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

Tuesday, July 11, 2006

A longer absence than I thought

Well, I didn't mean to go missing for almost 2 weeks, but what's that quote about life getting in the way of your plans? I've been submerged in family lately... first with my 13 year old cousin staying with us for a few days, and then greeting R's new niece, who was born on July 3rd. She is a beauty! It was a difficult pregnancy for her mother, and we're all thankful that it has ended happily and healthfully.

I have been neglecting my finances bigtime with all of this upheavel in our routine lately. I've fallen victim to lots of fast food meals eaten on the run as well as spening a larger amount than I planned for on baby shower gifts, so I'm in the hole a bit right now. But I'm aware of my hole, which shows awareness and financial progress on my part, right? :)

Another big wrench thrown into our finances was that R was unemployed for about 3 weeks. He's been working as a temp for almost 9 months in the same company, just being switched from department to department. There was a 3 week gap between departments, which was very unexpected to say the least. Luckily, it coincided nicely with his sister needing childcare for her older daughter and the birth of her newest daughter... but still... 3 weeks without any income generated quite the frayed nerves and nail-biting checkbook reconciliation.

I have tried to be diligent about our purchases and I think I've only charged one or two small items on a credit card (great Christmas gifts that were at such a low price that I felt like I couldn't pass them up). We've made a pact to curb our eating out and get back onto our healthier routine, which includes cooking at home and evening walks. I've bought some small household items, but nothing superfluous like clothing or new make-up.

I strongly believe that some things keeping me on the right path have been the books I've been reading. I finished "Rich Dad, Poor Dad" by Robert Kiyosaki and my mind was blown. I'm embarassed to say it, but the whole idea of making your money work for you instead of you working for your money really just hit me between the eyes. I've been plugging my $40 a week into my savings account, and it's a lot easier after reading that book. I plan to buy a used copy on Ebay to leaf through when I need reminding.

A book I'm reading now is the first book of 'The Tightwad Gazette" by Amy Dacyczyn. This is fascinating and keeps me on track, even though I feel that a lot of this book doesn't really apply to me and my lifestyle. Lots of great ideas for kids' Halloween costumes and parties and crafts... which will be great when we have children. A lot of the information is already known and utilized, like shopping thrift stores, trash-picking, and smart grocery shopping. But the main sentiment helps to keep me on track.

What should I read next? Leave me some suggestions if you'd like. I'm very new to this, so pretty much every book on personal finance and frugality will be new to me.


Blogger Medicated Money said...

The book that started it for us is 'The Total Money Makeover' by Dave Ramsey. I would recommend it to any beginner in personal finance. It is very simple and basic, but that is the beauty of it!

As for other books, there are many good books that have the same basic plan: pay yourself first, spend less then you make, and eliminate debt ASAP!

I read more of your blog and have enjoyed many of the entries. We are looking forward to reading more in the future.


4:14 PM  
Blogger The Divine Miss M said...

That is one of the books I've read a lot about, and I'm definitely looking for it the next time I head to the library. Thanks for the suggestion - and the nice comments about the blog!

7:47 AM  
Anonymous Terri said...

I 2d the recommendation on reading TMMO! It's one of the most motivating books I've every read. I just "clicked" with so many things he talks about and it finally broke my reluctance to do anything about my debt.

2:31 PM  

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