Welcome to another edition of Tell All Tuesday, where I summarize all that has happened in regards to our finances over the past week, specifically highlighting debt-related issues, and look towards the future and what might be on the horizon.
This past week was the week my spouse got his extra paycheck. My spouse is salaried and paid every other week, which means there are two months a year he receives 3 paychecks instead of two. November this year is one of those months, and he receives paychecks November 2nd, 16th, and 30th. I devised an extra paycheck strategy to make sure that this month, that extra paycheck does not somehow get eaten up by miscellaneous expenses (which it has in the past). We are treating the November 2nd paycheck as the “extra” one, for going forward, his 2 paychecks will come mid-monthish and end-of-monthish, so the first paycheck seemed the most logical to label “extra”.
As I explained in my original extra paycheck strategy post, treating the paycheck as *completely* extra has been our downfall in the past. I tend to have an all-or-nothing outlook on things. Even though this paycheck is extra as far as budgeting for bills is concerned, we still have two weeks of variable expenses (food, gasoline, etc) that need to come from somewhere. And now that my income has been reduced due to the loss of my part time contracting work, we have to be more careful than ever. The paycheck is approximately $1345, and the strategy is to put aside $500 for christmas-related expenses (including gasoline for our trip to visit our respective parents which we estimate to be $200-$250), pay $345 directly to debt, and the remaining $500 leave in our general checking account to cover variable expenses for these two weeks, and then when we receive the November 16th paycheck, whatever of that $500 in our checking that remains goes to our emergency savings until the holiday season is over. In January whatever remains in our emergency savings from this extra paycheck will be snowflaked to the credit card debt.
Now that we’ve received that November 2nd paycheck, the strategy was put into play. I moved $500 to our emergency savings account to collect interest until I need it for Christmas-related expenses. I then snowflaked $348.55 to our credit card debt (a $3 survey payment was included in that). The remaining $500 is in our checking account for the time being. So here is how the numbers look:
- Debt at start of blog (6/19/07) : $36,451.71
- Current total as of 11/06/07: $31,784.30
- Principal paid to date $4,667.41
- Credit Card: $3,887.36 (snowflake of $348.55 this week)
- Student loan: $11,958.34
- Spouse student loan: $12,155.93
- Car loan: $3782.67
% of total debt paid according to NCN Network Chart: 12.81% (last week 11.85%)
The only total that moved this week was the credit card debt, because the payments for the other debt will come out of that November 16th paycheck. But it was an exciting move because for the first time since probably 2002, our credit card debt is under $4000! Hurrah! If we can stay on track I really feel like August is still possible for credit card debt elimination, even with our temporary setback.
As far as future snowflakes this month, I right now have $52 in pending survey payments ($10 of which I have received and will deposit this week) and $35 in survey referral payments I should receive this month (thanks to everyone who joined Opinion Outpost using my referral link!). I am very very close to cashing out another $10 on My Survey and might receive that this month as well. I will also be paying $200 to the credit card as my self-imposed “standard” payment I have made for years now, and since my minimum payment this month is $63, the majority of that will be snowflaking extra to the principle. I will also be snowflaking the $22.10 surplus from October’s budget when my spouse gets his next paycheck.
I’m feeling optimistic. I don’t know if much will change by next Tuesday but I am sure something will!