It’s been a while. I’ve got some developments and I’m excited to share them!
Hear Ye. Hear Ye.
1. Debt Repayment
The first big development is that I paid $1000 off my credit card! YAY. It was really hard not to think about using the money to book a flight to BA but as soon as I got my check, I ran down to the bank and put it immediately to my credit card. And it felt REALLY GOOD. There was definitely a weight lifted off my shoulders. I’m still not out of the woods but have about $350 left on this card which should be paid off by month’s end. Then I can really start to focus on the VISA. Dun Dun Dun.
Speaking of, I went back to the bank and tried to get a consolidation. Not happening, as I’d still be on 19.99 % interest and the only thing they could offer was a switch to 11.99 % interest on a non-points card. I can’t really get any outside help so I’m going to just have to deal.with.it. but I’m hoping that it will help me really stick to my plan and get down my debt. It’s still a long road ahead. I just have to be consistent.
But one good thing: I know exactly what I owe. That was a scary thing to own up to but once I knew the number, I knew how I could calculate it on a monthly basis to pay it off. It’s not fun but it’s essential if you want to get to zero. If I’m really good with the rate I’m being paid, I can get the debt paid off in a year and a half.
P.S. Why are bankers always smiling? Even in dire situations, they constantly have this grin on their face. (Well, my banker did.) It’s kind of creepy and makes me not trust them. This is also motivating me to be in the “I never want to use a credit card EVER AGAIN” category.
2. Attend Book Passage.
I’ve been waiting on purchasing my flights a. because I thought they were too expensive or b. other payments. On that note, I brought an IPHONE! It was a purchase that was a long time coming and I have to say something that is *quite* convenient to have.
That said, there’s a development on this front. I’ve purchased one flight. Cha-Ching.
But let’s see what they’re at (best rates I’ve found):
August 6 YYZ-BUF $9.50 bus
August 6 BUF- SFO $285-$315 (buy from May-July. Pray there is a sale on Southwest).
August 13 SFO-PDX $117 –this should be purchased on May 5, actually!
August 17 PDX-YYZ: $256.18 —HAS BEEN PURCHASED! Bonus: the price went DOWN after over a month on AC to $230. I had $96 in credit via points so total flight cost was $134. Score!
This means total cost of all of these flights will be $536. A little planning and thinking outside of the box (and okay, points) has saved me some money. So with that, I decided to stay an extra day in Portland. Looking forward to it!
3. Mini 30 Day Challenge:
So the April challenge failed. And I’ve got to stop with the excuses.
So regarding note Number One, I know where my money is going: FOOD. So I’ve got to stop it. I started with one challenge that my good friend Arianne started (as she is also tackling her debt) and we dubbed it Zero Week (#zeroweek on Twitter). The premise is not to spend anything for one week. Zip, Zero, Zilch. This required a lot of pre-planning and taking out a few hours to do a grocery shop (I shopped liked the world was ending).
Not making any impulse payments made me feel proud. Full disclosure: I did end up spending $137 on two things: 1. a wee extra $2 payment that was used for Uber (a town car service) who wouldn’t let me calculate approximate cost for the ride and charges directly to my credit card (BUT seriously way better than a taxi. I was given a promo to try it out). 2. A flight that I had to purchase to redeem my points before I could get my interest rate down. It just so happened that Zero Week was in the same week. Otherwise, I’m really proud of myself for not spending anything on food this week and I’m going to try to keep up these habits so I can put my money towards the goals I’m working on.
I’ve been challenged to do no restaurants for a month. I think I may try it (but don’t want to all-out declare it for fear of failure) so I’ll just continue on this zero week train, grocery shop more and eat at home more hoping to cut off the monthly food payments by half. If I’m successful, I’ll reward myself (either a dress or mini trip…not sure yet!). If I’m not, I’ll disclose how much I spent in food this month (which I really don’t want any of you to know!).
I read a great quote from Steve Jobs. He says, “Focus is about saying no.” And it’s true if my focus is to pay off my debt and focus my spending to going on a dream trip, I have to say no in the short term. I hate doing it but it will only make me stronger.
4. Get The Blog in Order
Is slowly but surely coming into play and should be out by the end of May.
Am thinking of a more editorial format and cleaner branding.
Also playing around with fonts and what works best.
I haven’t been posting consistently at all. Just need to schedule it in! *Sigh.
I think I’ll be more motivated when I see the cleaner look of the new blog. I’m excited to share it with you.
Maybe I’ll do a mini survey to see what you want.
5. Go Somewhere Exotic
Right now the focus is on Portland/San Francisco. I may need a sanity break so may take off to Montreal or New York (great fare wars going on currently).
I think Buenos Aires might have to be put on hold until next year. But if I’m going to do it, I’m going to do it right and I’m going to do it without going into debt. We’ll see what happens!
6. Write More Handwritten Notes
All I’m saying is that handwritten notes work.
Hoping to do more but it’s been hard. Just need to prioritize on that.
Less eating out should give me more time to get this accomplished.
7. Get Published With a Travel Related Piece
As with last month: Nothing yet. This will be a May goal. But I am getting caught up on my Sympatico articles which will give me more time to pitch. Still have to clean out and organize that email inbox and look at old business contacts. *Breathe! One thing at a time!