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Archive for December, 2010

Posted 2011 Financial Goals

December 27th, 2010 at 01:03 am

Well I have posted my 2011 Financial Goals. I may revise them by the end of the week. But I believe these will be good goals for the year. Still working on to do list for December. Hopefully I will make it!

Almost Ready for 2011

December 22nd, 2010 at 03:00 pm

On Monday I finalized my financial goals for 2011. I would post them now but I left them at home. So I will post them later. I received a $100 bonus from one of my clients on Monday. So since it was money I was not expecting to get that $100 immediately went to long term savings. Any unexpected money goes straight to savings. I don't even think about it, I just do it. If I start to think about it I'll rationalize a way to spend it. So I just "blindly" put it in savings. Out of sight, out of mind :-)

I'm still working on the to do list that I made for this month. This week I'm going to try to finish that spare room. It shouldn't take more than half a day to do. I have time since I have some time off. My pantry shouldn't take long either. I almost finished the pantry last week. I bought a 5 shelf open bookcase for the kitchen. I have a big, long kitchen. So it will help me stay organized. I keep my spices, potatoes, fresh fruit, flour, sugar, etc on it. It looks really neat in my kitchen. I took advantage of Kroger's sale on vegetables recently. I bought over 20 packages of frozen vegetables at 88 cents each. Plus I am buying 2 or 3 meats every time I go to the grocery store for lunch items for the week. So my freezer is looking pretty good. My goal is to get my freezer and pantry well stocked and then maintain it. I don't want to get super low on food anymore. I find when I do that, I'm more tempted to buy fast food. My mother in law freezes everything. It's just her but her freezer is always packed. So she inspired me to be more conscious of stocking up more. She always has food to cook or reheat.

My DH and I were talking this week and are planning on going to the beach in March. So we are going to save up for it and pay cash. We'll probably stay for a week. Our last vacation was a couple of months ago to Orlando. It was nice but we were constantly on the go every day going to amusement parks. So I'm ready to just relax and do nothing on the next vacation.

Finished Paying A Bill Today

December 16th, 2010 at 03:09 am

Today I made the final payment to my CPA. It feels so good to get that taken care of. I have an extra $250 that I am trying to decide what to do with. I think I may just park it in my checking account for right now.

Normally I keep about $100 hidden at home for quick runs to the grocery store or for whatever else we may need. This is so we don't have to run to the ATM or use our debit card for small purchases. I just started this a couple of months ago and it's been working out nicely. Yesterday my husband and I wanted to get a small heater for our bedroom. It's been so cold and we don't want to have a huge heating bill. So we thought a small heater would help keep us warm at night. I used cash that was on me, so we did not have to use our debit card or go to the ATM.

I live in North Carolina and we are expected to have some wintry weather tomorrow. Last year I would have been panicking because I am self-employed. If I don't work, I don't get paid. Last year I really did not have any savings. So if I missed getting paid due to wintry weather, I would have been in trouble. But tomorrow if I don't work and don't get paid, it won't really hurt. That's a nice feeling. But it would still be nice to make that money tomorrow. :-)

Spreadsheet or Paper - Which One Should I Choose?

December 14th, 2010 at 02:19 am

I have a couple of spreadsheets on my computer that I am going to use to keep track of our bills/income/etc. for 2011. I've never used spreadsheets to keep track of our money before. But in an effort to be more organized I am going to give it a try. I looked at Mint.com. But I am not sure I want to put all my financial information online like that. I don't really feel secure doing that.

In addition to the spreadsheets, I have created a notebook that I am going to keep our finances in. It's actually a 3 ring folder. I printed off 12 blank calendars for each month of the year 2011. On each calendar I am going to write down paydays, when bills are due and how much they are, and I am going to keep note of target goal dates for specific financial goals I have for 2011. I like the idea of keeping our information on the computer. But I also love to write on physical paper. Maybe by the end of 2011 or sooner, I will have a preference. But for now I am keeping record on paper and on the computer.

I have $265 to deposit to our long term savings today. But before I make a deposit I'm going to see what else I can add to it to make it a bigger deposit.
The holiday season is busy for me with my work. It's nice to get the extra money but it is so tiring. I'll actually be glad when I can slow down even though I won't have the extra money. Right now we are beefing up our account through the month of January. In January/February, DH and I are going to start paying down our bills. I guess we are doing our version of what Dave Ramsey suggested. We are trying to get some money in savings first. I like Dave Ramsey and Suze Orman. Ultimately, I would like to have one year's worth of an emergency fund.

To Do List for December

December 13th, 2010 at 03:50 am

There are a few things I want to do before the end of December. So I am making a to do list of the main things I want to accomplish. They are as follows:

1. Finish unpacking spare bedroom and get rid of boxes.
2. Clean out and organise pantry.
3. Set up filing system for office and organize all loose papers.
4. Finish setting goals for 2011 and post them.

I feel that if I am able to complete those four tasks by the end of December I'll be able to start 2011 off on the right track.

My ultimate goal is to be a more organized person. I also want to be more proactive in things. I have always been a procrastinator. It's a bad habit that I want to get rid of. I want to continually work towards becoming a better person. I want to get better financially, socially, in my career and other areas of my life. I may be 32 years old but I am still young with a lot of life left. So it's not too late to make good changes and keep improving. I'm glad I decided to start this blog. It will definitely help me stay on track.

Moving Along Financially

December 10th, 2010 at 12:30 am

Today I earned an extra $20 on top of what I usually get from work. So since it was $20 I wasn't expecting I put it into my savings account.

I've been sick all week with a bad cold. But I've been going to work all week. That's one of the cons of being self-employed. You don't get paid sick days. So if you don't go to work you don't get paid. Last year when I was just starting my business, every penny I made went to bills, rent or utilities. So if it snowed and I couldn't work that day it REALLY hurt financially! So now that I have savings it won't hurt us. But I still don't want to just miss working for my clients.

DH got more responsibilities at work this week. He actually will be switching to another branch. He was asked by the District Manager to move since he is one of the top sales people. His manager told him this will help him reach his goal faster. He is working towards one day being a financial advisor. It's exciting. Plus the extra money is going to be nice.

Checking Acct , CDs and Mutual Funds

December 5th, 2010 at 04:42 am

In preparation for next year's finances, I think I want to open about 4 CDs and create a CD ladder. Each CD would be for one year at my local credit union. I would open one in April, July, October and January. This would serve as part of my emergency fund. I also have an emergency fund at ING Direct. One of my sub-accounts has been designated as an Emergency Fund.

My Bank of America checking account charges a fee if I don't keep a minimum amount in the account. As of now I don't have that amount in the account. So today I converted my MyAccess checking account into their new ebanking checking account. In order to avoid the monthly fee you have to make all transactions though the ATM. I can have no contact with a live teller. That is fine with me since this is not my primary checking account. So I went ahead and converted my personal checking account to the ebanking checking.

Right now I am researching mutual funds I am interested in opening in 2011. I already have my IRA at Vanguard. Now I am considering opening non-retirement accounts there. I am interested in the Star Fund and the Prime Money Market Fund. For my IRA I am invested in the 500 Index Fund. I looked at State Farm's mutual funds. They do charge fees. However, they allow you to open a fund for $250. I think I will probably stick with Vanguard though. I just need to save up the minimums which probably won't take long.

Organizing Household Funds

December 2nd, 2010 at 07:47 pm

On the way home today I was thinking now may be a good time to open that secondary joint checking account before the start of the new year. Right now we have everything put into one account and DH has access to it with a debit card. Even though we are trying to use all cash for the most part, we will still occasionally use the debit card for gas or grocery. Plus I have automated transfers coming out of that account to other accounts. I want to have an account that is not touched by debit cards or automated transfers. So I think I'm going to open up the secondary checking account and keep the other joint checking for money that comes in and money that goes out. That way I can build a nice reserve of funds in the secondary checking account. I guess it will serve as backup money too without having to touch savings. So I'm going to look into opening a second joint checking at the credit union.

I am also going to look into resuming our $50/month automated transfer into our T. Rowe Price mutual fund. We were doing good with it last year but had to stop. So I would like to get that going again at least by January.

I deposited $120 into our money market account yesterday and $5 into my personal savings. I also deposited another $5 into our money market account today. So our accounts are growing. But....if only bills did not exist!! We have to pay our taxes on our car next week. It's only $63 but I wish I could put that in savings instead.

I am making a to do list for the month of December so that I can start the new year off to a good start. DH and I are also going to the beach at the end of the month for a quick weekend. I need it too because I am exhausted from working! My house is getting cleaned today, which makes me feel so much better. I clean houses. So one of the people I clean for on a weekly basis cleans my house on a weekly basis. We exchange services. So I don't have to pay for it. It feels so good to have your home cleaned by someone else! Plus I have heard that the more organized you are, the more money you save. I really believe that. I feel so much more organized and on top of things, especially financially.

Well I am going to take a nap. I am soooo tired....