Monday, June 28, 2010

My Debt Dilemma

I've never really explained much about what/where this blog stems from. To be completely honest, very penny really does count in my situation.

I may have mentioned my ridiculous debt that I have acquired at the age of 24, but I'm sure I never really explained it. So I decided it's time I open up a bit.

My days with debt aa began back in 2000 when I was 18 years old. I was offered my very first credit card. While at first this was a great and positive thing for me. I was able to keep little to no balance on my card for a while as I was so afraid of the thing. My nervousness subsided and I maxed that thing out in minutes. It didn't take long, really.

I wish I had been more educated in the debt and credit card world back then.

Since, I've nearly paid my credit cards (I now have 2, both acquired in college) off at times, and without haste racked them back up. Actually I lie, I have 3. I have a store credit card as well. With a smaller limit but has since increased as I use this credit card as I should. The store card has absolutely no balance on it currently, if I use it, I pay it off immediately.

Currently, my interest rates are ridiculously high and I haven't used them in at least two years or so. One of them may even be closed to be honest with you. While my credit cards are not currently maxed out, they certainly aren't below the suggested 30% of limit (I read that somewhere?).

I checked out this nifty debt calculator that helps determine how long it will take to pay off your credit card debt. I'm sure there are millions of other ones out there, but I use this one because I find it the easiest to understand.

My credit card debt as of today is as follows:
  • Credit Card #1: $2107.69 with an APR of 28.99%
  • Credit Card #2: $2365.35 with an APR of 19.15%
  • Credit Card #3: $0 with an APR of 24.99%
For a grand total of $4473.04 in credit card debt.

Now, credit card debt is not my only debt.

Next comes my car. A used 2005 car that I do love. It was my first big purchase made on my own, all by myself independently (meaning no co-signer). I bought the car a little over 3 years ago. I still have 23 more payments to make on it. Yep I was super smart and financed for 72 months with a 9.99% APR. Bad idea Ash! I'm calling the credit union tomorrow to find out what my pay-off is as I paid a little extra some months (well maybe more like once). I'll update you with that number once I have it.

But for the point of this post, if I were to continue to pay the minimum monthly payment for the rest of the term of my loan my costs would be $6013.81.

Up next is my biggest, most scariest, with-me-for-life type debt. My student loans. I have Private Student Loans with the oh so lovely Sallie Mae & I have federal loans with Direct Loans. My Sallie Mae debt is crazy and almost unmanageable. My Direct Loans don't make me as anxious.
Mind you I financed my ENTIRE 4 year Bachelors Degree education (including cost of living expenses). Another GREAT idea I had. NOT!

My student loan debt as of today is as follows:
  • Sallie Mae: Total Amount Outstanding (5 private loans): $61,061.14 APRs between 3-5%.
  • Direct Loans (4 loans): $7,617.16 APRs (2) at 2.48% and the other (2) at 6.8%
My Sallie Mae monthly payment is approximately $486.00 & my Direct Loan monthly payment is about $83.00 or $569.00 a month!

For a grand total of $68,678.30 in student loan debt as of today.

My student loan debt is ridiculous because to be honest with you, my yearly salary (which requires my college degree) is not even half of my student loan debt. GRR!

But you live and you learn. This is my debt, I created it and I will fix it. It will be a challenge but I am determined!

So, in total, my debt is approximately $79,165.15 at 24 years of age.

Let me add that I am not currently paying $0 in rent. I did have an apartment, but when I started to pay back student loans and realized I could not afford my life I move into the in-law apartment at my parents house. Without this, I don't really know what I would do.

My Plan:

As of July 1st, I have a new (and strict) budget in place. ( I have this nifty budget application on my Mac that I adore). I have decided to first attack my Auto Loan debt. According to a lot of people this is probably the totally wrong decision. But for me I think it is best. I just (days ago) placed my Sallie Mae loans into a voluntary forbearance. BUT in my budget I do plan on paying AT LEAST the interest (in the past has been about $220.00 applied to interest). This way once they come out of forbearance my monthly payment will be about the same it use to be. I will continue to pay minimum monthly payments on my credit cards and Direct Loans. I will be paying 2x the monthly payment on my car.

I know it will be tough and things may not go exactly as planned...but I am determined to make this work. If you have any suggestions please don't hesitate to chime in!

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Free Sample of Starbucks Via Ready Brew

Have you tried Starbucks Via Ready Brew yet? Get a free sample through Walmart here!

Free Limeade Sparkler at Taco Bell

Get your coupon here for a FREE Limeade Sparkler at Taco Bell. Act fast, the coupon I printed expires 7/3!

Don't Miss Out on a Free Redbox Rental!

Time is running out!

Rent 2 movies at the same time and receive an email from Redbox with a code for a FREE night's rental! Offer Expires 6/30/10. For more details click here.

Greensations & Youthful Trends Review & Giveaway

Looking for some new natural body care products?

I was recently given the opportunity to try out a couple products by Greensations and Youthful Trends including: the ThermaSkin Facial Cleanser and the Youthful Trends Caffeinated Makeup Primer.

Greensations offers 100% Natural Capsaicin Body Care Products of a wide variety. Youthful Trends is their 100% Natural Mineral Makeup line. Haircare products and skincare products are also available.

There are so many great things about these 100% Natural Caffeinated Capsaicin Body Care Products that sure helped to lure me in including:
  • No Chemicals
  • No Animal Testing
  • No Preservatives
  • Natural Botanicals
  • Proven Ingredients
  • Exlusive Formulas
What I thought:

ThermaSkin Facial Cleanser

The facial cleanser was refreshing and had a nice crisp scent. I really liked it. It was soothing to my skin and did not burn or sting in the least as I have experienced with other cleansers in the past.

Youthful Trends Caffeinated Makeup Primer

The makeup primer was nice and light, it did not weigh me down at all. It has a clean cucumber scent. Under my makeup it wasn't noticeable at all and it didn't make my makeup "caked up" at all. This one gets an A+ in my book!

These are definitely products I would use again. My positive experience with these 2 products makes me want to go ahead and order some other products as well!

The Giveaway:

The wonderful people at Greensations have generously offered one of my readers their very own Caffeinated Makeup Primer & ThermaSkin Facial Cleanser!

How to Enter:

Mandatory Entry: Please visit Greensations and/or Youthful Trends and leave a comment below with the name of another product you would like to try!

Extra Entries: (Mandatory entry must be completed first. Please leave 1 comment per entry.)
  • Follow my blog via Google Friend Connect.
  • Friend me on Facebook. (Please leave Facebook name in comment).
  • Follow me on Twitter. (Please leave Twitter name).
  • Tweet about this giveaway (This may be done daily for additional entries).
  • Grab my button (3 entries...leave 3 comments).
  • Blog about this giveaway (5 entries...leave 5 comments). Please leave direct link to post.
  • Add this giveaway to another giveaway linky (2 entries per linky). Please leave link.
  • Tell me where you found this giveaway.
This Giveaway will end on Monday, July 5th at 11:59pm EST. A winner will be selected at random with the aid of as usual. Winner will have 48 hours to respond to my email or another winner will be chosen.

Don't want to wait?

That's okay, you don't have to! The kind people at Greensations have also offered my readers a special discount for 25% off the Caffeinated Makeup Primer or the ThermaSkin Facial Cleanser. Use Coupon Code SHEBLOG at checkout to receive this special discount!

Disclosure: I did not recieve any monetary compensation for this post. I did receive samples of the products reviewed. My opinions are my own. Thank you to SheBlogs & Wayne at Greensations for providing me with this opportunity.

Saturday, June 26, 2010

Please Stay Tuned...

I really haven't been slacking as much as you may think. I really am working on fun blog stuff! Right now I am on a mini 4-day (weekend) vacation from my "real" job. I am using this time primarily to line up all kinds of fun things for my readers, including several product reviews. And maybe some giveaways in the mix?! :) Please bare with me. In the next day or two I expect to get the ball rolling...

Enjoy the rest of your weekend!

Friday, June 18, 2010

Winner of Everyday Minerals Blush Giveaway!

Thank you to all who entered the Everyday Minerals giveaway! As usual, the winner was selected using

The winner is... comment #7...
Tara said...

i'm a follower!

Congratulations Tara! Please respond to the email I sent you (within 48 hours) to claim this prize or another winner will be picked.

Friday, June 11, 2010

Everyday Minerals Product Review & Giveaway

I was super excited to receive Everyday Minerals products to review! I am a huge make-up fan but have never mineral makeup before. So I put Everyday Minerals to the test! The lovely people at Everyday Minerals sent me four products to review including:
My Thoughts:

I was impressed with the products I tried. Both the blush and eye shadows were very light feeling and smooth. They lasted all day and they didn't result in creases or cracks as the day progressed.

I find the pricing of their products to be very reasonable. There is a great variety to pick from...there is something for everyone! Not only do they have fabulous eye shadow & blush but they also have other make-up products, skincare products, and brushes just to name a few! I will definitely be bookmarking Everyday Minerals for gift shopping as well. I know several gals that would love some of these products (and/or Gift Cards) for Christmas!

From The Folks at Everyday Minerals:

Everyday Minerals products are free of nanotechnology, carmine, dimethicone, fragrance, animal by products, bismuth oxychloride, silicone and lake dyes. We are a vegan line, offering high quality mineral makeup at a price affordable to all women.

Everyday Minerals is about:

1) Being healthy.
That means taking care of my skin by using all-natural
products that are actually good for it! That's why Carina started this mineral makeup company.

2) Saving money.
I am not going to pay 25-40 bucks on foundation. Period.
Our products are ridiculously inexpensive. That's also why Carina started this mineral makeup company. Women shouldn¹t have to pay a premium for looking stunning.

3) Thinking globally in everyday actions. As a woman and mother with
a daughter, women’s issues are very important to me. At Everyday Minerals, we believe that women’s issues are the moral battleground of this century. As such, we recently launched our Everyda
y Forward mission, in which all proceeds from a designated product go to a selected woman’s charity, such as,,, and One day every woman in the world will be given the love, dignity, and appreciation they deserve to fulfill their gifts and dreams.


Everyday Minerals has generously offered ONE of my lucky readers a Free Full Size Blush (of the winner's choice)!How To Enter:

Mandatory Entry
  • Leave a comment on this post telling which blush you would chose from Everyday Minerals if you won!
Extra Entries: (Only after completing mandatory entry as explained above) Be Sure to leave one comment per each extra entries!
  • Become a Follower on Google Friend Connect (or just let me know if you already are).
  • Follow me on Twitter.
  • Tweet about this giveaway (this may be done DAILY). (Leave direct link to tweet).
  • Friend me on Facebook.
  • Blog about this giveaway (5 entries: please comment 5 separate times to count).
  • Grab my button (leave link to button location).
This giveaway will end on Thursday, June 17th 2010 at 11:59 pm EST. The winner will be chosen via Winner will be notified via email. Winner must respond to email notification within 48 hours or another winner will be selected. International entrants welcome & P.O Boxes accepted. Good luck! :)

Disclosure: I received no monetary compensation for writing this review. Thank you to Everyday Minerals for providing me with sample products to review.

Saturday, June 5, 2010

We have a winner!

Thank you to all who entered my Wanchai Ferry Prize Pack Giveaway through MyBlogSpark! I used to select the winner as usual.

And the winner is...comment number 93...
Kathy Rambousek said...

daily tweet

LKARambo at comcast dot net

Congrats Kathy Rambousek! I do hope you enjoy this entree as I have! I have also notified you via email. Please respond to my email within 48 hours or a new winner will be chosen.

Didn't win this one? Don't worry, I have another giveaway coming soon...

Friday, June 4, 2010

FREE Ice Cream!

Tomorrow, which is Saturday, June 5th Friendly's is giving away FREE ice cream!
Between noon to 5pm you can get a single scoop in a cup or cone for free!
Who doesn't love free ice cream!?

***Hey, while your here come enter my
giveaway! It ends TONIGHT at 11:59 pm EST!***

The 101th...

Wow! Today I am posting my 101th post here on Living on Ashley's Allowance & have also recruited my 101th Google Friend Connect follower as well! This is an exiting moment for me! I just wanted to take a moment to thank all of my loyal readers. I really do appreciate it! I hope you are able to find some thing here on my blog that is useful for you. Please, if you have any suggestions or would like to see a specific topic, store, or product covered; just let me know! I will do my best to make it happen!

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Don't Miss Out!

National Donut Day!

If you haven't already heard, Friday June 4th 2010 is National Donut Day!

What does this mean, you ask?!

You will get a FREE donut with the purchase of a beverage!

***Oh, and while your here...why not enter my Wanchai Ferry Prize Pack Giveaway! This giveaway ends 6/4!!!***