No. of Recommendations: 11
Hello Fools,

Well, I get paid every other Friday, and this is another one of those great Fridays so I'm posting my debt progress. It's not terribly good this time around--I'll tell you about that in a minute.

Card 5/1 Balance 9/27 Balance
Discover 1337 0
MBNA 7875 10999
Citi 7736 0
Bank Loan 8535 8136
--------------------------------------------------------Total 25483 19165

This balance is only $158 less than 2 weeks ago, and only $573 less than 4 weeks ago. That may sound great to all of you, but it's not exactly spectacular compared to my previous months.

The past 2 weeks, the emergency fund went up by $26.80. $10 represents 5% of my overall snowball amount, which is what I always pay into the e-fund. The other $16.80 is interest on the account. The total now is....

Considering that some other pay periods I have reduced my debt by $350+ dollars, I am not exactly enthralled with only a $158 reduction. The biggest reasons for less debt progress the last 2 weeks are:

a) I have not been as disciplined about curbing eating-out expenses lately.
b) I had to buy clothes. I have never been good at budgeting for clothes!

Fortunately, I have some ideas for how to counteract these problems that I am putting into place.

On the clothes front, I have started a new freedom fund sub-account for clothes. As a starting point, I am putting $30 every 2 weeks into this account. I don't know if that is too much or too little, but even if it is too little, having some of the $$$ there is better than just not paying attention to this area. Since I spent $164 last Saturday on clothes, what I've done is start my freedom account $164 in the hole (I already wrote a check to discover to pay for the new clothes). To pay myself back that $164, I am going to take 20% of my snowball and put it into the clothes subaccount until I'm where I'm supposed to be. (In other words, if it takes me 4 pay period to pay myself back, I want the balance in the clothes subaccount to be $120 at that time.) I'm sure this is clear as mud, but it makes sense to me.

On the eating out front, the main reason for this problem is that I have been workign a lot of hours lately on a big project, and just haven't been quite as disciplined with making sure to bring my food. I've also been a little lazy on some weekends and getting take-out that I don't reallly enjoy all that much. (Mcdonald's falls into the category of not-very-enjoyable takeout. My favorite Thai joint, which i go to every 1-2 weeks, does NOT.) I also just plain walked out of the house wihtout a lunch I had already packed TWICE this week and had to go to the cafeteria. To reduce expenses in this area I will do the following:

a) Get back into the cooking-great-stuff-on-the-weekend routine so I don't want to go out during the week
b) Make sure not to forget my lunch. (Things are slowing donw a wee bit at work so I think this won't be a problem)
c) Buy canned soda on sale at the grocery store this weekend. This is sort of unrelated to the original problem, but still an area I can cut out spending $$$. I frequent the soda machine at work quite often, and I spend a fairly sizeable chunk of my $80 per payday cash allotment on those machines. This payday, I am going to take out $10 less from the ATM for the next 2 weeks and buy soda at the grocery store to keep in my cube. We'll see how much having that soda reduces my cash outlay.

I hope everyone else is doing well. sorry this got so long-winded.

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