It is a little late, but the following are my goals for the year:
Get total in savings to $10,000.
Save a cushion in Checking account of $3,000.
Eat out no more than 5 times a month (that includes lunch).
Save all loose change towards my Disney Graduation Vacation in 2014.
Get house organized.
Grow my gemstone business.
I believe these are realistic goals. I am also going to post these goals in my side bar.
Viewing the 'Personal Finance' Category
It is a little late, but the following are my goals for the year:
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!
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.
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.
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....
This past week has been busy for me with work. I did have Thursday and Friday off. I originally decided not to shop on Friday. So during the day on Friday I totally avoided the malls. However, I kept thinking how much I needed a couple of cardigans. So I decided to go to the mall in the evening just to see what types of sales there were on sweaters. I did find two cardigans that were necessities. So I bought them. I have been thinking for a couple of months about getting them. So it was not a spur of the moment purchase. Plus they are quality and have a classic look. So they will last me for years (hopefully) and are not trendy. So I felt that they were wise purchases. I only spent an hour at the mall and then left. Once I found what I needed, I left the mall. NO window shopping! So I am proud of myself. Plus I knew I would only spend a certain amount and no more. On Monday I know I will be able to deposit $300 into our long term savings. So I don't feel guilty about my two cardigan purchases.
I was very tempted to buy a Coach purse. I've been wanting one for years and have not bought one yet. There is a new Tanger Outlet near where I live. The Coach store there was having a great sale. But I resisted the urge to even look. I have made a promise to myself to save up specificly for a Coach purse and pay cash for it. So that is what I am going to do.
My DH made a $100 deposit to his personal account on Friday. He is trying to beef up his personal account. He got a surprise $200 bonus in his check on Friday. So $100 is going to his personal account and $100 is going to our long term savings. Hopefully next month he'll be able to add another $100 to it. Right now our focus is on our money market account.
I am still working on our financial goals/plan for 2011. But I will post those plans soon. I have also been evaluating how I am running my business. I want to get more clients next year and increase my income a little bit more. I am even considering hiring help. I currently work alone. So I have a lot to consider. Tonight my DH and I worked on his resume. He knows of some higher paying positions that will be posted on his job in January. So he is preparing to post for them. He works in banking and ultimately wants to be a Financial Advisor. So he is working up to that point.
I just finished reading Woman and Money by Suze Orman and The Automatic Millionaire by David Bach. Lots of great ideas. I've read these books before but I love to read them over and over again. I think I am going to make a list of personal finance books I'm going to read during 2011. I'll check them off as I read them. I need to find some recommendations on good personal finance books.
Well Suze Orman is on, so I better get going!
I was expecting to make a pretty nice amount of money today from my work. But one of my clients had to cancel today. But I was still able to deposit $305 to our joint money market account today. I keep some cash at home now for little things or in case we are short on cash. My DH and I were talking and decided that we want to stop using our debit cards and start using cash only. It's hard to keep track of expenses when you use a debit card for little purchases. Plus if my husband uses the debit card sometimes he doesn't tell me he's used it or he can't remember the exact amount he spent. It may take a little time to transition to using cash for the most part but I think it will work out better.
I had a great weekend visiting family. My cousin bought another expensive bag. I think she spent about $400 on the last one. I don't think she has any savings. I admit sometimes I wish I had some of the things she buys but it feels nice to save and have a little money. She's a single mom of three boys and I know we bring in more money than she does. So I wonder sometimes how she can afford all the purses, expensive furniture and clothes she buys. It seems like she shops every week. And this week she's going to buy a game system for her and her boys. With all that buying, where is the saving???
My DH is finally on the same page with me when it comes to saving. I'm in charge of the money in our household. But it makes it harder when your significant other does things or spends money and it works against you. But he's starting to see the benefit of us saving money. Plus I think he likes seeing our account balances grow.
I'm going to work on our 2011 financial goals tonight. Plus I have some goals for the month of December that will set us up pretty good to start the new year off to a good start. So I'll be working on finances the rest of the night. I have 2 more full days of work left this week. Then I am off on Thursday and Friday. I can't wait!!! And I have decided to avoid the malls instead of giving in to temptation...
I went out with a friend today for dinner. She treated me to dinner. So I did not have to spend the twenty dollar bill I sat aside for eating out tonight. So I am going to add that to our long term savings account. My wedding anniversary was in October. A family member sent us a check for $30. But she did not have the correct address. So we didn't get it. She resent it to us and we got it last week. So we are going to add that to our long term savings too. That makes a total of $50 we will add to our savings at the bank this week. I am also going to add at least $200 to our money market account at the credit union this week. Plus my personal savings account will have the automatic $5 transferred to it tomorrow. So I am in an AWESOME savings mood right now! It's fun watching your savings grow. I even got my mom excited and saving with me.
I have had a great Saturday. My house was clean because I had it cleaned on Thursday. I have someone else clean my house....for free! I don't pay for my weekly cleaning services. I will explain later. So I did not have to worry about household chores this weekend. For dinner tonight we only spent $4.35. We had Fettuccine Alfredo. I have started making my financial goals for 2011. So I will be working on that for the next few days. We also will be choosing our health benefits for next year this month. We have to decide by November 19th. We are seriously considering just paying a higher deductible instead of having low co-pays. Hmmm...decisions...
I have debated whether to start a blog for a long time. But I decided to take the plunge and go for it. My hope is to become financially at peace, meaning that I won't have to worry about bills or having enough money in the bank. I love the ocean. It always makes me feel free. My husband and I go to the beach every year even if it's just for a short weekend. We always say that when we become more financially secure we'll take more trips to the beach. We are only 2 hours away from the ocean. But until that time comes we have a lot of work to do. This year we have been working hard at lowering our expenses. We were paying close to $900 in rent (we do not own a house yet) a month. But we found a cheaper place and now only pay $610/month. That was quite an adjustment because our "new" place is not nearly as nice or as new as our other place was. But to save $300 a month, it made the most sense from a financial standpoint. I had a car that we paid off in May. I was paying $300 a month for it. Also we had a furniture payment of $250 a month. (we will NEVER finance furniture again; such a waste!) But we paid that off in September. So already we have a savings of around $850/month! And we plan to continue getting rid of all unnecessary expenses. My husband's car will be paid off next Spring. Once his car is paid off we will not have any more car payments, which would be another $350 in savings each month.
We made foolish financial decisions in the past, trying to keep up with our friends. But we have learned that we have to do what's best for us. And personally, I'd rather have money in the bank instead of all the latest gadgets and luxuries.