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Monthly Progress Report #21

Monthly Progress Report #21


 Hey y’all! It’s fall!

The leaves are all sorts of pretty shades and starting to fall. My Facebook feed is nothing but folks apple picking in flannel. Ugh - summer is definitely gone.

So much has happened in September - I turned 31 (yeah, still getting used to that).  Kids went back to school. The neighbors closed their pool. 

September also brought about my much needed staycation. I happily binge watched Married at First Sight through the first four seasons (seriously, does anyone do it for the marriage or just the possibility of being on tv?) then switched to Pen15. Which I thought was ridiculously hilarious and was sad to see filming of the second season was delayed due to COVID. 

I even interrupted my binge watching for a bit and went on a mini road trip with my mom to buy second hand pool floats. Because pool floats are ridiculously expensive.

Then I went back to work and have since been trying to catch up! Ha!

And while all that was happening there’s been an awful lot of work going on around the house. And I’ve been super stressed about every little decision and every check written. Honestly, how do people come out of home renovations okay?

Which brings us to the main event. Unless you gotta go pee and grab some popcorn? Or maybe you’d just like to check out last month’s progress report?
 
Ok, now let’s do this!

Let’s take a look at my debt:

Mortgage: $145,500
Car Loan: $4,600
Student Loans: $7,000
Credit Cards: $1,950
Grand Total of Debt: $159,050 

My student loan balances


Including my renovation fund:

Renovation fund requirement: $8,300
New Grand Total of Debt: $167,300

It wasn’t an awful month. My debt went down $850, $1,000 including money I put towards the renovation fund.

But.

There’s always a but isn’t there?

I don’t expect things to look this good for long. I’m expecting my renovations to be more money than I anticipated (that’s even with me padding the initial estimate) and I’m thinking about taking out another student loan. Just as I’m about to be done with one!

Ugh. Finances are frustrating.

But this is the biggest expense I even anticipate going through. And I’m happy to start seeing some real progress. Even if unfortunately some of that progress is things I didn’t anticipate nor budget for. 

Internally I’m freaking the heck out. Externally I think I’m faking it pretty well.

When all the renovations are done and things are back to normal maybe I’ll refinance if the rates are still hovering around the 3% mark. Maybe I’ll look into doing so sooner rather than later.

But for some good news, last month I fully anticipated the majority of the work to stretch on into next year and now I think only a little bit will be left over. 

Yeah, check me out - looking on the bright side!

Now, let's take a look at my savings:

Savings account: $2,500
P2P Lending account: $200
Investment account: $550
Grand Total of Savings: $3,250

Unfortunately nothing to see there.

Anyone have any advice for keeping my sanity through the renovation process? How’d everyone do compared to my their initial estimates? I can’t be the only one who has had some unpleasant surprises along the way.

Please tell me I’m not the only one!

Here’s hoping the next time I talk to you I’m about done with this renovation mess and I’ll have some progress pictures for you!

As always -

Remember, we will get through this ❤️

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Broke Dolly
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Monthly Progress Report #20

Monthly Progress Report #20




And just like that the air grows chilly at night, the sun sets earlier and fall rounds the corner. 

Truthfully, it makes me a little sad. I’m sad to see the end of summer every year. It’s not so much I dislike fall, it’s more like fall is just a reminder to me what comes next.

Don’t get me wrong - September is a great month - it’s my birthday month, the weather is still warm enough for a summer lover like me and it’s usually the month I take my two week vacation from work. 

Unfortunately, or maybe not, that two weeks is looking like it’ll be a staycation this year. Honestly I don’t hate it, that just means I get to catch up on some reading and binge watch awful reality tv shows Mike hates while he’s at work. 

But wouldn’t it be nice to be on a cruise or gambling in Vegas or touring the European countryside? 

Maybe next year. Or the year after that. 

Eventually it’ll be nice to do those things but first I’d love to get my debt more manageable. 

Besides the money aspect and a pandemic putting a damper on my vacation plans, September also coincides with another fall semester for me. Actually, my second to last ever fall semester. 

Unless I’m crazy enough to think I want a PhD. 

Who knows? I never really pictured myself with two master’s degrees. But only four more classes to go!

My classes are online so maybe I could justify a short trip somewhere but going away for like a week or more while taking a class would just make me unnecessarily stressed.

Anyways, back to my whole debt situation. Wanna check out where we were last month before going on?

All caught up?

Good.

Let’s take a look at my debt:

Mortgage: $145,700
Car Loan: $4,800
Student Loans: $7,150
Credit Cards: $2,250
Grand Total of Debt: $159,900

My student loan balances


Including my renovation fund:

Renovation fund requirement: $8,450
New Grand Total of Debt: $168,350

It’s been better than last month where everything that could go wrong seemed to. My debt went down $850, $1,150 including money I put towards the renovation fund.

How are the renovations coming you ask? Slowly. And unfortunately we’re talking about things that need to be done outside so the time we have to get everything completed is rapidly disappearing. 

Which means we’ll have to go into next year to complete everything. 

It’s kind of a double edged sword for me - would I love to have the renovations all done so I can finally just relax and enjoy them? Yes. Would I love to have the extra time to continue saving more money towards them so I don’t sit up at night worrying about coming up short? Yes.

So it is what it is. They’ll get done eventually.

That’s me trying to get a check on my frustration and go with the flow. Not. Easy.

But that first student loan is shrinking nicely so I’ll focus on the positives!

Now, let's take a look at my savings:

Savings account: $2,500
P2P Lending account: $200
Investment account: $550
Grand Total of Savings: $3,250

I’ve still been neglecting my savings throughout the renovation process but I gained $50 in my investment account from market fluctuations.

Has anyone been brave enough to travel recently? Tell me all about it. Where did you go? How was it? Would you do it again? Did you save loads of money?

Anyone else taking online classes? Are your kids back to school or are they still online? Schools around here seem to have opted for a half in school and half online curriculum. 

I hope everyone is staying safe and making the best out of things. For those of you in school - have a kick butt school year!

As always -

Remember, we will get through this ❤️

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Broke Dolly
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Monthly Progress Report #19

Monthly Progress Report #19



It’s seriously going to be August tomorrow. Ugh. August always makes me think that the summer is about to end. 

Fall is alright and all with the leaves, sweater weather and Halloween, but I love summer.

You won’t find this girl complaining about the heat and humidity. Nope. I remember all too well what February feels like.

But this summer isn’t like the rest of them. COVID is still raging, everything has been cancelled and I haven’t seen my best friend in months. Honestly, it's probably been since February. 

I miss her. I miss the spontaneous concerts, the dinner dates and random adventures.

We were even planning to go away in July but with everything going on it never came to fruition.

Besides my bestie, I miss my coworkers. Don’t get me wrong - working from home has been amazing. Especially while the renovations are going on. Being home has given me the opportunity to be much more involved than I would have been if I was working (much to the dismay of the guys doing the actual work I'm sure). But it’s neat to see the progress and I truly do try to stay tucked away in my office and out of their hair. 

Back to my coworkers - A quick phone call or a text is nothing when you’re used to spending your whole week together. I’m sure that some people don’t miss going to the office but I genuinely like the people I work with and wish I was able to see them. Especially since one of us is retiring early next year. It’s weird to think when we do get back to the office she’ll only be there for a little while longer.

But it’s a pandemic. I get it. Our lives have been a little out of sorts.

Remember how excited I was last month to see fireworks? Spoiler alert: didn’t happen. The town canceled their display. The neighbors didn’t have their usual Fourth of July party. 

Our only options were an hour or so away so we decided to sit it out this year. So it goes.

Ah yes, I did just finish yet another Vonnegut novel. One good thing about not having much else to do is it has given me a good excuse to do more reading. 

You know, the one thing I’m always doing anyway. Ha!

Alright, enough of me complaining about life in quarantine. It’s just what needs to be done right now. Let’s get this virus under control.

Now back to our regularly scheduled programming:

Let’s start with my debt breakdown:

Mortgage: $145,900
Car Loan: $5,100
Student Loans: $7,300
Credit Cards: $2,450
Grand Total of Debt: $160,750

My student loan balances

Including my renovation fund:

Renovation fund requirement: $8,750
New Grand Total of Debt: $169,500

It’s been a rough month.

Wherever Murphy is, I would like to hunt him down and sock him one for his dumb law.

Here’s everything that went wrong this month: car insurance due, car needed new brakes, car then needed a new alternator, pressure tank started leaking and flooded the whole basement and then agonizing pain from my swollen jaw. 

Not because someone socked me, just because I need two (yes, two!) root canals.

So all in - everything that went wrong has me seriously stressed about money and relying on my credit card.

But, at least I managed to decrease the balance a tiny bit - $200. Still a decrease. I’ll take it!

Now, let's take a look at my savings:

Savings account: $2,500
P2P Lending account: $200
Investment account: $500
Grand Total of Savings: $3,200

Yeah, still no change.

It's ok, the unexpected expenses combined with the renovations going on, adding to my savings hasn't been my main priority. Instead I've been trying to avoid dipping into what I already had saved.

I hope everyone is doing well and staying healthy. Enjoy the last few weeks of summer.

Anyone picked up a new hobby during all this?! I wish I had spent some time honing my cooking skills, but I have piles of books everywhere that are just calling my name!

As always -

Remember, we will get through this ❤️


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Broke Dolly
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Monthly Progress Report #18

Monthly Progress Report #18



Disclosure: This post may contain third party affiliate links. When you click on an affiliate link within a post Broke Dolly may earn a small commission which helps support the blog and content (at no cost to you). Please check the disclosure and privacy policy pages for more deals tails. Thank you so much for your kindness and support.

Oh my, how time is flying. We’re already officially in summer, the weather is absolutely gorgeous and we’re about to celebrate July 4th.

Independence Day has always been one of my favorite holidays. It’s so low key and just a ton of fun. There’s no obligation to have a BBQ, hop in a pool or go watch fireworks but if you do it just makes the day that much better. 

I am curious how fireworks are going to work out this year with everything going on but I have seen some posts already saying that the show will go on. 

So be it! I will gladly socially distance and wear a mask to watch.

Even more exciting for me, my renovations have finally started! I couldn’t be any more excited. 

I actually had vacation time the week everything started but opted to work from home through it. At least that way I would be distracted and not constantly trying to check out what’s going on and what they’re doing. Noise has been about the only reminder they’re even here! 

I’ve been waiting so long it seems a little surreal to finally be seeing some progress. And of course, I’m still nervous about money, but I’ll figure it out someway, somehow.

Things change so much in a month. Maybe you’d like to take a look back at last month?

Since we started talking about money already, let’s get down to it.

Here’s my debt breakdown for the month:

Mortgage: $146,100
Car Loan: $5,300
Student Loans: $7,450
Credit Cards: $1,900
Grand Total of Debt: $160,750

My student loan balances

Including my renovation fund:

Renovation fund requirement: $8,950
New Grand Total of Debt: $169,700

We’re $1,000 better off than we were last month - good news! 

Even better news, my one student loan is below the $500 mark! The end is in sight!! Hopefully that will be paid off before the end of the year.

Unfortunately, my credit card balances are still a little bit higher than I would like them. Definitely something to work on.

But hey, we’re under the $170,000 mark and that seems like something to celebrate.

And really the renovation shortfall probably isn’t going to be that bad. Hopefully if we can save some money is some places and figure out some DIY on some areas, we’ll be in much better shape.

But, prepare for the worst and hope for the best. I’d rather be pleasantly surprised that we came in a little lower than expected.

On to the savings side of things:

Savings account: $2,500
P2P Lending account: $200
Investment account: $500
Grand Total of Savings: $3,200

Nothing to see here. 

I didn’t add to any of my savings with the pending renovations so close and so many things up in the air right now. 

Hopefully soon I’ll be able to focus more on my savings.

I hope you’re continuing to stay healthy and safe as we head into the holiday weekend.

Do you have any big plans for the Fourth? Are you brave enough to go to an actual get together?

As of right now I’m slated to go on a road trip with my mom to pick up some lawn chairs. 

Is it me or am I always buying new lawn chairs?

I am. I definitely am. But these guys will live with my mom.

And finally:

Remember, we will get through this ❤️
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Broke Dolly
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Monthly Progress Report #17

Monthly Progress Report #17




Disclosure: This post may contain third party affiliate links. When you click on an affiliate link within a post Broke Dolly may earn a small commission which helps support the blog and content (at no cost to you). Please check the disclosure and privacy policy pages for more deals tails. Thank you so much for your kindness and support.

I can’t believe it’s June. Well, not technically, but you know what I mean. June means we’re about to be in full fledged summer mode.

Albeit, a bit different this year. This year we’re looking at a summer potentially without concerts, camps and who knows what else. This year we’re looking at a summer with social distancing and mask wearing. But I guess summer is summer and in my backyard it doesn’t make much of a difference.

It’s amazing to me how far we’ve come since I wrote my last monthly progress report - New York has started to reopen! Sure, it’s still early in our reopening, but I’m so hopeful things will go well and we will be able to return to a sense of normalcy.

Alright, enough COVID talk, let’s get back to the reason I started all this.

Here’s my debt breakdown for the month:

Mortgage: $146,300
Car Loan: $5,500
Student Loans: $7,700
Credit Cards: $1,900
Grand Total of Debt: $161,400


My student loan balances

Including my renovation fund:

Renovation fund requirement: $9,300
New Grand Total of Debt: $170,700

That’s $1,000 paid down during May. One good thing about not really being able to go anywhere and do anything is that I tend to spend less money.

Well, that’s not 100% true. I did make one splurge this past month - I bought new curtains.

This wasn’t exactly an unnecessary purchase - my poor dog had gotten caught up in them on multiple occasions and ended up ripping a couple of panels.

Caught at the scene of the crime!
(Excuse the dog hair - it’s a never ending battle)

It wasn’t entirely her fault. She did nothing but get a little tangled and she’s a big girl. Apparently, pretty and gauzy curtains aren’t the most Newfoundland proof items I own.

Unfortunately, since I didn’t want to replace the curtains again anytime soon I needed to up the quality and the price tag a little. As my dad says - pretty isn’t always practical!

And oh what a splurge it was! Partly my fault, I like expensive curtains - so that was a $250 investment (she ripped two but I had to replace four panels). But, they are higher quality, thicker curtains this time around. Hopefully these can stand up to my Sadie Donatella.

By the way, that’s the used price! Crazy, right? And they’re not even all correctly sized! Thankfully, Mike’s mom offered to sew two of the panels to fit the sliding glass door.

Mike nearly had a cow when he found out how much they were. But I mean - fair. They were expensive.

Next time I’ll start with how much they would be new and he’ll be so proud of my bargain shopping abilities he couldn’t possibly be mad. That’s how it works right?! Ha!

Anyone else willing to make giant splurges on the house but not on themselves? Like I would walk into speeding traffic before spending $250 on a shirt but when we’re talking about something that makes the house better, or in this case prettier, I don’t hesitate.

Alright, moving on! Here’s my savings balances:

Savings account: $2,500
P2P Lending account: $200
Investment account: $500
Grand Total of Savings: $3,200

Guys, I just found out how cool it would be to have serious money that could make you more money. I didn’t add any money but my investment account recouped $100 after tanking earlier this year. Oh man am I jealous of people that have like $50,000 in there that just made a ton of cash for doing nothing but having money invested.

I suppose that’s a bit of a double edged sword though because I was frantic losing a portion of my little tiny bit so I couldn’t imagine if my losses were in the four or five figure range.

One day maybe I’ll know what that’s all like.. Hey, I can dream!

I hope everyone is doing well and is staying safe and healthy. It’s exciting and scary to see states opening up and life returning back to normal. I hope that things continue to improve as we move forward.

And finally:

Remember, we will get through this ❤️
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Broke Dolly
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Monthly Progress Report #16

Monthly Progress Report #16



Disclosure: This post may contain third party affiliate links. When you click on an affiliate link within a post Broke Dolly may earn a small commission which helps support the blog and content (at no cost to you). Please check the disclosure and privacy policy pages for more details. Thank you so much for your kindness and support.

Today, as I’m working from home and enjoying the nice warm spring day, I’m thankful for the beautiful sunshine and the optimistic signs that the COVID-19 onslaught has finally started to turn the corner. Deaths are down, hospitalizations are down, new infections are slowing and the governor of NY is starting to talk about reopening the state.

No, we’re not out of the woods yet. But maybe we’re starting to see a little glimmer of light at the end of the tunnel. Even if it is just a tiny pinprick of light, I’ll take it over the uncertainty and fear that played center stage in my last monthly progress report.

Even the stock market has started to recover with some positive news from Gilead using Remdesivir to treat severely ill patients in clinical trials. Now that is some good news!

And with that, let’s take a look at my debt this month:

Mortgage: $146,500
Car Loan: $5,800
Student Loans: $7,850
Credit Cards: $1,900
Grand Total of Debt: $162,050

My student loan balances
Including my renovation fund:

Renovation fund requirement: $9,650
New Grand Total of Debt: $171,700

That’s a $1,550 reduction over the last month! Thanks in part to the stimulus check. Totally weird to receive by the way. Having remained employed I certainly appreciate it and won’t look a gift horse in the mouth but I do hope people that have lost their jobs are receiving the help they need.

But I do want to celebrate two bits of good news with my debt pay down: 1) one of my student loans has gone below the $1,000 mark and 2) my renovation shortfall is below the $10,000 mark. Two huge successes for me! I hope more positive progress like this continues to be made throughout the year.

Now, moving on to savings:

Savings account: $2,500
P2P Lending account: $200
Investment account: $400
Grand Total of Savings: $3,100

I added some more money to my savings and my little investment account this month. With the gains from the last few days I’ve even recovered some of my initial losses. I’m still no where’s near the black but my losses are now about half of what they were at the worst of it. I’ll take it.

It’s been quite a wild ride for me - and I’m talking about a couple of hundred bucks - I can’t even imagine what people with real money in the market must have been going through.

I hope everyone remains healthy and safe. I’m hoping by the time I write my next progress report things are starting to look a little bit more like normal (whatever that new normal may be). Hopefully the good news keeps coming and the bad news stays at bay.

I liked the way I signed off last month and I think I’m going to keep doing so until things are looking up. So, again -

Remember, we will get through this ❤️

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Broke Dolly
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Monthly Progress Report #15

Monthly Progress Report #15



Disclosure: This post may contain third party affiliate links. When you click on an affiliate link within a post Broke Dolly may earn a small commission which helps support the blog and content (at no cost to you). Please check the disclosure and privacy policy pages for more details. Thank you so much for your kindness and support.

I was so excited Spring was coming when I wrote my February monthly progress report, now COVID-19 has taken center stage. It’s not like I wasn’t aware of the virus when I was writing last month, but maybe I still had some misguided optimism that the spread would stop.

Of course, I felt awful for the sick people in Wuhan, the overworked doctors and nurses and people who were not sick but were unable to leave their homes. But China is a world away, I’ve never even been off the North American continent. I knew it was happening but it seemed distant and maybe a bit too reminiscent of the time a few years back I closely followed the Ebola outbreak. But then they contained the outbreak. That’s what they do isn’t it?

Side note - who is this mysterious they? Healthcare workers, WHO and governments I suppose? I’m not sure but certainly they’re akin to real life superheroes - saving the world and whatnot.

But then a day later, on March 1, the first case was confirmed in NYC. Iran and Italy became new hotspots, followed by other European counties and the United States. The news is only news of the virus. The stock market has plummeted and people have been losing their employment en masse.

And now we’re under a stay at home order, life has basically shut down around us and the new epicenter of the virus is close to home.

Everything seems so uncertain and scary. I don’t want to dwell on it but I very well can’t not mention it either. I know that no one is certain how it’ll stop or when it’ll stop but I certainly hope it’s soon. I hope the curve is flattened, health care workers are provided with necessary supplies and lives are saved.

Now, let’s venture back to the reason I started this blog - to get a hold on my debt. I feel silly writing this with all that’s going on. But it’s been my tradition to update you monthly and I suppose the normalcy is comforting, so here goes nothing..

As I write this I’m worried. Worried about my employment prospects. Worried that a recession comparable to 2009 will happen again. Worried about how I would pay my mortgage if I was unemployed.

But, I guess I’ll have to worry when it happens. No use worrying about something I have no control over.

And I know those aren’t the big things. I’m not a monster worried solely about the S&P and my 401k account. I’m also worried about my elderly relatives, my immunocompromised mother and my own weak immune system.

Alright, I’m done lamenting about the virus.

Here’s my March figures:

Mortgage: $146,700
Car Loan: $6,000
Student Loans: $8,200
Credit Cards: $1,900
Grand Total of Debt: $162,800

My student loan balances

And now factoring in my renovation fund:

Renovation fund requirement: $10,450
New Grand Total of Debt: $173,250

That’s a $1,000 reduction over the last month. Not bad.

I’m struggling with my renovation fund. I’m thinking in times of uncertainty like we’re in, maybe I should focus on not spending money.

The good news - I have time to reconsider. Maybe all my bad luck last year with stalled renovations was foreshadowing. Or maybe I just have bad luck. Time will tell.

Now let’s take a looksie at my savings:

Savings account: $2,300
P2P Lending account: $200
Investment account: $300
Grand Total of Savings: $2,800

I lost some value in my stocks but luckily it wasn’t too bad. I’m down $50 but I did buy an additional share so I’m probably more likely down $100. But hey, everyone is down and I won’t complain about my minimal loss when some people are losing thousands and thousands..

I hope everyone stays healthy and safe. I hope that by the time I write my next monthly progress report we will be seeing some real positive progress. I’ll be thinking about everyone.

Remember, we will get through this ❤️

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Broke Dolly
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