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, March 13, 2007

Where to find free financial planning

I just found this short article on about how and where to find free financial planning - definitely give it a look if this is something you're interested in. Personally, I'm filing it away to use later.

There's also another article that's useful, Free financial planning with no strings attached, also on

I'm sure you can find more information if you do a web search, but this is a good beginning step for most of us.

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Monday, March 12, 2007

Has Anyone Ever Been to See a Career Counselor?

I was watching a rerun of "Big Spender" on Saturday afternoon, in which the host sent a young woman (about $50,000 in debt at the age of 23!) to see a career counselor. The young woman was a college graduate (which was about half of the debt) and was working a job that paid slightly over minimum wage. The career counselor apparently advised her in such issues as changing jobs and utilizing her degree to her advantage.

I had heard of career counselors before this, but I didn't really know what they did. R and I are both in agreement that I should look into finding one for myself, since I seem to be at a crossroads right now - I am very good at what I do, which is a very small field, and I'm finding that I don't have a lot of transferrable skills... so I'm at a loss of what to do with myself. There is always the option of going into business for myself (doing what I do now from home), but that's a risk that I don't know if I should be taking right now.

I did some webbing this morning and found an informative site about how to research and choose a career counselor, but I'm still curious since I don't know anyone who's actually visited a counselor like this.

Has anyone done this before? What did you expect versus what the experience was like? And did it help you on your path?

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Friday, March 09, 2007

Sent my tax refund straight to my credit card

R and I are snowballing like mad to pay off several credit cards we have - and it's finally starting to feel like it's working! I feel like Rocky when he ran up those steps and raised his arms in victory!

Last month we paid off the smallest balance card, which was about $1,200 from my dental work as well as an expensive visit from a professional plumber to conceal the fact that we have a cat in our apartment when we're not supposed to. Our next smallest balance card is about $2,500 - and I just sent an electronic payment of $1,500 which I got in the form of a tax refund. So we owe about $1,000 on this card, which we'll be paying off by the end of the month. Woohoo! After this we have another credit card with a balance of about $4,400 as well as a chiropractor bill to deal with (more about that later). Then we'll conquer paying off the car and R's student loans.

I am so grateful that R is supportive of all this, even though he is not very good with money on his own. But we're both learning, and it's even more exciting because it's something we're doing together.

How sickeningly sweet was that? :-P

Friday, March 02, 2007

"Be a bargain-shopping champ" article

I was thrilled to read an article on MSN that summed up a lot of the tricks that I've used ever since I found - read ads carefully to look for discounts and money back offers, take advantage of rebates, combine coupons and sales, and look for gifts year-round, especially seasonal items marked down after the holiday is over.

Reading deal websites like and make a lot of these actions much easier, let me tell you! You find out about deals you didn't know about as well as reading other people's tips and strategies. Definitely give it a try if you're interested in saving money.

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