The "Get Out Of Your Car!" Fund

Monday, July 31, 2017

New apartment

My 4-year debt free anniversary will be here in 1 month.

In one month I will move into a basement again but this time at full rental price. It's closer to the price of a 1-bedroom apartment. Fortunately, I can bring my dog and it's only 10 minutes from work. It's close to my post office box and storage unit, which I hope to get rid of.

I had to redo my budget for the upcoming months. The good thing is I can tithe and start saving for retirement and my budget will still balance with money for food, clothes, etc. This is how it should be - although I would like my own place one day (above ground and in a very safe neighborhood).

Saturday, July 15, 2017

4 year anniversary coming up

I took Financial Peace University again this summer. I shared how I was able to buy each of my graduating students t-shirts from Oakwood University, and that was important to me. I could not have done that 3.5 years ago. I was able to do this because I'm a Free spirit saver.

9-1-2014 will be the 4 year anniversary of improving my finances. I need to think of a way to celebrate. I would like to celebrate only having a student loan and HOA debt of exactly 50K.

Ideas: a personal weekend getaway
a special eating out meal 
ordering Humans online so I can watch the entire series on a weekend binge with root beer and Ledos

Saturday, May 13, 2017

Hobo Ahle

Hobo Ahle video-blogs about how to live in your car. I enjoy watching her videos and re-living my adventurous experiences of living in my car for almost 2 years. Here is the video link. 

In this video, she gives 10 safety tips. They are good. Some that I especially agree with are
2. “Don’t tell people you’re traveling alone.” In my case, I didn’t tell people I was living in my car at all.
3. “Lock doors all the time as soon as you can.” Absolutely! I’ve had this habit since I learned to drive. Mama insisted. And I’ve also heard the story (tale?) of people hiding under your car to slash your Achilles’ tendons! Ha!
4. “Maintain your vehicle.” Yep. Your car is your residence. Without it you have no transportation AND no house!
5. “Hide your belongings.”
6. “Be ready to get up and go.” I kept my househoes under the gas pedal. When I woke up, I hopped in the driver seat, slipped my feet in my househoes, and took off.
7. “Do your research on sleeping places.” Unlike Hobo Ahle, I stayed local. I slept in neighborhoods that I used to live in, so I knew how safe they were, where to park so that wouldn’t be towed, and the foot traffic patterns around my car.  Don’t sleep in the exact same spot every night. Even when I slept in the same neighborhood, I tried to sleep in different parking spots. I didn’t want neighbors to get suspicious and call the police.

10. Have savings. It gives you options and prepares you for emergencies. I remember when the snowstorm hit. I had money for a hotel for 2 nights and food to last when I couldn’t get out in the snow.
11. Don’t share your location till you have left. That’s why I didn’t vlog like she’s doing or post mylocation in my blog.

I’ll end with a quote by Hobo Ahle. “You can’t let fear control your life. Living in a car is different, but bad things happen even in houses.”

Thursday, April 20, 2017

That Honda keeps blessing people

"Dec 29, 2015

I'm driving behind my Honda while my brother is driving it. It looks so bad. I look at other people's cars and think how bad their cars look, but I never have the opportunity to drive behind my own and look at it."

I wrote this over a year ago and never posted it. I decided to post it. As bad as that car looks, I would drive it another 5 years if I thought it would make it on the highway. Even though it was time to give it up, someone else is being blessed by it.

Spring Break shopping

Looking back over my past notes, I started with 80K in debts (student loans 45000, credit cards 8000, small debts 1000, HOA fees 11000, PNC 15000) plus mortgage debt (106K). I needed to help renovate my parents house (at least 30K) and buy a newer car eventually.

In 2 years I managed to set aside 1955 a month for either debts or savings. (we paid off 24,985 in two years. In addition, we saved, $20K. That's $44,985 for debt or savings in 23 months. That's 1955 a month!)

It's been almost 4 years. The house is nearly complete. The mortgage, credit cards, and small debts are gone. PNC and HOA are cut in half. Emergency savings fund is fully funded. Student loan is stable. 

I'm ready to start investing again. I've decided to keep renting a house. Owning my own home is not important to me right now. When I buy, I want a house I love,  not just one I can afford or one that I want to buy while the price is right because I feel pressured that someone else will snatch it up before I can get it. 

My roommate plans to stay here for another year, so I plan to stay as well. 

It's spring break and yesterday I spent a lot of time shopping. It was a winning situation because I used cash from the envelopes and shopped from a list. 

I bought household supplies and food to make a specific recipe (vegetarian chicken salad). I saw a shirt I liked and grabbed it. Other than the shirt, everything else I bought was on my shopping list. Even then, I asked myself, is there another cheaper way I can make do without this? For example, I wanted a new pair of shorts to go with the shirt I bought, then I remembered that I have a set at home that will match. Saved myself 10-20 bucks. Go, me!

Today's job is to go house-shopping. I did that yesterday, too, but it was different than in the past. I wasn't eager to go inside and take a look. I'm calmer about it. I just want a contractor to give me a price and then I get started fixing it up. If the seller I'm considering is too difficult to make a deal with me, then he's not the right seller for me at this time. I'll go find other sellers. I'm not stressed out about it like I was 12 years ago. 

It feels good to be where I am today. 

Sunday, March 12, 2017

Going more Gazelle

So, for the past several months, I've been grazing around in the field like a gazelle with nothing much to worry about. Like a gazelle who knows all of the lions are distracted somewhere else, so they'll be back eventually but not right now.

Well, I know I better intense again. This  won't last forever.

So, I did a check. My current debt total is: 57758 = student loan (45,058), PNC (6700), HOA (6000)

Today I'm raising my level of automatic debt payoffs. Even though the debt is getting paid down, I need to increase the payments. This summer my roommate may decide to move, which means I need to move as well. I may have to get an apartment with regular rent costs. In that case, I will appreciate all of these opportunities to have paid down debt. I'll regret it if I don't.

I've had some recent opportunities to tell people about Dave Ramsey. I share advice and experiences on Facebook Dave Ramsey groups. Wish I could do more.

Monday, February 20, 2017

July review

Youtube is my cable. I have learned to re-love old television shows and even fall in love with some new ones. I recently watched Diagnosis Murder and the Beverly Hillbillies. Those shows are great! I want to watch more.

Here's something I found out about budgeting last summer that I never posted:

When my monthly bills change drastically, it's better to budget weekly or biweekly. That helps keep up with the fluctuations.

When everything is smooth sailing, then I can budget monthly.

While I was renting a basement, my budget was the same every month, so I didn't pay attention to it much. I just stuck with the budget.

During the summer, I started budgeting again because of the changes in rent, storage fees, and not making car payments to myself but instead paying extra money back on debt again.

Now that I'm renting a room again, I find myself not using Everydollar consistently. I just fill the envelopes, let the bills get paid automatically, and even the debt is on auto-pilot.

Here's a blessing: I noticed in December that my envelopes are getting rather full of money that is not being spent. That's because I'm cooking more at home and carrying lunches to work (my lunches this week amount to $2/day!), and also because my commute to and from work is shorter than it was a year ago. I'm going to make a bank deposit and put that cash back into the bank. Then I'm reducing the amount called for on my envelopes.

Food dropped from $100 a week to $75 a week to now $50 a week.

Gas dropped from $40 a week to $30 a week.