Thursday, January 29, 2009

Addicted To Debt

OMG! We have a debt addiction! I ordered new Discover Cards to take advantage of the 5% cashback promotions coming up this year. Upon receiving and activating the new cards, we went ahead and charged $2,219! This is after having a cash christmas, reducing CITI and promising myself to be more frugal in 2009.

All charges were made in January. I’m starting to think we should not have any credit cards, but I love having plastic, it gives me a rush when I charge things, I get a strange high when I pay with credit. But now as I’m writing this I feel guilt… The wife doesn’t care, she watches me charge, knows I have a system, she knows I always pay bills on time etc. I don’t know, if I have a system then I should not feel guilty. We are back to cash only again.

I already made a $1000.00 payment before the statement came. The plan is to pay this off in February, I returned some household items we bought and I’m going to make another payment to bring down the balance to $1000. The plan is to make two $500 payments with each paycheck in February.

Now some positive news, if you look to the right under balances, Best Buy is ZERO! I’ll do a post on that when the payment clears.

I need debt help!!


Thursday, January 22, 2009

The Good News

I found a new project with my company! So I am no longer laid off! Thank god, it was the most awful feeling, I was a bit scared and uncertain about the future. I am glad I still have a job and I hope others who are in the same boat find something soon.

I am a consultant and the project is at our client site, located in the center of town. I'm going to be part of a team that's setting up a new IT system.

Thanks everyone for your kind comments on my previous post,


Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Just Got Laid Off

Looks like I’m another victim of this economy. I was given notice yesterday that my last day with the company will be January 31, 2009. I was told that I need to find a new role within the company or be out of a job at that date.

I’m not angry or upset, but I’m a little disappointed. This is the best company I have ever worked for. They have so many perks, great bonuses, a 6% dollar per dollar 401k match, cheap benefits etc. I think what upsets me the most is that I will no longer be part of a great firm.

They are giving me a month of pay as part of severance and they will pay one month in COBRA.I have another month of vacation pay saved up. This will of course impact my debt plans.

Part of me knew this was coming but I was in denial. I have been applying to new roles for 6 months now with no luck, so the next few months should be interesting.


Friday, January 9, 2009

Our New Bank Accounts

One of my goals for this year is to get organized. I decided to revamp all of our bank accounts at Bank of America. First thing I did was close the savings account, which paid 0.5% in interest and came with all kinds of fees and minimum balance requirement. I also closed my wife’s checking account which also had a fee of 5.95 a month without direct deposit.

I opened 2 new joint checking accounts online with no fees, no minimums and no direct deposit requirements. Now we have a total of 3 accounts with them:

Bill Paying Account: This is a checking account for “liabilities” only. All bills are paid from this account and this is the only account that we have checks for. Once the money is in there, it can only be taken out by bill pay or check, this way we don’t have to worry about overdraft fees etc.

Spending Account: This is one of the new accounts which will be used for all check card purchases. We both have a check card linked to this account and I can monitor this on a daily basis.

Savings Account: This is the other new checking account (no fees) which will have $500 dollars in it at all times. This is our new emergency fund and it is funded! This account will be linked to my HSBC Direct account where we plan to keep our real savings and earn high interest.

All accounts are free and we don’t have to worry about any kinds of fees or direct deposit requirements.

What do you think about this new approach, is it more simplified?


Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Discover Cashback Bonus

Don’t miss the Discover 5% cash back bonus when you use your card on airline, hotels, car rentals and cruises. Charge it to the card from January to March 2009 and you can earn up to $40.00 in bonuses ($800 in purchases). You still earn your regular 1% unlimited Cashback Bonus on all other purchases.

This is one of my favorite cards to use during this time of the year, we always charge stuff to Discover and we pay it right back, so basically we get paid just for using their card. Last year I cashed in $80 in cash back bonuses and paid 0 in interest. You can get cash, credit back to account or gift cards.

I ordered new cards since the wife may be taking a trip for spring break with her friends.



Tuesday, January 6, 2009

HSBC Savings Account

HSBC Direct sent an email announcing their new savings account rate:

The new rate is 2.60% APY. This is the place I keep our emergency fund so I’m not really worried about returns, but I really miss the days when they used to pay 5.05. Hopefully it won’t drop any lower.

I hope CITI follows and lowers the APR on both of our credit cards.