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Smithee Debt Update, Mid-April 2010

This article was written by in Debt Reduction. 8 comments.

Happy Friday. It’s been just about a month since my last debt update, and I’m feeling relatively successful at it. I’m still on track to get rid of it by July, having eradicated $1,267.39 in the last four weeks.

Aside from the satisfaction of persistence, there’s actual good news: as of yesterday, my employer has brought my salary halfway back up to what it was a year ago. We all took a 10% pay cut in April of 2009, and the company’s leaders are finally, but cautiously, optimistic about growth in 2010, so they gave us “raises” equal to 5% of what our salaries used to be, and hopefully will be again.

After taxes, this means an “extra” $115 in my twice-monthly paycheck. This should’ve meant that on April 15th, instead of making a $650 payment to my “newer” credit card debt, I could make a $775 payment. Unfortunately, around the same time that the “raises” were happening. my shoulder pain from sitting in a crappy desk chair was getting unbearable. From previous experience, I know that my employer is not one to take quick action to remedy a health problem, so I got fed up and got a new chair. (Maybe they’ll offer to reimburse me. Who knows.) Coincidentally, the chair and a footrest cost a total of $115.71.

Debt Totals

Here’s where things stand right now:

Credit Card Debt Totals Change
Legacy Debt $496.81 -194.03
Newer Debt $3,734.36 -1073.36

Since I started the debt updates on January 26th, the combined debt has gone down from $6,828 to $4,230.

And starting at the end of April, I should have another $115 to add to each credit card payment.

Of course, I have some typical and atypical admissions to make concerning the things I put on plastic, instead of using cash.

Things I Put on Credit Since the Last Update

  • Enterprise Rent-a-Car – $17.29 – This is a perfect example of why we should always check our statements, line by line. I didn’t know this was here, and I’m not sure why it is. Renting the car while they worked on my 60k service should’ve been free. I suppose I should call and ask about this.
  • Toll roads – $120 – Apparently, I’ve been driving a lot these past four weeks. Roughly once a day I wonder if I should take surface streets more often, but I always end up deciding that I’d rather just get home soon.
  • Mobile phone service – $85.36
  • Web hosting – $16.25
  • Google AdWords – $2.24
  • Usenet service – $2.99 – as promised, I lowered this to cover just what I need in a given month
  • Podcast subscription – $5.00
  • Various entertainment things purchased through PayPal on Amazon and iTunes and CDBaby – $40.99 – I am shamed.
  • Lawn maintenance – $64 – I should switch this over to use the debit card for our joint account.

Unfortunately, that’s not all. I also used my debit card a few times since the last update.

  • Comedy at the Improv – $23.93 – I went out on St. Patrick’s Day to support my improv teacher and other local comics, and you’re probably familiar with that stupid “two item minimum” thing.
  • Rifftrax version of “New Moon”, and others from Rifftrax – $6.93 – This is so awesome.
  • Convenience store something – $3.16 – I have no idea what this is.
  • Parking for my standup comedy practice – $3.00
  • The afore-mentioned new office chair and foot rest – $115.71 – a necessary evil, I’m afraid

So, the things that I feel at-least-slightly guilty about total about $80 for the last four weeks, the same time period that I got rid of $1,267 in debt. End result: go me!

You can cheer me on and/or witness my money minutiae on Twitter if you want to.

Updated June 24, 2016 and originally published April 16, 2010.

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About the author

Smithee formerly lived primarily on credit cards and the good will of his friends. He is a newbie to personal finance but quickly learning from his past mistakes. You can follow him on Twitter, where his user name is @SmitheeConsumer. View all articles by .

{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

avatar 1 Anonymous

I like how you say, “having eradicated $1,267.39 in the last four weeks.” Makes for a more powerful play on words then saying, “last month”. Nice play on words and action.

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avatar 2 Anonymous

Four weeks, one month — semantics, my friend. No matter how you slice it, killing off $1,267 in debt is excellent. Except you put $300-plus back on the credit card. D’oh!

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