It is very easy to get yourself into debt. Everywhere you look; companies are promoting credit cards of all colours, shapes and sizes. They tell you all about how good they are but do nothing about reminding you that they are going to cost you money. And a lot of it. It should be like smoking. Every credit card should carry a large warning on the front of it ‘CAN DAMAGE YOUR WEALTH’. Unless you are very good at avoiding these marketing techniques, then you likely have at least one credit card in your wallet. And it doesn’t stop there. It became fashionable to get a new credit card with zero interest on it, and then when your interest free period expired, transfer it to another card. Great idea you think! No! In reality what happens is you now have two credit cards in your wallet and it doesn’t take long for you to realise this and start using both of them. Disaster.
It gets to all of us. If we then for some reason find ourselves with reduced income and unable to manage the repayments, we can start to lose control and fall into the ever increasing spiral of debt. If you have found yourself in this predicament, and maybe found help via one of the debt-help charities, you know what it is like. You have had your fingers well and truly burned. But if all of your credit cards have been cut up, your cheque book shredded and your overdraft sent off to never-never land, what do you do when you have a temporary cash shortage?
No credit card for you. In fact no more credit. You have crossed the point of no-return and have to spend the next 10 years or so of your life paying back all that you owe. So what if you have a cash dilemma? Wonga offer an alternative to a payday loan. They can help you, even if your credit is poor as they do not carry out traditional credit checks. Of course they will look at your cash liquidity and your earnings etc., but as you are limited to borrowing less than £400 for no more than 28 days, you will likely find that you will be accepted. You will not be adding to your debts as you have to pay back the amount in full on a pre-agreed date. The company will then take the sum due out of your nominated bank account without you having to raise a finger. So, unless there are no funds in your account, your debt will be cleared in full. No putting off until tomorrow what you can pay back today. It’s a simple and straightforward way of coping when funds are short. The great thing is, even if you are tempted to do so, you cannot put off the payback time. It’s all about being responsible for your actions and accepting the fact that money is hard to come by.
I have heard that most New Year’s resolutions are long forgotten by mid-February so I thought I would take a look and see how I am doing on my 2 main goals for 2013.
Goal Number 1: Lose Weight
I thought I would start with the simplest and most straight forward of the 2 goals, losing weight. I want to lose 15 pounds by May to get me to about 215 in time for softball season. I want to still be able to make it down the line quickly and not hurt my knees so much so getting to 215 is a start.
On the day that I hit the heaviest I have ever been, I weighed in at 230.4 pounds. Since that day, I have managed to weigh in at even or down each week. Yesterday, I was 224.8 for a total 5.6 pound weight loss in a little over 6 weeks. A pound per week should be quite sustainable. Also, I have not lost any strength although my upper body workout has been less than stellar these past 2 weeks due to muscle spasms in my upper back. It should be better in the next week or two.
Goal Number 2: Lose Debt
This is a little more complicated as technically my liabilities have increased over the past month, but that is because the PLUS loans that are paid out for fall and spring semesters go into repayment starting in February. So that total has been added to the overall mix. But the debts that I have wanted to focus on (namely consumer debt) has been decreasing. In January, I managed to knock about $6000 off the total.
Now I started a new blog to more closely follow and share my progress. It is called Shredding Debt, which is exactly what I am looking forward to doing to all my credit cards when I get them paid off. Shred them for good! Be sure to stop by and check out the blog. The design and logo is the work of Andrea at Nuts and Bolts Media. I think she did a fabulous job for a reasonable cost. All I have to do is log in and start writing.
February will not end up as good. This is because I am hoarding cash for a possible business purchase or investment. I have been meeting with bankers and a consultant to see what can be worked out. I am keeping the cash in case I need to put up some equity into the deal to make it happen. Once the picture is clearer, I can resume my efforts.
Nevertheless, there will be some debt payoff simply from principal repayments. At least I am able to track my progress closely. I have been updating my spreadsheet monthly since October of 2012 working on getting debt paid off and freeing up some monthly cash flow.
Finally, here are the carnivals that featured my blogs in the past few weeks:
I will be on vacation this summer, and although we thought we might go to Washington, DC or some other location, it simply won’t work out to be gone for long given all the other activities that the kids have going. Our daughter has a soccer game on Sunday of one weekend and something the following weekend. We didn’t want to drive all day on Friday and expect her to have to be somewhere on Saturday, so we would have only had from Monday to Thursday at best.
Of course, wanting to pay off debt and keep costs reasonable is another consideration so only taking a few days away should help on that front as well. Ultimately, we decided that we would head to Cedar Point in Ohio and enjoy the roller coasters for a few days. So, with that in mind, I want to estimate what the cost might be for the trip.
Outlining the Costs
The plan will be to leave after the soccer game and drive to Cedar Point, so gas expenses will be one cost. We will need to have a place to stay Sunday night. We plan to spend two days at Cedar Point and won’t want to drive home on Tuesday late, so that means Monday and Tuesday night lodging as well. Since we have 6 kids, that either means two rooms or a large enough suite. We will have to look into suite options.
Of course, entry into the park is an expense as is food. Breakfast will be at the hotel before leaving for the park. Dinner can be had after leaving the park with either lunch or snack type foods in the park. It might be possible to pack some sandwiches or something as well. We will have to see how that works out, but will budget otherwise.
The final cost will be to have someone staying at our house to watch the dogs and the two puppies that are there. This shouldn’t be as costly as boarding them, but will have to be considered as well.
Knowing what I know about hotels and where we might end up, I am estimating $150 per night per room or $300 per night for 3 nights of lodging. We will probably stay somewhat close to the park so will be in a resort area which is why I have added some cost. Plus, I have to figure that there might be some sort of special hotel tax or something.
I am estimating $50 per person per day to get into the park so that would add up to $800 for admissions. Hopefully, there might be a way to snag a discount.
Knowing the cost to feed 8 people on the road, I am figuring $200 per day for food or $600 total. Breakfast can often be the hotel breakfast. We will probably eat a little in the park and try to find something better afterwards for one good meal each day. Hopefully, this is an over-estimate.
Gasoline prices have come down (I saw it at $3.45 per gallon this morning), but I will still use 15 miles per gallon and $4.00 per gallon cost in my estimates. It looks like it is 300 miles one-way. Of course, the soccer game will add some miles so let me figure 800 miles. That means I would need 53 gallons of gas so fuel costs will be $220.
Finally, I will be having someone stay at the house with the dogs and caring for them. It will be easier than boarding them. That will cost $150 or so.
Total for Trip
Park Tickets: $800
Grand Total: $2670
That is about what it might have cost to rent a house for a week had we gone elsewhere. And the good news is that I won’t be putting it on credit. I may use a card for convenience, but I have the funds available to pay for the trip whereas it might have been a stretch to do something bigger.
I will keep the receipts and update you on the actual cost of the trip when we return.
In the meantime, do you have any vacation plans for the summer? Any big trips? Feel free to share in the comments.