My February 2014 personal finance goals: Address a collection on my credit report, and more

Source: Keith Williams via Flickr under a Creative Commons license

Source: Keith Williams via Flickr under a Creative Commons license

Good morning and happy Friday! After a January which saw a net worth increase of  increase of $6,800, I was excited to set goals for February.

Then, as the month kicked off, a little bit of real life happened and the circumstances started setting February’s goals for me, but I like to think I’m still in control.

Here’s what I’m looking to accomplish.

February Goal #1: Fix my credit report

My goal is to fix, to the extent possible, a collections notice from an unknown source that appeared on at least one credit report.

I had a minor freakout on Monday when my credit score, as estimated by CreditKarma, dropped by about 25 points and an alert appeared that an account I didn’t recognize had gone into collections. To fix it, I’ll take these steps this month:

  1. Pull all three credit reports to see which ones contain the collections account
  2. Identify with whom the account is and request a validation letter
  3. Either settle the debt or dispute it
  4. Repeat, as necessary

I’m hoping I get some satisfaction out of this.

February Goal #2: File my income taxes

Many other personal finance tasks depend on me having finished putting together my taxes, so I’d like to get it done sooner or later.

Part of this is dependent on receiving one more form, but that company has historically sent this around the 20th of February, so this is totally achievable.

As it happens, I’m a big proponent of getting taxes done early.

February Goal #3: Identify volunteer opportunity

By the end of the month, I’d like to have identified specifically what task and potential organizations I’d like to help with.

In an earlier post, I mentioned that I want to get back into volunteering in 2014, and when this posts, I’ll be in the middle of the first of a few meetings with volunteer coordinators. I would love to find something that lets me best use my skills without costing me a lot of money.

February Goal #4: Convince one family member to join my T-mobile family

In February, I’d like to convince at least one sibling or parent to join my contract at T-mobile.

I made the switch to T-mobile from Verizon taking advantage of a pretty spectacular deal, which, on its own netted me some quick cash up front and big savings every month — all with no contract.

But the real savings with T-mobile comes from switching as a group. Verizon doesn’t give very much of a discount for each additional person you put on a contract, but with T-mobile, the marginal cost drops precipitously — it’s $50 for the first person, $30 for the second, and $10 for each additional person.

February Goal #5: Pay off $2,500 of student loan debt; continue the 52-week savings challenge (for my emergency fund); and add $1,500 to retirement accounts.

It’s a shorter month, so hitting my normal targets will be tougher than normal, but especially with paying off debt being a primary personal finance goal of mine, I need to stay aggressive.


And those are the goals. Feel free to follow along to cheer, criticize, and possibly be entertained. Thanks, as usual, for reading!




  1. says

    Last year I had two mystery collections claims come up on my credit report and I immediately called the collections agency to take care of it. Both were under $100 so it wasn’t worth my time to refute it or wait on it. I didn’t want them sitting on my report longer than they had to. I simply called the collections agency name that was on my report, verified the information, then offered to pay the debt. I’m guessing they were happy to have someone who actually wanted to pay.
    Leslie Beslie recently posted…January Monthly Spending in NYC 2014My Profile

  2. says

    Volunteering is great. Will be curious to see what you choose! I volunteer at a local animal shelter as well as with my local chapter of Make-A-Wish. I’m also thinking about volunteering this year at the cancer camp I went to as a child.
    Kasey @ Debt Perception recently posted…Wishful WednesdayMy Profile

  3. says

    Those sound like great goals! Hopefully you’ve calmed down since your credit freak out :)

    I already did my taxes, but I haven’t filed yet (because I owe and I’m not interested in giving the federal government money before April 15th!). My goals for February are just working towards getting back to neutral after a hectic and expensive January. Once I get back on track, I can start making progress again.
    Erin @ My Alternate Life recently posted…A Look Into My BudgetMy Profile

  4. says

    Just curious as to what kind of volunteer positions you’re looking for? Anything finance related? There are a couple of great organizations here in Chicago that help teach children about fiscal spending and basics of investing. You should see if there’s anything like that around your area (or start something like that up!)
    Michelle @fitisthenewpoor recently posted…How to Write a Love LetterMy Profile

  5. says

    I would love to see a post about how the process went fixing your credit report. Something showed up on mine last month that I did not recognize, so fixing it is one of my goals for the month too. Any insight would be great!
    Retired By 40! recently posted…Trapped Into DebtMy Profile

  6. says

    Good luck with that credit report clear up. The Daily News once sent $6 I owed them to collections because I was charged for a subscription I didn’t want to keep going. Anyways, the fact that something as small as $6 can be sent to collections is ridiculous. I paid that $6 charge immediately as the News removed it from collections and let me pay them directly. It’ll work out in the end for you!
    Tara @ Streets Ahead Living recently posted…I had my first “free” vacationMy Profile

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