Thursday, December 30, 2010

Net Worth December 2010

Another month, another Networth I.Q. statement. As of this month, I am worth approximately:


This represents an increase of $1,761 from last month, which is pretty awesome considering that's way more than half of my net monthly salary. I like seeing it go up, even if I'm still in the negative six figures.

Cash: This has stayed the same. My husband is the one who manages the cash savings so this category won't be going anywhere for a while.

Retirement: My 457 account balance stands at $8,770.42. I have approximately $5037 in my pension (refundable until vested), including about $90 that I paid towards buying back old time. And finally I have contributed $1000 in my Roth I.R.A. and I am waiting to see my first statement. This makes for a grand total of $14,807 saved for retirement.

Student Loans: These are at the LOWEST THEY'VE EVER BEEN at a whopping $123,010.35.

Credit Card: December brought some unexpected expenses so this hasn't gone anywhere unfortunately.

I haven't been tracking my net worth all year so I can't really do a year end report but I'm satisfied with the way I'm ending this year and looking forward to a great 2011.

Monthly (and Annual) Student Loan Debt Roundup

Posting this a day early as New Year's revelry plans are taking us out of town to visit friends in a few hours. The numbers are a little skewed on the Perkins loan because I paid them $225 and they must not have calculated this month's interest yet because it is showing a reduction of $220. Wouldn't that be nice?

This time last year I owed $132,872.72. As of today, my current debt stands at $123,010.35 - a reduction of nearly $10k! At my current rate of payment I will have all of my student loans paid off in a little over 11 years....but I hope to have them paid off in 8 years.

In October of this year I paid off my Law School loan, a loan given to me straight from the school at a killer interest rate of 8%. Now that it's gone I am attacking my Perkins loan, which is my highest interest and lowest balance loan standing at a rate of 5% and less than $7k remaining. I hope to somehow figure out a way to kill this loan too in 2011.

Here are the totals:

I hope everyone has a great New Year's!

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Where it Went 11/24 - 12/07

Sorry this post is so late in the day. Got stuck in mandatory training all day. Have some money news and general life musings to write about, but not enough time to write them.

In the meantime, here's where my money went the past two weeks compared to the budget I established:

Roth I.R.A. - 500/500
Perkins Loan - 200/200
Credit Card - 200/200
Groceries - 75/0
Health - 45/130
Gift - 100/160
Misc. - 151/140
Clothes - 0/110

This budget reflects $14 in additional income earned.

I managed to get some great gifts for my husband and brother (who is deployed for Christmas). And I got some new work clothes since it is freeeeezing out.

Health costs should be abating soon I hope. Can't wait for my FSA to kick in!

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Net Worth November 2010

Now that November has come to an end, I am happy to announce I am worth $1228 more this month according to Networth IQ. That's pretty excellent, even though it only represents an increase of 1.09% from my October 2010 report.

My net worth is -$111,254!

Here's the breakdown details:

Cash: This has stayed the same. My husband is the one who manages the cash savings so this category won't be going anywhere for a while.

Retirement: My 457 account balance stands at $8164, which is lower than last month oddly enough, though the account isn't showing any losses for this period. Strange. Maybe I wrote down the wrong number last month. I have approximately $4835 in my pension (refundable until vested). And finally I have $1000 in my Roth I.R.A., or at least I hope I do since I sent in $500 more last month but I am waiting to see my first statement. This makes for a grand total of $13,899 saved for retirement.

Student Loans: These are at the LOWEST THEY'VE EVER BEEN at a whopping $123,863.

Credit Card: Still waiting to pay this off. It will happen soon.

So bring on December!

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Monthly Student Loan Debt Roundup

Where did November go so fast?! DH and I had a great Thanksgiving with our families. We had a great system this year where we were able to spend time with everyone we wanted to see and not feel rushed or spend half the vacation in traffic. We even baked our first cheesecake together. It's nice to be able to start new traditions now that we're officially a married couple. We're putting up our Christmas tree soon - I can't wait!

But now onto the juicy stuff.

My student loan debt is.....$123,863.06 - the lowest it's ever been since graduation! (That's my new saying - it's positive, right?)

I had gotten used to seeing a four figure reduction in recent months when I was attacking the Law School Loan so this roundup seems lame in comparison, however I am working with a reduced snowball now that I am trying to max out my Roth I.R.A. Unfortunately I can't do everything at the same time.

At least the numbers are still going down. :-)

Monday, November 29, 2010

Another Pension Update

I have some good news about my progress on obtaining credit for the time I worked before joining the pension system.

Luckily it didn't take the pension people five months to figure out what my buyback costs would be as they predicted it may.

Not so luckily is that I forgot I would have to pay interest on the amount owed. That, plus finding out there's an outstanding balance of $67 that my employer was supposed to pay on my behalf but didn't brings my new total owed to $824 (not $660 like I predicted). I guess that's only fair considering that money had I paid it initially would be sitting in the state's pension fund gaining interest this whole time. I'm just glad I got off my butt and started this process now, not ten years from now when the interest would have been astronomical. $800 now means 8 less months of working before I can retire!

It turns out I was right that I could pay this money with pretax dollars (yay!). So I signed up to begin payroll deductions of $45 which will pay the balance off in 17 pay periods, just in time for my new vesting date of September 14, 2011 - only 290 days to go!

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Budget 11/24 - 12/07

Happy (almost) Thanksgiving! I have a lot to be thankful for this year. First and foremost, my job. I was just thinking back over the past two plus years since I started this blog and all the things that have happened.
Right around this time two years ago I was losing my job. And remember that time I wrote about my "rich" parents' Thanksgiving traditions and everyone yelled at me? (Good times)

But then I got a new job with a better salary, soon to be followed by a cost of living increase.

In the midst of all this, I got engaged, moved six months later, and married my excellent husband. We also saved a bunch of money for said wedding and honeymoon.

I paid off an old collections account that had haunted me for years....and I paid off one of my student loans!

Just two weeks ago my sister had a baby, the grandchild for my parents, and I became a proud aunt.

I have a lot to be thankful for, including this paycheck I will now spend:

Starting Balance - $1271

Roth I.R.A. - 500
Perkins Loan - 200
Credit Card - 200
Groceries - 75
Health - 45*
Gift - 100**
Misc. - 151

*This may be higher. I really won't know for a few more days but luckily there's my good old friend the miscellaneous category.

**We have a gift account with enough to buy presents for family but this money is allocated to buy my sweet hubby a present.
Hope everyone has a wonderful and safe holiday!

Where it Went 11/10 - 11/23

Here I am, still haven't left town yet to get on the road to see family for Thanksgiving. In fact, we probably won't get on the road until sometime tonight. I greatly dislike the highways in general, but especially at night before a huge holiday.

But at least it gives me some time to write up a budget review. So here's where my money went the last two weeks compared to the budget I set for it:


Sallie Mae - 407/407
Defaulted Student Loan - 260/260
Sprint - 74/74
Groceries - 150/97
Professional Fee - 155/155
Health - 45/160
Misc. - 180/183
Gifts - 0/50
Clothes - 0/120

Overbudget in a few categories and the health costs will continue to be higher than normal for at least a short time. It's not something I regret, as it costs money to make myself better (and yes I'm being purposely vague for the time being).

I did manage to bring in $47 in additional income the past two weeks which makes up for some of the unbudgeted expenses.

And I held off for the longest time on buying clothes but faced with the upcoming holidays and the Moth Massacre of my sweaters I gave in and bought some new stuff.

That's how the pumpkin pie crumbles. Stay tuned for a new budget post.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Budget 11/10 - 11/23

It's a girl!!!!!!!!!!! Sallie's Niece is now an aunt. This morning my niece arrived safely into the world, a few days late but healthy as can be. I get to meet her in a couple of days - the beginning of three weekends in a row away from home, but I won't focus on that just yet.

So here's the budget for the next two weeks. I will finally make it to the grocery store, even though DH will be out of town next week, so we'll barely be home together for the next couple of weeks. I still need to eat and we're running out of things I can make dinner out of!

Starting Balance = $1271*

Sallie Mae - 407
Defaulted Student Loan - 260
Sprint - 74
Groceries - 150
Professional Fee** - 155
Health - 45
Misc. - 180

*I upped my 457 contribution again. I'm a little schizophrenic about that sometimes, but I know I won't miss the $14 every two weeks and my retirement savings could definitely use a boost. I also started a FSA finally, but that won't kick in until the beginning of next year.

**As much as I would love to go out and buy Christmas presents or get my hair highlighted, I am spending some money to increase my professional certifications. I am hoping I eventually see some outside income which makes this expense worthwhile. And if not, it can't hurt on a resume.

And since I've mentioned Christmas....DH and I decided we're not going to spend a lot of money on gifts this year. We have savings that he's been putting aside all year for presents and we have a couple of things picked out for people...and that's it. No more overspending on the holidays! (Except maybe adorable baby things for my new niece.)

Where it Went 10/27 - 11/09

Brrr. It's cold out. And we've already had our first snow. It seems like we are entering winter. Our first married winter. Awww. Sometimes when I get impatient and it seems our goals are so far away, I remember we have each other and that's important. :-)

Speaking of freezing, I've been on a mission to eat our freezer and pantry, which explains the no groceries purchased over the past two weeks. Truthfully a few things were picked up at the corner store but no big grocery runs were made. Among the yummy comfort food I've made is this awesome slow cooker BBQ chicken. Try it out. It's amazing and so easy to make!

But now, the budget report. Nothing too crazy here. I got some photos framed as part of my decorating phase I'm going through. And despite prior claims, I did manage to spend more money on Halloween preparations. So here's where my money went the past two weeks as compared to the budget I set out:


Roth I.R.A. - 500/500
Perkins Loan - 200/200
Credit Card - 200/220
Groceries - 150/0
Health - 45/65*
Misc. - 190/195**
Charity - 0/100
Household - 0/54
Halloween - 0/50

*DH paid my $20 copay when I didn't have any cash on me but I'm including it in my budget nonetheless.

**Since I had zero checks left, I ordered 2 boxes from Checks Unlimited for only $15 after googling a coupon code. I also got free return address labels. This was way cheaper than the $35 per box my bank was going to charge me.

I've been selling some old books on so this budget also reflects about $25 in sales in case you were wondering why things aren't adding up exactly.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Net Worth October 2010

I haven't tracked my net worth on the blog in forever but last month I was inspired to log into Networth IQ and plug some numbers in. I thought there was still a little widget in my sidebar to show you my networth but it turns out there isn't. I will look into that, but in the meantime....

My net worth is -$112,482!

Which, okay, may sound pretty crappy (in fact I appear to have the second lowest networth in all of Networth IQ for my salary range), but it just so happens to be $22,673 more than it was when I made my first real accounting in May 2008.

I decided instead of just focusing on the negative with my student loan roundups, I should show my whole networth each month on the blog just like my richer contemporaries do.

Here it is, in detail:

Cash: I probably shouldn't enter a number in this category but I just seem to use the amount I have sitting around in my bank account, so ignore this. My cash savings is in our joint bank accounts so it's not included.

Retirement: Some of this calculation involved guesswork as my pension system doesn't seem to want to allow me to log into their website but taking 3% of my salary over the past 3.5 years, I have approximately $4725 in my pension (refundable until vested at 5 years). I also have $8,233 in my 457 retirement account and a whopping $500 in my newly opened Roth I.R.A. This makes for a grand total of $13, 458. Hopefully I will be able to buy back my $600 in pension time sometime this millenia, setting my five year vesting date at September 2011.

Student Loans: These are at THE LOWEST THEY HAVE EVER BEEN (I'm gonna have to start using that) at $124,650.
Credit Card: Boo. I am waiting to knock out some of my recent overspending with my extra paycheck coming up soon.
There it is. I look forward to seeing it go up next month.

Friday, October 29, 2010

Monthly Student Loan Debt Roundup

I realize it's not officially the end of the month, but I assume you the reader want to read a blog post on Halloween as much as I want to write one. And I was excited to write this roundup as it's the first ever with a zero in a "amount owed" column due to the glorious fact that I paid off one of my student loans earlier this month.

And I wanted to share something I probably should have looked into earlier as it has previously taken me about 30 minutes of research to determine how much of my federal loans were applied to each year of study. Well, apparently if you go to the National Student Loan Database you can find all this info in a nifty little chart like this one that shows how much you borrowed each year:

It's small but organized and you can get your very own at the Department of Education website (minus the ghost). Anyway, it reminds me that nearly two years after writing the post about still paying off my freshman year of college that I am still, in fact, underwater on my federal student loans. I am going to calculate how long it will be before I am above water but I've already done a lot of math today. It's not like I'm snowballing the loans by year of study since I am paying the highest interest rate first, but still I want to know these milestones.

So here are this month's totals, knocking out over $1200 in debt:

Happy Halloween everyone!

P.S. if you are looking really closely, yes I made a math error in last month's post, which frustrated me all day long as things weren't adding up. I'm working on fixing it now. :-)

Trading Vacation Days for Cash

First: a warning. I know I'm going to sound like a whining whiner who whines, but I realize this and write anyway.

One of the great perks about my job is the generous amount of paid time off I get. And a lot of this time can be carried from year to year and used for a dream vacation, a maternity leave, or cashing out at retirement. I currently have 16 vacation days saved and that's after taking nearly three weeks off for my wedding and honeymoon in July. I accrue a new vacation day every two and a half weeks (or 4 weeks a year to be exact). On top of that I get a week of Personal time come January 1 of the new year. And I have 28 sick days accrued. There's more (overtime) but I'll stop bragging.

Anyway, I've always really appreciate this about my job and the fact that we aren't discouraged from actually using our time like so many Americans apparently are is something I don't take for granted. Sure, time off has to be approved but I've found as long as it's not during our crazy busy time of the year it is usually approved.

So when I got a notice saying that I could exchange 3 vacation days for $500 towards my my share of the health insurance premiums, I had to think about it.

First, I did the math. I make $1861 a pay period pretax. Out of that amount, $110 is taken out pretax towards my health insurance premiums for DH and I. $1861/10 = $186 a day x3 = $558.

Then, I thought, it's not like I'm actually earning more money if I'm working three more days a year for it. In fact, after taxes this will only net me like $10 a year if I consider the extra time worked. And isn't a vacation worth more to me than $10 a year?

I told all this to DH. He said I was using fuzzy math and I should take the money. When I pointed out that I could save up a lot of time for a potential two week African Safari in 2012, he told me there was no safari in our immediate future. :-(

Bubble bursted, I submitted the form to H.R. today.

I still want to go on that safari though, but DH is right that we have other financial goals we need to focus on instead.

Sorry lions.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Budget 10/27 - 11/09

Sometime in the next two weeks my sister will be giving birth and I will become an aunt! Yay! I mean, it's projected to happen soon, but who knows. This is the first sibling of mine to have a child so it's all pretty exciting. This has nothing to do with money really since I've already given plenty of loot to my unborn niece and nephew but I thought I'd mention it. :-)

Although I guess once it happens I may have to hop on a bus if DH can't come with me to visit my family. I'll think about that more in the days to come.

Exciting news - I opened up a new Roth I.R.A. last week. I know as part of my 2010 financial goals I listed maxing out my Roth, but I neglected to mention that I no longer had an active Roth account. Like the impulsive idiot that I was back then, I had opened up an account 5 years ago or so and started putting $50 a month into it. When times got tough, however, I drained all the money. :-(

The good thing about my new Roth account is that I opened it with the same firm my financial adviser works with so I have to actually mail him a check in order to make deposits, thus making it a whole lot harder to withdraw the money in a moment of weakness.

Anyway, with that explanation in mind, here is my projected budget for the next two weeks time:

Starting Balance = $1285

Roth I.R.A. - 500
Perkins Loan - 200
Credit Card - 200
Groceries - 150
Health - 45
Misc. - 190

I doubled my usual payment on the Perkins loan now that the Law School loan is gone.

I'm leaving some flex room in the budget in case I have to pay another doctor's co-pay or buy a bus ticket to see my sister.

Luckily (and not so luckily) Halloween is already taken care of courtesy of the spending spree.

It's pretty doubtful I will be able to come up with the entire $5000 by April 15th to max out my Roth...but I am now 1/10th of the way there so I consider that some progress. :-)

Here's hoping I can pull in some additional income in the next few weeks - more on that later.

Where it Went 10/13 - 10/26

Boo for this budget report. Not fun "boo" as in ghosts and Halloween but boo as in "boo hoo, I''m broke" or "my boo boo costs what?!"

After declaring I was gonna go out and spend some money, well, spend money I did. Then...I had a bit of a health scare, resulting in the following charges:

Urgent Care Center co-pay - $20
E.R. visit co-pay - $70
Prescriptions (including those not related to the health scare) - $20.
Grand Total = $110, which puts my total health care expenses at $180 in the PAST TWO WEEKS if you count the random $30 I owed my OBGYN.

Seriously boo to all of that. The Emergency Room is definitely a spooky place to spend your Saturday. And I don't even know if I will be charged a co-pay for my followup appointment today. Plus I went out and got some OTC things to help with my condition after the appointment. (Note that expenses today don't count towards the budget report, it's just aggravating.)

Anyway, the good news is I'm okay. And really considering opening up a Flex Spending Account since open enrollment season is coming up.

So here's where it went:


Sallie Mae - 407/407
Defaulted Student Loan - 260/260
Sprint - 74/74
Health - 60/180
Event Tickets - 60/60
Charity - 30/50
Groceries - 100/100
Clothes - 150/0
Misc. - 144/289

Booooo! Totaling everything up is scary. A lot of the miscellaneous is household stuff as I went on a kick of sprucing up our condo. But reality has set in and I'm done with shopping sprees for now. And I didn't even get any clothes!!!

I was able to earn $50 for consenting to take on another court assignment. I'm excited that these are coming in more frequently now as I definitely enjoyed spending the last $500 I earned. There may be more news in the area of additional income soonish so stay posted.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

State of State Pensions Funds and an Update on Mine

I'm playing catch up on my 2010 goals and finally submitted the paperwork to buy back my pension credits. It wasn't so bad, I had to log into the site, print out the relevant form and mail it (yes snail mail) it back to the state.

The form required me to know my exact starting date at the job at which joining the pension system was optional (which is kinda b.s. because I know for a fact our H.R. director can pull up this info on me in the state's database already). So I called my former employer and got the exact dates.

And I happen to remember my exact salary even though they didn't ask for it. I did the math and 3% of 8 months should cost about $660 (go ahead and do the math backwards and find out my crappy old salary!).

Two weeks later I received a letter in the mail from the retirement system. I'm excited because I think it is going to give me instructions on how to buy the credits (the jury is still out on whether I can pay with pre-tax money). Nope. The letter acknowledged the receipt of my application and stated that they would begin an investigation into my prior service and determine the cost of buying it back. It estimated that this investigation would take five months.

Five months?!! What the heck?! Call up my former employer and ask if I worked there, for how long and how much did I make? Crappy salary/12 = Y x 8 = (Yx8) x 0.03 = $660. I barely survived high school math class and I was still able to figure this out in less than five minutes.

So it looks like this goal may not be achieved within 2010. Oh well, I guess I tried. I usually defend the state when people complain about bureacracy having seen the other side but I cannot even fathom why this inquiry should take so long.

At least New York's pension fund is currently in good shape unlike 11 states whose funds are in danger of running out. I *think* New York's will be okay since they recently enacted some reforms requiring newer (before me!) members to continue their contributions for the entire length of their employment (I only have to contribute for ten years).

But since I'm neither a mind reader nor an economist I am not putting all my retirement eggs in one basket. See more on that (as well as more on my 2010 goals progress) sometime later this week.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

I Paid Off My Law School Loan!

Only one of them. Don't anybody get too excited! I still have five left to pay off.

I've been waiting to post this for days! As you could tell from my last "where it went" I made an extra big payment to my Law School Loan courtesy of the extra money I was able to earn doing some outside work. After I made the payment I logged into my account for the next couple of days to see when the account would say zero. Instead, I owed $3.11 in accrued interest. And so I paid that and then waited some more. Finally, I am able to share this exciting image:

And as luck would have it, the smallest of my student loans also had the highest interest rate. 8% is wack. I'm SO glad it's gone. This means in addition to paying off the closed credit card account back in April I have lowered my monthly debt obligations by $165 in 2010! Plus I'm about to start saving $35 a month in health care costs, which effectively means I have $200 more a month to work with.

Getting rid of this loan was on both my 2009 AND 2010 resolutions so I'm glad to meet this goal at last. Freedom!

I started paying this loan in November of 2008 and had 60 months to pay it off. By knocking it out in 23 months I saved $286 in interest. That doesn't seem like much but I'll take any victory I can get at this point.
Now time to snowball my Perkins Loan!

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Budget 10/13 - 10/26

I've decided to call this budget the "okay fine, I'll admit to buying stuff" version. Instead of trying to spend almost every cent of my paycheck paying off debt and bills, I'm going to let myself plan for some purchases. Hopefully this will actually help the recent credit card problem because I have to use cash to get the things I want and need. Also I'm feeling a little burnt out.

I need new sweaters since, as I mentioned, moths have attacked mine. I need moth balls or moth hangars. I need flat shoes since mine are literally falling apart. I need a new coat. I want better bathroom storage. I could use a Halloween costume.

I'm not going to run out and buy all of those things in the next two weeks but I may buy a few and I"m not going to beat myself up about it. So there.

Here's my very lenient budget for the next two weeks. Most of the money going towards bills of course, but then some for me as well:

Starting Balance = $1285

Sallie Mae - 407
Defaulted Student Loan - 260
Sprint - 74
Health - 60*
Event Tickets - 60
Charity - 30
Groceries - 100
Clothes - 150
Misc. - 144

*I got a bill from my OB's office stating that I owed them $30 from November of last year. What the heck? This stuff always seems to happen with my doctors - I don't know why they don't bill me during the visit.

Where it Went 9/29 - 10/12

The great news about this budget report is that I was able to bring in $500 in additional income from a court assignment I received. The good news is that I paid off A LOT of debt.

The not so good news is that I also spent more money than I had planned, partly due to the windfall. And the bad news is that I still have a big credit card balance mocking me. I'm just gonna put this out there as I've sort of been evasive about the amount in the past month as I've been trying to attack it: I have $2700 in credit card debt. There I said it. It was actually quite a bit more a month ago. It's "only" at 8.9% interest rate but it's pissing me off and I want it gone as soon as possible.

So without further ado, I will show you how I spent my paycheck plus my windfall the past two weeks:


Credit Card - 700/700
Law School Loan - 200/434
Perkins Loan - 94/94
Health - 65/100
Gift - 60/60
Misc. - 167/180
Beauty - 0/59
Clothes - 0/198

Yeah yeah, I know. It's pretty bad. If I hadn't overpaid the law school loan so much I would have had money for the clothes. AND if I didn't have such a high credit card balance to work off I would have had money for both the loan AND the clothes. I just really wanted to use the windfall towards erasing debt and it did to a certain extent. Look for a big student loan announcement later this week.

Also I showed up at a doctor's appointment to find out that my health insurance decided not to cover my flu vaccination. What the heck? Luckily I think I am going to be able to reduce my prescription co-pays going forward so that will help a bit. It's also open enrollment time for Flex Spending Accounts so I am looking into that as well.

If all goes according to plan, I can have the credit card paid off by the end of the year. Wish me luck!

Thursday, September 30, 2010

Monthly Student Loan Debt Roundup

I can't believe September has come and gone so quickly. It seems like just yesterday I was posting August's student loan debt roundup. Yet happily I was able to decrease the balance by over $1000 this month. Sometimes I make charts and spreadsheets and see how fast I could get rid of all my student loan debt and I get encouraged...until I realize that would mean ignoring all of our other financial goals. It's frustrating.

The good news, however, is that I am achingly close to paying off my first student loan! Because of my increased snowball, the balance stands at a measly $434.41. I hope knocking it out will give me the momentum I need to push harder at attacking the rest of the balances. (I also would like a raise but that's a whole other story.)

Anyway so here's my updated chart:

Thanks for reading and I hope we can celebrate the payoff of loan #1 soon!

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Budget 9/29 - 10/12

I know people say "never again" a lot, but I'm saying this right now. Never again will I get sidetracked from my financial goals. I will keep this post as a reminder. Paying for meals you ate and whatever it is you did several months later stinks.

Wanna know why? Let me show you my new budget:

Starting Balance = $1285

Credit Card - 700 :-(
Law School Loan - 200
Perkins Loan - 94
Health - 65
Gift - 60
Misc. - 167

Why yes, most of my paycheck will be going towards my stupid credit card.

How much is $700? I mean other than some numbers on a page, what does it mean to me?

With $700 I could pay off the entire law school loan balance!

With $700 I could buy an I-pad with 3G wireless!

With $700 I could spend a three day weekend with my husband in Niagara Falls!

Oh well. At this rate the debt should be gone by mid-November. I doubt I'll be getting an i-pad any time soon - though I would love to travel to Niagara Falls. Check out this deal - if you have money that is!

Where it Went 915 - 9/28

Good morning! Isn't pay day great? :-)

Time to see how I spent my last paycheck before I go on a flurry of bill paying and budgeting. So here is where my money went compared to the budget I set:


Sallie Mae - 407/407
Defaulted Student Loan - 260/260
Credit Card - 200/200
Sprint - 74/74
Gift - 40/40
Health - 25/25
Clothes - 100/50
Charity - 20/20
Groceries - 0/30
Misc. - 152/155

Still working dilligently to get rid of our new and unwelcome consumer debt. I'm gonna pay off a bulk of it in a few minutes - that's gonna feel good - and next week I have a legal one time gig that is going to bring in some money too.

I didn't do a big clothes shopping excursion yet - just picked up a few things from Walmart which were suprisingly not cheap but I still need to soon as the weather gets warmer. Moths ate FOUR of my sweaters. I've never had moths before and I don't like them one bit.

Stay tuned for a new budget post!

Monday, September 27, 2010

2010 Financial Goals Checkup

Happy Fall everyone! The weather is getting cooler and things are finally slowing down for the newlyweds - at least for now. We spent three out of four weekends in September at home - which is sort of a record for us the past five months. At work I'm experiencing the "calm before the storm" and expect things to pick up significantly in the next couple of weeks.

And in a few days a six week period of family birthdays start up, including most likely the birth of my parent's first grandchild (I'm gonna be an aunt!), Thanksgiving and then the winter holidays.

But for now, I have a moment to reflect on the financial goals I set for 2010. Here's how I'm doing:

1. Get married without going into debt. Pass. We achieved this goal - however we did not save up enough money for the honeymoon and pretty much depleted our financial reserves which we're working now to build up.

2. Increase 457 contribution. Pass and Fail. I did increase my contribution for most of the year but lowered it when we decided it was more important to max out Roth IRAs.

3. Max out Roth IRAs. Fail. We're pretty focused on debt repayment right now but I'm still optimistic we can do this by April.

4. Buy Back Pension Credits. In progress. I just submitted the paperwork to do this last week.

5. Eliminate Law School Loan. In progress. The balance stands at $634 and hopefully will be down to zero by the end of the year.

So that's how I'm doing so far. I also changed my beneficiary to DH on several of my accounts.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Budget 9/15 - 9/28

After a long hiatus I've decided the honeymoon is over and I should put up a budget post. Note, however, that this budget only reflects my income and the bills I'm responsible for. The DH and I haven't changed the way we manage our money now that we're married though as always we talk about our money and mutual goals. I still transfer money to our joint savings account that we were using for the wedding, except now it's being used to pay off debt.

And about that....yeah, we managed to rack up some consumer debt. It's not terrible and we have a plan to eliminate it, but it puts some other goals on the back burner.

Anyway, here it is:

Starting Balance = $1277

Sallie Mae - 407
Defaulted Student Loan - 260
Credit Card - 200
Sprint - 74
Gift - 40
Health - 25
Clothes - 100
Charity - 20
Misc. - 152

I need some new clothes for the upcoming busy season at work and we have two weddings to attend in October.

My paycheck is a little less than normal because I'm now paying for health insurance for two. The good news is the amount I'm paying now doesn't increase if we add dependents in case we ever decide to make any little humans.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Monthly Student Loan Debt Roundup

Hello out there in blog land. I'm back and married and anxious to tell about my wedding, my fabulous honeymoon, my fine new husband and our married financial adventures. First, however, I bring you a monthly student loan debt roundup - only a day late after skipping the month of July.

Lest you think I ran off and changed my identity to avoid paying student loans forever, I am happy to report that in the past two months I have cleared over $1500 in debt. Here are the stats:

As you can see, since I started this spreadsheet on July 1, 2009 the total amount of student loan debt I've eliminated is $10,845.32!

Stay tuned for more in the chronicles of Sallie's Niece, the married version.

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Budget 7/07 - 7/20

Since I need this paycheck to last me until the second day of my honeymoon I figured it was wise to write up a budget so I don't forget anything in the midst of wedding planning.

BTW I should have realized what I was going to get when I googled "two brides" but this image refers to a semi-financial quandry I am in. :-)

My friend is also getting married and her shower and bachellorette party are this weekend. I have already RSVPd yes to both events, but due to a death in a third friend's family I no longer have a way to get to them - five hours away. So...I'm trying to figure out what to do...and how much it will cost. So here's my worst case scenario budget:

Starting Balance = $1337

Sallie Mae - 406
Defaulted Student Loan - 260
Credit Card - 100
Sprint - 74
Health - 45
Shower gift - 60
Transportation and party misc. - 180
Wedding week & misc. - 212

Okay, so that's not too awful. Of course it doesn't take into account the vast amount of money we will spend during the week of the wedding but that is coming out of the separate wedding budget I've worked so hard on for the past year. Time to enjoy it!

Where it Went 6/23 - 7/06

Oh man, I NEED to write a budget post. With the wedding right around the corner I have to make sure everything is on track as today is my last payday of my single life.

Luckily just sorting through the last pay period's expenses it seems I didn't get too far off track - save for maybe giving my little sister a $200 graduation present (cash) but I'd have given her $2000 if I had it so there's no trying to talk sense into me after the fact.

So here's where my money went for the past two weeks, just for accountability purposes since I didn't bother to post a budget in the first place. :-(

Starting Balance = $1416

Wedding Savings - 500
Gift - 200
Credit Card - 150
Perkins Loan -93
Law School Loan - 80
Clothes - 60
Health - 40
Wedding Spending - 32
Misc. - 120

I got some clothes to wear on the honeymoon at Old Navy - yay for $5 t-shirts!

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Monthly Student Loan Debt Roundup

Wow, how is it the end of June already? Do you know what this means? This is my last monthly student loan debt roundup as a single gal! Yay!

There probably won't be a July roundup as I will be sitting on a beach in Hawaii next to my new husband, but in the meantime here's the current numbers:

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Where it Went 5/26 - 6/08

Wedding. Money. Life. Stress.

Ahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh. How is everyone else doing?

I'm pretty good, especially knowing that even with the daily stressors of planning a wedding, that I will be married to the man I love soon....and then boarding a plane to Hawaii. Can't wait!

So here's where my money went for the past two weeks compared to the budget I set:


Credit Card - 150/200
Wedding Savings - 700/700
Wedding Makeup Deposit - 50/50
Perkins Loan - 93/93
Law School Loan - 80/80
Groceries - 75/0
Healthcare - 40/40
Misc. - 149/160
Clothes - 0/40

I got a dress I may wear to my rehearsal and one I will definitely wear on the honeymoon. Found a really great discount shop a few towns over. Resisted urge to spend more than the $40 in my wallet.

This weekend I have what I hope will be my last dress fitting and then my hair and makeup trial. It's really getting close!

Friday, May 28, 2010

Monthly Student Loan Debt Roundup

Technically Monday is the end of the month, but I'll be enjoying a relaxing day off from work, so I figured I would do my monthly student loan roundup a few days early. It may skew the numbers a bit on the loans where they update the interest daily...but you get to see the basic picture..the balances are going down down down! My law school loan now stands at less than $1000. I can't wait to kiss that sucker goodbye!

Here are this month's numbers:

Have a Happy Memorial Day weekend, everyone!

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Budget 5/26 - 6/8

I can't believe it's almost June! Which means, among other things, it's almost time for me to get married. Wow! But that's not until July so I'm gonna take things one month at a time.

I need to be on top of my budget as the wedding nears so we can pay off all of our vendors and have money to spend on our honeymoon. I can't wait for Hawaii, I need a vacation.
Luckily, Memorial Day weekend is just around the corner so we do get a three day weekend. We're going camping with some friends.

So here is my budget for the next two weeks.

Starting Balance = $1337*

Credit Card - 150
Wedding Savings - 700
Wedding Makeup Deposit - 50
Perkins Loan - 93
Law School Loan - 80
Groceries - 75
Healthcare - 40
Misc. - 149

*Look at all that money. Did I get a raise, you ask? No. After speaking with our financial advisor, I decided to reduce my 457 contributions so that I can contribute more to a Roth I.R.A. first. I am still saving 2% pre-tax and will post more about the Roth later on.

Where it Went 05/12 - 05/25

I've been a bad blogger and an even worse budgeter! Work, life, wedding planning, etc. etc., but instead of making excuses, I will just give the quick and dirty details of how my last paycheck was spent:

Credit Card - 150
Sallie Mae - 406
Defaulted Student Loan - 260
Sprint - 74
Healthcare - 40
Personal Training - 60
Misc. - 240

I wish I could remember what I did with the $240, which is a little higher than I usually manage to spend in a two week period, but I can't seem to recall right now. Bad bad budgeting. Getting back on the wagon right now!

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Wedding Wednesday

Ann over at Affecting Change in Me posted a Wedding Wednesday post today and it was interesting for me to read and I figured maybe some of my readers (who aren't yet as sick as I am of wedding talk) would like to read it as well.

I don't have a nice organized list like she does, but here is a random stream of consciousness on all things wedding related today...
  • I had my shower two weeks ago and I only have a few more Thank You cards to send out. I know as a guest I hate getting late thank yous so this will be finished this week. The shower was a blast and we got some really nice stuff. (Now where to put it?)

  • My bachelorette party is this weekend!!! A few friends and I are meeting in the city and going to a bar and then a show. I'm very excited!

  • We are sending out invitations ASAP. Hopefully they will be in the mail by Monday, which will be exactly two months before the wedding. We already sent Save the Dates a year back so most everyone knows when the wedding is, but we still have to do this, ugh.

  • I have my first dress fitting next weekend. I am excited and nervous at the same time. I have not seen the dress since November!

  • Next week my fiance and I are meeting with our photographer to do an Engagement Shoot. This should be a good time to get to know him better and be more comfortable posing for pictures on the wedding day - plus it's included in our package. I don't know what to wear!

That's about it for now. Well, not actually. I don't now if my future groom and I have a place to stay the night of the wedding, I haven't even looked at veils, figured out our centerpieces, our menu or our cake...but those are blog posts for another day!

Happy Wedding Wednesday to other brides out there in cyber land!

Where it Went 4/28 - 05/11

Is this thing on? After many requests and convincing my FH to agree, I posted his budget last week and no one said a thing. Is anyone still out there?

I am pretty stressed right now to be honest. Not money-related exactly but I feel with the wedding coming up there are so many demands on my time. Easter, Mother's Day, dress fittings, showers, parties, etc. have kept me traveling for the past five weekends. And there is no end in sight. In fact, between now and the wedding I will only spend about three Saturday nights in my own bed. (Hahaha I'm sleeping around...but really!) And on top of all these obligations, there's the nine zillion wedding details to work out.

Spending has been a little high too. I think I'm going to stop seeing a personal trainer. On top of being expensive, I really don't have the time anymore. So here's my latest budget breakdown:

Credit Card - 100/0
Wedding Savings - 500/500
Perkins Loan - 93/93
Law School Loan - 80/80
Groceries - 100/60
Health - 90/105
Personal Training - 140/140
Misc. - 157/180
Clothes & Gifts - 0/100

I got my state tax refund finally - for some reason they only decided to give me $88, about $100 less than Tax Act said I was supposed to get. They sent me a letter but it didn't really explain it in a way I could understand. It made up for the two sets of Mother's Day cards I bought - left one at work (doh!). Guess I'm all set for next year.

Monday, May 10, 2010

Going private?

So I'm posting this in the hopes that one of my favorite Personal Finance bloggers sees it. She has commented a few times on my blog so I hope she subscribes. I've been reading her blog for years and it looks like she went to invitation only recently.

Anyway, if you think you are this person, please (pretty please!) send me an invite to your blog at salliesniece (at) gmail (dot) com.

And if you're not sure if you're that person or just a person who wants me to read your blog - feel free to send me an invite as well.

Monday, May 3, 2010

Our Money: The Other Side of the Coin

At long last, I am able to share with you the rest of our household finances, i.e. where the heck my fiance's money goes. I would have done this sooner since I know a bunch of people are curious how things will work after we're married but my fiance's way of maintaining his finances and mine are pretty different.

As you know, every two weeks on payday I map out the bills I need to pay and how I plan to spend the rest of my available cash. I guess you could say I am still living paycheck to paycheck in this respect.

My fiance, on the other hand, has a complicated (to me anyway) system he tracks using Quicken where he transfers money in and out of multiple accounts. He also pays for and gets reimbursed for a lot of business expenses. Every time I tried to look at his spreadsheets with all the colors and mathematical symbols I would get frustrated and just give up. But alas he has provided me with a simple spreadsheet, which I further simplified, that gives a better look at a typical month's expenses. Here it is:

So there you have it. His biggest priority is paying off some credit card debt that we (admitedly) both acquired during vacations over the past year. The total is about $6,000 and most of it will be paid off by the wedding.

As you can see this budget is far more detailed than my "pay student loans and then maybe some other stuff" budget but I hope it gives you more insight into our household finances.

Friday, April 30, 2010

Monthly Student Loan Debt Roundup

It's everybody's favorite time of the month! Time to do my monthly student loan debt roundup!

I'm happy to say that I am in the $120s! Seeing one digit go down is encouraging - makes me think my desire to not have six figure student loan debt isn't so impossible.

And I'm happy to say that at least two (I think only two) of my loans are now at values of less than what I borrowed! Woo hoo!

Both the Perkins Loan (originally $8800) and the Law School loan (originally $2000) I took out my third year of law school when my scholarship money ran out and I had a tuition deficit to meet. I'm grateful for the loans since they helped me avoid taking out private loans - only needed one of those evil evil private loans in law school, but I want them and their high interest rates to be banished.

So here are this month's numbers:

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Budget 4/28 - 5/11

I am crossing my fingers that my wedding dress arrives in the next two weeks (oh please go back to that post and read some excellent troll comments!).

Ticker update alert - with today's contribution I believe we have just over $5000 left in the Wedding Savings account. We're just about on target with our wedding savings with under three months to go.

Personal training has been going well too, though I'll have to scale back my sessions to once a week instead of twice of week due to money and time constraints. A month of intense training gave me the foundation I needed to work out on my home and was, in my opinion, money well spent. It's tough to stay motivated but with a lot of hard work, I have seen some results.

I am also anxiously awaiting the busy time at work to be finished - we all are - but right now it seems everything is in such a state of flux that there's no telling what will happen. My workload has doubled and while I am getting tons of hands-on experience, it's hard to juggle three projects at once. Last night I had a dream about my boss! (Not that kind of dream I swear, but he bought me mozzarella sticks....weird, right?)

Anyway, enough non sequitor, let's get to the budget!

Starting Balance = $1261

100 - Credit Card
500 - Wedding Savings
93 - Perkins Loan
80 - Law School Loan
100 - Groceries
90 - Health*
140 - Personal Training
157 - Misc

*I'm pretty frustrated with my insurance company. They never tell me I owe them anything at the appointment and then I get a phantom bill in the mail several weeks later (still directed to my old address even though I moved six months ago and have told them that). Anyway, today I sent a check for my $25 annual dental deductible and have another $20 to pay for labwork. I finally found my checkbook!

Where it Went 4/13 - 4/27

I was really bad and didn't even get around to posting a budget on the 13th for the past two weeks. But even still, I want to document how my money was spent just to stay accountable.

It's been pretty busy both at work and in wedding planning. My fiance and I got to take a quick trip out of town two weekends ago, which will probably be our last weekend truly alone before the wedding. It was fun. This past weekend I had my shower (yay for presents!) and the following weekends are chock full of many obligations to friends and family. The fun has just begun!

So here's a quick accounting of how I spent my last paycheck ($1261):

Credit Card - 160
Sallie Mae - 406
Defaulted Student Loan - 260
Sprint - 74
Healthcare - 85
Office Work Party tickets - 60
Misc. - 160

Stay tuned for more budgeting!

I Paid Off Nice Collection Agency!!

Back in May 2008, shortly after creating this blog (woah reading those old entries is a bit painful) I posted about reaching a payment agreement with a creditor I termed "Nice Collection Agency." Every month for 21 months they have been deducting $125.81 from my bank account and I knew that, someday, this old credit card would be paid off.

Last month they only deducted $75 and I thought that was curious but since I haven't really been keeping track of the amount I still owed, I waited one more month to see what would happen. And this month it seems the debt has finally been paid off!

So yes, 21 months after entering into the agreement, and a full decade after racking up the charges, I am DONE with Nice Collection Agency. I feel very relieved to have that monkey off my back.

Next up is getting a copy of my credit report to make sure the account shows up as paid in full...and figuring out what to do with an extra $125.81 a month (I'll give you a hint....saving it!).

Today when I was digging through my old blog posts I remembered how frustrated and helpless I felt back in 2008, when I couldn't control how I was spending my money and future stability seemed so out of reach. I realize I still have a ways to go..but it's nice to know I have made some progress.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Where it Went 3/31 - 4/13

Personal Training is going great! I have lost ten pounds in three weeks!* And inches too. I'm feeling pretty good even though it's really hard work and the diet is kicking my butt.

*Note that it's only healthy to lose about 2 pounds per week and my trainer wasn't expecting that much to happen so quickly so I have to be careful I'm getting enough calories and don't hurt myself, etc.

Expect a longer post today about the final stages of wedding (budget) planning but for now here's an accounting of my budget for the previous pay period:


Personal Training - 280/220
Perkins Loan - 93/93
Law School Loan - 80/80
Credit Card - 0/200
Groceries - 75/0
Health - 45/40
Wedding Savings - 580/580
Misc. - 163/140

In other news, I learned an expensive internet lesson: just because something looks awesome on a web site doesn't mean it will look awesome in person. Sigh, have to return a too expensive dress I bought to wear to my shower but at least I'll get my money back!

And since I was having too much fun with my April Fool's Day post, I neglected to mention that it's been a year since I've been at my "new" job. Woohoo! Hopefully this means I will be seeing a pay bump soon.

Thursday, April 1, 2010

I Won the Megamillions!

I can't believe I'm writing this. I haven't even told any of my family members or friends this life changing news but it's been eating me up inside and I figure since this is an anonymous blog about my money I just couldn't hold this secret in any longer.

Let me say that I usually abhor gambling, but last month while accompanying my fiance to a business trip in California I urgently needed to use a restroom after drinking three Ginger Ales on the plane. We stopped at a convenience store and I had to make a purchase to get the restroom key. Since I clearly didn't need anything to drink and I already had gum I thought the next cheapest thing was a throwaway lottery ticket. It was a few weeks later that I finally discovered the piece of paper floating around my pocketbook was worth $133 Million!

I'm so excited! But cautious at the same time. I don't want to let the secret out and have people try to influence my financial decisions. I have hired an estate lawyer who specializes in lottery winnings. After paying taxes up front - and of course paying off my student loans - I should net about $70 million. My lawyer has reccomended buying an annuity with most of the funds which will pay out about $200,000 a month for the rest of my life!

We are buying a boat and sailing the world. Stay tuned for blog posts from paradise! Early retirement here we come!

Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Budget 3/31 - 4/13

Sadly, it looks like I will fall short of my March Savings Madness goal of saving $2000 this month for the wedding. With an addition of $580 this pay period I will have transferred $1710 in the month of march. What's breaking the budget is buying a month of personal training for $280. But there's no use getting down about it now, I made the decision to really focus on my fitness goals, so focus I will.

I hope to post some pros/cons of working with a personal trainer after I have a few more sessions. One obvious con is the cost involved but the pros so far have been knowing there's someone who believes I can meet my goals and really pushes me to get there. I hope in the end, my improved health and self-esteem will be worth the money. And seriously folks, I'd appreciate it if you kept your snarky comments to yourself today...I've grappled with this decision for some time and I have made up my mind to spend the money.

Also my $184 state tax refund never showed up, despite the fact that I filed in early February. As of today when I checked the status online, it's scheduled to arrive on April 13th but it says that the amount has been adjusted. I wonder what happened? Did I screw up my taxes? Stay tuned.

So here's my new budget for the next two weeks...

Starting Balance = $1286*

Personal Training - 280
Perkins Loan - 93
Law School Loan - 80
Groceries - 75
Health - 45
Wedding Savings - 580
Misc. - 163**

*Paycheck is slightly bigger because I received a meal reimbursement, which is all well and fine, except that I was taxed on it....even after being taxed on the meals it covers. Where's the fairness in that?

**Includes $10 towards Administrative Professionals Day and maybe a new outfit for Easter.

Monthly Student Loan Debt Roundup

It's the end of March so you know what that means.....time for my monthly student loan debt roundup!

The only thing to note this month is apparently two of my loans (with the same lender) went up instead of down since I just paid them today and it takes the system six days for the payment to kick in. Boo, I don't like to see numbers going the wrong way...especially since I paid double the minimum payment on one of those loans!!!

Oh well, here are the numbers. Almost below $130k, woo hoo! I really want to celebrate when I hit the below six figure mark but maybe I should celebrate smaller goals along the way too. The $120s aren't far away!

Where it Went 3/17 - 3/30

Rain rain go away! I can't wait until tomorrow when April officially begins because I'm sick of the weather in the Northeast. Cold and rainy day after day.

Good things happened in March though! I am hoping to meet my March Savings Madness challenge later on this afternoon. And this was made possible by the three paycheck month and my bringing in $500 of additional income!

And I've been busy as a bee, working, planning for the wedding, and I started seeing a personal trainer to help motivate my workout goals. I was on the fence about actually paying for this service, but after a couple of session I am really hooked. I have been doing a lot of things half-heartedly and meeting with the trainer is setting me up to be much more accountable to myself.

But more on that later. For now, here is how I did on my budget compared to my projections the past two weeks. Nothing too exciting happened. Our grocery bill has slowly creeped up now that we're making an effort to eat healthier, but we're actively looking for ways to cut costs in that department.

Credit Card - 165/165
Sprint - 76/76
Healthcare - 105/100*
Groceries - 75/100
Gift - 40/0
Wedding Savings - 1170/1130
Misc. - 130/180

*Includes $60 towards personal training.

So I have to save an additional $870 to meet my $2000 savings goals. I don't know if I can do it. I need to flex the numbers a bit but stay tuned for my new budget coming up soon.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Budget 3/17 - 3/30

In the next two weeks I will be hoping to find my Pot of Gold! And I that March is a 3 Paycheck Month and I should be coming into at least $500 in additional cash from an outside job that I am doing next week. Maybe even my state tax return will show up!

So here's my budget for the next two weeks. My paycheck has been "reduced" by $14 since I upped my 457 contribution to 8%. I'm sure I'll be thanking myself for that in 30 years.

I spent some time online getting my cell phone bill reduced since there was a random charge on it that I did not authorize. Success! Got my money back!

Interesting tidbit about today - it is the one year anniversary of my interview for my current job. Amazing how time flies! And there is exactly 4 months until our wedding!

Starting Balance = $1261
Credit Card - 165
Sprint - 76
Healthcare - 105
Groceries - 75
Gift - 40
Wedding Savings - 1170*
Misc. - 130

*Includes $500 in expected additional money.

Have to go out of town (again) next weekend for a family event. Here's hoping I can keep my costs down this time!

Where it Went 3/03 - 3/16

Hello there and a Happy St. Patrick's Day! Here's hoping my Irish blood will bring me some luck soon as I'm currently behind on my March Savings Madness by $32 and with New York State (and several others apparently) holding on to their refunds I may even get further behind before this month is out.

It has been a good couple of weeks in terms of personal development. I started working out more and eating healthier. This new development came with a higher grocery bill but I've been researching ways to eat healthy for less and hopefully will have some new tips to share soon. And the new Spring weather headed my way meant adding some new clothes in my still pretty basic wardrobe. So all in all, I'm slightly over budget.

Here are the numbers compared to the budget I set two weeks ago:

Credit Card - 120/120
Wedding Savings - 100/68
Groceries - 75/120
Sallie Mae - 407/407
Defaulted Student Loan - 260/260
Nice Collection Agency - 125/76*
Healthcare - 70/40**
Misc. - 118/195

*I don't know why this payment was lower. Maybe as I get closer to paying off that account (yay!) the payments get lower. I need to look into that because I would really like to free up that monthly line.

**I still didn't send in my annual dental deductible. I hate mailing bills and I am completely out of checks.

Miscellaneous spending includes a bus, train and subway tickets since I went into NYC for a while before visiting my fiance's family. There was some wedding spending but that came out of the Wedding Savings. I hope after this month we will be well on our way to paying for our wedding in cash!

Since today is Extra Paycheck Day (March is a 3 paycheck month) I'm hoping to catch up a little bit.

Monday, March 8, 2010

Financial Goals for 2010

I've been thinking a lot about planning our lives after the wedding and wanted to make a "Bucket List" of sorts. I've been adding to it in my head for days now...and it was getting a little intimidating. So, first, I thought I would list my immediate financial goals for 2010 - better late than never, right?

1. Get married without going into debt. There is a finite deadline on this goal - a hopefully beautiful Saturday in July and we're pretty confident we can pull it off with our combined savings.

2. Increase 457 Fund contributions. Check! After reading again and again that you should have one year's salary in your retirement funds by age 30 and feeling woefully inadequate at 30 years, 3 months and only around $10,000 saved, I bit the bullet and upped my contributions from 7 to 8%. It only means a $9 biweekly paycheck impact which I can handle.

3. Max out Roth IRA. After the wedding I will start funneling $400 a month towards this goal plus occasional snowflakes so that I can accomplish this goal by April 2011.

4. Buy back pension credits. As I've mentioned before, I have to buy eight months of credits into the pension system because I joined late. It's only going to be a couple hundred dollars and I will start this process right after the wedding as well. This way, I will be set to vest in my pension in August 2011.

5. Eliminate law school loan. This was one of my 2009 resolutions and I'm sad to say it hasn't happened yet, but now I've added the progress bar to the blog and have a plan to knock out the loan by November using some of the money currently going towards Wedding Savings (the rest is going to the Roth IRA).

In short, the rest of 2010 is going to be a great financial year for me. I'm going to marry a great guy, beef up my retirement savings, and start snowballing my student loan debt. Wish me luck!

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Budget 3/03 - 3/16

This budget is sort of annoying. I am anxious to put my March Savings Madness into effect, but I have to be patient because I have a lot of bills to take care of first.

Well technically, my monthly payment to Sallie Mae won't be debited until the 17th - my next payday, but I can't risk moving the money to the wedding savings before that happens. Oh well, the money is "saved" in my head.

Here's my budget for the next two weeks, before the March Savings Madness truly begins:

Starting Balance = $1275

Credit Card - 120
Wedding Savings - 100
Groceries - 75
Sallie Mae - 407
Defaulted Student Loan - 260
Nice Collection Agency - 125
Healthcare - 70*
Misc. - 118

*This amount reflects the $25 deductible I apparently owe to my dental insurance, which is lame since I ask every time at the dentist if I owe anything and haven't been there this calendar year. Oh well.

Oh and if you click through, please note that I have started updating my sidebars after several requests. I added my next debt I'm focusing on (my smallest and highest interest student loan). I am going to add savings goals next, stay tuned!

Where it Went 2/17 - 3/02

I am happy to report that this past budgeting period was very successful. $100 in wedding spending on our Pre-Cana course and $500 in wedding savings, all the while being on target in every other category. As I've learned, if you transfer the savings out of your account immediately, you're pretty much forced to be on budget...because you have nothing left. Genius!

The Pre-Cana (marriage preparation) course went really well. It gave us a lot of food for thought in terms of planning our future together. Most of it was stuff we had already talked about but it was a good refresher nonetheless.

So here's how I did on the budget I set out two weeks ago:

Pre-Cana - 100/100
Groceries - 75/100
Wedding Savings - 500/500
Credit Card - 150/150
Sprint - 84/84
Law School Loan - 80/80
Perkins Loan - 93/93
Health - 65/40
Misc. - 163/160

We booked our flights to Hawaii for our honeymoon! Well, part of our flights at least. Now we have to make some decisions, save up some cash, and plan out the trip. I'm excited.

Stay tuned for my next budget - when I'm actually more awake and dressed. Right now I've been up for hours because I couldn't sleep.

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

March Savings Madness

Wow, it's March! Which means the wedding is only a little over 4 months away. Yowser! My fiance and I sat down and wrote out the remains of what we need to pay for and how we're doing in our current wedding savings and it's time to step it up.

Which brings me to the March Savings Madness.

In the month of March, I, Sallie's Niece, will save $2000 for the wedding.

You may be saying "but Sallie, you only get net $2400 a month and have $925 in monthly debt obligations, however will you accomplish this goal?"

Well, a few ways:
  • I still haven't gotten my state tax refund, which brings me to a tax related conspiracy theory but I'll save that for another day. Assuming it comes this month that's $184 towards my goal.
  • It's a three paycheck month! So I can divert almost $1000 of the "extra" paycheck towards the wedding savings.
  • I got some extra work! Almost a year ago, I wrote about a court case I was assigned to, which sadly only netted me $50 at the time. Well it's finally ready to go to court so I get the remaining $500 of my statutory fee!

Plus my regular savings and a bit of belt tightening, I am confident I can reach this goal. Wish me luck everyone!

Sunday, February 28, 2010

Monthly Student Loan Debt Roundup!

Here it is, that time again to do a monthly roundup of my student loan debt.

February has flown by between Valentine's Day, work craziness, a weekend trip, and wedding planning. We are now just four and a half months away from saying "I do" which means lots of planning, decision-making and saving. I'll post more about our plans soon.

But in the meantime, here are the numbers. Freed myself of $741 student loan debt in this short month.