27 August 2013

From red to green: the beginning of my second financial journey


I mentioned in my last post I hit some financial hardships. Now, I know this is a taboo subject to talk about, but I think it's important that humans talk about real things. This blog is titled Life as told by Zoë, so Zoë's going to tell life like it is -- even when it's shitty.

I'll be blogging about my journey through and OUT of debt. Hopefully this serves as some comfort and inspiration for those who are 20-something (or even older) and facing a pile of debt that seems impossible to conquer. Or maybe you're just looking at budgeting for paupers. I've done it before ($8550 paid off within a year) and I'll do it again. Whatever it takes.

The key is staying motivated. Motivation will cause you to stay disciplined and keep you from getting discouraged too often.

WHAT IS HAPPENING NOW

I'm still waiting to hear back regarding details from the dental office and insurance on how much I owe, so I'll leave the final balance out of that until I know. I do owe some personal, credit card, and student loan debt. The dentist balances shown are what I was billed before my insurance dropped my coverage.


My current debt balance:



I'll be posting my budget and laying it out like it is with the good, bad, and ugly, because that is life. Life is full of ups and downs and those who deny that in public are denying it to themselves.

MY BUDGET

This payperiod:

Click to zoom
 Next payperiod:

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The most basic financial advice doesn't apply to me:

The transactions on my credit card were because there was no money in my bank account to pay for my utility deposit and basic home needs when I first moved into my apartment (cleaning supplies, sheets, air mattress, towels, etc.). I don't use that card at all right now. My other credit card is a medical credit card so everything on there is a medical expense.

My damage deposit (equivalent to first month's rent: $550 and spread over 90 days) is sucking money out of my budget that I could be applying to debt.

As you can see my budget is bare bones:

I don't have internet or a TV, much less cable. No Netflix or Hulu.

I'm bicycling to work and my scooter only has gas thanks to a gift card we get through work when we sell out. I don't own a car.

I'm eating and finding entertainment at home unless someone else pays for me. Friends gave me food to cook at home.

My phone bill was cut in half by my carrier when I mentioned I was switching to a different one. I'll write about this later.

The only way I was able to make ends meet this month was by petsitting, which was - and continues to be - a godsend.

I don't have a lot in my apartment either:

The only furniture I have is a bookcase and a bedframe (that I owned before moving up to Washington). On the bedframe is an air mattress (bought after moving into my apartment and planned to be replaced with a quality mattress as soon as possible to prevent back issues).

I'm borrowing cookware and flatware from Riley instead of going out and buying my own. I'm doing laundry for free at a friend's place until my damage deposit is paid to save some money.

Furniture (such as a couch, etc) will have to wait until my budget stabilizes a little bit.


Laying all this out isn't to complain or throw a pity party. THIS IS LIFE and to show you where I'm coming from so there's some perspective on my budget and lifestyle.

Some have it way worse than I do right now. It's been difficult, but I'll have an excess of about $110 after all my expenses for this paycheck is paid, which I'm planning on splitting to apply to my damage deposit and get started on an emergency fund.

My friend Caty has been my rock through all this. She and her husband have done so much with their finances, they were willing to help me come up with a budget and debt reduction plan. They swear by Dave Ramsey, and I'm beginning a modified version of his Baby Steps to get me started.

And so begins this financial adventure...

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