Vanquishing My Debt

I'm 29 and trying to get a handle on my finances so that, one day, I can buy a home of my own. I've been reading personal finance blogs recently and decided to start one chronicling my own struggles and success (hopefully). I am lucky, considering the amounts of debt and tales of tragedy I've read about... but I am making some positive changes and moving in the right direction.

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Location: Los Angeles, CA

Thursday, June 01, 2006

Okay, the real introduction

Like I said in my profile, I've seized upon reading other people's personal finance blogs in my free time lately. I'll list some of my favourites so that you can visit them, too. I love the information that you can glean from them, all the things you'll read that make you think, "Wow, I could do that." I've been reading and thinking and doing more reading... and more thinking about my own habits and the changes I need to be making NOW.

While my debt isn't horrendous, some of my habits are when you think about the long-term implications. My own spending habits have been my undoing in the past... I blame nice handbags, household items (including cookware) and the generous-if-not-silly practice of overgifting my loved ones. The funny thing is, I'm a very careful shopper... I comparison shop online, look for coupon codes and sales, and surf Ebay. But all those great deals add up. It's gotten to the point where I actually hear a death knell every time I recieve coupons to my favourite clothing store in the mail. Hey, I have a coupon - I can't do something wasetful like not use it, can I?

I'm also caught in the cycle, like so many others, of not having savings to fall back on when an unanticipated expense crops up. So I whip out the ol' plastic standby to take care of it. That's what they're for, right? So I charge an eye exam (has a year passed already?), an order of contact lenses (I forgot they were so expensive), a baby crib for my almost sister-in-law (I had to buy it now because it was on sale - with free shipping!), concert tickets (is the Dave Matthews Band back in town already?), a great shirt (it was on sale and I had a coupon - it was practically free!)... wow, I owe how much?! That can't be right!

I am fortunate that I have a decent job with healthcare... I know how prized that is these days. But I don't know how stable this gig is, even though I've been here almost 8 years. Company loyalty and job performance don't seem to count for much around here since our new boos took over. And I have no back-up plan if I get laid off. I don't even have 1 month of rent in my savings... yet. My fiance is in the same boat - which is why I don't have an engagement ring yet.

I need an immediate savings account as well as long-term savings. I keep reading articles about how important retirement planning is, and you should start with your first job. Well, what can I say? I never knew that much about it until recently. My mother never really talked to me about money, although she did promote a sense of frugality. One of my goals is to start a Roth IRA by the end of this year, since we're not offered a 401K plan here.

So this blog is about the changes I'm going to be making to my finances, my habits, my life. I hope it'll encourage you like other blogs have encouraged me.


Anonymous Flexo said...

Nice to meet you, Miss M. I look forward to reading more!

1:35 PM  

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