Archive for the ‘credit card debt’ Category

A happy New Year to all those who still scramble up the crag that is this old worn out blog to view my inconsistent (and sometimes incoherent) fitness ramblings.   I know you are expecting me to talk about how I resolve to post more to this blog over the coming year, but actually I don’t.  I plan on posting more and I expect to be more active than I have been the past year or two, but it isn’t on the top of my to-do list.  I was putting too much stress on keeping this blog up and anxiety was getting the better of me.  I hope that with a more relaxed attitude I can better keep up with this blog, minus the stress and anxiety.

So what are my resolutions?  Before I get to that I should note that experience has tempered my firm belief in specific goals.  They are great until you reach them.  Then what?  A new goal?  Where is the joy in that?  Instead, it is better to find general guidelines for how life should be lived, live by them, and reap the rewards as they come.   No more stress or pressure to hit specific numbers.  I will take my victories as they come.

So the question is changed to what are my guidelines and how do I plan on implementing them.  I answered that question by creating three general guidelines, short enough to remember, but broad enough to allow for a considerable amount of change in the life of myself and my family.  I have termed these “Family Commitments” as they impact both myself and my family.  However, because of their dual nature I will refer to them interchangeably as family and individual commitments, depending on the context.

The three primary commitments are:

  1. Keep God first in all things
  2. Eat fresh and be active
  3. Buy less, throw out more, and organize what we keep

These three commitments hit on the big four: mind, body, spirit, and wallet.   Commitment 1 will keep us spiritually balanced and aids us in keeping commitments 1 and 2.  Commitment 2 will keep us healthy and aids us in keeping commitments 1 and 3.  Commitment 3 will keep our bad spending habits (and my tendency to hoard things) in check, and reinforce commitments 1 and 2.

Now how do I turn these three broad commitments into a plan of action?  Like this: (more…)

For your enjoyment and benefit, the following is a brief reference guide to help you learn the importance of avoiding debt, how to save (regardless of your income), and and how to save painlessly (and for the masochists- painfully).  (more…)

I now no longer owe even a single dime to Household Bank. That is one card down, six more to go. This means that roughly 22% of our peak credit card debt from last year has been eliminated.  Gosh, this feels even better than I thought it would.

We have been fighting an uphill battle against credit card debt since we first got married almost four years ago.  Facing over $16,000 in credit card debt (costing us over $500/month) we took a big step last July and cut our credit cards into tiny little pieces.  So how are we doing now thus far?

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Well, what are my blogging plans for the next month or so (at least the highlights)…

First, I will be writing three posts for StraighttotheBar.com.  [Click on the link now and see a video a guy bending a wrench].  Most likely the posts will be entitled:

“Eliminating the Lug Nuts: How to Find a Good Trainer.”

“The Power of the Negative.”

“Visualization: No Longer just for New Age Hippies.”

Much to my wife’s chagrin over at Musings, Rants, and Monologues I will be posting on my recent quest to build the perfect minority.  Trust me, it will be both offensive, sophomoric, and politically incorrect to the 1,000 degree.

And right here on this, my main blog, I will be posting on my recent struggles with food, our upcoming travels, getting a handle on credit card debt (our experience), and the kind of things you do to start a mental transformation that can keep pace with your physical transformation.  See you later!

As we near out first pay check in over two months (times have been tough but God provided) we are set to implement some money saving procedures and a much improved budget.   What have we done?  Well I will share with you three tips today to shrink your expenses and saved lots of money

First, perhaps the biggest change for us, we are limiting our grocery/all things Wal-Mart budget (excluding dog food) to $250 per month.  We are going to enforce this budget limit by taking out $250 cash at the beginning of the month and placing said cash in an envelope to be used each time we shop.  When the money runs out, no more groceries.  As an incentive to save more, 50% of the money left over at the end of the month can be used for ANYTHING we want.

Estimated Savings: $200-400/month

Second, we are going automatic.  We are signing up as many bills as possible for automatic bill pay.  We have been paying anywhere from $5 to $25 dollars in late fees each month.  The main offender is our water bill.  It is the only bill that comes without a return envelope and is therefore easy to forget about.  To make matters worse the local water department are known in our house as the water Nazi’s- if you are two weeks late with your bill they shut off the water and charge $20 bucks (plus late fee) to reconnect.  As if they weren’t selling the most abundant resource that only cost about $30 a month, and we were somehow going to run off without paying that hefty $35 dollar water bill….geesh.

Estimated Savings: $5-$25 dollars

Third, we will be paying down our lowest balance credit card in a month or two and using that card for gasoline- NOTHING else!  Well okay, emergencies, but only real emergencies.  The card will be paid off before the end of each month.  It will help us budget our gas money and allow for quick and easy gas purchases.  Tried buying gas without a credit card lately?  It isn’t fun.

Estimated Savings$10-$25/month on interest

OVERALL estimated servings:  $215-$450 dollars

As I have a very full day before me- mostly involving me, my wife, my daughter and various forms of gymnastics- I will leave you with this short post.  Take time and enjoy these top ten posts.

How Many Push-Ups Does it Take to get to the Center of an Awesome Body?

I wrote this post in May, and ever since it has been one of my most viewed posts on a daily basis.  I thought it was a throw-away post at the time, guess I was wrong.

Stop the Bleeding

Need some inspiration to escape credit card debt? Start here.

Also see Starting Your Total Financial Transformation.

A Question for Christians- Is the World Comfortable with You?

What’s your answer?

Training for Ninja Warrior

Yup, I really am.

My Unconventional Workout Tools

I can’t forget the boys that brung me, eh?  My wonderful and wacky workout tools.

How to Break Pateaus.

A few suggestions to help make all that hard work productive.

Living the Deliberate Life

A somewhat complete guide to beginning to live a thoughtful and purposeful life.

Also see this rough outline.  I will get around to finish this sooner or later.  Promise.

My Most Recent Before and After Pictures 

The proof is in the pudding..I mean…the pictures.  But Pudding does sound good right about now.

A Fireside Chat with the Adversary

He is actually quite amiable in person.  A little too amiable.

Sexerise

Wonder why everyone loves this post?  I just can’t figure it out.

Whether it is finances or fitness, we often dig our own hole.  We dig it with one shovel full of dirt at a time.  We almost never see the whole until we are looking up and it seems we are so deep down that there is no possibility of escape.

The good news is, you can escape.  the bad news, it will take time.

We dug our bad debt hole over three years.  We started off in our marriage with four credit cards.  Each of us brought two cards with respectable balances (about 35%-40% of the max) into the marriage.

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We took the big plunge and cut up all but two of our credit cards.  I won’t cancel the accounts, as doing such could seriously hurt our credit score.  But since the cards are cut up I won’t be able to use them- at least not on the spur of the moment.  The two we saved not only had the lowest interest rates, but both offered rewards (one based on redeemable points, and the other based on cash back).

From here we will pay down one of the cards we saved (as it has the lowest balance) and use it ONLY for gas so we can easily track how much we spend on gas each month.  The gas card will be paid in full at the end of each month, within the cards grace period for interest charges.  The other will be for emergencies (like car repairs that savings won’t cover).

So why don’t you take this step today too!  Cut up all but one or two cards.  If you can’t bear cutting them up, drop them into some Tupperware filled with water and put the Tupperware into the freezer.  At least that will keep them out of site, out of mind, and most importantly- out of your wallet.

Why don’t you make your savings automatic- that is after you finish paying off those high interest credit cards? Let me address the latter before tackling the former.

It makes no sense to put your savings in a bank account with less than 2% interest while your credit cards accumulate debt at 16-20% interest. Plus, if a true emergency occurs (i.e. your car breaks down) you can access that money on your credit card just as easily, if not more so, as if it were in your savings account.

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