Confessions of a Laid-off Lawyer

Just Your Average Joe Blogging Away His Debt—In One Year or Less

Posts Tagged ‘credit cards

What a Mint!

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Total Black: $2,352.41
Total Red: $269,991.43

Last Sunday, while bored at home waiting to leave to meet some guy for one of those quasi-dates—those “let’s grab a drink” things.  Never materialized.  It was raining too much.  The place we were going to meet at was closed on Sundays.  He’s local so I suspect he may have gotten cold feet.  But I digress.  Anyway, while waiting at home to leave, I started browsing the App Store on iTunes on my iPhone.  Time-killer, right?  Well, I came across one app, Seize the Day, that looked interesting.  Downloaded it.  It’s an app to keeps track of tasks and alerts you to outstanding To-Do list items.  Do we need it?  No.  We can just take a pad of paper and create our own To-Do list.  The iPhone has a Notes section too.  But I thought, why not!  Anything to help organization in this cluttered, electronic world.  But it was the app for the personal finance website Mint.com that really intrigued me.  Keep reading . . .

Good Little Boy

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Total Black: $3,323.08
Total Red: $270,855.95

A discussion in the comments to Burning a Hole prompted today’s post.  I found valid but conflicting information on the internet and in those comments about how to handle credit card debt.  Even Suze Orman has modified her advice.  So I thought I’d take a moment and blog about it. Keep reading . . .

Twelfth Day of Accounting

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Total Black: $109.30

Here’s the Breakdown:

Primary Checking: $12.21
Secondary Checking: $80.64
Savings: $5.50
PayPal Account (Personal): $0.00
PayPal Account (Blog): $0.00
Amazon Payments Account: $0.005
Mutual Funds Account: $0.00

FICO Score 513

Total Red: $270,527.19

Here’s the breakdown:

Credit Card Debt:

Master Card: $4,699.50
Visa: $7,651.50
Visa: $4,000.00
American Express: $2,382.10
Raymour & Flanagan Credit Line: $6,340.68
Saks Fifth Avenue Credit Card: -$0.10

Student Loan Debt:

Federal Stafford Loans: $94,504.20
Private Student Loans: $31,610.26

Back Taxes:

IRS (2007): $0.00
IRS (2008): $27,041.05
IRS (2009): $0.00

NY State (2008): $0.00
NY State (2009): $0.00

Other Loans:

My mother: $72,000.00
My sister: $1,800.00
Auto loan: $18,498.00

Well, there it is.  The good, the bad, and the ugly.  All laid out.  And that’s about as “bad” and as “ugly” as it’s gonna get.  But certainly not as good.  Keep reading . . .

Sigh of Relief

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Total Black: $592.88
Total Red: $252,353.44

Well, just over five hundred dollars is all I have left from the ten thousand dollars my mother loaned me today.  Never thought I’d “burn” through that much money in less than five hours.  Unfortunately, it wasn’t fun. But it was relieving.  A sigh of relief for sure.  Keep reading . . .

Breakdown

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Total Black: $6.71
Total Red: $245,625.09

No, not an emotional one.  A financial one.  Time to break down my finances for the month and lay it out for all to see.

I’m estimating much of the information here.  I still haven’t gotten paid from my current job.  Perhaps by the middle of next month.  So much of this data I’ve calculated on my own.  Once I get my first pay stub, I’ll update my financials.  For now, here goes:   Keep reading . . .

Supplemental Day of Accounting

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Total Black: $85.38
Total Red: $243,602.66

Total Red is down from earlier this week—all-time high of $246K.  But it’s up from yesterday’s post: My First Car.  And all numbers are up from my Eleventh Day of Accounting, so I thought perhaps I’d update my numbers before the 10th of the month, especially because of the recent changes to my finances.  An abbreviated version follows below: Keep reading . . .

Absolutely Infuriating

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Total Black: $85.38
Total Red: $246,889.20

I spent nearly two hours today on the telephone with Bank of America.  And I’m practically at my wits-end.  Keep reading . . .

Miami Is Not Nice

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Total Black: $221.13
Total Red: $243,731.55

And I’ll say it thrice.  (Lil’ “Golden Girls” reference there.)  

But seriously, today sucked.  I’m flying to Los Angeles to attend the wedding of a good friend from law school.  My day started with more bank fiascos and then a flight delay and then a missed connection.  And a forced one thereafter, so to speak.  I wish I could just turn around and go back.  Keep reading . . .

Limits and Liens and Loans

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Total Black: $906.89
Total Red: $241,059.05

Oh my!  Oh my!  Oh my!  I went looking for a jeep today.  Not sure how this will work out. Keep reading . . .

Eleventh Day of Accounting

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Total Black: $844.57

Here’s the Breakdown:

Primary Checking: $323.89
Secondary Checking: $115.85
Savings: $9.46
PayPal Account (Personal): $395.37
PayPal Account (Blog): $0.00
Amazon Payments Account: $0.005
Mutual Funds Account: $0.00

FICO Score 502

Total Red: $240,126.52

Here’s the breakdown:

Credit Card Debt:

Master Card: $4,505.33     [down $1,125.21 from August 2009]
Visa: $7,649.67     [down $213.00 from August 2009]
Visa: $4,912.54     [down $154.42 from August 2009]
American Express: $2,325.36     [down $42.04 from August 2009]
Raymour & Flanagan Credit Line: $6,340.68     [up $692.93 from August 2009]
Saks Fifth Avenue Credit Card: $412.23     [not listed in August 2009]

Student Loan Debt:

Federal Stafford Loans: $94,504.20     [no change from August 2009]
Private Student Loans: $31,664.44     [down $2,504.06 from August 2009]

Back Taxes:

IRS (2007): $1,438.11     [down $792.49 from August 2009]
IRS (2008): $28,275.80     [up $797.07 from August 2009]
IRS (2009): $2,840.00     [not listed in August 2009]

NY State (2008): $0.00    [down $2,846.59 from August 2009]
NY State (2009): $2,785.00     [not listed in August 2009]

Other Loans:

My mother: $49,473.16     [up $9,473.16 from August 2009]
My sister: $3,000.00     [not listed in August 2009]

This month—for the first time—I decided to compare the changes in the numbers from August 2009 when I first posted my stats, back in Day of Accounting.  Looking at everything laid out like this really brings the reality home.  Keep reading . . .

Written by Laid-off Lawyer

June 10, 2010 at 22:51

Round and Round

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Total Black: $508.96
Total Red: $230,325.12

Both total black and total red are down a bit.  Total red should come down under $229K by tomorrow once payments post and all.  I worked from 8am until 11:30pm today at both jobs.  Since I’ve become head usher for Naked Boys Singing, every Friday and Saturday night will have me watching men singing in the nude—and all the people who pay to see them.  Quite the interesting end to the formal work week and start of the weekend. Keep reading . . .

Black and White and Red All Over

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Total Black: $1,070.69
Total Red: $
230,607.08

Total black is up because pay came through.  A portion has already been allocated to bills, however, so the numbers aren’t exactly accurate.  Total red is actually lower than what is shown.  It’s probably back down to $229K.  Of course, I say “back down” but really it’s back up. Keep reading . . .

Written by Laid-off Lawyer

March 25, 2010 at 22:01

Such a CARD!

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Total Black: $90.46
Total Red: $229,121.20

Ah Congress.   That austere body.  The bequest to countless generations of the Founding Fathers.  And how we have squandered that bequest.  Today the CARD Act went into effect.  And what major changes does it enact?  What manna from congressional heaven will fall?  Not much really.  Keep reading . . .

Bark Bigger Than Bite

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Total Black: $1,066.57
Total Red: $228,896.15

Well.  I finally did it.  I answered the call.  Picked up the telephone.  Twice actually. Keep reading . . .

Wise or Unwise

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Total Black: $1,551.96
Total Red: $229,283.54

Whether wise or unwise, I’ve done it: as set out in Resolutions For the New Year, one credit card will be paid off by the end of January.  That leaves me with another to pay off by the end of February and then a student loan by March.  And I can’t wait!  As odd as it may sound, I actually can’t wait to pay bills now. Keep reading . . .

Back to Basics

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Total Black: $88.80
Total Red: $230,621.20

The focus of this blog has strayed a bit afield of late.  I started on this path with two goals: to eliminate my debt in a year and to blog about debt, my efforts to get out of debt, and all things debt-related in general.  Perhaps I’ve let the blog devolve into a bit of an online journal.  That isn’t the focus.  While chronicling my efforts to get out of of debt are a component, I started the blog as a means to an end, not as an end in itself.  I need to keep that at the forefront because I think I’ve found myself slipping into the blogdom a bit too much lately. Keep reading . . .

Fifth Day of Accounting

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December 10th and my fifth day of accounting.

Total Black: $65.10

Here’s the Breakdown:

Primary Checking: $0.00
Secondary Checking: $0.00
Savings: $0.00
PayPal Account (Personal): $0.71
PayPal Account (Blog): $0.00
Amazon Payments Account: $0.00
Mutual Funds Account: $64.30

FICO Score 497 [to be updated]

Total Red: $230,322.41

Here’s the breakdown:

Credit Card Debt

MasterCard: $5,637.00
Visa: $8,133.82
Visa: $5,605.17
American Express: $2,402.17
Raymour & Flanagan Credit Line: $6,010.35

Student Loan Debt

Federal Stafford Loans: $96,810.17
Private Student Loans: $33,518.49

Back Taxes

IRS (2007): $1,280.08
IRS (2008): $27,952.00
NY State (2008): $0.00

Other Loans

My mother: $42,973.16

Total black is nil, but that’s mostly because I sent nearly everything to credit cards as well as a payment to the IRS.  I realized this morning that I haven’t been counting cash on hand in my numbers.  So, I suppose total black would be up by about forty dollars to account for the cash in my wallet.  I withdrew the remaining amount yesterday evening so that I’d use cash for the next few days.  I saw a bit of the Suze Orman Show the other day.  She’s pushing a Back to Cash movement.  I’ve been dancing around that issue for some time if only to avoid debit card insufficient fund fees.  So, I decided to commit myself to using cash for six months—the longest amount of time her site allows.  Here’s hoping I can keep my promise. Keep reading . . .

More Shenanigans

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Total Black: $295.48
Total Red: $231,123.38

Pay came through last night.  In fact, I was still awake around 2 a.m. when it showed up in my account.  I had been slowly siphoning the money in my secondary checking account, money that I had parked there for the COBRA payment to the firm.  By yesterday afternoon the check still hadn’t been cashed, so I transferred the remaining money into my primary checking account to use it buy a few things, like lunch and some groceries.  So last night when I saw that my paycheck had been deposited and the check still hadn’t been cashed, I quickly transferred the $399.22 (covering two months) back into the other checking account to cover it, gave a sigh of relief, and then quietly drifted off to bed.  But of course, this afternoon the check showed up in my account as if it had posted on September 18th, even though I viewed my account at 2 a.m. the next day, September 19th, and the check wasn’t there.  This is the kind of shit I wrote about in What Is This, Sarcasm? that makes my blood boil.  I guess the new day I wrote about in A New Day Has Dawned has limits.  I borrowed the money I had allocated for that check knowing full well I might incur an insufficient funds fee.  And if it had presented a few days earlier, when the entire amount wasn’t in the account, I would have happily paid the $35 fee and been done with it because it would have been my fault.  I’m not proud to have to play these games, but skating this close to the financial edge requires running a few risks.  But it infuriates me when Bank of America rewrites history, when it moulds time to suit its purposes, and allows the check through just when enough money is in the account.  What’s the chance that the check presented conveniently a day before I transferred the exact amount into my account.  No, the check had not presented on September 18th.  And if the bank functions on Pacific time, then the money I transferred would have hit my account in time to cover it anyway.  Tomorrow I’m calling Bank of America and demanding back the $35 fee I paid today. Keep reading . . .

Pro Bono Publico

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Total Black: $1,312.95
Total Red: $230,131.21

A year ago today I was scurrying around at the firm, finishing up the cases I was working on and ensuring they were transferred to someone else.  One such case was a pro bono lawsuit on behalf of a homeless woman whose personal property had been denied her by her landlord and then by a storage facility.  Earlier this week I inherited that case once again.  Odd timing, no?  Effectively I will be a solo practitioner.  It’s a bit intimidating thinking about the upcoming deadlines and overall responsibility, but I’m committed to this client and her story.  Plus, in a sense, she’s my first client.  She was my first “client” while at the law firm, even though the firm, not the lawyers, has the clients.  And now she really will be my first client. Keep reading . . .

Written by Laid-off Lawyer

October 16, 2009 at 23:57

Third Day of Accounting

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It’s the 10th and my third day of accounting.

Total Black: $673.47

Here’s the Breakdown:

Primary Checking: $43.21
Secondary Checking $507.02
Savings $1.73
PayPal Account (Personal): $0.52
PayPal Account (Blog): $48.25
Amazon Payments Account $10.14
Mutual Funds Account: $62.60

FICO Score 565 (unchanged from last month)

Total Red: $230,280.28

Here’s the breakdown:

Credit Card Debt

MasterCard $5,650.00
Visa $8,050.00
Visa $5,728.28
American Express $2,500.00
Raymour & Flanagan Credit Line $5,698.98

Student Loan Debt

Federal Stafford Loans: $96,810.17
Private Student Loans: $33,891.93

Back Taxes

IRS (2007): $1,231.72
IRS (2008): $27,792.93
NY State (2008): $2,926.27

Other Loans

My mother: $40,000.00

Just in time for my third day of accounting, my internet service has been restored. It cost $538.70 too. I guess I was quite a bit behind. It’s been a busy past few days. Keep reading . . .

Strategies and Specifics

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Total Black: $129.73
Total Red: $230,272.86

A number of people have asked me how I intend to get debt free in one year.  In the About Laid-Off Lawyer page I detailed the basics about this journey I’ve undertaken.  I’ve not yet mapped out the specifics in how I intend to accomplish this goal.  That’s mostly because I’m not clear on it myself. Keep reading . . .

Alone, Yet Not Alone

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Total Black: -$304.86
Total Red: $228,252.66

As I predicted in yesterday’s post, Doing That Hustle, Bank of America has walloped me once again with multiple insufficient funds fees.  Some are clearly my fault.  Others are not.  But . . . I say, “Oh well.”  I get paid tomorrow, so once they’ve been “reimbursed” I’ll call the bank to get some reimbursement myself and fight a few of their fees.  One example: I transferred $40 from my checking account to my savings account.  Bank of America charged me a fee for that transaction because, once they rearranged subsequent transactions, it brought my balance further under.  Clearly I had the money in the account or I couldn’t have transferred it, so I don’t understand how a bank gets to charge you a $35 fee for moving $40 of your own funds.  They’ll hear from me on that one for sure.   Keep reading . . .

Debt Most Physical

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Total Black: $115.56
Total Red: $228,013.71

CNN’s Jennie Brag ran a story today called “Digging Out From $80,000 in Debt” about a woman, Dawn Warfield, in Saratoga Springs, New York who has been crippled by her debt from seventeen credit cards.  And I thought four credit cards and $27,000 in debt is a lot.  Warfield observed that “when you have a lot of debt, it’s not just financial, but it’s emotional, you know, even physical . . . .  You think about it all the time.”  It’s true.  In prior posts like Positive Energy, Feelings and Finances, and An Emotional Enema I touched on the emotional and social strains caused by my debt, but for some reason I’ve been reluctant to address the physical aspects of it.  I danced around it in Getting Out of the Quicksand but didn’t really dive right in.  I guess it’s time. Keep reading . . .

Written by Laid-off Lawyer

September 22, 2009 at 22:20

Second Day of Accounting

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It’s the 10th.  My day of accounting.  Here’s this month’s breakdown:

Total Black: $462.36

Here’s the Breakdown:

Primary Checking: $347.14
Secondary Checking $0.00
Savings $0.00
PayPal Account (Personal): $4.62
PayPal Account (Blog): $48.25
Amazon Payments Account $0.74
Mutual Funds Account: $61.61

FICO Score 565

Total Red: $228,312.70

Here’s the breakdown:

Credit Card Debt

MasterCard     $5,700.00
Visa     $8,005.65
Visa     $5,413.38
American Express $2,448.00
Raymour & Flanagan Credit Line $5,698.98

Student Loan Debt

Federal Stafford Loans: $94,504.20
Private Student Loans: $33,986.57

Back Taxes

IRS (2007): $2,230.60
IRS (2008): $27,478.73
NY State (2008): $2,846.59

Other Loans

My mother: $40,000 (+ $8,000 she’s carrying on one of her credit cards–not added into total red).

Some progress, albeit slow.  Last month my FICO score was 562.  It went up by three points.  My total debt seems to have done down a lot since August 10th.  I think that was a mistake in my math.  There hasn’t really been any significant movement on either black or red since I started this blog.  Curious.  Two additions to total red: I’ve added in a PayPal account for blog donations.  As I noted in Getting Out of the Quicksand, I’m not touching those funds until there’s enough to pay off a bill (or until time on the project runs out).  The other addition is a mutual fund account I started reinvesting with.  Savings have to start somewhere.  Daily posts of total red include some amount, here roughly $60, that isn’t accessible but gets tailed on the plus side of the equation. Keep reading . . .

What is This, Sarcasm?

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Total Black: $10.99
Total Red: $228,519.06

So that $20 I donated to Coalition for the Homeless?  It’s going to end up costing me $55 once the insufficient funds fee is tacked on.  Best laid plans, eh?  But sometimes you just have to laugh.  It may be the laugh of the absurd, but it beats crying.

One of my student loans is set up on automatic debit each month.  It’s only about $100 a month, so I figured I’d let it continue.  It posts on the first of the month.  Well, I forgot that today is the 1st of September.  Unless that $20 donation and a few other transactions remain pending until tomorrow, sometime after unemployment gets paid, then I’ll be hit with about $130 in insufficient funds fees.  See, Bank of America posts its transactions from highest to lowest.  There’s been a few lawsuits challenging that practice, alleging fraud and misrepresentation.  It only happens with debit cards too because if you go over the limit on your credit card, you’re not charged typically unless you remain over the limit after that month’s statement closes.  But with debit cards, the banks view it as if you wrote a bad check.  And regardless of the timing of your purchases, my bank still posts them highest to lowest.  Here’s how it works. Keep reading . . .