It’s 2012. So before the world ends, I’d like to pay off my debt.

3 Jan

I’m not a huge fan of resolutions.  In fact, I don’t remember the last time I technically made one.  Who keeps them past February first?  I AM, however, a fan of change.  Genuine, gut-wrenching, this-isn’t-working-and-I-need-to-do-something-about-it change.  I’m not word-mincey and I’m pretty honest.  For example, I have no qualms with telling you I’m in about $30,000 worth of debt right now.  And I earn $40,000 a year.  Do the math on that and you’ll know it’s not a great situation.  About half of my take-home pay a year goes to paying off my debt.  Yes, I suppose I could join the “screw ’em” mentality of thinking and just stop paying it; no one in this economic climate (or any other, let’s be real) would give me a mortgage anyway, and that’s always been my reasoning for maintaining a decent credit score (which, yes, is now screwed.)  BUT…it’s just not who I am.  I keep promises I make, I pay back money I borrow, I don’t call in sick to work unless there’s a good reason and I always blow on my coffee before I drink it.  Which is a decent segue to this photo:

This is a Starbucks tumbler that I can bring into the bucks everyday in January and get free coffee. I have very few vices, but coffee is one.  AND there’s a Starbucks below my work, so, as you can imagine, I spend way too much money there on a regular basis.  It’s too easy to go downstairs as a treat or to get out of the building and spend $7 a day.  Seriously.  While I’m there, I usually get a coffee cake or that exorbitantly priced cheese platter.   I’ll feel ok with handing them my cup everyday and walking out dropping nothing.  I won’t even bring my wallet inside.  My husband bought this for me for Christmas and it cost $19.95.  It will be paid for in a week of free coffee.   STEP ONE in the savings!!

I have a daughter.  Her name is Adelaide and she’s sitting in her pack ‘N play right now quietly playing with blocks as I type this.  She’s the best baby on the planet.  (Unless YOU have a baby, then probably to YOU, THAT’S the best baby.  But whatever…) 

We want to make sure she has everything she needs and she doesn’t have to spend her adult life paying back college loans like I have.  (Though in the spirit of keeping it real, almost all my debt is that bad credit card kind.  Only about .5% is now loans.  But I digress.)  I went into the Google yesterday to figure out how to set up a 529 account and there was a link to a page that would allow me to figure out how much it will be, approximately, to send her to school when she’s ready.  You know how there are some things on the internet you wish you never saw?  Well, add this to my list:  In 2029, when Addie is 18, it will be about $294,000 to send her to school for 4 years.  This isn’t even Harvard.  Good God, what if she wants to go to Harvard!?   Proceed with freaking out and tightening of the boot straps.

                 HARVARD——>For the smart and rich.    

So while I’ve never been good at saving money (my personal savings account currently has $.70 in it.  Cents. Not dollars.) I need, NEED to be better about it.  I can usually do things that aren’t for myself pretty easily.  Somehow, if it were for me, it just wouldn’t happen.  But, I guess, that’s a different blog.

So because accountability is huge in accomplishing goals we set, this blog is officially ON.  Read, comment, add ideas, etc.  I’m not into fear and I’m into thinking prosperously, so this isn’t about lack.  It’s about creating more of what is already out there.  There’s enough for everyone and I’m tapping into it…but along the way, I’m going to make a game of putting cash in the piggy bank.  Stay tuned….

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11 Responses to “It’s 2012. So before the world ends, I’d like to pay off my debt.”

  1. mike d January 3, 2012 at 9:27 pm #

    This is a great start jen! Well done. Can’t wait to see where this goes.

  2. Georgia Brewer January 3, 2012 at 9:43 pm #

    http://money.usnews.com/money/blogs/On-Retirement/2011/12/22/should-i-save-for-retirement-or-college

    Great blog, Jen! You are such a good mom and responsible citizen! But please read this article from US News. . . .most financial advisers are suggesting that, yes, you save for your kid’s college but it’s more important that you save for your retirement. This article gives very good reasons why. And remember, it’s smart to do two years in an inexpensive community college and then transfer into that prestigious university. Not only is it easier to transfer in as a Junior, it is significantly less expensive. And the Degree is the same, just cheaper! You will not be able to borrow money to retire, but if you have savings in a retirement fund and the 529 plan, Addie will have options for her education. If you have achieved some financial security for yourselves, when Addie is older she can only benefit. And you never know, she may get a scholarship. Mirabelle did.

    • miafaery January 4, 2012 at 7:13 am #

      Yes, Suze Orman says the same thing! I’m on my way to signing up for the 401K at work. I’m hoping to get it all in there..the college, the retirement, the debt-free….it’s a process. 🙂

  3. Suzy Koehler January 4, 2012 at 5:09 am #

    Welp, I admire you Jen, but I think me and Bruce just joined the “screw it” crowd. Not entirely, but it took many years for both of us to realize that the system is rigged against us, and even though we are highly ethical, hard-working, educated people, the rest of the world is sadly, determined to see us fail. So we’re signing it all over to a company that will negotiate it all down to maybe %40 of the total for us- and yes our credit will take a hit for a while, but it really couldn’t be much worse.
    We’re frugal as all get out, and we still can’t get out of this f-ed up racket of a situation.

    • miafaery January 4, 2012 at 7:11 am #

      Oh, don’t get me wrong…I’m in a debt management program. It didn’t negotiate down my debt, but lowered my interest rates to almost nothing and I had to close all my credit cards. That’s why my credit score now sucks. I’m definitely not judging the hard working, ethical folks who say “screw it.” I totally get it. I’ve spent many nights wondering if I should just stop paying all together. That money would be awesome to have every month. Sigh.

  4. latenightcoffee January 5, 2012 at 3:45 pm #

    Love the article! Love your resourcefulness! Good for you! “Recycled Can Money” still spends the same as other money…:)

  5. Suzy Koehler January 7, 2012 at 10:36 pm #

    And by the way, yes, you are correct, Addie is the best baby in the world who deserves the very best!!! ( I can say that because Ella’s not a baby anymore.)

  6. alisaacarter January 21, 2012 at 9:08 pm #

    Hey, girl, you’ll get there with such a great attitude. We’ve all done the same — I can’t say no to my kids for anything. I got serious about saving money when the recession hit. Big wake-up call for all of us. I found so many little ways to do things cheaper, I was able to carve huge chunks out of my grocery bill. Like your Starbucks cup. Little things add up. We started off great with the college savings, but the stock market “corrections” have taken so much of it, it’s frustrating. The 401K is great though — you can borrow against it for college and pay it back at something like 2%, so it’s a win-win. I’ll be thinking of you!

  7. Doris January 30, 2012 at 10:19 pm #

    O….M…..G! Finally someone that just throws it out there and isn’t afraid to be real! I am in the same boat as you! I have a lil baby and in the past 2 years my credit went down the toilet and like you said (not the good kind of credit!). I’m determined to get my butt out of the mess I got myself into.

    I will be following your blog, cant wait to read more 🙂

    • miafaery January 30, 2012 at 11:45 pm #

      Thanks, Doris! I just checked out your blog and am re-inspired to sell some stuff on Ebay!!!!

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