Sunday, February 11, 2007

it's been a long time

i've been gone for quite a while. i haven't posted since Aug 2006 (yikes!) and a lot has happened since then. instead of a long, drawn-out, *ehem* boring recap i will just say this: my life has changed. i've switched jobs, i mean careers. i'm back in school. and my battle with money/debt continues. i AM taking strides to win this fight...and i've finally, OFFICIALLY, started saving for a house.

in order to keep me on track, i'm going to try to keep up with this blog...i won't say daily...but AT LEAST three times per week. hopefully there are still some kind souls that read and give advice/moral support for my journey (i promise to return the favor).

at any rate....we are in a new year & i'm ready to continue my fight for financial independence.

won't you join me?

Thursday, August 24, 2006

the starving student, returned

hey all,

i know i've been MIA for a minute, but its been a hectic few weeks. last week i took a trip back to NYC, which completely busted my budget, but was 100% worth it (and necessary) . i got to be with my beloved (yay!) and see a few friends. ever since returning i've been thrown back into school (teacher training!) and have been SO amazingly tired.

my financial journey is still going.

i'm broke, but i know why. it wasn't a surprise, and i spent the money on purpose. so i can't complain about that can i? this week, the union reps came to talk to our class about enrolling in a 403(b) retirement plan. i'm all over it, although i'll have to ask the rep if they match funds. but i'm very excited. i'm about to begin my teaching career, about to start yet another semester of university classes, and move into a new phase of life. financially, i'm not in horrible shape and i'm looking forward to making some extra money to pay down my bills and build up my credit.

at this point i'm so tired and hopeful and happy and exhahusted. life is moving so fast and i can see my ideal financial future within my grasp.


Thursday, August 10, 2006

Help! I'm In Debt!

In an event to arm myself with as much information as possible, I surfed over to They have a fabulous section on debt management and how to get out of it (perfect for me, righ?). I took the Debt-O-Meter quiz, then proceeded to read the 5-Step Emergency Plan for dealing with deep debt. I'm not in DEEP debt, I can use many of these strategies to help me out.

Because everyone is different, I thought I'd ask you guys to share your most-useful debt relief/credit repair strategies. If you've gone through credit hell and lived to tell about it, share!

We can all use the knowledge.


Wednesday, August 09, 2006

the procrastination disease

Hi my name is Common Cents and I'm a procrastinator!

*Hi, Common*

i've procrastinated my entire life. from writing papers to paying bills, i've continued to put things off until tomorrow because...i can. so far it's been a mixed bag. even though i've been stressed and pushed to the limits, i've had success at work and school even though i wait until the last moment to work on it. but with money...i haven't been so lucky.

i think if i sat down and tried to quantify just how much procrastination has cost me, in dollar bills, i'd be sick. countless late fees, collections items, and just things that i've forgotten to pay...all of it has added up to a small mountain of debt and a credit report with more negatives than an algebra test.

getting financially fit requires more than just watching what i spend. our finances tend to be an extension of our emotions and no matter how much i'd like to "get it together" financially, it's not going to happen if i don't get myself together in the process. there is a lot going on in my life right now. i'm switching careers, my beloved awaiting trial, my son is constantly growing, and i'm doing it all solo. it's a hard road to travel alone and i turn to other things (eating out, buying things for my son, etc) for comfort. whatever the case, i'm going to take a more holistic approach to my finances and my life so i can finally be free.


Monday, August 07, 2006

I've seen the promised land

...and it doesn't include working!

during my lunch break i decided to stray from my normal routine of grabbing whatever my company offers (yes, we get free lunch) and heading downstairs to talk isht with my co-workers, and decided to make the 5 minute drive to santa monica's 3rd street promenade.

since graduating from college I have forgotten what summer "on the outside" looks like. when i lived in NYC i used to go outside every day during lunch and walk around, but never too far because i had to be back in the office. now, back in cali, nothing is really within walking distance and it is usually too much of a hassle to drive somewhere, maybe get stuck in traffic, then try to find a parking space, so i usually stay here at the building. but not today. this is my last week here (yes, it's official) so i'm a little more bold, not caring if i get back EXCATLY at 1pm (bad Cents *slaps hand*). so, i broke out in search of some fresh air. at the promenade i browsed the Apple Mac store (please God, send me a black Mac Book!), i browsed old navy, J crew, Express, and B&N. i watched mommies and nannies push babies around in their Maclaren & Peg Prego strollers....and it hit me...

THIS is what i want!

i want to be able to push my son around in his stroller with a strawberries and cream frappuccino in one hand and a few shopping bags in the other. i want to be able to take him to the park, to the beach, to the movies, anywhere...and feel confident that mommy has enough money to buy him (or herself) a little something. this life i want for myself is not about money, but more about comfort. knowing that you are financially secure and able to enjoy it is priceless.

for too long i have operated on the starving student level. four years after undergrad, a year out of grad school, a baby and a soulmate later, i'm too old to play that role any more. i don't want to decide between paying the rent or the car note. i don't want to juggle bills, don't want to worry about answering my phone for fear it’s a collection agent, and i don't want to have to pass up those cute shoes when i see them.

i've thought about this life for a while now and i've come to realize that it's not going to happen without a serious income. and I’ve also realized i'm not going to make that income doing only what i do now. so the side hustle hunt has begun. getting free financially is not only about paying off my debt, but also building wealth and enjoying it. i don't want to work for someone else for the rest of my life. hell, i don't want to be working 5 or 10 years from now. but if i can work hard on my "normal" job, and hustle (legally) on the side, then i might just be able to reach the promised land sooner than I think.

ps: anyone with an legit work from home type moneymakers holla at me:


Friday, August 04, 2006

my credit according to experian

(click on image for larger image)

after tracking my spending for a minute (i know, i know...i still need to keep tracking), i decided to pull my credit report. i called to get my reports from all of the agencies (for free!), but me being me (read: impatient), i logged onto to get my credit report and score. according to FreeCredit (run by experian) my credit score is 555, which is "poor." this gives me hope because it has gone up since i last checked! i've gone from "very poor" to "poor" (lol) and slow motion is better than no motion.

breaking down the report...

my report indicated that i have 9 negative items and 13 satisfactory accounts. according to the score breakdown i can raise my score if i open a credit card and make all of the payments on time, so i'm going to open a secured card and work with that to raise my score. as far as the negatives....i'm open (suggestions?)...i want to get those joints off of my report (in time for apartment hunting). i've been scouring the Credit Boards site to find solutions, but it's very overwhelming (still). i'm going to stay on it though, i'm not in as bad of shape as i once thought, and that is very very good news.


Tuesday, August 01, 2006


so it's the day after i got paid and i'm already down to $332.03 in my checking account. yesterday my paycheck of $1124.60 was deposited, and i'm already almost back to zero. where did it go you ask?

because i have overdraft protection (which, isn't such a great idea because it pulls from my savings) and used my debt card a few times over the weekend, a little more than $200 of my check was eaten up as soon as it was deposited into my account (not cool!). so that left me with a little more than $900 when i checked my account yesterday morning. since then i've spent...

obviously there are a few places that could use a bit of improvement. i could have done without the books, even though one of them is for DH. lately i've been buying discount/used books from amazon. i think i will ONLY do that from now on to cut the cost. also, i can probably do without the netflix, especially considering i've had the same movie for about 3 weeks (it's hard out here for a video renter!). clearly i'm not using the service to its full potential. maybe i will drop down to a cheaper plan instead of cutting it out all together? otherwise, the things i bought (minus lunch) were all pretty necessary.

the little one & i are taking a trip to NY in about 3 weeks and i wanted to put more into my savings account for the trip, but it looks like i can only squeeze about $100 out of this check and put it away for our trip. the next two weeks will be a bit tight, but if can curb my spending, i should be cool.

watching my money evaporate is NOT a good look!

Side note: i've signed up for Pine Cone research (thanks Single Ma!) and i've already completed my first survey and received my $5. i'm always looking for ways to make extra money, so PLEASE if you know of any legit ways to boost the income...holla at me! i don't want to be working for the man forever!

side note # 2: all you mommies out there, i need you! where can i find coupons on diapers, formula, baby food etc, etc. cuz while he's the cutest baby in the world (smile!), my munchkin is proving to be VERY expensive! i will be happy when he can drink regular more Enfamil!