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Archive for February, 2012

Progress on Discover Card Debt

I still don’t make a lot from blogging at least in terms of what you might expect for the amount of effort I am putting into it.  But I am still able to net several hundred dollars a month after expenses so I have been using that extra money to pay off debt.  I have already paid off a credit card and another credit line saving me plenty in terms of interest and about $200 per month in payments.  This will help my monthly cash flow for years to come.

Now I am targeting my Discover Card since the interest is so high.  I have been working on this for the past few months.  In December, the balance was $8809.  Currently, it is $7928 so I have managed to pay off $881.  I know that it is not the greatest progress, but I am still pretty encouraged.  I will be making a regular payment and adding an extra payment from my blogging income.  I have been holding some money back in my blogging PayPal account in order to cover expenses associated with building two blogs.

Have a Little Cushion Now

But now, I have a little bit of a cushion so I just completed the transfer into the bank.  Of course, it will take a few business days to make the move, but I will now go and make an extra payment to the Discover Card bill.  In about ten days, my regular payment will go out as well so I will be knocking out a nice chunk by the time I get my next statement.

If I can continue to do this each and every month, I should have the card paid off by roughly the end of September.  Of course, if I can actually grow my earnings which I should be doing since I am part of the $30,000 online income Challenge, I will be able to get it paid off even quicker and begin working on the next credit card with the regular payment plus extra blogging income.

Trying to Stay Angry

I really need to try and stay angry and focused on eliminating all of my debt.  I know that I have a long haul ahead.  I figure it will take anywhere from 6-10 years to get everything paid off.  During that time, I will be adding college debt to the equation as well since the kids are getting to that age.

Now I haven’t had a chance to sit down and try to map each month out along the way and set anticipated targets.  I suppose I could do that, but I think that would not work well for my psyche.  I think the best thing for me to do right now is to continue to avoid any type of consumer debt, resign myself to the fact that I will be adding loans for college albeit at an interest rate preferable to credit card debt, and use any extra blogging income for additional payments in order to speed up the process.

So that is the plan.  I think it is a decent one.  It may not be the best, but it is what will be working for me.  I will be sure to keep everyone updated from time to time.

 

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16 comments - What do you think?  Posted by Cash Flow Mantra - February 29, 2012 at 5:30 am

Categories: Credit/Debt   Tags: , , , , , ,

Simple Additions to Your Home to Save Money

The following is a guest post:

While large-scale projects, such as installing a ground source heat pump or getting solar PV panels at Evo Energy will certainly make a big difference to your energy bills, there are a variety of less drastic measures that anyone can take to improve their home’s efficiency – often without spending any money.

First of all, every energy-saving light bulb you fit in your house can save you an average of £2.50 a year. Pair this with switching lights, mobile phone chargers, TVs and other electrical items off when they’re not in use, and you’re already well on the way to reducing your home’s carbon footprint.

When it gets chilly in the evening, the usual response is to turn the heating up – but there are quite a few things we can do first to make sure as much heat as possible is being kept in the house in the first place. Closing the curtains traps in a good bit of warmth, and if you detect any draughts coming from the doors and windows, use strips or excluders to block them out. This can save around £25 per year on heating.

The bathroom is another area where there’s money to be saved. Shower Smart devices can be found for free, and regulate the flow rate of your shower to cut down water and gas bills at the same time. A water-saving device, which are often provided free of charge from water companies, can also be added to your toilet cistern to reduce wastage even further.

If you’re lucky enough to have a vegetable patch in your garden, you’re already saving money and resources by growing some of your own food, so why not take the next step by making your own compost? Some local authorities will provide you with a compost bin free of charge, and they also work as handy waste dispensers than cut down on the amount of rubbish you send to landfill. It’s estimated that as much as 30 per cent of the UK’s household waste could be composted.

These are just a few of the ways you can improve your home’s energy efficiency at little or no cost to you – if you really want to keep track of your progress, invest in an electricity monitor, which provides real-time information on your energy usage.

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4 comments - What do you think?  Posted by Cash Flow Mantra - February 28, 2012 at 8:31 am

Categories: Saving   Tags: , , , ,

Working on Improving Monthly Cash Flow

There is no doubt that cash flow is one of the most important aspects to managing personal finances and building long term wealth.  It is only when one spends less than one earns can the excess cash be put to good use and be used to make additional income.  If you are constantly spending more than you make, then it becomes impossible to begin to build wealth.

It took me a while to realize the importance of cash flow, but now that I am trying to focus on this aspect of personal finance, I feel that I am beginning to turn the corner and will see marked improvements over the next several years.  Cash flow is much different than net worth.  It is possible to have many assets that do not yield much cash and to even have a positive net worth and be in danger of bankruptcy if those assets cannot be sold in a timely fashion.

Two Ways to Improve Cash Flow

The concept of improving cash flow is simple and yet can be difficult to implement.  You can either make more money, spend less money, or work on a combination of the two.  I am working on a combination of the two simultaneously.

Saving Money

First, I am saving money by using extra cash flow to pay off debt.  I have managed to pay off a business credit card and a business credit line in the past 6 months.  This freed up almost $200 per month minimum that I no longer am obligated to pay each month.  I am now working on paying off my Discover Card.  My goal is to get it paid off by the end of the year at the latest freeing up another $200 per month out of my spending plan.

Just these small moves make it possible to restructure some of my debt to create a reasonable plan for becoming debt free over the next 6-10 years.  That may seem like a long time, but I do have a lot of debt so I would be pleased to have it done in that time frame.  The net impact to my monthly cash flow will be negligible and easy to manage while relieving a large debt burden off my shoulders.

Earning More Money

I am also trying to pick up extra shifts at work when possible and using my blogging income solely for debt repayment.  There is a limit to how much I can work, but there is plenty of room for income growth from blogging.  The longer I am online, the more traffic and earnings that become possible.  As debt payments are made each month, more goes to principal.  There is a virtuous cycle that is created as I mentioned above.

I have other debts that will be paid off naturally over the next few years which will only continue to improve monthly cash flow.  I have been paying close attention to the debt balances and the minimum monthly payments.  Each month, they are declining leaving more room in the budget although I am committed to paying more than the minimums and creating more and more breathing room.

Looking for More Ways to Improve Cash Flow

There are other places that I could be saving money so I will be constantly reviewing these areas as well.  Looking at costs for insurance, trying to get lower interest rates for debts, eating out less and more frugally when we do are just some of the ways to save money.  I am also doing what I can to grow my online earnings through expansion of blogging opportunities.

I am trying to increase my focus on dividend stocks, but that doesn’t help me in the near term because they are in retirement accounts.  However, the experience and knowledge gained is invaluable for when debts have been retired and cash producing assets could be purchased.

Blogging has provided a great opportunity to focus the mind and to actually accomplish tasks.  The accountability is awesome.  When I started this blog, I had just come to the conclusion that cash flow was one of the most important priorities on which I needed to focus for a while.  Hence, the name of the blog.  Focusing on cash flow has been a great idea, and I will continue to do so documenting my progress as I move forward.

Thanks for reading and joining me on this journey.

 

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10 comments - What do you think?  Posted by Cash Flow Mantra - February 27, 2012 at 9:21 am

Categories: Earning, Spending   Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , ,

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