It’s been a couple of weeks since I shared details of my push to get rid of the credit card debt. I’ve been diligently taking out exactly $100 from the ATM to spend from Saturday morning through Friday night. That’s just for daily, personal purchases that don’t contribute to the house as a whole, though. As I suspected, it hasn’t left me with many opportunities to do something nice for my wife, and this past fortnight has forced me to keep mentally reminding myself of a few things.
It can’t all be tasty
It’s still not second nature for me to think of my weekly $100 as partially being spent on boring and annoying things like gasoline and haircuts, to say nothing of clothing. I tend wrongly to assume on a Wednesday that, “oh, I still have $50 for lunch this week,” when it’s really closer to $20.
I also really want to be the kind of husband who frequently brings home flowers, but it just doesn’t seem practical, yet.
No month is going to be normal
It seems like there’s always something abnormal showing up to make the budget be a little off. Earlier in February I paid another $200 for Level 3 Improv classes, so I had to remember to make a credit card payment of $450 for March 1st instead of $650. (I’m making payments on the higher, newer debt at a rate of $1,300 a month, but doing it twice a month to help bring the interest down more.)
It’s also sort of vacation season. We did a fantastic job this past weekend in San Antonio not going hog wild with the spending, but it’s still a tendency of mine to want to whip out the plastic when confronted with temptation, especially if I’m drinking. There’s another mini-vacation coming up in Austin during SxSW, where we have a tradition of meeting our old-school nerdy blogger friends.
Okay, so even though I used my debit card recently at Starbucks, it was because it was after the time I was supposed to go to the ATM, but I hadn’t made it there, yet. When I did find an ATM, I managed to find one that would give me $90 instead of $100.
But here are the things that got added to the newer card since February 13:
- MyFax – $10 – I almost never use this online fax service, but it seems like a really handy thing to have. I’ll make a to-do to decide one way or the other
- Mozy.com – $9.95
- Toll roads – $40
- Web hosting – $22.89 – this number fluctuates a lot, primarily because I have more domains than I know what to do with, and I can’t ever bring myself to cancel them.
- FedEx Kinkos – $8.29 – this was actually for work, so I should get it reimbursed. I almost never pay for things on behalf of my employer, so I’m not even sure what form to use, if form there be. New to-do.
- Cinematic Titanic – The Alien Factor – $9.99 – there it is. I spent $10 that I shouldn’t have on a goofy, fun movie. I’ll have to remember to find the $90 ATM again tomorrow.
- iTunes – $1.09 – Ack, I did it again! I couldn’t resist buying the Metallica song “Wherever I May Roam.”
- Mobile phone bill – $95.36 – this is $10 more than usual because of the Haiti thing.
So, I had two moments of weakness, but I have a way to make it up to myself. The particularly annoying thing about this past fortnight is that I had to get another haircut after just 10 days, because the first time I sought out a proper manly barber, he did a terrible job, and two days ago my head looked like a dirty blond helmet. I don’t know, I think his eyesight is going, because the straight razor performance was abysmal, too.
What about the legacy debt?
For paying down the legacy credit card, I’ve only been using “extra” money: the cash that comes in from jobs like writing here. This year I switched payments from my name to our little corporation, and the corporation just got paid for the first time. What I’m supposed to do now is have the corporation pay me a “reasonable salary” and then use that money to pay down the credit card.
Does anybody have advice for figuring out what a “reasonable salary” looks like?
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Updated June 24, 2016 and originally published February 26, 2010.