Friday, July 23, 2010

I've Been Having Anti-Debt Feelings

In an article on Dave Ramsey's website:
Clever Ways to Get Rid of Debt

I was inspired by others.
• Make sacrifices. We have this one down pretty good, but it doesn't hurt to reevaluate every so often.
• Use your talents. This is something I want to do so badly, but have yet to capitalize on. One thing you can do is go on and look at handmade projects people are asking for and bid on them. I haven't done this yet, but I do want to get some work painting portraits.
• Think about a skill you can teach yourself and then offer it as a service to others.
• Buy things for cheap, fix them up, turn around and sell them for a profit. Very good idea, just, don't have a place to do this. would be ideal for this.
• Don't be afraid of hard work. It feels good to get in there and use elbow grease on something for a little extra cash. OK, to be honest, I have been thinking of getting a second job here lately. I know that I could work at Sonic again in a heartbeat. Is it bad to wonder if that would look bad if my current coworkers found out? Would it make me seem like an immature teenager or someone who has to work two jobs because they don't manage their money well? The truth is that I could probably put an extra $500 a month towards loans if this were the case. I'd be kissing away my weekend freedom, maybe even some evenings. But would it be worth it for a while? Do I really want to smell like that again??!

I guess what holds me back from doing that is the thought of being able to make that kind of money with paintings. That is really and truly the best option. I just need to actually do it! OK, this time next week, I hope to have my first commission! Hold me to it!

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Minty Fresh

So if you know me, you know that I am a little crazy about budgeting, finances, getting out of debt, etc. I have made spreadsheets so huge that the bounds of Excel could not hold them. I update our budget and our loan numbers almost daily. To do this, I have to visit all three of our banks' websites and two student loan sites, log in, copy the numbers over to my spreadsheets one by one, update my Google Docs, and then I usually run a few calculations on the updates to see where we stand. If I feel like wasting a whole lot more time, I make pie charts and histograms to get another angle on our spending habits. I've considered writing a monthly financial report, but I have managed to hold myself back so far on that one. Yes, this provides a great distraction from everything else I should be doing.

Ryan found a site that was probably founded by my clone, who is apparently much more advanced and much, MUCH more obsessed with budgeting than I am (maybe I am her clone? hmm...). The site is This site is AWESOME! It allows me to expand my powers and micromanagement of every single cent. It automates everything I have already been doing-- you give it your bank info and it shows you all of your bank accounts and transactions in real time, all in one place! Oh wait, it gets better. I can also connect it with my loans, so those balances show up in real time as well. As if that wasn't enough, there is the whole purpose of the site which is the budget feature. It allows you to set different amounts for different categories of spending like rent, groceries, etc. It's super smart and intuitive, too. It automatically categorizes your spending when the transaction comes through, i.e. it files transactions at Starbucks under "Coffee Shops" and transactions at Kroger as "Groceries" and Progressive as "Auto Insurance." It does a pretty good job, but of course you can go in and set them manually too in case it doesn't file it right.

Another way cool feature is that on some of the more popular businesses such as the ones I just listed, it will show you a bar graph of your spending compared with the U.S. Average. So you can be all like, sweet, I don't spend that much at Starbucks compared to the rest of America! Or, sweet, I pay a lot more on my student loans every month than the average American. You can also see which merchants you spend the most and least at and look at your spending trends over time.

One thing that we're going to really appreciate is that it sends you email updates when any of your accounts are getting low. You can also set it up to send you text message alerts for that. For some reason we're not very good at keeping track of this ourselves so that will be really helpful! You can set goals and customize the heck out of them and it calculates how much you need to set aside each month to reach your goal.

Anyway, if you like that stuff, check it out! It's legit (c:


Wow, remember me? I had completely forgotten about my blog. I was reading this blog that belongs to a friend and I thought, man, I feel like writing a blog. And then I remembered that I have one! Anyway, you must take a look at my anonymous friend's blog. I feel her pain because I used to date a guy who's mother was like this. Oh, how happy I am that I am not in those shoes now! And oh, how painfully entertaining it can be to read about someone else's monster-in-law.