Clarification & a Thank You!

My work day started at 6 AM (although I was up at 4:30!) and it was insane from the start!  I had meetings back to back from 7 AM until 10:30 AM and then from 1:30 to about 4:30.  I then had to run to school and do more paperwork after standing in very long lines!  Finally from 6PM to 8:30PM I sat and listened to lectures! To say it was a long day is an understatement!

Then I came home and opened up wordpress only to realize that I had an unusually heavy traffic to my little blog . Thank you Andrea at So Over Debt for sending traffic my way!  I’m thankful for the kind words and feel compelled to respond 🙂

First of all, like I shared with Andrea via twitter, I don’t take offense at all!  I know that there is room for improvement and I’m embracing a more frugal us (Mr. and I).  I appreciate all the help and support I know that I will receive on our journey!  My hubby and I don’t have an income problem because as Andrea pointed out, we do okay for ourselves!

To clarify, we do make a pretty good salary, well over six figures between the two of us.  I’m slated to get another huge promotion in the next few months (fingers crossed!) We started to save $650 per paycheck, roughly $1,300 per month last year.  It’s automatically deducted from our paychecks so I don’t miss it.  I try to pay bills and spend what’s left over in our checking accounts.  What DH & I have is a problem communicating with each other about money which leads to us over spending.  I like to save more than he does.  I like looking at Quicken and tracking our spending (when programs work! LOL).  DH on the other hand relies on me to do almost EVERYTHING in our household – I do all the bill paying, balancing, cooking, cleaning, organizing….while working full time and going to school almost full time (10+ credits per quarter).  There’s been many arguments between the two of us where I’m overwhelmed and I want him to share my pain (I kid!) …ahem… co chair the Budget & Saving Money Committee with me!  I can see that we can be debt free if we paid attention to where our hard earned money was going and could channel it towards debt repayment instead of just mindless spending.  Can we continue oblivious to the amount of money we were throwing away by not keeping track of our spending?  Sure!  We could & we probably would had I not realized that we can do better!  

 

The comments to Andrea’s post were very sweet and supportive – thank you!  I need it!  However, a gal named Kay, who doesn’t have a lot of kind words for me, wasn’t very happy with me or my blog…not sure and honestly, I don’t care!  Yes, I have debt. Yes, I bought a car that some people think is too expensive.  However, we decided that if we were going to take out a car loan, it will be for a car that we both wanted, that was safe, reliable, gas efficient and that we can keep for a long time.  We had a 15% down payment and a trade in for the car.  We used money that we had saved up through the year to buy the car because it was going to cost us a lot of money to repair everything that was wrong with our car.  We have an older Lexus from 1998 and we have over 144K miles on it and our mechanic told us that we can get at least another 100K on it.  Further, I have not had a car payment since 2003 having paid off my last car 2 years early, which we plan on doing to this car payment.

The last time I used a credit card was when I bought Christmas presents at Forever 21 for my sisters because their return policy sucks and I wanted them to be able to have that protection in case Forever 21 didn’t allow them to return the items.  Also, every purchase I’ve made on the credit card debt wasn’t mindless shopping, I do plenty of that from our checking account ;).  A majority of that credit card balance & the Line of Credit was  from a period of my life when my mom had a stroke in October and then my dad had a heart attack 6 months later.  My mom was laid off of work and still recuperating and my dad was the only one working when the heart attack took place….and they couldn’t afford to pay for their hospital bills.  I took on that debt knowing that a) I am really young still and make okay money; b) I didn’t want stress of not having money to pay for their hospital bills to cause them to have another stroke or heart attack; and finally c) I know I can pay it off.

The espresso machine was purchased with cash I had saved up because I knew I didn’t want to keep spending money on Starbucks and after tracking our spending, I could have bought 3 of those espresso machines!  When I do buy a latte at work or on weekends, I do so with gift cards given to me on my birthdays or through my work – my co workers give out a lot of coffee cards!  I have not paid  for coffee since I bought the machine.  When I go see movies, I don’t pay because my work also gives out a ton of movie tickets because I help out a lot of people do projects at work!

And, I just knew someone would comment about my hair.  Look, my hair is extremely wild & hard to manage.  I have tried to find someone to cut it for less than $50 without me looking like I have a triangle head.  I have a lot of grey hair and since my hair has a mind of its’ own, it’s extremely hard to find someone who can color it correctly.  I have tried so many times and I cannot even add up how much money it costs for me to have my expensive hair lady fix the cheap hair lady’s mistakes.  I get my hair done only 2-3 times a year and this is an expense that DH allows me to have because he has seen the tiger stripes on my head and the god awful hair cuts I’ve had after 15 years together.

Bottom line, I know we’re not perfect and we have a lot of work to do but we will do it and we will get there.  I am not making excuses, these are just facts of our lives right now.  Do I regret the espresso machine purchase?  No, because I do not spend money on espressos daily anymore.  Do I regret my hair expense? Absolutely, every time. Until I change stylists and then lose 4 inches of hair, have crazy, frizzy triangle hair and spotty orange hair because the lady didn’t know how to dye it right.  When that happens, I wish I would have spent the money to get it done properly.   Do I regret the car purchase?  No, I don’t because we made this decision together and we went through the numbers together.

What I do regret are the little purchases that we make day to day that prevents us from paying down our debts faster.  The little things are what I regret the most, not the big & carefully planned purchases.  I also regret my inability to cope with personal crisis & extreme stress.  But like my blog is titled little by little, we will get there!

Thanks to everyone for stopping by and visiting!
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16 thoughts on “Clarification & a Thank You!

  1. Hiya
    I came over from So Over Debt too. Its easy to waste a bit when you are working such long hours. Make lunch before leaving the house at 4.30am is not quite as easy as when you leave at 9am. You have very little debt and you car will keep you going for years so all you need to worry about in my opinion is frittering away your potential savings on junk. I actually agree that the coffee machine was a good investment too. I have a couple of hints which might help. Give your husband his own bank account with access only to the money he is allowed to spend. Let him go wild with his pocket money. Tell him you will leave him alone and stop nagging if he uses just this money. Might work ! Second tip is to move money out of your account on pay day not at the end of the month. If you can only fritter away a limited amount then it matters a lot less. get back in that habit.
    Good luck. You are doing great. I suspect some of the negative thought/words in life are from people without your earning potential.
    Lizzie

    • Hi Lizzie! THanks for stopping by and I apperciate the kind words and already forgot about the negativity!! We have tried to have separate accounts but what happens is he uses up all of it and then comes back to the regular accounts and uses all that as well! So I eliminated that really quick! The only reason why we have any kind of savings at the moment was because I set aside $650 from every paycheck and it goes to our ING account automatically. Our savings is a bit sad at the moment because we used a lot of it for the down payment for our car. But new yea, new start, right? This month we should have $1,300 saved s0 I am happy about that!

  2. I’m so glad I could send some traffic your way. I, for one, really appreciate getting more details about what’s going on financially. It helps me understand that your debt isn’t crushing you the way mine was crushing me – that’s not to say you don’t want to get rid of it of course! But I’m glad to know that you aren’t at risk of losing your home or going without necessities.

    Your site just proves my point that debt and overspending can happen to anyone, and that people from all walks of life struggle in their own ways. You guys are making progress, saving money, and having the tough conversations that will eventually help you get this under control. That doesn’t mean you have to give up the things that are important to you – it means you’re trying to give up the things that aren’t. But a lot of people have knee-jerk reactions to anyone that owns nice things, which I just don’t understand.

    Anyway, thanks for sharing more of your story and I hope you continue to make progress so I can cheer you on!

    • Believe me – this debt bugs me a lot and I’m glad I have the resources to do something about it. I’ve already turned down several invitations to go out for coffee, lunch and dinner for the next month. It was hard but my friends understand when I tell them that I need to pay off some of our bills. I figure if DH and I can get gazelle intense, we can clear out at least half of our balances this year alone and that makes me super happy!

  3. I like your blog a lot and was happy to find it through Andrea. I’ve added it to my RSS reader so I’ll be keeping up from now on. I’m interested in your progress and definitely cheering you on!

    I wouldn’t worry too much about the critics. I think we all have things that are different priorities when compared to the rest of the PF community — I’ve been criticized, but sometimes I do the the criticizing. I would say the criticism can be really welcome: sometimes when someone challenges your spending with an outside eye, it forces you to reevaluate it and determine if it really is worth it to you… and sometimes they’re just mean, but those you can forget about.

  4. I think you are doing a great job! It is step by step, and some spending habits are hard to break. But I know you’ll get there. Even if it will be slower than it would be for some others, but you know what? It will be done in YOUR time, and it help you get into YOUR world of financial security because you are building habits for life right now, not just getting rid of debt.

    • Yes, it is really funny to me sometimes that we call it personal finance but yet everyone has an opinion about someone else financial situation. The things that I can’t give up are the ones that are important to me and my hubby. The running shoes for example – I usually try to find codes or buy last year’s models when I can. I won’t compromise on my shoes because I’ve worn incorrect shoes in the past and really paid for it via injuries, shin splints and plain depression from not be able to run for months at a time. That is an expense that gets budgeted in. I can go cheap on other items or go without buying clothes, makeup or hair products but when it comes to my health….I try not to compromise because I’ll pay for it in the longer run and believe me after witnessing stroke, diabetes & heart attacks happen in my family…I’ll suck it up!

  5. You sound like you’re doing pretty awesome to me. I’m sure most of the negativos out there have spent or are currently spending the same percentage of their income on purchases they’ve deemed frivolous, they just make a lot less money than you so they think a $250 haircut would be outrageous. I say just stay aware of your spending habits and stay fabulous :o).

    • Thank you! It’s not a $250 hair cut…it’s the cut and color. I have extremely thick, curly and coarse hair and they go through a lot of hair dye, bleach etc to do my hair so I sort of understand the cost. I don’t like it but I can understand it!

      • Please, don’t worry about the hair expense. Coming from someone who knows exactly what you are talking about, I’m telling you there is nothing frivolous about it. I spend about the same as you 4 times a year to chemically relax my hair. Yes it is expensive (over $1,000 a year!!!). But between the time it saves me (naturally my hair is very time consuming to work with and having bad hair at my job is not an option) and the money in savings I have because of the product I don’t have to buy, I am coming out waaaaaaaay ahead. Plus, it just makes me feel pretty! Honestly, I will eat Ramen noodles every day before I’ll stop getting my hair relaxed. Period.
        Really, it’s all about priorities. I would rather have my daily Starbucks (it is not a coffee drink that you can easily make at home with an espresso machine) than buy a lot of clothes. I would rather spend my $$$ to have a nice evening with my honey, rather than buying a flat screen TV, or the newest iPhone, computer, whatever. It’s really easy for people to look from the outside and criticize your priorities, but as long as you mindfully chose those things (while also defining what you can do without or cut back on), what they are saying is only their opinion, stated in a negative and nasty way. It’s best to just ignore those people!

  6. Ahh! I LOVE you! Most people are not really honest about their financial situations. Everyone wants to get on their personal finance high horse. I have debt too! I’m trying to get out too. And every day, I’m doing better and better. You inspire me. Keep writing. Forget the haters.

    • Thanks for stopping by! I have to be honest because if I’m not what’s the point in writing a blog about money? The good, the bad, and the ugly…I’ll keep writing about it! I am trying really hard to not spend money on the little things and my occasional poor planning doesn’t help things. I have not spent a dime on eating out this entire week because I’ve packed breakfast, lunch and snacks the night before. However, tomorrow is my little boy’s birthday and we are taking him out to dinner at our friend’s restaurant. After that, we probably won’t be going out to eat until Valentine’s Day – that’s if I have the energy to go out to eat at all.

  7. I’m a new reader, and will be following this blog with great interest. Your days sound absolutely HECTIC. I live with my fiance, no kids, no pets, and we still eat out 4x+ times a week. The last thing we want to do is cook after working all day. I can’t imagine what it’s like with school at night and 3 kids.

    • Welcome! I’ve read your blog lots over the years and love it!

      I try not to really think about how crazy & hectic my days are because it gets overwhelming. Mentally, as long as I focus on what the next task is, I’m okay. If I look at everything I have to do all at once, I get a bit stressed out ;). It’s a good thing I enjoy cooking because I have to do a lot of it.

  8. Hi!
    I came lurking over from SoOverDebt, too. I started reading your blog while I was at work (Sssh, don’t tell!) and finished reading some of it at home. I think you are doing a fine job. You seem to know how to pick and choose your debts, so to say. Spending a chunk of money on one machine that will make you coffee for however many years costs so so much less then buying coffee every.single.day. I feel as if some people miss that connection; they see “oh a dollar here, a dollar there” and think it doesn’t add up that quick so of course a coffee machine would be unneeded; to them. Even I struggle with this aspect at times, but if you have sat down and crunched the numbers, then you know it was a good investment! Go you! As for the car, if you and your husband are comfortable with it, comfortable with purchasing it, and comfortable with any bills that come with it, then it is perfectly fine. You did the right thing.

    Don’t let others ruffle your feathers. I like your blog, I plan on reading it and looking forward to new updates!!

    -H.G.

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