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

Friday, September 08, 2006

Busy at work = no blogging

As the title suggests, I've actually been busy at work (gasp!), so I haven't posted anything for awhile now. So here's what I've been up to, if you care to ask...

- On Tuesday I went on a job interview - my first in a long time. I was terribly nervous, but I think I did decently enough. The job would be a sideways move out of my field into a comparative position in another industry. The bad news is that they start you at $13 an hour... and I'm currently making $21. That's quite a hit I'd be taking, so I don't know if I'm going to pursue this one. The sad thing is that without a degree, $13 might be the best I can hope for if I leave this company... which is a scary thought since I live in Los Angeles, one of the most expensive cities to live in.

- I consolidated the balances of Credit Card #3 and Credit Card #4 and put them onto another car, which offers a 0% APR on balance transfers through September 2007. Paying off the balance, which is about $5,100, within a year is completely doable. I'm very happy about this, since I figured out that I was paying about $80 in interest fees alone on those two cards each month.

- I read a great tip somewhere online about keeping the fizz in 2-liter bottles of soda after it's been opened. Put the cap on very tightly and store the bottle upside-down in the refrigerator... the carbonation can't escape because the soda is blocking any open space between the bottle and cap. I tried it and it's not 100% percent perfect, like when you first open the bottle, but it's a heck of a lot better than when you store the bottle standing up. Try it!

- I bought a small notebook and a coupon file, which I can keep in my purse at all times (Ladies, don't you love that big purses are back in style?). In the notebook, I write down dinner menus for the week, shopping lists, to-do lists and lists of what products are on sale at what supermarket. I think the coupon file is self-explanatory. Just having all of my notes in one place is incredible, instead of fishing out little scraps of paper and post-it notes from the black hole known as my purse. I look so organized! :)

- I've been sticking to my budget, only spending cash on groceries and other household items. It really forces me to be disciplined about only buying what's on my list, and it also encourages me to try new following recipes. If broccoli and potatoes are on sale this week, what can I make? By the way, the answer is Cheesy Potato and Broccoli Soup - definitely try it, it's terrific.

- I found a link and signed up for Pinecone Research, an online survey company that pays $5 a survey. They do accept sign-ups on their website, since they are trying to target certain demographics with banner ads on various websites. You can visit and view their thread showing links where you can sign up. Just click on the last page of the thread for the most recent links. I signed up maybe 2 weeks ago and have already received 3 checks for $5 each. And no, I don't get a referral bonus or anything.

- I've received numerous freebies and samples in the mail for the last several weeks. There are several sites that I visit to sign up for these - the best ones are and the Freebies thread at I have a drawer in our telephone table where I put freebies that I don't want, along with items gotten for free or almost-free with coupons at the grocery store. Once or twice a year, I take these items to a womens' shelter downtown.

- My fiance and I are looking into moving, which is something that only came up yesterday. A family friend is looking to rent out a loft-style apartment in a building that they own, where their business occupies the ground floor. The rent is less than we pay now (by about $150), and we'd both be closer to work. We're looking at the place tonight and if we like it, we'll have to hammer out a legal lease with our friend, who is known at times to be a bit flighty. Just the idea of moving - oy! One of the main issues is that in this new space, we can legally have our old cat, which is contraband in our apartment now and violates the lease in a very noisy way. I am always worried that a neighbor will mention our cat to the landlord, who lives off-site.

And that's it in a nutshell. I'll try to be more on the ball when it comes to blogging in a timely manner.


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