Wednesday, October 26, 2011


I applied for a loan yesterday, in an attempt to consolidate my debt and lock in a lower interest rate.

I was denied.

It's hard to say that. I had repaired my credit and it was pretty and shiny and good. Now, it's in the crapper. But, our bills are paid. We are owed a bunch of money that we have no idea when it will show up. We have plane tickets to fly home in December. It's not all bad. The biggest thing is that we aren't going further into debt. We may be moving at a snails pace, but at least we are moving.

I checked the interest rates on my credit card... something everyone should regularly do. It's not too terrible. The biggest problem is the Prosper loan that I took out in order to pay our taxes. I thought initially that I would be able to pay it off in three months. Here we are, six months later, and we're paying just over the minimum. Now what I need to do is focus on it, because the interest rate is 21%. Everything extra that we can swing will be going on that loan. I'm seriously hoping that no more surprises come along and we can really get all of this taken care of.

Honestly, if you are trying to get out of debt, remember that the best thing you can do first is to stop charging on your cards. Even if you think you'll pay it off immediately, if you are carrying a balance, stop charging now. Don't be me.

Sunday, October 16, 2011


One of my goals is to make an extra $200 a month. Today, I'm $53 closer to that goal and I feel like I didn't have to do pretty much anything to get it, other than clean my house.

We started traveling with AirBnB back over the summer. It's a really neat networking program that has you stay with people in their homes instead of in hotels when you travel. If you have a spare guest room, you can set a price and rent it out. We stayed in a lovely home in San Diego back in August for a few days and it was really great. It was less expensive and it was neat to stay somewhere where we were the only guests and we were treated like family. After that experience, we decided to try and see if we could host too. We have an office with a fold out sofa and, since we live near a pretty major tourist area, we figured that we might be able to make it work.

So far, we're hosted twice. Last night, we had guests who were traveling in from Switzerland. I cleaned up the house, made up the spare bed, stocked us up on breakfast food, and then went to work. My other half let them in at midnight, they crashed out, in their room, got up in the morning, took a shower, ate some fruit and then carried on their way. It was so very very easy.

I know that we are lucky in that we had pretty much the perfect guests, and I know that some people aren't as easy as those two. But I am very happy that we've started doing this.

You can vet your prospective tenants pretty well. They provide profiles and usually they have Facebook so you can see if they really exist. We've hosted twice and travelled twice and both times it's saved or made us money, and been a pleasant experience.

I've been thinking about a similar program that lets you rent out your car when you aren't using it, but I'm not sure yet and I need to do more research.

So, check out AirBnB if you want to travel more cheaply or if you have a spare room that you want to rent out and make a little side money from.

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Here's Where We're At

So, I'm in Vegas, working for my dream company. Things have not been great on the work front for my other half and as a result we've gotten into a bit of a rut with our debt.

It's frustrating when you look at your paycheck and see your year to date income and wonder where the heck it all went. These things happen, though. Moving across the country wasn't cheap and of course things happened before and after we got here.

But now it's time to fix it. It's time to hunker down and get out of debt. I'm working on getting a few extra projects (mainly voice work) going, and I've been working on a new blog that I'm quite happy with. Writing for me has been something that I work on when I'm busy and happy, and though I haven't been terribly happy, I'm going to try and step it up a notch. It may well be that writing MAKES me happy.

As for my other half, well, he's getting there slowly but surely. He's also much better at being frugal than me often times. He's usually the one to say "we don't really need that right now", whereas I tend to be a bit more spendy. He's right though.

So with a new effort, and for transparency sake, it's time that I stick the old total bar back on the side of the blog and again list my debt. It's worked before, it should work again. It's also time that I set myself some goals about making extra money. Obviously, I want to make as much extra money as possible, but for now we'll be starting small. I want to make an extra $200 a month. So, here is the state of the ugly ugly union:

BoA - This is our major credit card. All our moving expenses went on this, as well as incidental things that have come up. And, I'm ashamed to admit it, so did a big chunk of my car.
Current Balance : $11795
Min Payment : $242

AmEx - This was another credit card that was used for all kinds of incidentals and then the rest of my car... mostly the warranty went on this.
Current Balance : $4348
Min Payment : $89

Prosper - This is a short term loan that we used to pay our 2010 taxes. We had both freelanced all year and, though I had put some money aside, it got eaten up in the move.
Current Balance : $3285
Min Payment : $149

ING - This is my checking account overdraft. Any time we travel, it's ended up on this. I really need this to be empty so that I can use it in case I have to fly home in an emergency.
Current Balance : $1091
Min Payment : $100

Total Balance : $20519
Total Minimum Payment : $580

So we need to pay all of this off and quite quickly. The current plan that I have is to pay off the ING and Prosper accounts first. I really need the ING account cleared so I have it as an emergency fund. I'm also working on building back our emergency fund but that isn't going to be full for a while. I have to get this debt paid down.

Anything that my other half makes, luckily, can go primarily towards our debt, so if he got, say, one movie, he could wipe out an enormous chunk of it. Of course, that's not exactly something that we get to bank on so we'll be assuming that won't happen.

So here we go. Nose to the grindstone. Time to fix it all.