Wednesday, March 31, 2010
Tuesday, March 30, 2010
Monday, March 29, 2010
Below is my monthly progress report. I lost it this weekend.
My friend’s birthday was on Friday. I was originally going to skip the birthday dinner but felt bad since she’s been to my last two birthday dinners. OF COURSE it was at an expensive Chicago restaurant, OF COURSE I had to take a taxi to get there, OF COURSE we split the bill, OF COURSE it ended up costing me $60 and OF COURSE, 5 out of the 6 people at dinner were women attorneys working at firms so it was a drop in the bucket for them. I did bum a ride off one of my friends back to the parking garage so I saved myself another taxi ride there.
On a side note, my best friend knows I am strapped for cash so we just met up on Friday for a $27 Thai lunch instead of going to an expensive restaurant. That was her birthday gift. She even told me I should skip the dinner when we were out at lunch. I should have listened to her.
My other friend who wanted to go on vacation was at the birthday dinner on Friday. I finally told her the "real deal" and I think she finally gets that I am pretty strapped financially. She is also coincidentally the friend who gave me ride back to the garage. Her firm pays for her monthly parking downtown.
I get paid tomorrow. It’s been 33 days since my last paycheck. I tend to lose my focus in the last week before I get paid again because it seems like it’s never going to happen.
April should be a better month but it is going to be very tight. I have to pay my quarterly water bill ($107), a straggling medical bill ($45) and for parking passes ($190). I got another medical bill in the mail for $30. I am going to call them because I don’t think they accounted for my $30 co-payment. I can get a copy of the cancelled check for proof if needed.
Friday, March 26, 2010
I have until next Tuesday to cancel.
Thursday, March 25, 2010
I had this discussion with my Team Lead in August of last year and was told that it was difficult to make a mid cycle adjustment without creating a new position or adding additional responsibilities. My first reaction was…Why the hell do I have to do more to get paid equitably but I said forget and told him I would be willing to take on more responsibility. That never happened and they made a conscious choice (in my opinion) not to fix the disparity at the annual review period where increasing my salary would not have amounted to an out of cycle adjustment.
He said we could discuss further and I said I would like that and I proceeded to state my case. It doesn’t matter. I could tell he knew I was disappointed because I cut the meeting short. We just lost two other Portfolio Managers in our group and we were already in a hiring mode. They are going to have to pay at least $15,000 to the next person to replace me soon. I already started looking for a new job because the increase after taxes will not be sufficient to pay the increase in my student loan payment come June.
At the end of the meeting, I just said Thank You, gathered up my portfolio, got up and went to the bathroom and balled. I don’t like to cry but I just felt defeated and pissed off beyond measure.
Tuesday, March 23, 2010
I also used to contribute 1%-2% into my Employee Share Purchase Plan. It is a pretty sweet deal because I am able to pay for company stock with a 20% discount. Not bad at all. I currently hold about 22 shares valued today at $1,345 and I would like to go back to contributing at least 1% ($60). The combined investments total $1,600 or 8% to my new $20,000 goal. Not bad.
I decided to attack my Perkins Loan first out of all of my student loans. It has the smallest remaining balance at $2,500, originally $3,000. There is a fixed monthly payment of $31.86 per month so I am hoping to eliminate that loan sooner rather than later.
Monday, March 22, 2010
Below is my monthly progress report. This is the first time I really tracked my expenses so closely. I have to say that it is helping out a lot. Seriously! I can really see where my money is going and I think I will be able to make some adjustments going forward.
- I definitely need to allocate more for Food & Dining and Transportation.
- Credit card buster is a one-time carry over from past credit card use.
- No additional debt and everything paid for with cash and debit.
- Overspent but doing much better.
- Decided against vacation next month.
Friday, March 19, 2010
Some of you know, my Dad suffered a massive heart attack last Summer and he was also was diagnosed with Type II Diabetes a year before that in 2008. He went to the doctor yesterday for a follow-up appointment and he is doing really well. Thank God!!! We thought he might have to go on the pill form of insulin since his numbers haven’t been too good but he is still just borderline. He has to exercise more and go back to the doctor in 3 months.
I feel so happy. Such terrific news!!! =)
Imagine…a new loan for say $235,000 at 3% for 30 years. Come June my student loan payments will be about $1,200 per month and some of those loans are just interest only. Under this scenario, my principal and interest payment would be about $1,000/month and I wouldn’t have to worry about variable interest rates ever again.
The total amount of interest paid to the government would be roughly $121,700. The loan is not able to be discharged in bankruptcy so the government would get their money and we all know the government will garnish your wages if you don’t pay on your loans and take any tax return you ever hope of receiving…
I know I am dreaming but...Stimulus for Chitown. =)
Thursday, March 18, 2010
Tuesday, March 16, 2010
I will find out about the raise by the end of the month. If I get a raise, I believe I will be able to keep my contributions at 5%.
One of my readers Aaren (thank you Aaren) suggested that I change my withholdings since I received such large tax refunds over the past few years…around $3k. Based on my spreadsheet, I believe that changing my withholdings from 2 to 3 would allow me to bump back up my 401k contribution to 5% and cause minimal impact to my current budget.
Hopefully, I will find out in the next few weeks if I will get a salary increase. It is my hope that the increase in my salary will cover the increase in my student loan payment come June. If all goes well, not only will I be contrubuting 5% to my 401k but I will also be repaying all of my student loans and credit card debt without minimal impact to my current budget.
Monday, March 15, 2010
My boyfriend and I took my Dad to the indoor golf dome near my house on Sunday. We paid for my Dad and split the bill among the two of us to the tune of $24/each for just 30 minutes on the range. Thankfully, you could chip and put all day for free.
We are all outdoors people in my family and thankfully my bf enjoys to play golf. I picked up the sport right after taking the bar in 2007 and since I am a natural athlete, I did pretty good right off the bat and fell in love. It’s just really expensive. If we went out every week, it could easily cost $200/month just in green fees alone. My park district course is even $45 for residents….ridiculous.
I wonder how much I am going to be able to play this Summer.
- Transportation will likely increase another $60. I will need to pay for parking at the concert on Thursday and I will also need to fill my gas tank at least once more this month.
- I am right at budget on Food & Dining, Grocery and Personal Care.
- I don't anticipate any further expenses under personal care. I think I have enough Proactiv to last me the rest of the month.
- I may need another $100 for Food & Dining to last the rest of the month.
- I don't anticipate that I will any groceries that will cost more than $25.
- My best friend's birthday is on March 25th. I may see if I can push getting her a gift off until the following next week when I get paid again.
Getting paid once a month is tough for budgeting my money. Overall, I think I need another $200 to get through the month. I have the money in my checking account so I will not have to pull from Savings or use Debt. Despite blowing my budget, this is probably the best month that I have had in over 2 years. The iReconcile checkbook app on my iPhone really helps me track my expenses and keep me on track.
Saturday, March 13, 2010
Friday, March 12, 2010
Assuming things pretty much stay exactly the same, with minimal salary increases and the application of my annual bonus ($7k after taxes this year), it would take me about 12 years to pay off all of my debt.
If you look at the snowball calculator below….I used the custom method to determine my order of payoff. Now that I have a short-term emergency fund, my immediate concern is the payoff of my credit card debt. The promotional rate is set to expire at the end of January 2011. All of my private student loans pretty much carry the same interest rate so I placed those in the order of principal amount due. My federal loans may have a higher interest rate right now but those rates are fixed. A few years ago, the rate on my Private Loans were over 10% variable so paying off the variable rate loans take priority.
I am not at all concerned right now about the $64,000 in federal loans that I have consolidated at 3.5%. If it took me the entire 30 years to pay that off, I wouldn’t be too upset. The rate is so low as well as the payment. Push come to shove, once the other loans are paid off, I would rather focus on my retirement savings instead of the $300 payment on the consolidated loans. That’s neither here nor there because I have so many other loans to pay off first.
Without Bonus - 19 Years
Thursday, March 11, 2010
Here is what I think the picture will look like by year end from January to December (rounded) if all things stay the same. We'll see how I do at the end of the year.
Savings – $9,300 to $13,300 (Change of $4,000)
Student Loans – $232,300 to $229,900 (Change of $2,400)
Credit Card Debt – $23,000 to $18,600 (Change of $4,400)
Net Worth – ($157,400) to ($143,500) (Change of $13,900)
Wednesday, March 10, 2010
I have $2k in emergency savings, $10k in short-term savings, $250 in long-term savings and $500 in my checking account. The $250 came from my state tax return and change from my piggy bank that I need to deposit this weekend.
The only irregular expense that I anticipate in April is my quarterly water bill which is usually about $100. There are no birthdays in April so I don't need my budget for gifts. I am going to run the numbers and see what I can come up with because I really want to get away for a few days and have some fun.
Depending on the amount....At a minimum, I would pay off all of my debt including my mortgage, pay off my sister and my parent's non-mortgage debt since that would put them back into solvency, stay in my condo and travel for a little while. Then I think I would come back and start a small law practice of my own.
I would live modestly and I would love to have a family of my own.
Tuesday, March 09, 2010
I wish my parents had deep pockets but that’s not the case. They’re retired and living on a fixed income. I know my Mom and Dad wish they could help but I don’t think I would ever ask them for help unless it was absolutely necessary. I certainly don’t think I could do it with good conscience while still having cable and eating out. I know my Mom has offered to help now that my Dad is getting social security. She said that if it gets too tough to let them know. I just shook my head okay but I felt bad that she even had it on the brain.
So do you get parental support? How do you feel about it?
Monday, March 08, 2010
The extra $136 in credit card payment is a holdover from when I was using my credit cards. I use one credit card where AT&T charges my phone, cell phone, cable and internet and my home security gets charged on the card as well. I pay the card off in full each month as part of my utility payment. So there is no extra balance on that card now.
I am finding that my transportation costs are a lot higher these days with gas prices, the additional networking which requires parking downtown, taxi rides, etc. My boyfriend also lives in the City so if I stay with him on any given night, I have to drive in to work the next day which means I also have to use one of my $18 parking passes. I try not to do that more than once or twice a month.
I am over on gifts as well and my best friend’s birthday is on March 25th.
Friday, March 05, 2010
I bought my assistant at work a $20 gift card for her birthday tomorrow and my Mother a $50 gift card for her Birthday today. Once I added birthday cards and activation fees, I walked out of Walgreens $90 lighter.
Then my Sister called on my way home to ask me to pick up the pizza since it was on the way to my parents' house. That also totaled $50. She and I are going to split the cost but it hit my checking account pretty hard.
To round off the day, I needed to stop at Walgreens this evening to pick up my prescription and a few toiletries totaling another $20.
I am going to have to tighten my purse strings for the rest of the weekend. It’s only the 5th of March and when you only get paid once a month…payday is a long way from now.
Thursday, March 04, 2010
My Mom’s 61st Birthday is tomorrow. I am going to pick her up a gift card this evening and split the cost of a new pair of walking shoes with my sister. I will probably make dinner on Saturday night and go out to a movie with my boyfriend. What to see? What to see?
Wednesday, March 03, 2010
So I just called the office to see if I could pay for the Dr. visit and the cleaning up front and if they could bill the insurance company for the x-rays. The woman comes back and asks if I could pay at least ½. So, I asked how much would that be today and she said something to the tune of about $300!!! Umm….NO!!!!
Let’s not even mention that I have to take a taxi from the South Loop to the North Loop just to get to the office to the tune of another $20. I love my dental hygienist which is the only redeeming quality of this office but unfortunately I will have to say farewell. Today is my last visit and now I have to find another Dentist.
Tuesday, March 02, 2010
Here are my goals for March. Wish me luck. =)
- No new debt other than accrued interest on my loans in forbearance.
- Spend less than my monthly income of $4,340.
- Improve my net worth for the third straight month.
- Workout 2-3 times per week.
- Blog 4-5 times per week.
I moved my $2,000 local savings account to Bank of America. Once I finally pay off my Chase credit card, I will probably just simplify things and stick to using Bank of America. Besides, I like their online banking and their mobile banking applications.
See ya Chase!!!
Monday, March 01, 2010
The word for the month is "Overspent". I did not do well with my spending.
Thanks to my State and Federal tax return, I was able to post an improvement in my net worth from ($157,379) to ($153,834). I cannot wait to get below the ($150,000) mark.
Here is my Budget vs. Actual expenses for February (rounded):
- I ran out of garage parking passes so I had to pay $188 for 10 passes this month. I usually have to do this every quarter for occasions where I have to work late or stay after work for an event. On those days which is usually 4 times per month, I drive in to work instead of take public transportation.
- I spent entirely too much on Food & Dining. My new goal is $50/week and I am going to try to bring my lunch 2-3 times a week. Wish me luck!!!
- Grocery/Household includes the new garbage disposal for $120.
- Other miscellaneous expenses primarily include the following:
$150 - Tax preparation fee
$50 – Charitable donation to the Special Olympics (tax deductible)
$47 – Medical bill from December physical therapy
$42 – Fundraising projects including a basket for the homeless shelter
$24 – Auto repair/maintenance
My credit report for February is clean. My scores have always been in the 700’s and considered A credit. This new VantageScore credit scoring is blowing my mind. I went from A credit to C credit. Below is the reasoning behind my scores:
- Your average credit amount on open real estate accounts is too low. – Chitown is not getting any additional mortgage debt so they can forget about this one.
- The available credit on your open revolving credit accounts is too low. – They can forget about this one too because I am not going to incur any additional debt. All of my revolving credit card debt is on one card.
- The amount paid on your open real estate accounts is too low. – Once again, forget about it. =)
- The sum of your bank credit card account balances is too high. – They got me here. The credit limit on my Chase card is $24,800 and my current balance is $22,200. I am 90% to max and I need to get this under 30%. I am working on it!!!