Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Giving Up Free Money...

I feel bad about scaling back my 401k contributions from 5% to 1%. My employer matches 100% up to 5% of my salary which means I could be contributing about $700/month to my 401k or $8,400/year based on my current salary. That monthly contribution could significantly help to improve my net worth in addition to the debt reduction.

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.

Fingers Crossed!!!


Aaren said...

Hey, no problem chica! Thanks for the shout-out :D. I hope it works out for you.

I also appreciated your response to Kris' comment in your post about the monthly budget. While I tend to agree with most of what Kris says, I also agree with having balance.

I tend to get creamed on some boards because I go on vacation once a year. Typically this means going home to see family at Christmas, which is my grandmother's birthday. I may also do a long weekend bed & breakfast, and last year I spent a week in Jamaica. These are all planned expenses and I don't go into debt for them.

But Aaren, that money could go toward xyz debt! Sure it could, but seeing my grandmothers and family is far more important than the extra $1200 I could've paid off. Going to Chicago to see my honey's new niece this summer is worth taking an extra month to pay off something. We lost my honey's father last year of a massive heart attack; he will always wish he had more time to spend with him. We all do.

But it's the balance part. A concert isn't just the cost of tickets, it's the gas and the parking and any food that all increases the cost of attendance. Same with the gifts. $50, $20, $85, etc. add up so quickly. $3/day for breakfast is $720/year. Those costs quickly become oppressive.

Here's the thing though. If something is truly important to you, don't feel like you have to justify it to us. If you're justifying it to yourself, that's a totally different issue. I pay approximately $18k/year in debt; I'm not justifying the $1000/year that I set aside for vacation. That said, try and find a cheaper golf place--that place is insane!!!

Chitown said...

I actually agree with everything that you and Kris have been saying and she is right about the gifts and cutting back on all of the concerts, etc. Plus, you guys know you dinged me on the vacation so I won't be going next month. Boo!!! (stick my tongue out...lol)

I will also scale back golfing since I usually play once a week. I just really value more than anything time with my family. My Dad really only watches tv, works and golfs so I picked up golfing so we would have something to do together.

I do believe in finding some balance but obviously, I have struggled with that for some time now. I think I could have used a little slap back into reality every once in a while when I was accumulating all this debt.