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 'Saving Money' Category
It is a little late, but the following are my goals for the year:
The jar that has all the change I keep for my Disney Vacation in 2014 was almost full. So last night I started rolling the coins. My husband wanted to know why I didn't just take it to the coin machine at the credit union. I actually like to roll my own coins. So that's what I did for about an hour last night. I came up with $35 in change! That does not count the coins that did not make up full rolls. I need $2 more in quarters to have another roll. I plan to make a deposit into my ING account next week. So hopefully I will have $45 just from my change to put in that account. My plan is to deposit my change once a month into my Disney Fund. We probably won't go until December 2014. So that gives me two full years to save. If I do this on a monthly basis, I should have enough money by then to have a really nice vacation. Whenever I break any dollar and get change back, I automatically put it aside for my change jar. It's amazing how fast it adds up. And I don't even miss the change!
Last night I could not get to sleep because I kept thinking about the financial goals I want to make for next year. I'm excited because I want to try some new things. Right now I do have an emergency fund. But it only has $25 in it. But I do have money in other accounts. I am, however, going to set specific money aside that will be exclusively for my emergency fund.
After looking at my remaining classes, I will probably graduate in either the spring or fall of 2014. So close! Then I will have my Bachelor's degree in Accounting. I plan to celebrate my graduation in Orlando, Fl. I want to go to Disney World and Universal Studios. So as an added incentive to study hard, I have been saving all of my change. When the jar is full, I plan to cash it in and transfer it to an account I have at ING that is labeled exclusively for Disney World 2014! It's never too early to start saving!
Last night I went through my purse and found over $6.00 in change. So I rolled up what I could and plan to deposit it into my personal Money Market account later on this week. My DH and I have one joint Money Market and I have a personal Money Market. He has Pension, 401k and an IRA. So I decided to have a personal Money Market as well as my IRA at Vanguard. Plus I kind of view my Money Market as my own personal emergency fund too.
DH gets an extra paycheck in July and I really want to put all of it in our Money Market account. I'm not sure if it is going to work out. We keep getting unexpected expenses. Plus our car is STILL in the shop and the mechanic will not call us back! I feel like going to his shop and just picking up our car. I will NOT use him again!
Well it has been a while since I have posted. A lot has happened since my last post. Back in March I lost a lot of work. It was actually a big chunk of my income. So that set us back. We did have savings to help us. I am so glad that we had savings. Otherwise we would have been in big trouble. On top of living expenses and bills, BOTH of our cars decided to act up! In fact, one of our cars is still in the shop right now. Again, savings is there to save us! But now our savings is super low. I absolutely hate dipping into savings. But it is supposed to be there when you need it.
So the first 6 months of this year has not worked out that great for us. However, I have more work and so my income has gone back up again. That's how it is when you are self-employed. Your income can be REALLY great for a while and then you hit a dry spell. But with the new work I am getting, hopefully I can help my DH rebuild our savings. No matter what though, I am NOT giving up. Dollar by dollar we will build our savings!
DH has applied for a higher paying position at his job. We really hope he gets it. One of our goals this year is to increase our income. So for him getting a higher paying position is a must! I've checked into doing some freelance work and expanding my business. Also doing some other little projects on the side.
We have been so distracted this month. It has been really hard to blog. But I hope to get back on track in February. We've still been progressively saving. I try to deposit something on a weekly basis. Even if it is just $5, I'm going to make sure I made a deposit. Everything counts. When I didn't have any savings, I decided to save $5 every other week. So every month I saved about $10. I had it automatically taken out of my account and put in my savings account every two weeks. I just forgot about it. A couple of years later, I had a lot of money saved! So saving is saving. Start small and make it automatic. It will grow.
Last week was extremely busy for me. I worked everyday last week. I usually try to have one day off during the week. That did not happen last week. This coming week I should have at least one day off on Thursday. But since we are expecting snow/wintry mix tomorrow and Tuesday, I may have more days off than expected. My plan is to work first thing in the morning and hopefully be done with work at around noon. After that, I'm going to make a deposit at the bank and go home. The snow is supposed to start after noon. I do have one customer on Tuesday, but if it snows I'm going to try to push her to Thursday morning. Workwise it is supposed to be a slow week for me. So if it snows and I can't work much, it won't really hurt me.
Last week I found $3.00 on the floor at a restaurant. The person behind me thought it was mine. I just picked it up because I wasn't sure if it was mine but it could have been. When I got home I realized that it wasn't mine. So I decided to just include that $3.00 in my weekly personal savings deposit. I'll make that deposit later this week.
I have been cheating all weekend with food. I usually don't snack a lot but this weekend I just snacked. Plus I had a girls night out tonight. We went to the movies and then out to eat. I had pizza and kind of pigged out. Oh well, I'll get back on track tomorrow.
I really need to get back to studying for the real estate state exam. I've been distracted lately. Maybe if I get snowed in I'll be able to do some real studying.
DH and I reached a milestone last week. One of our savings accounts reached the $1,000 mark! So now we are going to view that account as haveing a "zero balance" and we're "starting over" as far as reaching $1,000. I figure each time I reach another $1,000, I'll view that account as having a "zero balance" and I have to reach $1,000 again even if the balance is $12,000 or $13,000. Baby steps!
Right now our retirement accounts are at close to $15,000. We are way behind in our retirement savings. So since DH works at a bank he is going to get one of the Financial Advisors at his job look at our retirement to see if we could make any changes this year. I used to have my series 6 and 63 licenses. So I do know a lot about investing. But they expired a few years ago. So I'm not too proud to ask for help. Plus it was only the 6 and 63.
Well I need to get ready for tomorrow. So I will close this blog entry. I need to some sleep!
I am so ready to start this new year on a good financial foot. 2011 is going to be a "working" year for us. Even though we have been married over 6 years, we feel like we have wasted a lot valuable time we could have used saving and paying down debt. But sometimes you learn later on in life. At least we are getting it together now and we are on the same page.
I have been so excited about my new financial goals, I've been talking to my mom about it. Now she is on board with changing her finances. She's in her early 60s and has felt it is too late for her. But I convinced her she is not too late. She can save a lot of money in 5 or more years. The point is to get started! So now she's excited about her new goals this year. Saving is so contagious!!
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.
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.
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.
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 am visiting my parents today. My dad made BBQ pork. He offered me a BBQ sandwich. So I get a great treat for lunch and it's free!
As of today, all of my bills for the month have been paid except one. It feels good to have everything up to date. My house is clean and laundry is done. So now I can enjoy the rest of the day and weekend. Hopefully it will be a low-cost weekend. I would love to not have to spend anything. But on Saturday we are going to visit relatives. So we'll have to spend the gas money to get there. But at least dinner will be taken care of.
Today my husband and I chose our benefits for 2011. We decided to keep the plan we are currently in. We were thinking of choosing a high deductible health plan. But I don't think we are ready to make the change yet. We'll see how things go for 2011.
I made a deposit to one of our long term savings accounts today. It was for $50. Tomorrow I have to cash a check from one of my clients and send a cashier's check off to my CPA for work he did for me last month. I'll be glad when I pay him off. I hate having bills hanging over my head, especially when the person is also a friend. My CPA is a good family friend. So paying him off is priority.
I am booked with work next week before Thanksgiving. I want to be off Thursday and Friday. So I scheduled all my work Monday through Wednesday. I thought about taking advantage of some Black Friday deals next week. But I'm feeling I should avoid the malls altogether. I am doing such a good job at saving. If I go to the malls, I feel like my old habits will resurface and I'll be spending more than I should. I'm making about $600 extra next week. So I feel like I should direct that money to our joint money market and pay some bills with it.
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.