Christmas shopping mistakes

Okay, I made a mistake. I used my Discover card to shop for Christmas. Using my envelope system, I’ve saved money week to week for shopping. I got 5% back on Amazon using the card. But still, that $0 balance I just managed to achieve ballooned up to over $200…. It’s a huge step backwards, especially having just closed the old card and switching my account number to prevent online shopping.

I have the money for gifts saved (mostly, maybe short $20-40)…. I can pay off the card right away. That’s the trick now – NEVER TOUCH THE GODDAMNED CREDIT CARD AGAIN.

I put $835 towards my Chase credit card during my last paycheck… That’s a lot of overtime again as well as the payments for Upstart and Discover funneling into that credit card. For the first time in MONTHS, the balance on my Chase credit card is BELOW my maximum… Only $13,600… Oh well, it’s still a step! My check next week should see me putting almost $1,000 more towards that balance.

Christmas can be stressful, but the extra work certainly helps. Come January, I don’t know how much overtime I will be able to pick up. I need to take everything I can get NOW!

Current Debt – December 2018

CREDIT CARDS: $14,118.53 (-$1,630.03 from last post)

  • CHASE: $14,118.53
  • DISCOVER: $0

PERSONAL LOANS: $1,835.13 (-$215.15 from last post)

  • UPSTART: $1,619.88

FEDERAL LOANS: $60,240.00

PRIVATE LOANS: $91,694.00

$167,887.66 total debt

 

Again, it’s progress little by little. That’s about $2,000 gone. It would have been more if interest wasn’t so high on a lot (especially my Chase credit card). I fell behind in that payment in order to fully pay off my Discover (bad I know), but now I am going to fully tackle that amount yet.

I know that according to the snowball method, I should next be paying off my private Upstart loan. However, based on how high the Chase minimum payment is (over $400) and how high the interest is (24.99%), I would much rather put my focus on that stupid card and get rid of it ASAP before the interest gets out of hand. Upstart will be paid off no matter what by July 2019 (sounds like it’s forever away), but by then I could have a lot more of this credit card paid off… Maybe the whole thing??

We’ll see….

Paid off another debt: my Discover card!

All November I worked overtime. As a nurse, I suppose this is one of the benefits of my job: overtime! In total I probably worked 60 hours a week for 4 weeks straight. That’s one day off a week max. I bet you can imagine how tired I am.

As you know, I am in the process of paying off my lowest debt: my Discover credit card. On November 1st the balance was probably $1,900. Today? ZERO DOLLARS.

It was so hard. My paychecks were really nice, the biggest was $2,500. It’s Christmas, as well. Think of all the gifts I could have bought for myself… Or my family. It took a lot of dedication, but I was able to put $1,900 of my extra income all towards my debt.

What might have taken 6 months to pay off is now gone.

VOILA!!!

 my envelope system…  It could use better supplies, but it really has helped me to have cash whenever I get paid, sort it accordingly, and use that to budget.

 

My final Discover payment: $1,084. That’s the biggest single payment I’ve ever put on a credit card (2 weeks ago I paid about $847 towards my balance). It’s scary to hold all that money and essentially get rid of it… But that’s one less card I need to worry about.

Should I cut it up??

Working as a male nurse

Did I also mention I’m a newly graduated nurse (a MALE nurse) who is working my first med surg job? It’s not my ideal position, but to get experience and learn skills, it’s been invaluable so far.

I work nights. My team is very great, everyone is kind to me, but there are times I still feel overwhelmed. I suppose that comes with each new job. Any nurses out there – how did you learn to build confidence? I have found myself stuck, googling diagnoses and diseases and medical terms I either forgot or don’t remember learning about in school. I feel stupid all the time. It’s like an always uphill battle. (What should I call the doctor for? Is this normal for a patient? When do I call a RRT? What does albumin do for the body???)

For the most part, it’s been a good journey so far, but I know I have a lot to learn. What tips and tricks from other broke nurses do you have to become a leader among your team and staff?

Extra income towards debt…

I am not one who normally saves extra income… If I make an extra $50 or so here or there, I’m the first person to go out and spend it in one go. Why shouldn’t I? I worked hard, I should have rewards.

It’s hard to change my mindset. This past check, I managed to sign up for over 20 hours in overtime. That was a sizable addition to my regular paycheck size… Nearly $700 more!!! What to do…. What to do…..

Spoiler: I put nearly all of that money towards my Discover credit card! Instead of paying that thing off by early next year, I might be one credit card payment down by the first of December! It feels scary to put nearly $900 (remember, that’s the extra $700 plus my debt snowball from my private loan) towards a payment… It’s like I’m throwing money into a black hole. But in the long run, I have to imagine how great it will feel to not rely on credit cards for every single aspect of my life.

Once the Discover hurdle is done, it’s time to begin the next step in this challenge: a $14,000 Chase credit card balance that is teetering on late payments…..

One step at a time!

What do you guys do with extra income?

Minimum payments

Minimum payments are nice when you’re on a tight budget, but what about when you have so many minimums that even those become overwhelming??

Take a look at my monthly “minimums”:

  1. Chase Credit Card: $435
  2. Discover Credit Card: $45
  3. Upstart Personal Loan: $216
  4. Private Student Loans: $803.50
  5. Federal Loans: $640

That’s $2,139.50 A MONTH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! At this rate, I don’t even make enough to pay rent on top.

A couple things I did. I refinanced my private loans. Can you believe I was due to owe $980 a month to Wells Fargo before refinancing? Yes, $800 is a lot, but so is my bill of almost $100,000. This is mess #1.

My federal loans. I currently put them into forbearance until I can straighten them out. I just finished an application for income-based repayment, so crossing my fingers the amount will go down… Even $500 would be better for right now. Mess #2.

My Upstart and Discover balances are almost paid off. I know that with a debt snowball, I need to add those minimum payments on top of the others in order to continue my debt-free journey, but to be honest, with such high minimums, I would be okay with one or two less payments a month to help provide more of a financial cushion. I am looking for a part time job to help boost income, but until then, No more Upstart means my monthly debt payments will go down.

I paid off a loan!

Well, kind of! Of my personal loans listed, two belong to “Upstart,” a private loan company I used to consolidate credit card debt. I have had this loan for 3 years. Kind of silly, yes. The interest rate on this puppy was 8.01%, so it wasn’t awful… Though it just became on additional bill I was only paying the minimum payment on. What a waste of time and money!

Finally after 3 years, and the start of my debt snowball, this loan was knocked off in 1 month. Unfortunately I only had 2 months left on it, anyways.

On the bright side, it feels good to know that I now have $260 extra a month to put towards my next lowest debt: MY DISCOVER CREDIT CARD.

 

CURRENT DEBT:

CREDIT CARDS: $15,748.56 (-$369.43 from last post)

  • CHASE: $14,075.45
  • DISCOVER: $1,673.11

PERSONAL LOANS: $1,835.13 (-$585.23 from last post)

  • UPSTART: $1,835.13

FEDERAL LOANS: $60,240.00

PRIVATE LOANS: $91,694.00

 

I know it’s a little progress, but it’s progress…

Early steps to budgeting

So far I have read Dave Ramsey’s Total Money Makeover. It has been helpful in some areas in terms of managing the feeling of dread and understanding that money can be controlled as long as I commit to a budget.

I have rarely budgeted in my past, it’s always been hard. It’s like weight loss. I try for a couple months but always fall back into old habits. Does anyone have tips or tricks they use to help manage their money?

All my debt

I told you I would be honest. So far, I am working through a system to pay things back. Please know that when you look at this I am being honest with my finances. It’s scary to admit this to strangers on the internet, but if there is one thing I can do – it’s to show that I have made mistakes during my life… I want to start to correct them now.

You see how much I make a year (estimated). This is my debt:

 

CREDIT CARDS: $16,117.99

PERSONAL LOANS: $2,420.36

FEDERAL LOANS: $60,240.00

PRIVATE LOANS: $91,694.00

 

That’s a total of $170,472.35 in debt. $170,472.35! I am that deep in the hole. I am taking this one step at a time. Stay tuned!

(if you don’t panic, I won’t panic)

Every journey begins with a few small steps.

Hello world! This is a bit of a random step for me, but allow me to explain.

I am a new nurse working in the midwest. I am 28 years old, just graduated in April of 2018. With my current Nursing Bachelor Degree as well as my previous degree in Arts (a Bachelor degree), my total debt, including student loans, credit cards, etc, totals in the six-figures.

I am terrified of my future. I have next to no money saved, and the monthly payments I have simply to work towards paying back all these debts is becoming insurmountable. Where I have friends who graduated 6 or 7 years ago, already debt-free, already married and raising children, here I am struggling to survive.

I am creating this blog to serve 3 purposes:

  1. To help work through my problems. For so long, I worked many jobs and paid no attention to my spending. I have slowly dug myself into a hole over the past 8 years with little to no regard for my future. Here I am at a turning point. Things have to change. If I can’t be honest about my finances, then what chance do I have of digging myself out?
  2. To share my experiences. I know many people – including my classmates – are struggling with debt. They hoped to find a good job as a nurse right after graduation so they could start paying back bills. It’s a symptom of this generation I suppose – the urgency with which we need money to survive. Through this blog, I will be working to save money, find tips and tricks to help me – so that hopefully I can pass along my learning to you, my reader.
  3. To serve as a creative outlet. I have always felt creatively inclined – always loved to write, and to read… With nursing consuming my life right now (and with little additional time for myself), I am hoping that beginning a blog will help keep me sane. In one form or another, I need an outlet to work through problems and get a moment to escape from my life.

I don’t know how this will be structured, I don’t know if anyone will read this or will even care about my problems. I do promise that I will be extremely open about my debt, about what I owe, because when I read self-help books and how other people got out of debt, I appreciated knowing the exact dollar amount and what it took to break even.

 

This is my journey – it begins today!