Thursday, August 25, 2011

Discover Card Balance

We are making progress on Discover. The current balance on the account is exactly $4,000.00! This is the credit card that I plan to attack with gazelle intensity in the coming months. Back on July 8th this credit card was at $4,600 so I think we've made a lot of progress.

I've sent close to $3,000 dollars back to our credit cards over the last couple of months. A lot of it went to cover the IVF treatments but if I can keep up this gazelle intensity I should be at $8,000 by the end of September.

On a positive note, I made close to 6,000 points in rewards by charging all our infertility treatments on Citi. This means I can get a $50 dollar gift card from Thank You rewards. I will probably get if for Macy's to help offset some of those birthday expenses I talked about yesterday.

Has your Gazelle Intensity set in yet?! I got that from Dave Ramsey!


Wednesday, August 24, 2011

August Birthday Expenses

This past weekend we celebrated the first of the birthdays I talk about in this blog. The birthday was for my dad and we went out to dinner with the family. His gift was a gift card from Macy's, mom said he needed new clothes. I spent $50 on the gift card, $4.99 on a card and $25.xx on a bottle of wine.

The dinner was at a restaurant in Midtown Houston. The dinner party was six of us and my sister and I agreed to split the bill and treat. My sister and I both had the same idea, bring a bottle of wine and cash! no credit cards. The restaurant is BYOB with a $5 cork fee so that saved us some money. The total for six of us was $278 dollars not counting tip. My sister only brought $150 in cash and I had $100. She was short on the tip so I put in $20 with her cash and pulled out the Citicard. So with her cash added and the $55 dollar tip on me, here is my total:

This is what I was talking about when I said each birthday will cost me around $200... there's just no way to avoid it. I have two more coming up that worry me. One is the spouse, the other one my mom. Between the two I think it will set us back $300 to $400. I have no idea what to get for the wife but it all depends on the pregnancy.

Impact on credit cards: I was hoping to be under $10,000 in credit card debt but it looks like it will be around $10,100 with this charge and when the interest charges go through. I did make some progress on Discover, I'll have a post on that tomorrow.


Monday, August 22, 2011

The Last Post On Infertility

As some of you already know, we had our first and last cycle of IVF treatments last month to try and conceive a child. Things went well, we retrieved four eggs but only three fertilized. Our doctor advised us to only put two back in and freeze the other one.

Fast forward 3 weeks later and we have a positive pregnancy test. The HCG levels are very low so at this point we're not really sure what to make of all this. The wife is under a lot of stress from school (first day today) and I'm worried this could have an impact on things. I've decided to let FAITH decide the rest, there's not a lot I can do at this point.

I would also like to apologize for brining in all this talk about infertility to this blog. This procedure did take a huge toll on our finances. We spent close to $2,000 dollars so going forward I'm going to try and keep the focus on the financial aspect of things. I don't want to mix in the emotional side as this has become a sensitive issue for us.

I'll leave you with the wall of babies at the fertility clinic, I'm the guy that stares at it for hours. There are 3 of these walls and tons of twins and triplets and of course happy parents:


Thursday, August 18, 2011

Discover Card Interest

The interest on my Discover card is killing me! I can' believe I've added $407 dollars to our balance this year. My APR is only 12.99%, while that sounds OK for a credit card, it adds a lot of money per month to our balance:

I've been making the minimum payment of $100 dollars per month on this card. My focus is to try to reduce this balance down to $2,000 and transfer it to my Citi Forward credit card. I have a few balance transfer checks at home for 0% for 1 year and it would be nice to just have to pay one creditor back instead of two.

The current balance on Discover is $4,500. The goal is to get this under $4000 by the end of August and then send in $1,000 by the first week of September. The only problem with this plan is Citi will stay somewhere around $6,000 and I'm not even sure I can send in $1,000. I have a couple of mom's turning 60 this year and the wife's birthday is also coming up. I'll have a post with all the credit card balances next week.

Here is my Year-To-Date summary from Discover for 2011. As you can see, the only activity for 2011 is payments. I find it funny that they don't show you interest charged in this little chart:

I think as soon as we pay this off we will finally close Discover. This credit card has been on this blog way too long.


Monday, August 15, 2011

I WANT This Credit Card

The Citi Thank You Premier Card is offering $500 in rewards if you spend $2,000 within 2 months of opening the account. The $500 can be cashed in for gift cards like the one I got for Walmart a few weeks ago. I know I don't NEED this but I want that $500 in rewards. I think I would redeem it all in Macy's gift cards and go on a shopping spree.

The only issue is I don't have anything that will cost $2,000 in the next couple of months. I could always pay all my bills with it and put all our grocery shopping and gas purchases on it but I don't think I can be trusted with a brand new credit card.

There's also a $125 dollar annual fee which I don't think is waived for the first 12 months. I didn't see it in the terms and conditions. There's also a $50 annual charge for each additional user on the account.

I'm NOT going to get this credit card since I just destroyed a Citi Thank You card below. But if anyone out there wants to make a quick $500 this offer may come in handy. Open account, charge $2,000, take the rewards and close the account.


Friday, August 12, 2011

You Asked For It

I cut up the Citi Thank You card, it was painful but some of you asked for it. I swear I'm addicted to credit cards. Goodbye $23,000 credit line:

I only had one card, I never added the wife to this account. She still carries the Citi Forward card, maybe that one is next to be cut up. Discover is locked up, haven't charged anything to that account in months.

Have a good weekend.


Thursday, August 11, 2011

Citi Thank You Card Paid Off

It was really hard staying home and playing the frugal game the last 3 weekends but it finally paid off. I was able to send in the final payment to our Citi Thank You card for $1,500:

This is the card I was worried about back in May when the balance was over $2,000:

The balance actually went down to $1,500 around July 8th:

I added another $500 to it last week for IVF egg retrievals but I finally said enough and decided to pay it off. The bad part is that leaves us with $250 dollars until next payday which will be next Friday. Things like gas and groceries will come up and I have a birthday coming up which will probably mean more spending in August.

I should be under $10,000 in credit card debt by the end of August. That leaves Discover and Citi Forward. Not sure which card to tackle next but I may have to slow down a bit. I have more birthdays coming up and will probably need to spend $500 on gifts, food, wine etc. Better to spend cash than to charge it on the cards.


Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Blog Revenue

As you can probably see, I have four minor ads on this blog. While I was bored at work today I thought I would go and check out the PayPal account for this blog. I have two personal PayPal accounts linked to two different bank accounts. One account is for personal use (eBay) and the other account is to handle any expenses from this blog which is mainly the domain name. The name for the blog is paid for 3 years so I been racking up a little bit of money from these ads:

I'm not sure what to do with this money. I don't really blog for the money. I don't care too much about rankings or PR etc but when someone emails me that they want to place a link for $200 it's hard to say no BUT I will not allow any guests or paid posts. I feel kinda guilty applying this money to debt so I think I will just leave it in there for now. Maybe I can use it as a minor emergency fund but I always end up using credit cards as my emergency fund so who knows.

Do you make money from your blog? Do you feel guilty about spending it?


Monday, August 8, 2011

Is Netflix Worth It?

I got an email this morning from Netflix that our credit card on the account expired:

I must confess, I never use Netflix. I started Netflix back in 2005 and I really enjoyed checking the mail box and finding a movie but back in 2009 I switched to streaming only that's where I forgot about it. There's really no good content to watch. Last year I added my account to our parents TV and my brother so technically I'm paying Netflix streaming for other people. The one that will probably notice is my father in law, he really enjoys watching movies over and over so I'm waiting for his call.

The truth is I really don't want to keep paying $9 for something I don't use. At the same time, should I be kind and keep this on for my parent's and the wife's parents?

Anyone else dump Neflix lately?


Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Paying Down Credit Card Debt

Quick update on IVF and infertility, we retrieved 9 eggs this morning and I had the pleasure to provide a semen sample at the doctor's office (awkward).... Wish us luck! The bad news is the receptionist said we owed another $480 dollars so that went on one of the Citi cards. Now, I know I talk about how serious I am about paying down our debt (Yes I just charged $2,000 for IVF) but I want you to know that we are making some progress, below are all our credit card payments for the last month:

Citi Forward Card:


The $5.35 credit is from some auto parts I bought but never used... the receipt was over six months old but they still took them back, not much but every dollar counts right?

Citi Thank You Card Card:

As you can see we are making some progress. If infertility wasn't an issue right now, I think I could've paid back at least $3,000 but there are things that I can't control. I hope we can conceive this month and move on. I talked to the wife about the debt again this morning and she's on board with everything. She agrees with me that, if we conceive things will change but for now the focus is to pay off this debt.

The goal next month is to pay off the Citi Thank You card and then bring down the Citi Forward balance. That will leave us with two credit cards to pay off and I'm confident that we can pay off one of them before Christmas.

And as I'm writing this, a good song just came on!

Oh, this has gotta be the good life
This has gotta be the good life
This could really be a good life, good life

I couldn't agree more, no matter what happens, this has gotta be a good life...


Monday, August 1, 2011

Weekend Spending - End of July

Another weekend is over and I think we managed to control our spending. I had no alcohol, no going out to bars and not a lot of eating out. Below are all our weekend expenses that went on our Bank of America check card:

On Friday, the wife spent $25 on nails; it was actually $20 with a $5 dollar tip. Friday night we were too tired to cook so we had some Chick-Fil-A. We usually split one meal and I get a salad so it was only $10.76. Saturday morning we had a volunteer function so we picked up some breakfast on the way at McDonald’s and that was $8.75. We ate the rest of the weekend meals at home which is why we had to hit HEB, our local grocery store and spent $76. That food should last us until next Friday and I’m going to try and bring my lunch to work this week. Other than that I needed a couple of home items from Walmart and spent $20 there. My Dry Cleaners bill was only $12 and the wife snuck a smoothie somewhere in there for $4.56.

We also had some cash on hand so we went to the movies and watched Crazy, Stupid, Love for $15 since it was an early show. We didn’t get any snacks so it was a cheap date. I loved the movie! Go see it, it was awesome!!

Hope everyone had a good weekend.