Gazelle Intensity in the New Year - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 45 Old 12-29-2009, 01:39 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Gazelle intensity is explained on Dave Ramsey's website here. The idea is that if you're in financial trouble, you will do whatever it takes to get out-- sell stuff, get a second job, pinch every penny until it screams.

I'll admit we finished our FPU class without even completing out emergency fund. But we're ready to kick our debt's butt. We complete our CCC payments in March and will have $500 a month to throw at debt. We aren't taking a vacation this year, which is what we usually do with our tax money. We're tightening up the budget and I'm going to see if I can get our food budget down to $350 a month for 6 people (right now it's $400).

So, what are you doing to kick things up a notch in 2010?

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#2 of 45 Old 12-29-2009, 03:35 PM
 
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Good conversation! I have been mulling over what our $ plan is for the year. We read Dave Ramsey last January...used a Christmas gift card we received to buy the book on New Years Day! This year was much easier than last...better planning. I budgeted a little $ out of each paycheck for Christmas. It wasn't enough, but it sure helped out. Now I know how much I need to budget to ensure Christmas doesn't create debt.

We had a lot of medical debt last year that is now gone so I am looking forward to putting that $ towards our home equity line of credit. I am already feeling some stress about the tax return. We usually get a good chunk of $ and I know the smartest thing to do would be to put it all towards our heloc loan. It wouldn't pay it off, but it would make a serious dent. The other option that is calling my name is a kitchen remodel. Our cabinets are constantly falling apart and have an intricate design which is tough to keep them clean. Our kitchen is small and I think that a better layout would be so much easier to work with. I know, I know, paying off debt should come first. But I spend SO MUCH time in the kitchen it would just be so wonderful!!

Advice? I'd also love to hear what others 2010 money plans are. I feel like dh and I should sit down and talk it all through.

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#3 of 45 Old 12-29-2009, 04:18 PM
 
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I plan on leaving my debit card at homeeee!! Argh, I have such a hard time with spending on stuff we don't need because of that stupid little piece of plastic. So yeah, leaving card at home, not eating out more than 5 times a month, and asking DH before I buy ANYYYTHIIINNNGGGGG. Hopefully that will help in 2010, because 2009 was a really crappy year for monies.

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#4 of 45 Old 12-29-2009, 04:36 PM
 
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My goal is to not buy anything unless I absoluetly need it. I am trying desperatly to move from our current situation and possible a 2nd time across the country. I have 2 small bills to pay off (under 1k total). - before my student loans start ugh But this little voice in the back of my head is telling me not to spend money. So I'm going to do my best to keep as much of my $$ as I can.

I need to decide if im goign to finish my certificate or walk away and stay with what I know and go back to that industry. Either way I now have student loans to pay off.

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#5 of 45 Old 12-29-2009, 07:12 PM
 
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Our weakness is eating out. Always has been. So, to curb that, I'm making monthly meal plans. We've done it in the past and found that it's so much easier when shopping if I know exactly what we're having each night and can plan out using food like family sized meat packages over a few days. Our dishwasher busted about 6 months ago and since I lost my job in July, we haven't had the $ to get it fixed. So we tend to look at the kitchen full of dishes, shrug, frown and run to the nearest Chipotle. Smart, right? I'm also planning on packing away & selling the dishes etc. that we just don't need. We have so much stuff in that kitchen, reducing will be very helpful.

I did not think that finding another job (ANY job) would take this long, but once I do get another job, dh thinks that we can use at least 70% of my salary to start our debt snowball. Can't wait. For now we took our Christmas money and applied it to our Emergency Fund, which I'm very proud of us for doing, because normally it gets spent the very next day.

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#6 of 45 Old 12-29-2009, 07:39 PM
 
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Originally Posted by sleepypeanutsmom View Post
The other option that is calling my name is a kitchen remodel. Our cabinets are constantly falling apart and have an intricate design which is tough to keep them clean. Our kitchen is small and I think that a better layout would be so much easier to work with. I know, I know, paying off debt should come first. But I spend SO MUCH time in the kitchen it would just be so wonderful!!

Advice? I'd also love to hear what others 2010 money plans are. I feel like dh and I should sit down and talk it all through.
Not going to tell you what you should do because you know what's best for your situation - but I'm also a firm believer in small 'rewards' as you go through any process to help keep you focused.

There are tons of ways to 'remodel' on the cheap depending on what you want to do. Is there a Habitat for Humanity ReStore in your area? Maybe you could get cabinets there on the cheap? Also you could keep an eye out on Craigslist for cabinet doors that have a matching design but don't necessarily have matching wood and possibly paint the faces. Sandpaper, wood filler, paint and supplies and hardware are way cheaper than completely redoing the cabinets. Would something small like that make you feel like the kitchen was remodelled (at least enough for now) that you could feel rewarded and still keep focused on your goals?

We really wanted a new entertainment center, but ended up refubishing dh's childhood dresser. Feels like a brand new piece of furniture and saved us $950.

~T | head-strong ap mama to 2 fur-kids | TTC since 2001 | remembering angel2.gif 8/00, angel1.gif 5/04, angel1.gif 1/07 & fur-kids, Apollo (04/03-12/09) & Bella (04/06-06/12)
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#7 of 45 Old 12-29-2009, 10:03 PM
 
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Oh- I fell off the wagon a tiny bit! I am obsessed with getting a few things for my house before this baby arrives and today I bought some furniture. It was EXACTLY what I was looking for and it was on clearance. I am still devoted to not using credit which is a big step for us but if I was a purist I would NOT have bought this stuff today. I do have a plan in place because we should be getting a substantial tax return (after which we will adjust dh's witholding! I know I know) That will go to the CC debt and wipe it our entirely and still have some left over for the car debt. I still feel really good because I have a clue about how much and where our money is going. The DR plan has helped us alot but I am definitely not a gazelle right now.

I promise I'll get back on the wagon! LOL
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#8 of 45 Old 12-29-2009, 11:10 PM
 
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I'm all for gazelle intensity this coming year. This year was a biggie for us...got married, had a kid...paid off all the debt and *almost* have 1/2 of our ffef finished.

Our intensity has definitely slowed. Somehow, being debt free with a few thousand in savings make life seem grand

I plan on minimizing our eating out next year, sticking to the budget (dh is in!) and socking everything humanely possible in our savings.

We've also started a seperate savings for Christmas/B-days, so we wont go over budget when those days come around

My goal...major goal...I'd like to polish off the ffef AND have $10k in our house-fund (downpayment) by the end of next year.

I'm not entirely positive that's possible just yet. It depends on the size of our tax refund and our ability to stay on budget...and bonuses...LOL...but it's a good goal that I'm going to do my darndest to achieve
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#9 of 45 Old 12-30-2009, 01:06 AM
 
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#10 of 45 Old 12-30-2009, 03:24 AM
 
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Our weakness is eating out. Always has been. So, to curb that, I'm making monthly meal plans. We've done it in the past and found that it's so much easier when shopping if I know exactly what we're having each night and can plan out using food like family sized meat packages over a few days. Our dishwasher busted about 6 months ago and since I lost my job in July, we haven't had the $ to get it fixed. So we tend to look at the kitchen full of dishes, shrug, frown and run to the nearest Chipotle. Smart, right? I'm also planning on packing away & selling the dishes etc. that we just don't need. We have so much stuff in that kitchen, reducing will be very helpful.

I did not think that finding another job (ANY job) would take this long, but once I do get another job, dh thinks that we can use at least 70% of my salary to start our debt snowball. Can't wait. For now we took our Christmas money and applied it to our Emergency Fund, which I'm very proud of us for doing, because normally it gets spent the very next day.
While it may not be 'green' its cheaper than eating out.... Ive been known to go to Costco and get a huge pack of paper plates and plastic cups.... its a less than $20 investment and lasts months.... I eat at home and dont have to do dishes.... (if you get the paper not foam plates I think they can be recycled, the plastic cups can be recycled, at least around here they can)

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#11 of 45 Old 12-30-2009, 03:34 AM
 
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We had a very large unexpected expense this year, which came right on the heels of having depleted our living funds so I could stay at home with ds for a while, so we had no choice but to take out a huge ($10K)loan. You can not live without heat where we are, so it wasn't optional, and in the long run greatly increases the value of our home, but it is putting us basically a year behind on our debt plan. Which again, in the long run, isn't a huge deal, but it means that instead of being debt free by the end of next year, it'll be 2 years from now, if everything goes as planned.

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#12 of 45 Old 12-30-2009, 11:57 AM
 
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Getting gazelle intense! DH & I have a small pile of jewelry to go, sell as we never wear it at all and it had just been hiding in boxes, drawers etc.

We're decluttering and making piles of sell, freecycle, or garbage to bring in a bit more $$.

And our tax return - all of it is going somewhere to a CC debt or DH's lame excuse of a student loan as that is our lowest balance but highest payment and start to work the ole snowball.

We're on the fence right now about cashing out my old 401k from a previous position as the penalities & taxes would take about 50% of the balance (between state & federal).

treehugger.gifAnd you who seek to know Me, know that the seeking and yearning will avail you not, unless you know the Mystery: for if that which you seek, you find not within yourself, you will never find it without.treehugger.gif

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#13 of 45 Old 12-30-2009, 02:34 PM
 
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We are definitely going gazelle in 2010. We want to pay off as much debt as we can so that when we move we can buy another home with cash and be debt free. I am a shopper at heart, and a sucker for a great deal, so my biggest challenge is going to be actually sticking to the written budget and not shuffleing things around so that I can buy this or that latest deal.

I started off this morning by paying in full a medical bill from this fall and paying off a CC in full. I then went to all my favorite online places and deleted that CC number for payments. The card has met my paper shredder and now it is onto card #2 for the snowball. I want this debt GONE! GONE! GONE!

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#14 of 45 Old 12-30-2009, 02:46 PM
 
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I've got different goals, but after really thinking about where I want to go with my life, I'm inspired to be gazelle intense so that we can increase our savings and continue to cash-flow our DIY basement remodel (and get it finished sooner rather than later).

We're cutting our eating out budget to $120/month = $30/week, which is really good for us. Quite honestly, DH and I could go out for a date night and have NO trouble spending more than that in one fell swoop. I'm dropping our grocery budget to $400/month. Alcohol is dropping to $80/month. Household/misc. is dropping to $150/month. Clothing is dropping to $50/month.

I'm planning to accomplish this by STAYING OUT OF STORES. Since I live in the country and have to drive 30-45mins. to any decent-sized store, going out to the store means that not only am I spending $ at the store, but I'm spending $ on gas and often times $ on eating out as well.

Anyway, if we manage to do this, we should have over $1700/month to put towards savings and/or working on the house. Woo hoo! We should be able to finish our basement before summer, assuming that DH and I (who am I kidding, mostly DH) stay motivated to keep working on it.

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#15 of 45 Old 12-31-2009, 12:44 AM
 
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While it may not be 'green' its cheaper than eating out.... Ive been known to go to Costco and get a huge pack of paper plates and plastic cups.... its a less than $20 investment and lasts months.... I eat at home and dont have to do dishes.... (if you get the paper not foam plates I think they can be recycled, the plastic cups can be recycled, at least around here they can)
My mother who almost exclusively uses paper plates, finally convinced me that for now - to keep my sanity and keep me from standing at that stupid sink all day I needed to get paper plates. We do recycle them too, provided they are fairly clean. My least favorite chore is dishes. I will wash clothes, vaccuum etc. all day - anything to avoid bending over that sink. Your idea of getting them @ Costco makes way more sense than my buying them in smaller packs.

The dishwasher itself is about 3 years old and since that time many of the other models by this manufacturer have been recalled for wiring issues - the wires underneath ours are melted together. The customer service girl was 'happy' to report to me that my machine was not part of the recall. Just our luck. So, fixing it is going to be a priority some time after we get Baby Step #1 completed.

~T | head-strong ap mama to 2 fur-kids | TTC since 2001 | remembering angel2.gif 8/00, angel1.gif 5/04, angel1.gif 1/07 & fur-kids, Apollo (04/03-12/09) & Bella (04/06-06/12)
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#16 of 45 Old 12-31-2009, 04:28 AM
 
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While we may be debt free for the moment, we are university students and I'm trying to plan ahead for possible future debt. We want to avoid student loans as much as possible.

So my 2010 plan to help this happen is to take some children in and save the money. It won't be millions of dollars, but every little bit that I can sock away has to help right? (Can you tell I'm nervous about this! )

I am not crunchy enough for this forum. Everyday I get a little crunchier though! :
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#17 of 45 Old 12-31-2009, 01:10 PM
 
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I would like to get gazelle intensity this year, but I"m kind of waiting until we know for sure if DP will have work for the next year. He's in construction and while we should be able to pay off our debts this year, I'm just saving all I can right now until we know for sure that he won't be laid off. I will breathe much easier knowing he has a job for at least another year!! We should know that around April. Hopefully.

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#18 of 45 Old 12-31-2009, 02:31 PM
 
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I just paid our renter's insurance for the entire next year and in Jan I will pay our auto insurance for the year. I THINK we have about $1k left in medical bills, I'll have to check to make sure. I'd like to pay that off in Jan as well. We get paid every two weeks and next month will be an "extra" paycheck for both of us so that will help with debts. We also have a $900 cc and a car loan.

OTOH, there are my three stepkids birthdays coming up in Feb (dh's boys). His two girls already had theirs in Dec. Then two grandchildren's bdays in March and April with another new baby due around the same time!! So much going on in the early part of next year, its making my head swim.

I am going to be really watching what/how I spend on groceries and incidentals. I've done so much better last year but I know I can improve. I always say I hate to shop but I seem to have no problem picking up small items here and there. That's got to stop, too, although that's another area which I did improve upon this past year.
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#19 of 45 Old 12-31-2009, 03:01 PM
 
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I am in! I have a whole lot of financial hurdles coming in this next year! Including learning how to survive financially as a single parent with little support.. Subbing

"If we are to heal the planet, we must begin by healing birthing."
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#20 of 45 Old 01-02-2010, 08:16 PM
 
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So, how's everyone doing thus far this brand new year?

Dh and I sat down and looked at our budget. As we stand, we're just barely making ends meet, but we're cutting some non-essentials (like the home phone and parts of the TV bill) and we figured out how much he could make by working an overtime shift for the next few months and it will really help in finishing up Baby Step #1 and jumpstarting our debt snowball. I'm still holding out hope/praying that I'll be able to find work again even if it's only part-time for now. Can't wait to kiss unemployment goodbye and start contributing some serious dough to this plan. I love staying home, but I'm bored. I'm also going to see about volunteering some time with a local charity - to get out of the house and give back in a small way. So, looking forward to an exciting and focused 2010!!

~T | head-strong ap mama to 2 fur-kids | TTC since 2001 | remembering angel2.gif 8/00, angel1.gif 5/04, angel1.gif 1/07 & fur-kids, Apollo (04/03-12/09) & Bella (04/06-06/12)
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#21 of 45 Old 01-02-2010, 08:20 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Two January goals:
1. I have a gold necklace I need to sell. I may just send it to one of those mail order dealios just because it's easier.

2. I read a great book called Family Feasts for $75 a week. I liked it so much, I just reviewed it on my blog, LOL! But I want to get my bill down to $75 a week.

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#22 of 45 Old 01-05-2010, 01:05 PM
 
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wow, I need this thread. Thanks for being here. In the last few weeks I've gone hog-wild w/ spending and now I need to get back on track. Dh made a little more w/ some overtime pay and now I've got to go back to living like there's no overtime.

TOUGH to do bc I have a big milestone birthday this year. ANy ideas on a cheap birthday indoors?? If it were summer, we could have a bunch of friends over and do a sort of potluck w/ us supplying main course. Our house isn't so big that we can be comfortable w/ 20 friends.
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#23 of 45 Old 01-05-2010, 01:09 PM - Thread Starter
 
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What age birthday?

I was able to toss an extra $50 into the snowball this week!

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#24 of 45 Old 01-06-2010, 12:50 PM
 
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What age birthday?

I was able to toss an extra $50 into the snowball this week!

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#25 of 45 Old 01-06-2010, 07:08 PM
 
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What age birthday?
the big 4-0!!! Ack.

Also, I've 90% decided we won't go to our school auction this year, which is a very tough decision bc it's a good cause (I love dd's school), but tickets are spendy AND I'll be tempted to stuff, although I've heard there are fantastic deals and it's worth it....gift baskets w/ gift cards and tons of other stuff.
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#26 of 45 Old 01-07-2010, 02:30 PM
 
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I'm in! I've been blogging about my goal, which is to save 25% of our annual income or $6,000 for an emergency fund. The only debt is our car and it will be paid off by the end of the year with our tax refund, so I'm focusing on the emergency fund. In under a week, I've earned extra or saved almost $300 and haven't gone shopping once. All spending so far has been planned. I'm impressed, haha. www.thesavedquarter.wordpress.com

For a big birthday party, could you do a pot luck with a funny theme? A friend of mine did a retro pot luck, where all the recipes had to come from a 50's cookbook, and it was HILARIOUS. The food was funny and silly, and everyone dressed up in 50's clothes. Fun and cheap.
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#27 of 45 Old 01-07-2010, 04:43 PM
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resisted dh's efforts to entice me into takeout last night which is a mini goal for January. My gazelle seems to have a slight limp though.
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#28 of 45 Old 01-08-2010, 06:07 PM
 
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mtm - awesome! Usually it is me that is trying to entice to go out...

I dropped $400 to savings today. That is my goal each payday. We'll see if I can squeeze some more out though. I started going back over my expenses for the last few months and just gave up. I was trying to do cash only, but failed sometimes so I really have no idea how much I actually spent on groceries or each category. I think I may just do the debit card again, because it is so much easier to track where the money goes. Maybe we'll just do cash for our fun money.

Oh, I've also been doing the homecooking challenge and so far, it has been awesome! I'm really liking it and have not gone out to eat, or been tempted yet. Usually the only time I want to go out to eat is when I can't think of anything for dinner.

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#29 of 45 Old 01-08-2010, 10:50 PM
 
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Originally Posted by cody'smomma View Post
Oh, I've also been doing the homecooking challenge and so far, it has been awesome! I'm really liking it and have not gone out to eat, or been tempted yet. Usually the only time I want to go out to eat is when I can't think of anything for dinner.
So true!! I also found that when I've planned out the week's food, it helps reduce grocery bills because I go through the ads, see what's on sale-what I have the coupons for (and I add coupons online to the club cards for some of the local grocery stores - so easy), make the plan and buy only what I need. We ad-match @ Walmart whenever possible because it allows us to get everything at once (and save gas). But I was really excited today when I went to Safeway and only spent 8.59 after sales/coupons and saved 12.58. I almost kissed the cashier when she told me that.

For us, some of the simplest things have netted the biggest rewards. Dh use to get coffee before work each of the 10 days a month he worked. Now, a couple of bucks times 10 doesn't seem like that big of a deal - but it takes a few minutes for me to wash his travel mug, set the coffee maker to start 15 mins before he wakes up, grind the coffee the night before and buy creamer. And it saves a ton of money over several months.

We're sitting down this weekend to get our goals/monthly plans in gear. Unfortunately becasue I'm not working and am having a difficult time even finding part-time work, alot of what we're going to have to do to get gazelle intense revolves around dh working OT and me selling a bunch of the stuff that we have accumulated but just don't need. Trying to get my mom and sisters together to have a rummage sale (and then maybe do craigslist) at the end of the month. And we're planning on starting FPU @ the beginning of Feb.

~T | head-strong ap mama to 2 fur-kids | TTC since 2001 | remembering angel2.gif 8/00, angel1.gif 5/04, angel1.gif 1/07 & fur-kids, Apollo (04/03-12/09) & Bella (04/06-06/12)
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#30 of 45 Old 01-10-2010, 02:02 AM
 
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I'm not that familiar with Dave Ramsey, but am definitely familiar with tightening the belt! I've looked up this snowballing thing and I'm not sure how to figure it. Right now, we have three credit cards that need paying off:
1. $990
2. $1205
3. $2450

I've been putting every spare dollar toward Card No. 1, and have moved it from $2000 to $990 in the last few weeks with hopes to pay it off this month. It's also our highest-interest card, so this feels like a good strategy. My plan is to continue this strategy til the card's paid off, while making a minimum payment of $100 on the other cards. To make only a minimum payment on a CC scares me for some reason. I feel like it'll never get paid off. So in my head, $100 is a minimum payment.

So if I truly snowballed, then here's how it would look:

Card No. 1: January's payment $2000/paid off
Card No. 2: February's payment $1205/paid off with $795 leftover from Jan payment, plus $100 minimum payment, so $895 to apply to CC No. 3
Card No. 3: February's payment $895 of leftover from CC No. 2, plus $100 minimum payment, so payment of $995/$1455 left to go

HOWEVER, February's not going to be as flush as January. If I can even put $1000 toward CC debt in February, it'll be great. So the snowball doesn't work, and I'm just working with goals instead. For me, gazelle intensity means every spare dollar going to knock out these debts (which cropped up in fall 2009 with big vet bills, big medical bills from DD's unexpected surgical repair job in late summer and the requirement for new tires for two cars and a new Macintosh computer).

I'm not sure how what I'm doing differs from snowballing and gazelle intensity or what Dave Ramsey would recommend to someone in our situation, but if the goal is to pay off CC debt, why not just pay pay pay everything extra til it's gone?

Am I missing something?
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