It feels like I have been writing for Timeless Finance for a long time now, but I checked the calendar and realized it’s only been two months since my second post Attacking My $30,000 Debt. So much has changed since then that I knew it was finally time for me to take stock and do an update on where I’m at with my debt repayment goals.
For those of you who didn’t see the original breakdown of what I owed (or can’t remember the details of a virtual stranger’s financial standing) here’s what my debt looked like in November:
|Debt||Principal||Interest Rate||Minimum Payment|
|Future Shop Credit Card||$520||29.99%||$20|
Pretty scary, right? Thankfully, putting all of that information on the internet for everyone to see was the kick in the pants (or KITA) I needed to change my situation. I got a low-interest Scotiabank Value Visa with an promotional interest rate of 0.99% for 6 months and immediately transferred the balances of all of my other cards on to the new one. And right now you can get a FREE $100 Gift Card from RateSupermarket.ca with a Scotiabank Value Visa (expires February 28th, 2013).
I continued to make the minimum payments on my student loan, and focused all of my energy on my credit card and car loans. In the 68 days since I shared my debt on TimelessFinance I have paid $3045.87 towards non-student debt, and eliminated nearly $2500 in principal.
Compare the last 68 days to how I used to handle my money: I checked my bank statement for the 68 days prior to that post and I had only paid $1000.12. I was paying 13% to 29% interest on those loans before I consolidated, so the money I was paying barely made a dent in my debt’s principal.
One item that I neglected to mention in my original post was my bank balance. On November 15, 2012 I had about $-250 in my account. Yep, overdraft (I didn’t even notice it when calculating my debt total). As of last Sunday I had $600 cash in my account. That’s $600 without a negative sign in front of it! I should also mention that, for the current pay period, I have already paid my debt payment, heating bill, and car insurance, plus I’ve purchased my bi-weekly necessities and added money to my savings account. I’m still waiting for water and hydro, but I anticipate still having more than $300 in my account by the end of the month.
On top of my chequing account’s inversion of polarity, I’ve also started a small savings account that sits at $300.
Aside from my student debt (which I plan to tackle more aggressively once my consumer debt is clear) I only have to worry about one measly Visa bill each month. My current consumer debt balance (total debt minus student loans) is now $2859.72. If I stick to the current plan I can have this paid off in under 7 months. The plan will be changing, however, before May rolls around –that’s when my promotional interest period ends and I’ll need to find a different solution that may not have such an awesome interest rate. (Editor Joe’s Note: don’t worry Sara, if it comes to that we’ll find you a good deal.) Tax season is coming up, though, and I do plan to put the whole of my return toward debt repayment. I am also working on a graphic design project that will pay a pretty decent amount, and I’ll put all of this against debt as well. Hopefully the consumer debt will be gone before I have to think about finding a new card.
As for the plan to quit smoking… whew! I have had no problem cutting down on work days, but weekends are proving to be a challenge; I smoked more than my allotted 3 per day on Saturday and Sunday. It’s evident that I’m a boredom smoker; I light up when I have nothing to do. Thus I think I need to come up with some creative approaches to fight cravings. I’ve heard some great tips and am thinking about cutting up some carrots and celery to munch while watching TV. I’ll also try to keep myself better occupied during downtime with knitting or giving myself a manicure. Obviously I’m now better with my money than I am with my health. It may be the patch or gum time soon (though I’ve wanted to avoid them because of the cost). Does anyone have any other good suggestions for beating boredom cravings?