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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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Monthly Progress Report #14

Monthly Progress Report #14



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. 

Spring is in the air!

Well, not today exactly. It’s a brisk 30 degrees out there right now - but it has been in the air with a few days reaching the 50s this past week.

It was just glorious I tell ya. Everyone at work has been on a kick to get in shape for summer and I have spent my days browsing for this year’s swimsuit.

I’m waiting impatiently for the weather to officially break. I just love summer (and spring by association). I’m so sick of winter, blah weather and dead looking everything. It’s time for flowers, sunshine and longer days.

At least the longer days are coming soon even if I have to wait another couple of months for true spring weather.

But I’m pretty sure I spend more money cooped up inside during the winter.

I’ll have to look back at some monthly progress reports to test my hypothesis. Speaking of past monthly progress reports, maybe you’d like to check out last month’s?

Spoiler alert: I won nothing in the office Super Bowl pool.

But that’s just par for the course!

Moving on to better things, let’s talk about how my debt pay down and savings have fared over the past month.

First, let’s take a look at my debt:

Mortgage: $147,000
Car Loan: $6,200
Student Loans: $8,350
Credit Cards: $1,800
Grand Total of Debt: $163,350


My student loan balances

Nice! That’s $1,100 less than last month.

The biggest difference was a change in my credit card balances. I’ve been working hard on trying to pay one card off and it’s finally starting to show!

I love, love, love when that credit card number is below $2,000.

And now factoring in my renovation fund:

Renovation fund requirement: $10,900
New Grand Total of Debt: $174,250

Alright so not too bad, my total debt went down $1,600 during the month of February.

Now let’s take a looksie at my savings:

Savings account: $2,300
P2P Lending account: $200
Investment account: $350
Grand Total of Savings: $2,850

So obviously a $50 increase is nothing to write home about but at least it’s something.

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, I’ll take any positive progress no matter how small it may be. It’s certainly better than the alternative.

With the recent dip in the stock market it seems like my whole office is talking about investing. I would love to add some funds but I don’t have much to spare and who knows if we’re really at the low. If I do buy anything it won’t be much (obviously! I don’t have much..) but maybe I’ll test my luck.

As my boss said, anyone been brave enough to buy this last week?

If you did buy anything I’m curious to know what you did buy and what you’re rationale was for both pick and timing. So please share with me in the comments!

But maybe for now I’ll just stick to trying to keep adding small amounts to my savings and building my emergency fund. Especially with all the recession talk going around.
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Broke Dolly
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Burger King is Giving Out Free Whoppers for Anti-Valentine’s Day!

Burger King is Giving Out Free Whoppers for Anti-Valentine’s Day!



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. 

It’s that time of year again! We’re past the holiday season and New Years. The groundhog has made his appearance (yay for an early Spring!) but we’re not quite there yet.

So it’s the dead of winter, there’s snow on the ground, you’re going a bit stir crazy - which means it’s now time to celebrate Valentine’s Day!

I know, I know, not everyone is a fan.

It’s kind of a controversial holiday. Or non-holiday. No matter where you stand on the debate, this article provides some interesting history about St. Valentine’s Day.

Listen, if you hate it and think it’s a holiday celebrated because of a genius marketing department at Hallmark, I totally get it.

For what it’s worth, Hallmark denies they invented the holiday. Still, they’ve been selling V-Day cards since 1913!

Holy Hannah! Talk about getting in on the ground floor.

I bet by now you’re wondering why I’m being critical of a holiday you know I love?

Because I’m here to spread the news of Anti-Valentine’s Day and the awesome news that Burger King is celebrating with free Whoppers!

You read that right. Burger King and Warner Bros. are celebrating the release of Birds of Prey (And the Fantabulous Emancipation of One Harley Quinn)... and Harley Quinn’s breakup from the Joker (don’t worry it was completely mutual! HA!) by giving customers a Whopper in exchange for a photo of their ex.

In case you haven't seen this, here is my favorite trailer for Birds of Prey:



If you live in New York City, you can also bring in old love letters, stuffed animals or clothing. Come on, I know you have no use for that silly bear your ex won for you at the fair in like tenth grade and you've been meaning to get rid of his old hoodie - now's your chance to get rid of it and get free food!

And the offer is valid from February 14th until the 16th in NYC.

I'm guessing New York's extended celebration is BK's tribute to Gotham?

Now for the bad news, the offer is only available at the following select locations:

- 327 W 42nd St, New York, NY 10036

- 35 Powell Street, San Francisco, CA 94102

- 545 North Victory Boulevard, Burbank, CA 91502

- 150 Everett Avenue, Chelsea, MA 02150

And sorry, the Impossible Whopper isn’t an option.

Now go get yourself a free Whopper and celebrate Harley Quinn’s breakup - if not your own!

But if you are planning on celebrating Valentine’s Day with your significant other, I got you covered. Check out my 10 budget friendly Valentine’s Day ideas.

How do you plan on celebrating the 14th? I’m going low key this year with takeout and Netflix.

Unfortunately, I’m not close enough to one of the participating Burger Kings to take advantage of their celebration.

FYI, if you’re also too far away, Burger King is offering $3 Whoppers for taking an in-app quiz and correctly answering four or the five questions.

No matter how you celebrate, I hope you enjoy the day!
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Monthly Progress Report #13

Monthly Progress Report #13



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. 

We’re on year two of my monthly progress reports!

And since I decided to skip number 13 in December and instead sum up my progress over the entire year of 2019; we’re now at my 13th monthly progress report!

Is 13 lucky or unlucky?

They skip the 13th floor in buildings and the whole Friday the 13th thing seems pretty ominous..

But I’m still hoping that 13 will end up being just a little bit lucky for me! Hopefully I made some good progress.

But probably not.

I had to take out another student loan to pay for this semester because I needed to take a whooping six credit course. Kind of intimidating when all my other classes have only been three credit classes!

But I did pay off one of my other student loans so the increase wasn’t that bad.

Alright, enough rambling. Let’s do this.

As always, let’s start off with my debt:

Mortgage: $147,200
Car Loan: $6,500
Student Loans: $8,400 (Yikes. I liked last month’s number a lot better but hopefully it only goes down from here!)
Credit Cards: $2,350
Grand Total of Debt: $164,450

My student loan balances
Ok. Not bad. Not great either.

But I was expecting worse.

I took out a $4,500 new loan! But paying off an older one with my reimbursement from work (have I mentioned how much I love my company?!) and some other payments, my balance only increased by $1,200. I’ll take it!!

Now let’s factor in that pesky renovation fund:

Renovation fund requirement: $11,400
New Grand Total of Debt: $175,850

Factoring in my renovation savings, my total debt went up $550 in the month of January.

Not awful. And I hope this is it.

This should be the highest my debt will be for a while. Barring any unforeseen circumstances of course.

Dear Universe, please don’t take this as a challenge.

On to the savings side of things:

Savings account: $2,250
P2P Lending account: $200
Investment account: $350
Grand Total of Savings: $2,800

Success. Ive finally made some progress on my savings!

I added to my savings account and also purchased two shares of Discover stock. I’m just a big fan of Discover - I’ve borrowed money from them, I use their credit card and I do my banking with them.

My stock immediately took a nosedive, like the worst fall Discover has taken in a decade. That’s DECADE folks! But that’s ok. I’m in it for the long haul.

In better news, I have finally gotten a decent box in the office Super Bowl pool! It’s only taken close to a decade for that!


What are your plans for this year’s Super Bowl? Are you going out to a bar or a friend’s party? Are you going to be watching on the couch in your pjs? 

No matter how you plan to spend the day, I hope you have a great time and I hope your team wins!

And if you bet, I’m pulling for you to win some moolah! Unless your name appears in the above picture, if that’s the case, I wish you better luck next year! Just kidding, I’ll be happy for you even if I don’t win for the tenth straight year. Hey, why break up such a great streak anyways?

Have fun and stay safe!
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Earn 500 Shopkick Kicks for Shopping at Best Buy

Earn 500 Shopkick Kicks for Shopping at Best Buy



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. 

Hey guys! I’ve been having a crazy day at work (neck deep in Excel sumifs) but I wanted to share with you another cool offer from Shopkick. The app that every diehard shopper needs - the app that lets you can earn money just for walking into stores and making purchases with a linked credit card.

If you’re not currently using Shopkick to earn a little extra money you need to check out my Shopkick tutorial then sign up for an account. Don’t leave free money on the table!

All signed up?

Good.

Now check out this offer:


Use the Shopkick app to make your first mobile purchase from Best Buy and earn a 500 kick bonus.

In order to be eligible this will have to be the first time you’ve used the app to purchase from Best Buy. Additionally, you’ll have to spend $10 and the offer is only good for today (January 22, 2020).

In addition to the 500 bonus kicks you'll earn 2 kicks for every $1 spent. Even if you’ve made a Best Buy purchase from the app previously you’ll be eligible for the 2 kicks for every $1 spent!

Shopkick is really making it hard for me to not spend money! I’ve been drooling over the Nest Protect smoke detectors for quite some time.

But at $120 each, and having 6 smoke detectors just on the main floor of my house, I’m not sure a $700 investment in smoke detectors is what I need right now. Maybe one day.

If you don’t know what a Nest Protect is, you can check them out here.

Cool, huh?

Do you have any Nest Protects? Would you recommend them? Do you have something similar I should maybe check out as an alternative?

Maybe you‘ve been eyeing some other new electronics lately? Tell me what you will be buying (or would love to buy) from Best Buy!


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Broke Dolly
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Vintage Love: Newburgh Vintage Emporium (in a Snow Storm!)

Vintage Love: Newburgh Vintage Emporium (in a Snow Storm!)



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. 

My mom’s birthday was this past week and she requested we take a mini road trip and get out of the house for a couple of hours. It seems like everyone is getting a little sick of being cooped up inside, but it’s been a pretty mild winter thus far. It was 55 degrees last weekend. Unheard of in upstate NY.

However everyone knows good things seldom last and they’ve been calling for snow for this weekend all week. It started out at an estimated 12 inches but the last I checked we’ve been downgraded to 4-6 inches. I’ll take it.

Anyways, my mom found an estate sale she just had to go to today. Snow be damned.

So off we went.

We went to the estate sale and rather than head home and beat the storm, we decided to take a trip to the Newburgh Vintage Emporium since we were in their neck of the woods.

The first time I wrote about Newburgh Vintage was last February. I’ve been back several times since but it seems to be a favorite winter stop of mine - close enough to not hate the drive and good enough to make me want to go outside in the cold.

Ready to check out what they have going on at Newburgh Vintage?

Good because I’m excited to show you!


The first thing that caught my eye were these upcycled end tables. I love the clean lines and the soft colors. Not only do they look fantastic, I don’t think you can go wrong with such a great price! Unfortunately for me, dog hair shows up just a little too prominently on anything white.


These sweet accent chairs were in the same booth as the night stands. Isn’t the ikat fabric on the seats just perfect?


Maybe yellow is more your thing? It’s definitely my thing. I love these pale yellow mid-century chairs. There’s just something about the shape of the wood frame I love.

My favorite chair in my grandmother’s house is similar in style. Maybe it’s a nostalgia thing. Or maybe it’s just because it’s just dang good design. Or maybe it’s both?


Alright, enough with the furniture for now. Tucked away in the far back corner of the store is one of my favorite booths - filled with vintage records and neon lights. I can’t go to Newburgh Vintage without taking at least a quick look through these crates. And every time I go back, I think this booth looks cooler. There’s no other way to describe it, I mean the records hanging from the ceiling makes me want to try a little DIY at home. But I’m not that cool and my record mobiles won’t look anywhere near as good as these so maybe I’ll just stick to listening for now.


The second I saw this flamingo bust I was in love. I’ve never seen anything like it and I’m on some sort of weird flamingo kick as of late. Unfortunately when I brought him up to the counter to inquire about a price I learned he wasn’t for sale.

Shucks.

But how could I be mad? If I was the owner I wouldn’t sell him either. He’s dang cool.


Oh, look more records! But how great is that card catalog? That thing was HUGE. I think card catalogs are pretty cool in general but add a fun color and they’re kind of a must have. Except I can’t figure out what exactly I would do with one. The minute I find a good use for one - besides looking at them - I’m going to be on the hunt for one just like this.


Ok, just a quick detour back to furniture. This green table caught my eye from like five booths away. After checking it out I’m pretty sure it’s stained green. I had no idea you could buy colored stain! This is an exciting new development for me. If you’re interested, and like me had no idea,  check out some of these colored stains at Home Depot.



My next find was thanks to an adorable little girl testing the product in the aisle. I’ve never seen one of these before but I’m sure it would have provided me hours and hours of entertainment as a kid. A rubber bounce pony is way more fun than the boring old ball I had as a kid. Nah, just kidding, those are a lot of fun too.

In case you’re interested, I looked it up once I got home and learned the Rody Pony is still made today and comes in several different colors including this fun multicolored version from Amazon.


And last but not least, check out this acrylic painting entitled “Flapper.” I’m not an art expert so I’m someone that just likes what I like, I know nothing about technique or mediums or anything. But this chick looks like someone I’d like to know (read: total badass) and the colors are just oh so pretty.

Unfortunately it was a really quick trip due to the storm and we still hit a little bit of snow on our ride home but as always Newburgh Vintage never disappoints! Even better news, they’ve now opened a second location! We didn’t get to check it out today but I’m hoping we get to go on our next trip down the line.

Is it snowing where you are? Did you venture out into the storm or did you stay warm and cozy inside?

See anything good from the pictures above you would just have to have? I call dibs on the flamingo bust if the owner decides to sell!

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Hello 2020, Hello New Goals!

Hello 2020, Hello New Goals!



It’s hard to believe it’s 2020. As I said to someone last night, doesn’t it feel like we were just waiting up for the new millennium?! Obviously I’m dating myself, but seriously, how is it even possible how quickly time goes?

I hope that you have a happy, healthy and prosperous New Year, my dear friends. You deserve it.

As you know, I’m not much on New Year’s resolutions and setting myself up for failure but all the way back on January 1, 2019 I did set up some goals for 2019. And I’m here to report, things did not go well.

To make myself feel better about my failure, I’m just going to drop this fun little fact - only 8% of people achieve their New Year’s goals. That’s crazy isn’t it?! 8 out of 100 people actually follow through. Here’s to being one of the eight this year!

Alright, it’s time to see what went wrong.

Just a quick reminder, my 2019 goals were:

1) Pay off any renovation related debt. Oops. Failed horribly on this one. It’s atrocious but with setbacks I’m farther in the hole than I was last year.

2) Accumulate savings of $3,000. Well, I did better on this one but I still fell short. I only managed to get my savings up to $2,550.

3) Pay off the smaller of my two student loans. Yeah, you can laugh right along with me here - not only did I not pay off any student loans, I added another. Oh, sometimes life just has a way of taking you down a peg doesn’t it? Even worse, I’m planning on needing one more student loan this upcoming semester. But then I should be good and my focus will be on getting them paid off. Student loans will soon be a thing of the past for me.

Ok, so now, it’s time for my 2020 goals. I’m trying to find a balance between pushing myself to achieve great things and setting realistic goals.

Here’s my final list:

1) Get renovation related debt below $5,000. Right now I’m at about $12,000 so this is definitely a lofty goal but I want to push myself on this one and start really wiping out debt.

2) Accumulate savings of $3,000. So what this didn’t happen in 2019? It’s a worthwhile goal and something I should be pushing for. Once I get over my $3,000 hurdle I’d like to start plugging more money into savings until I have a six month emergency fund.

3) Pay off that pesky smaller student loan. Like my savings goal, I’m recycling my student loan goal from 2019. Hopefully once the smaller loan is paid off I can go onto the next smallest and make some real progress towards my debt payoff.

4) Get my total debt balances below $160,000. Right now my grand total of debt is over $175,000 so this certainly won’t be easy. Like my first goal I think I might be setting some lofty expectations but like I’ve said before, I’d like to push myself and start making a dent in this debt.

What are your resolutions for 2020? How did you make out with your resolutions from 2019? Are you one of the 8%? If you were, you have to fill me in on your secrets to success!

Happy New Year!!
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Broke Dolly
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