Monday, October 3, 2016


Hi! I'm Manda aka Panda, and I am in debt. I'm noticing the problem with a lot of personal finance blogs is that they've already figured it out. By the time I've found a certain personal finance blog or vlog, they're well on their way to their financial freedom or they've already found it. Or worse, they stop blogging and vlogging all together! I want to read about someone who's in the same position I am. I want to work through my financial issues while they work through theirs. So that's why I've started this blog... I know I'm not the only one who's thought this, wishes this. 

I come from the land of blogging of the late 90's, early 2000's, where a blog was a conversation... almost a diary. A written version of Instagram. Blogs nowadays just seem like big ad spaces with pop-ups and blinky squares on sidebars and big old banners at the bottom of posts, and while I don't begrudge a person their living, I miss the days of conversation and public diaries that all your friends read and commented on. I plan for this to blog to be kind of like that... mainly be about my financial life, but also general life stuff, so I hope you enjoy it. 

Because I want this to primarily be about finances, I should let you know where I'm coming from. I have a decent job, and if I lived anywhere but the San Francisco Bay Area, I like to think that I'd be making bank. But I tried a little too hard to keep up with the Joneses, and had a "lottle" bit of retail therapy when I couldn't afford it, and now I'm paying the price. Literally. I've been on a debt-free journey for about a year. It really started September 2015, with the great push happening in January 2016, but the last 2 months have been tough. A pet needed surgery. I indulged in more retail therapy before getting ahold of myself recognizing that I was going down an all-too familiar path. So I decided to snap out of it and start this blog for accountability. 

We'll get into the real numbers later, but I'm approximately $32,000 in debt. When I started this journey, I was just over $36,000 in debt. Most of it is just credit cards, but I do have one personal loan I took out to consolidate the credit cards. You see how well that worked out, right? I regretted the loan the second I did it, but I still used it, and I'm still paying it back. The loan is almost finished. My goal is to have it paid off by the end of the year, but I loaned some money to a friend plus the aforementioned retail therapy, and I haven't been able to make the extra payments I was making. I'm using a combination of the YNAB (You Need a Budget) methodology and website/app mixed with the Dave Ramsey 7 Baby Steps to Financial Freedom

I found YNAB before I found Dave Ramsey, and I like that YNAB wants to you budget the money you have. You can start now. You don't need to wait until the first of the month to forecast it out. You have $1000 right now? What does that $1000 need to do before you get paid again? But I like the principles set forth by Dave Ramsey also. It's 7 things. Anyone can do 7 things, right? I find my situation unique in that I am not religious (like a lot or most of the people who do his program), but I can still appreciate what he's saying. I really enjoy listening to his podcast, and listening to 3 hours of podcast a day just reinforces what I'm trying to do. '

This is getting to be pretty long, but I think I should set forth some financial goals for the month: 

1) No Credit Card Spending - I still haven't cut them up. I should just do that, but I haven't yet. 
2) Pay $1500 minimum towards debt repayment - above anything, whether it's a good idea or not, I really want to get back to paying $1500/month towards my debt. I lovelovelove seeing the numbers go down, despite my actions of the last month and a half. LOL 
3) Put $500 towards rebuilding my $1,000 Emergency Fund - I know this should come first. I helped a friend with a real, true emergency & they're paying me back, but I'd like to get a little more in there. So far, I've put $130 towards that. 
4) Work on Meal Planning & eat at home - Except for already-planned days out, I'm hoping to make this a reality. It's my birthday month, so I anticipate one or two dinners or lunches with friends. I also knit with my friends at Panera every Thursday, and I"m an avid hockey fan. Hockey starts this month (Go Sharks!) So we'll see how this goes. Thanks for sharing the ride with me!