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New Savings Goals

July 29th, 2011 at 09:46 am

Iíve been really thinking about my savings in a new way recently. Before, I just put about $600 per month away in addition to two paychecks and my tax returns so far this year. Now Iíve evaluated my total savings to see where I really should be putting my money. It gives me new focus and a defined commitment of how I should be saving, why Iím saving and how much to commit each month.

Summary of Savings

EF $9046.13
Car (new) $300.00
Vacation $2283.38
HSA $1035.95

I will be able to commit just one more installment of $300 to my emergency fund next month. This is due to a furnace I bought last year so my landlord gave me a yearís worth of rent free to pay back the interest I lost but it was a better profit than if it had stayed in there so Iím not complaining. I live with a roommate so my half of the rent is $250. Then it will be $50 a month to the EF for the rest of the year until my debt is paid. I get an ďextraĒ paycheck in October since I budget myself on two biweekly paychecks a month and that month will be three. The other 50% will go on my credit cards.

Iíve decided to take the car money that Iíve been putting away without thinking and commit to applying it only to my car replacement/repair fund. I paid off this car last year and ever since Iíve been sticking the $300 away without a thought as to its true purpose. I added it to my emergency fund but Iím too lazy to do the true math to separate it out. I had some car repairs that totaled approximately $1k which threw off what I had really saved to the penny including interest. Instead Iíll start from square one.

My vacation fund is for my trip to Orlando next week. I really hope I donít have to use this fund. So far Iíve been paying for it out of take home pay. Whatever Iím able to spare will be left there for now. I am planning a surprise trip to Georgia to surprise my pregnant cousin on her baby shower. The ticket is going to be cheap so Iím expecting it to come out of take home pay and I wonít have to pay for a hotel or food since I can stay with my family. Iíll be adding to it monthly for next yearís trips but if it gets out of hand Iíll transfer any excess to the EF.

I have a high deductible health plan for now. I donít know if thatís going to change since my employer may be looking into another health care plan. Iím currently committing $50 per month since Iím now using it but I plan to contribute at least $100 a month when my debt is paid. My goal is to get this fund to $1500 just to avoid the $3.95 monthly maintenance fee.

I also save my spare dollars and change when I get a twenty out of the ATM. I rarely carry cash on me and when I do I tend to spend it just because itís there. As soon as I can I try to deposit the loose money into an old jug Iíve re-purposed as my spare cash and change bank. I try to empty it out a few times a year to add to my debt so for now I wonít count this money toward savings as long as itís going for debt repayment.

Stay tuned for my debt payoff strategy!

Itís my Party and Iíll Save if I Want To

July 24th, 2011 at 01:27 pm

Today is my 30th birthday and Iíve been pondering all year what to do about celebrating it. I went from trying to rent a hall, calling a caterer, paying over $400 for a custom made multi tiered cake, and wanting to pay some musician friends of mine so that I could have a live band to play all night. Now I donít feel like doing anything. There was a huge concert coming up and most of my friends would be there. I really enjoyed the concert and thought it was a fitting gift for myself. Money well spent. Plus, my cousin who is having a destination wedding will be getting married today after church for friends and family who wonít be able to attend outside of the country. So I imagine I will be celebrating with her instead.

Although Iíve been setting aside money just for this occasion, Iím sort of breathing a sigh of relief that I wonít be celebrating that big. I always admit how Iíve never really been a celebratory person. Iím grateful to God for another year, but I never really did celebrate my birthday beyond a small sheet cake and a reasonably priced dinner (about $30 including a beverage and tip) with friends. I also donít do presents either. Not that I hate them or wouldnít appreciate them itís just that if you asked me what I wanted for my birthday Iíd get a headache trying to think about it. My mother treated me to dinner today. Total spending for my birthday was $15. Birthday balance leftÖ$1,985 which I moved to my emergency fund.

Debt Explanation from yesterdayís post.

The Macy's and Limited card I haven't paid interest on yet. I'm going on vacation next week so I had it in my budget to go shopping for things I would need. I will be paying those off. (I guess I should've said that.) I've been saving for my trip since last year. I budgeted $2000 but so far I've been paying for it out of take home pay because it's been pretty reasonable. The Limited and Macy's are still a part of that budget so I'm still on track. The only thing that needs to be paid is about $600 for car rental, parking, food, park tickets, shopping, hotel, and, offering. My church convention is down there which explains the offering and the deeply discounted ďvacationĒ.

The Citi will be paid off by next month. Also no interest. That includes $43 that I charged last month that's due Aug 7th and some new charges I made this week for online purchases which I don't normally use my debit card. They included concert tickets I purchased for my family for approx $100. I was given cash for them minus my own ticket for $15 and random food purchases for the month.

Savings #1 for $2283.38 was my vacation fund. I havenít tapped it yet. Iím still trying to see what I can pay for out of take home pay. I will have until September to pay Macyís and Limited without paying interest. Iíll try to see if I can do that without touching savings.

Savings#2 was my car repair/replacement fund. I havenít been monitoring it closely. So I decided to convert that to my general emergency fund. Since starting this blog, I committed $300 out of this past Fridayís paycheck to start my first installment. I just had some major preventative repairs done so I wonít have huge problems later so I should be done for a while. I also started putting money in for my 30th party which was about $2000. Iíve decided to celebrate in Florida since itís only a week away and itís already in that budget.

Savings #4 and #5 was my emergency fund split between the two different banks I have accounts with. Before, I had about $100 to $200 a piece in them just for quick emergencies in case I needed them. They also serve as transfer accounts for my online savings. Because of the overdraft laws and now the debit card transaction cap fees, both banks have sent letters regarding fees to my checking. I could be charged up to $4 a month for each. I donít get direct deposit so that works against me. I also get my statements online so that saves $2 off my fee. I keep both accounts open because I like having money with at least two banks. Itís a trade off though. One bank I get free checks for life. The other I get rewards which far outweighs the $1 fee I will be paying starting in October.

To sum it up I guess that makes it $9031.13 for emergencies and $2,283.38 for my vacation fund. If I happen to go under budget which I suspect I will, I will use approx $200 to pay off my old cell phone balance. (just switched over to Verizon) and set up a repayment plan for my medical expenses. I could pay a huge chunk but why since Iím paying at 0%? I will have to cut into my dining out budget from take home pay until itís paid for.

I hope this clarifies a few things.