Friday, February 04, 2011

$200 Weekly Challenge...

Today is Friday and a new $200/week challenge begins.

Here is last week's recap....Total Spent: $201.95!!! =)

I use an iPhone app called iReconcile to track my expenses and I love it!!! I figured out how to snap this photo of the report it gives me each week. =)

I went over just slightly. I had a couple of bucks in my wallet and I gave them to two homeless people this week. It's hard to see people standing out on the street in this crazy freezing Chicago weather. That just tipped me over the threshold but overall it didn't break the budget.

For personal care, I got my first pedicure since November and my feet said THANK YOU!

For entertainment, I purchased Groupons for paint ball to be used at a later date. My brother in law got two as well so we are going to get a group of 4 together for 3 hours of unlimited play. Different, Cheap and Fun!!!

Not bad for a week of spending. =)


Anonymous said...

I like the new visual.

Gilda said...

My girlfirend recently introduced me to your blog since I'm doing the Dave Ramsey plan. Here are a few ideas that think about to increase the cash flow to pay off your student loans.

1) Get CRAZY!! Don't wait 10 years to pay off your loans

2) Cut off the cable bill!! You don't need it. The Internet and phone are keepers but cable is not. Though I have to say that iphone bills are expensive. I love my maps and stuff on my own phone but I realized that spending $120.00/month is not necessary. I changed my plan and I pay $80.00 now.

3)I think that your mortgage payment is a lot! You can't afford it. I have two ideas:
a) Sell your condo and use the equity to pay off your loans & rent instead. With renting you don't need to pay your monthly condo association dues and $1,147 in a mortgage. You can find a cheaper place to live or get roomates

b) If you don't want to sell your home because with closing costs and real estate fees you will end up with very little, then You can always rent your condo out and rent cheaper and still be able to claim the interest fees of your mortagage on your taxes.

4) If selling or renting your condo is out of the question, then are you as a homeowner taking full advantage of being a homeowner?
For example, for your property taxes, did you sign up for Home Owners Excemtion and save a few hundred on your property tax bill? (it's fairly easy) You can find the form on the Cook County Assessors site.

If not you can claim up to three years past and get the diference by filling out a form called "Certificate of Error" and put some money back in your pocket.

5) Your traveling budget and dining out budget is a bit too high!! That's 600.00 that can go towards your debt.

6) You can't live in Chicago and not own a shovel!! I'm not talking about those cheep plastic ones you can get a Jewel. I'm talking about a steel one and keeping it in your trunk for emergencies!!!

7) Dave Ramsey says to get paid for what you know, not what you do. I have also been reading Chris Guillebeau's book the Art of Non-Comformity and he says to make money on your terms. You can make your law degree work for you! You can bring extra income on the weekends by tutoring. You can tutor law students who are studying for the bar or students who want to take their LSAT. I know test prep companies pay their tutors about $25/hr and they only work a few hours per week or on weekends.

Hope some ideas help!!

Anonymous said...

I've been reading your blog for quite some time. I agree with Gilda that there are always ways to cut or do better in a budget, but I really see that you are making progess. Seriously, you are kickin' butt lately!! Last year it seemed like you really struggled through finding a plan, and 2011 finds you organized and carrying through. The $200 a week plan seems like it works for you, and you have learned new ways to cut back and yet still fulfill what you need to live. Awesome job!

I'm a Dave Ramsey gal, too, and constantly finding ways to be debt free to *begin* school.I think I'm a just few years older than you are.

Keep going!

FYF said...

Hi Chi, glad to see you made it through the challenge! I really enjoy reading your blog and am rooting for you in the background!

I'm also starting my journey in a blog format and would like to know how you added those bar graphs on the right hand side of your page? They look awesome and would be a fantastic addition. Thanks!

Anonymous said...

guys, she doesnt do extreme austerity, she already said that. A lot of these suggestions have already been blown out of the water. She's entitled to a certain level of comfort dont ya know :)

Chitown said...

@ Broke -- Thanks a lot. =)

@ Gilda -- Welcome to WCB!!! Thank you for your comment and your suggestions. Few things...

1) It could take 10 years if nothing changes but I do believe a lot will change in 10 years and I know my debt will be paid off sooner rather than later.

2) Get rid of cable and my iPhone?!?!...Nah!!! ;-)

3) I couldn't sell my condo right now if I wanted to and I don't. I love my place and considering the amount of debt that I have, with 3BD/ 2BA, I have a lot of room to grow if my living/life situation changes. For Chicago suburban life, my condo is pretty cheap and the payments are manageable. I have a garage so I can also keep my car (which is paid off) sheltered from the Chicago winter. There are a lot of pluses compared to minuses.

4) Yep, I have the homeowner's exemption.

5) My traveling budget is just $50/month. What you saw in January was that I put my Birthday (it's in December) and Christmas money into my travel fund. It didn't come out of my regular income. My Mom asked that if they did give me cash that I use it for something fun and not just for debt even though she knows that's my mission these days.

6) I agree. My Mom and Dad said they have an extra shovel and they will give it to me.

7) Once and if work slows down, I will look for opportunities to use my degree in some way. Right now, I am already working 50+ hours in my regular position.

Your ideas were certainly helpful! I hope you keep them coming. Thanks again for reading and I wish you the very best with your goal to become DEBT FREE!!!! =)

@ Anon -- Good luck to you and thanks also for reading. I am focused this year, I have a clear goal and plan and I am executing it. I am taking the approach of the hare and the tortoise. In the past, I tried to do too much and ended up overwhelming myself and consequently sabatoging myself. I think I found a way to may this work for me so I can really make some progress.

@ FYF -- All you have to do is email me and I will be happy to share the HTML code with you. You will be amazed at how easy it is. Someone helped me and I would love to pay it forward and help you too.

@ Anon -- Thanks a lot! I do feel I am entitled to some level of comfort like you said. I think I may have finally found the right balance to give me both!!! =)

L Elizabeth M said...

Just stumbled upon your blog and am greatly inspired by your $200 weekly challenge. I'm doing it for the first time and am finding it EXTREMELY difficult not to whip out that credit card to immediately make a purchase.

As I told my husband, our money is "finite" and it all has to do with living in one's means, easier said than done, however!