Consolidation

It occurs to me that I ought to be posting here more. Pictures or no. I still haven’t gotten back into the swing of the daily pictures, unfortunately.

Things may be looking up on the job front, though nothing definite just yet. I’ve been aggressively pursuing a connection through a friend of a friend of a friend kind of thing and it looks like it might be bearing fruit soon. I had applied for one position that had already closed (though there was no closing date on the website) but I was able to introduce myself to the company’s recruiter at a networking event earlier in the week. She remembered my name and said that my resume was definitely on her radar (score) and that there would likely be another position opening up in the next three weeks or so (double score) and gave me her card and told me to feel free to follow up with her directly rather than through my friend of a friend of a friend (hat trick!). Now, this is obviously no guarantee of anything but it’s certainly something. I’m continuing to keep my eyes open for other possibilities but I think that I would really like working at this place. Now I just need to get an interview. 🙂

Otherwise, there’s not really much to report. I’ve been going a little finance crazy as of late, taking a hard look at my expenses and my debts and trying to figure out the best way to bring everything into balance. I called my credit card companies last week to see if they would come down on my rates at all. They did, though not by a hugely significant figure, so I’m now looking at other possibilities for debt consolidation and pay-off. It’s not that I have a ton of debt but I certainly have more than I’d like to. I got a credit report done yesterday and my score is good (I thought it would be better) but one of the things that is making it lower than it might otherwise be is that I’m carrying about a 60% balance on my credit cards as compared to my total credit. I just want it to go away!

Part of what got me on this kick was that the Man spilled a mocha onto my laptop last week. Thankfully, Virgil is fine–most of the mocha ended up on my lap–but while he was drying out, I did some quick calculations and figured out that I could save up the $1300 for a new laptop in about six months if I needed to. It would mean being on a pretty strict budget actually sticking to the budget that I have written out for myself, especially as relates to money spent on food (and eating out far, far less). Recession chic, right?

So, though I won’t be purchasing a new laptop (which, actually, I’m a teeny weeny little bit sad about), I will be keeping to my budget. First, I’ll be saving up enough money to pay what I owe on taxes (note: if you work two jobs simultaneously, don’t claim 1 for your deductions because they won’t withold enough to cover both jobs). After that, I’ll be splitting the money between saving to pay back a personal loan from a friend and starting an emergency savings fund as well as throwing money towards my credit cards. The majority of the money is going to go towards the cards, I think. As I mentioned above, I’ve been looking for other possibilities for getting the debt off the cards or at least consolidating it. One of my cards is offering a 0% APR on balance transfers for a year and only a 3% transfer fee. I need to read the fine print on this to make sure that whatever interest I’m not paying doesn’t suddenly get added on at the end of the year because I know that my total debt is larger than what I can pay off in the next year. Plus, it’s with Bank of America, which is not a company that I particularly like dealing with. I actually have a $0 balance on that card right now but I don’t want to cancel it because it’s the card with the longest history. Personal loans from a bank don’t seem likely to save me too much, though I haven’t thoroughly investigated this route yet. I also have been looking into Lending Club, which is a peer-to-peer lending site. I’m hoping to get my stuff together enough this weekend to get on there and find out what kind of a rate I would qualify for. Something tells me that it would likely be a better rate than my cards are giving me.

It’s absurd when I think about the amount of money that I pay towards debt every month. ABSURD. I’m not drowning, but I really feel like I’m far too smart a boy to have gotten myself in this deep. So now I’m going to use my smarts to get myself out of where I am. I’m currently paying more towards debt than I pay for rent. Mind you, that’s my choice. I could be paying a lot less on my cards but I really don’t want to drag this out any longer than necessary. But oh the things I could be doing with that money….

I posted last summer about the possibility of being competely out of debt in five years–including my student loans–that’s still a possibility. With any luck, I’ll start making more money somewhere along the way and be able to pay down that debt even faster.

Anyone who has any tips they want to share or free money to shower me with, leave your info in the comments!

Debt free in five years or less?

I had this crazy idea that I’d be able to move across the continent AND pay off my credit cards all in one year. It’s a nice idea, right? But I don’t think it’s actually likely to happen considering that we’ve only six months of 2008 left.

I did some playing around with this debt payoff calculator tonight, though and with some conservative estimating at how much I can throw at my debts (for example, I’m not taking into account my monthly bonus from the hotel since that’s not a given; also, one of my credit cards has a flexible interest rate based on what percentage of your debt you pay each month and there’s no real way to take that into account using this calculator), I could be debt free in five years including my student loans! Let me say that again: INCLUDING MY STUDENT LOANS!

That would rock quite a lot, I think. Of course, that implies that I stop using my credit cards completely which, I’ll be honest, is very unlikely to happen. However, I also know that I have much better self-control over when to use my credit cards for things than other people do. The last time that I used one was when I needed to buy a new pair of work shoes and I’d only just started working here and my cash flow was pretty minimal.

Anyway, this makes me happy. Even just looking at my credit cards, it’s likely going to take me closer to two years to pay them off rather than six months. But, even still, it’s nice to have a plan of attack.

Five year plans are good. They worked for the Soviets, right?

Snowball away!