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, December 28, 2006

Bring on 2007... I think

As great as this holiday season was, I'm relieved that it's over and it's time to move on. I can stop thinking about gifts and holiday plans for one thing, lol. I also seem to have had one minor illness after another over the past month or so (first a cold/flu thing, then food poisoning, then a throat infection, and now a desperate toothache when my dentist is on vacation), so I'm looking forward to a year that will bring more wisdom, more joy, and more health.

I've been reading a lot of other blogs discussing their financial goals for 2007. They're inspiring and chock full of great ideas, but I'm still up in the air about mine. Last month I wrote about some of my goals before I turn 30, which will happen next November... so there will be some overlap.

I think that part of my reluctance to set goals is that I seem to be moving backward right now financially. I had some large necessary expenses last month, which added about $1,100 to my debt. Plus I'm planning on jumping careers next year, so I just enrolled in an online training program which added about $1,600 to my credit card balance. So my head is spinning and I feel like my thought-out plan has suddenly become null and void. Plus my fiance R and I have talked about joining our finances next year to make our debt pay-off easier and faster, so there are some kinks to work out on that front, too. I feel like I'm back at square one.

But on the bright side, I have done some things right that will be a help in the new year:
1) I've set our grocery budget at $40 a week for 2 adults... this amount includes breakfast, lunches and dinner for both of us, as well as household staples like bathroom tissue and cleanser. It might be adjusted in the new year due to our goals to get healthier and fitter, but I'm confident that I have our food bills under control.
2) I've started making arrangements to get us cheaper cable TV and internet connection. This will save us bigtime next year - somewhere between $400-600 annually.
3) We have an emergency fund of $1,000... thanks to better than expected sales at a consumer convention that R and I took his home-based business to in November. The terrible thing is I'm afraid to dip into that emergency money now that we have it.
4) I changed car insurance companies and raised my deductible. This move will save me over $500 annually from what I was paying before.

I need to spend a chunk of time in front of my computer at home, going through my paperwork and talking to R about our plans. I'm very frustrated right now, which is why I haven't been posting hardly at all lately. The alarming thing is that in moods like this, all I want to do is eat crappy food and go shopping, lol... neither one will help me get back on track.

So bear with me, fellow financial geeks, I am a constant work in progress. But who isn't, right?


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