's Debt Defeating Accomplishments:

  • Saving $$ on beer and food!

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Cooking: A Debt Defeater

The past 24 hours have been pretty great!  I've been cooking up a storm lately, which includes making a cream of mushroom based chicken sauce w/ pasta, and a yummy frittata.  The other day I cooked a loaf of banana bread with some bananas that were becoming too ripe, and some simple baking ingredients I had in the house.  It looked something like this:

Lemme tell you, making food is extremely enjoyable!  Moreover, it's healthy for you to know what ingredients are in the foods you eat.  Moreover, it's so cost efficient!  I'll definitely be cooking a lot while my debt is being defeated.

Today's Debt Defeating Accomplishments:

  • Cooking to avoid restaurant eating.
  • Playing board games with friends: free social outing!

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Budget, and a Failure

Today I finalized my September 2012 budget.  I think things will work out, and in fact I can see myself being under budget overall.  The stats look something like this:

Rent + Utilities -          805
Food + Restaurants -   325
Phone Bill  -                100
Transportation -             40
Toiletries/Supplies -       40
Birthday -                      80
Friend's Visit -               90
Phone Replacement -   130
Netflix -                          9

Total                            1629

This is pretty good.  I believe I won't end up spending that much at all on food & restaurants.  My phone screen cracked and I have insurance on it, so that explains the phone replacement charge.  It's interesting to note that my phone bill is so high.  I should re-consider my phone situation after my contract has ended.

In other news, I failed at one of my goals, which was not to buy alcohol at a bar for September (I know, and it's so early!!)  I went to a fun Improv jam in town, and had two beers.  I justified this because the cost of a beer was the cost of a coke, which was the cheapest beverage on the menu anyway.

Today's Debt Defeating Accomplishments:

  • Completing September's budget
  • Shipping amazon book, hence earning profit

Monday, September 3, 2012

The Book, The Business, and the Bar

I just finished a book on financial success, and it gave me some great tips on building my mathematical consulting business.  This will allow me to earn quite a bit of revenue in the future, or open doors to be able to.  I'm very excited about the new found line of work, and excited about the passion and dedication I have toward earning extra cash outside of my day job.

In fact, if you have any questions and would like to know more, please contact me.  I am very interested in helping people understand the mathematics behind their finances so they don't get ripped off by big banks and financial advisor out there trying to make a buck out of people misreading fine print.

In other news, I was out with friends yesterday and I successfully avoided paying for a drink.  I'm keeping with my September goal of not purchasing any alcohol at bars!

Today's Debt Defeating Accomplishments:

  • Spent $40 on a week's worth of groceries by going to a cheaper grocery store.
  • Finished my financial success book.
  • Sold one book off

Sunday, September 2, 2012

Visiting Friends - Oh the Expenditures!

A great friend of mine from graduate school is visiting for the long weekend, which is very exciting!  Yet, it's making it difficult to stick to my monthly budget.  See, he is a huge fan of eating out very often.    I enjoy eating out on occasion but if I'm going to reach my goal, I can't be eating out often whatsoever. He generally generally refuses to eat food people make if he has the option of not waiting and eating out instead.  I suppose it's possible to combat this by, for instance, making meals while he's sleeping or showering.

In other news, my budget has me putting an extra $830 this month toward my student line of credit.  I put rough $300 in today, so here's where I stand:

Student Line of Credit - $9,794.23 
Bank Line of Credit - $0
Bank Visa 1 - $0
Bank Visa 2 - $0
Car Loan - $0
Misc. Other Debt - $0
Savings - $1,379.00
403(b) - $5,725.14

Today's Debt Defeating Accomplishments:

  • Added another $300 toward paying off line of credit.
  • Making meals for visiting friend instead of eating out.