Financial Tracking for the Week of April 5, 2020

Hello!
It has been a LONG while.
I’m not even sure what kept me from posting..
Probably a mix of discouragement, losing motivation, and literally just being so broke that I felt like there was no point in tracking anything – just flying by the seat of my pants and hoping that everything will fall into place.. per usual but more so than usual.

Things sorta have fallen into place (Clearly, since I am still alive and well with a roof over my head and food in the fridge – I am blessed) but sorta hasn’t (I’m still flying by the seat of my pants).

Before I get into the nitty gritty details of my financial situation and update, I want to try this new thing and give my financial hardship to God first.
Maybe this prayer is unnecessary to you. You can definitely skip it.
But maybe you can pray this over for me or pray it for yourself as well if you are struggling right along beside me.

Either way, it’s happening. Let’s pray:

Prayer

Hi God,
I just wanted to first thank you so much for all that you have provided for me recently. My kids and I are healthy and safe. We have a home. We have food. And as silly as it sounds, we have toilet paper. My circumstances could have been far worse when I reflect on the course my life has taken but I am here and, compared to the many directions that my life could have gone, I can see now that this is the best path to be on with everything that’s going on. I am grateful for your divine intervention and protection.
God, I just wanted to pray over my finances. I feel that every time I move one step forward, I am placed in a position to take ten steps back. I pray that no matter where I am, I continue to place my faith in you and your provision. I pray that you will take over my debt and eliminate it. I pray that you will turn my financial struggles into financial blessings. I pray for an overflow of abundance so that, not only am I living comfortably in excess but also be in the position to bless others and honor you.
I pray that you will help me make wise financial choices and help me build healthy money habits. I also pray that you will lead me out of this season of financial uncertainty and hardship. Help me keep my eyes on you and stay faithful to you.

In Jesus’ name I pray,
Amen

God is good. In so many ways ❤

UPDATE

Stocks

Okay, so let me just go on to say that I did a thing.
I invested in stocks.
Wise? Ehhh….

Wise in the sense that I feel like I jumped at a good time while everything was low.
Not wise considering that fact that I don’t have the expendable money to invest.

Objectively wise. Subjectively dumb… or just not the best choice.

But, wise or not, I did learn a handful of things.
Like what dividends are, what diversifying means, some good stocks to get into, how it generally works, etc.

Was it the best time for ME to join personally? No.
But this was such a good learning experience for me that I kind of appreciate this failure.
It’s something I can see myself using to help LEVERAGE my finances in the future.

With that being said, I decided to sell MOST of my shares of the stocks that I invested in.
I’m staying invested in three because they were kind of a hefty investment (for me since I’m poor.. you might think $1,000+ is a hefty investment but for me, 10% of that is more than pushing it).
So I’ll be holding on to them until I know I’m getting a decent return and also for a little more experimental learning curve as well.

I added the total amount of how much I invested and it turned out to be a little over $300.
Keep this number in mind (or don’t..because I’ll be bringing it up anyway.. lol)

Financial Changes + Obstacles

Welp, in the past few weeks, some major financial changes have gone underway. I’m a little sad because it’s just going to make things harder.

For one, my car lease has finally ended! Yay!
But not yay because I decided to purchase it and since my credit score blows, my monthly payment went up… by about $100. (Insert ugly crying here)

That’s the biggest change, really. And because it’s more permanent, it’s the most suckiest.

Obstacles:

1. New debt

With my tax refund money, I’m happy to announce that I used most of it to pay off a debt with a payment plan that was KILLING me. And maybe about half in a couple of others.

The thing about that is..and I’m not sure which is better.. to save yout refund or using it to pay off debt.
Well, in this case, paying the high interest debt is definitely better. But year after year, I always put all my tax returns into my debt.
And I don’t get much left over.

I was catching up with my friend and she said, “Yeah, I put a little bit into my debt but I’m saving most of it and using some of it for a vacation. I’m always going to be in debt so I never put all of my returns into it.”

LIKE WHAT?!
“I’m always going to be in debt.”

GIRL, SAME (seasonally speaking – May God take and release my debt and replace it with financial stability)! So why am I throwing all my money into debt when my income doesn’t even cover my bills so I end up pulling new loans out anyway? In which returns the vicious cycle of not being able to afford the payments…

I don’t know why I didn’t think like her….
There’s always next year…I’m keeping my money this time.. lol

Anyway, point is, I paid off a couple of debts off but I’m in debt to them again. (Insert ugly crying..again). Thankfully, the interest rates are MUCH lower so it is not as back breaking, but I’m not exactly “getting out of debt” like I wanted to for this year either.

2. I had to open a new credit card

My dog got a huge cut on his paw and it required stitches. Didn’t have the cash for it so I had to apply for a credit card. Silver lining: I qualified for $500 and the vet bill was $300 so I was able to take care of my dog. Hopefully, the remaining balance will be enough for the follow-up appointment.

The not so bright side.. I’ve accrued yet another monthly payment to be mindful of.

3. Car registration

At the end of April, I’ll have to fork over about $300 to renew my registration.
I did have that saved and reserved knowing that it was coming. But I ended up spending it. Not for my own pleasure but on necessities.

I’m so broke that I literally can’t even save money for future bills…. haaaa…

4. This pandemic sucks

I am currently undergoing a massive financial cut.
My part-time job was scheduled to close the end of March (owner’s choice).
However, because of Corona, it shut down early.

My ex-husband got laid off so child support has also stopped coming in.

To make up for the difference, I’ve tried applying EVERYWHERE. But no one is hiring. I was welcomed to “apply anyway” though.

My current plan:
Donate plasma (first appointment in forever is scheduled for tomorrow).
Apply to work at Amazon warehouse mid-June.
Why mid-June? Because I worked there last year but hated it so much that I didn’t come back after my lunch break…. so I have to wait a year before I can reapply.

If I hated it so much, why would I reapply? Because the money was decent. And this time, instead of full time hours (four 10-hour shifts), I’ll be going in for part-time hours. Hopefully, it’s less painful when it’s shorter hours (it’s mind-numbingly boring.. I need something that’s challenging and keeps me on my toes). If the hours aren’t what I’m looking for (i.e., if it’s two 10-hour shifts instead of, let’s say, five 4-hour shifts, it won’t work with my schedule), I can try picking up some of their other job positions like being a shopper. My friend does it and enjoys it and says the hours are flexible..so maybe..

But until then, I am banking on my May paycheck (biggest paycheck of the school year because April doesn’t have any extended weekends or breaks), plasma donation, and the stimulus checks.. which even then.. after crunching the numbers, won’t be enough… but hopefully enough until I can get a job from Amazon (prayers please: this is the only job that I can think of that I can work around my non-negotiable, non-flexible schedule as a single mom, student, and “full-time” worker).

Now that we’re all caught up, let’s jump in with the nitty gritty financial stuff.

This Week’s Finances

Friday the 10th:

Rent (They gave us an extension AND a 5% discount! AMEN!): $1300

Capital One CC: $25

Blue Trust Loans: $105 (final payment – may or may not call to defer payment)

Comcast: $116 (technically late.. but also might not pay it anyway for now until stim check arrives)

Advance America: $98

Earnin App: $100 (to read more about what this app is, go here )

Money Tree: $200 – payment has been deferred until May 10th. It is also the second to last payment

Speedy Cash: $86 – Payment has been pushed to April 24th

Saturday 11th:

Vet Bill: Unknown – I know it’s not really a “payment” that’s going out but I wanted to just place it here as my own reminder

WordPress: $96 annual premium plan renewal – this may or may not happen.

Next week’s payments to prep for:

Total Visa CC: $40

Color Street: $10

Disney +: $13

VS Angel Card: $45

Prime: $7

HOW MUCH I NEED THIS WEEK

What I have in my account: -$200 (Insert ugly crying… so much ugly crying)

Cash: coins in a small piggy bank (I’m at a new level of low, y’all.. LOL)

What I need to pay my bills this week: $1,944 (this includes the -$200)

How much I need for next week: $115

What’s coming in:

Estimated paycheck: $1,450
Plasma: $75 (hopefully more because they generally give a little more as a “thank you for coming back!” if it’s been over 6 months since your last donation)
Selling stocks: approximately $300 depending on how much they get sold for.

After seeing the breakdown and doing the math.. what’s coming in is clearly not enough for the bills I have to pay so I will be making phone calls tomorrow to defer payments where I can.

Praying on this stim check to come soon, though. Like real talk.

For an updated list of my debt, go here
If you’d like to help me out financially, you can shop here

As grueling as this process was… I’m so glad I typed everything out. In a strange sense, sharing my finances, as horrible as my income/outgoing ratio is, is both therapeutic and helpful to type it out and talk about it.

Blogging about my finances has given me the space to vent while also organizing and planning – it’s different from just writing it out in my notebook while letting my thoughts get lost in anxiety in it’s cycle of, “How am I going to pay for everything?”

Thank you for reading, encouraging me, and motivating me ❤

This concludes the financial breakdown for the coming week.
I hope you guys are staying well!

See you guys next week!

Financial Tracking for the Week of December 22, 2019

Oii.
What a week.

I’m tired. I’m exhausted. I want to rest.

Another week of bills that I can’t afford to pay.
Not to mention not having enough for groceries and food for my dog.

The Gist

Despite the downward spiral of things, a friend of mine gave me a $100. Another friend gave me a gift card for $25.

I think I’m going to use the $25 for gas and use some of that $100 for groceries and other things I need.

The rest will be deposited into my bank for bills.

Another thing I am relieved about is my Golden Valley Lending payment has been pushed back to the 10th of January. And I am SO glad. It was a $400 payment.

Let’s roll up sleeves and get into it.

Weekly Budget:

Sunday 22nd:

Movie Club: $10

Monday 23rd:

Lendgreen: $208

Amazon Prime: $7

Best Buy: $28

Tuesday 24th:

Geico: $200

Friday 27th:

Xcel: $154

Saturday 28th:

AmerAssist: $150

Money I should save up for the following week:

SmartCredit: $100
Rent: Have around $300-400 in account

Total outgoing (not including the following week):

$757

What I have in my account:

$40

Incoming:

+$667

How much I need:

$90

Summary

In retrospect, this isn’t as bad as things appear to be.

But when you are worn out and fighting depression, it just feels like a mountain to climb.

I am hoping child support will come in on Tuesday. That should cover the bigger bills (Lendgreen and car insurance) and give me around $200 until Friday rolls around.

As I am typing this, it is nearly 7:00 P.M.

After a quick dinner (cereal) and a little down time and filling in my to-do list and calendar, I will be driving for Lyft to get going on that $90 (plus more in preparation for the following week).

I am looking forward to my financial aid reimbursement in January to help with the living expenses.. even more so with the tax refund.

Credit Score

So I’ve hit a snag with my credit score. It SHOULD HAVE been 630 by now.
But I did open a new credit card and spent more than I intended (still under balance though). But I think it messed with my debt ratio.

I also tried to refinance my Golden Valley Lending payments and I think they check your credit score for it so that’s another hit.

I’m brought down to 595.

So what I’ve learned from this mistake is…put all my payments towards my loan payments first and worry about raising my credit score second.

The money I put towards my credit cards could have gone towards my personal loans which means lowering my payments or at least keeping up with it.

My credit score would have been left alone at 612. Lesson learned.

House Update

Because my income is so low as well as having so much debt that I’m hauling around, my mortgage lender gave me two choices:

1. Co-sign with my mom and see what I have to work with

2. Wait until I finish school in 2021 and get a loan for potentially 250k.

I decided to wait. I’m already cracking under the pressures of my debt.
And waiting until 2021 gives me a little bit more stretch of a time to get my debt under control and raise my credit score.

I don’t know what it is about blogging my financial journey but it somehow brings me peace.

I think just seeing it all broken down and sharing my plan of action calms my anxiety and motivates me to keep going.

Welp, I will see you guys next week!

Financial Tracking for the week of November 24, 2019

I find it sad (on my part) that my debt has become so severe that I have to look at what payments whether it’s for loans, credit cards, or bills, are coming up each week and having to plan for it to ensure that I’ll have the funds for it…. otherwise I wont.

This upcoming last week of November is kind of a breath of relief because it doesn’t tail off into December, which means I don’t have to factor in rent and other “beginning of the month” payments..at least not yet.

This is how my week is going to look financially:

Sunday 24th:

  • Speedy Cash: $86
  • AmerAssist: $150

Monday 25th:

  • Golden Valley Lending: $699
  • Blue Trust Loans: $525
  • Advance America: $300
  • Plasma donation: $32

Thursday 28th:

  • xcel bill: $114
  • car payment: $361 (x) – will not be paid on time
  • Plasma donation: $45

Friday 29th:

  • Lyft goal: $200

Total needed for this weekend:
$1,410

Total coming in:
$902 (does not include Lyft amount because it’s variable)
What I have in my account:
$597
How much I need for the week:
$0
What I will have left over:
$125

So here’s the sad deal.
I already applied for a new loan yesterday and qualified for $525 to help cover Monday’s payments.
I also plan on refinancing an already existing loan on Monday and they said that I’ll be able to receive $300. I plan on using that to pay off another loan in full because the interest rate is higher.
But if I’m going to do that, I’m going to have to pay my car payment late.

The reason why I am choosing to go this route is because I had asked to defer the payment for this particular loan. Different loan companies have different rules. Some will add a month to the end so everything is just pushed a month back, some don’t. This particular loan company adds your payment to the next which would come out to $350 on my end with two more payments to go. The current payoff amount for this loan is $295.

When I weight it out..$350 payment + 2 more payments (and pay my car payment) of $116 OR pay it off in the amount of $295 and use the otherwise $350 payment towards my car payment…?
I choose the latter.

I am also going to call someone that I had connected with on Saturday to consolidate some of the personal loan debt that I have.

I don’t know too much about consolidating debt and wondering if it’s a good idea or not.
The plan that he gave me is definitely a lot more doable than the payments that I would make individually so I’m leaning towards the side of signing up for the service.

But we’ll see.

Oh, and because I’m aiming to buy a house in 3-6 months, I am also working on building my credit (minimum 620, ideally 725).

Currently, it is 614 (when I first started, it was 512).
For the month of December, I want to bring it up to 635 by paying $230 on one credit card and $45 on another (recommended plan by a service I had signed up for).
That is an additional $275 that I need to factor in.

Anywyho, that is all for now.
Have you guys tried consolidating your debt? Did it help you? What was your experience like?

Peace and Love, Fam! ❤