Monday, January 31, 2011
All the while, reducing my student loan balance. As of today, I owe $122,218.97!
Here's hoping 2011 means the end of the Perkins loan! It's getting smaller and smaller!
Wednesday, January 19, 2011
Wednesday, January 5, 2011
I admit that I first heard of this charity years ago and felt very moved by what they do. Trying to choose which devastating problem of the world to send your money to is intimidating. I like how they isolated one very fixable problem and really make a profound impact in these children's lives.
Unlike many charities that do many different things, The Smile Train mission is
focused on solving a single problem: cleft lip and palate.
Clefts are a major problem in developing countries where there are millions of children who are suffering with unrepaired clefts. Most cannot eat or speak properly. Aren’t allowed to attend school or hold a job. And face very difficult lives filled
with shame and isolation, pain and heartache.
The good news is every single child with a cleft can be helped with surgery that costs as little as $250 and takes as little as 45 minutes.
This is our mission:
-To provide free cleft surgery for millions of poor children in developing countries.
-To provide free cleft-related training for doctors and medical professionals.
Until there are no more children who need help and we have completely eradicated the problem of clefts.
Here are pictures of a girl named Angelica from the Phillipines, before and after she received her surgery at two years old. Thanks to donations from people like me, she is able to eat normally and is starting to talk. And what a nice smile she has!
Although I was only able to give a small donation, I still feel like I am helping kids like Angelica out there get the care they need.
And just because you always have to be dilligent when picking a charity, I was pleased to discover that The Smile Train only spends 18% of their budget on fundraising, 1.3% on management and 80.7% on program services.
Click here to like them on Facebook and spread the word about The Smile Train!
Starting Balance - $1252 - even though I opened a Flex Spending Account and my federal taxes went up, my paycheck is only $5 less because the feds (for some illogical reason) decided to take less money out for Social Security.
Sallie Mae - 407
Defaulted Student Loan - 260
Sprint - 74
Credit Card - 200
Health - 85
Charity* - 50
Gym** - 33
Misc. - 148
*My first charity of 2011 will be announced soon!
**I'm rejoining the gym. Call me a Resolution Maker. Just don't call me unmotivated to get fit!
Tuesday, January 4, 2011
1. Get married without going into debt. Pass (sort of). Okay so we made it to the big day with everything paid off - rings, dress, photographer, flowers, music, transportation and accomodations. This was no small feat and really was a lesson in savings for us both. And then that lesson was briefly ignored on our fabulously unfrugal Hawaiian honeymoon.
2. Increase 457 Fund contributions. - Fail. I did increase my contributions for a while until I decided to focus on the Roth instead and lowered them. Overall, I contributed about 5% of my salary this year to the 457.
3. Max out Roth IRA. In progress but likely fail. I didn't start this goal until October since I was preoccupied with wedding stuff and have only contributed $1000 so far. I still have until April to make 2010 contributions and hope to double that number.
4. Buy back pension credits. Pass! Well I got the ball rolling and in 15 more pay periods I will have paid off my old time - just in time for vesting.
5. Eliminate law school loan. Pass! Finally done after being on my to-do list for two consecutive years.
In 2010 I think I gave about $200 to charity - and $100 of that wasn't really "charity" so much as it was a donation to my alma mater. This year, I want to give more. Not neccesarily $5k (sorry!) but more, know what I mean? And I want to use the blog to raise awareness of charitable giving.
So I will be picking one charity each month this year and give what I can and encourage others to do so too if they are so inclined. I'll announce the first charity soon, but in the meantime here's a bunch of info on charitable giving from mint.com
budget planner – Mint.com