I am really enjoying my two weeks of vacation. I don't go back until after the new year and it's been totally awesome. I even got the chance to meet my blog buddy Aaren last week at Navy Pier. Fun!!! I am so glad that we finally got to meet and she is such a sweetie. Come to find out, we even know some of the same people here in the Chi. Go figure!!! I will have to fill you in on that funny story later this week. =)
I have updates!!!
Christmas: I did ALL of my Christmas shopping for $335 this year!!! This has never happened before. Last year I spent $680. Go Chitown!!!
Bonus and Raise: I got a 19% bonus and a 5% raise!!! My salary will increase to $79,400 and my bonus will be approximately $8,500 after taxes.
Snowball: I am still stuck on paying down my credit card first which I know is against Dave Ramsey's plan. Someone talk me off the ledge!!!! This is my reasoning....
First, I am on a graduated repayment plan with my student loans which means that some of my loans are on interest only and eventually will move to principal and interest. I really need to pay off off the credit card balance to free up that cash flow so that I can handle any increases in payment, including increases in the interest rates on the private loans.
Second, I think if I am able to pay off the credit card debt, that will feel like a really BIG no HUGE win for me in Dave Ramsey's meaning. The way that I am feeling about credit of any kind let alone credit card debt is enough to make sure I won't go back into it ever again.
Third, if I don't pay off the credit card debt within the next 14 months, I will have to pay yet another balance transfer fee once the promotional rate on my BofA card runs out. This will be another increase in debt and that feels so upstream.
Fourth and Final point, the balance is currently at $19,240 thanks to the $740 in balance transfer fees added to the balance. If I put the entire $8,500 towards the balance, then I would be left with $10,740. Assuming that I at least pay $2,400 towards the balance in 2011, then the remaining balance at year end would be $8,340. I have been with the bank since 2000 and I have always received a bonus and and increase. Assuming I receive the same thing next year, then I can pay off the balance in full and begin a complete snowball of my student loans.
2011 Framework: The budget and debt repayment framework is coming along. I have my ING checking account and savings accounts set up. I did that last week and I am just waiting on the new debit card to arrive.
The sub-accounts for savings that I set up are as follows:
Auto Fund - For annual state and city registration.
Christmas Fund - For Christmas 2011.
Clothing Fund - For purchases and dry cleaning.
Gift Fund - For regular monthly gifting for birthdays, showers, etc.
Home Fund - For regular furnace and air conditioning maintenace.
Home Insurance - Annual premium is due in mid 2011.
Vacation Fund - I decided to build this into the budget -- nothing major.
Water Bill - This is for my quarterly water bill.
I know it may seem like a lot of sub accounts but these irregular expenses almost always bust the budget. Therefore, I am going to try to build them into my zero based budget monthly so that I can accrue for them ahead of time. Am I missing anything? Do you think this is overkill?
I am going to continue using my Bank Account for my bills and I will used my Bank of America Keep the Change Checking Account for personal spending for dining out, groceries, entertainment and any personal care.
Experiment: I've been doing this fun little experiment with the envelope system this month where I have $800/month or $200 per week for spending. What I've been doing this last month is withdrawing $200 in cash on Friday and using the envelope system with my Dave Ramsey wallet. The wallet which I purchased for $10 and absolutely LOVE is currently replacing my $100+ Coach wallet and has six envelope slots for gas, restaurants, food/groceries, entertainment, miscellaneous and receipts.
Since I pay for my gas and fuel expense with my debit card, I divide the $200 as follows: $100 for restaurants/dining out, $20 for groceries, $40 for entertainment, $20 for miscellaneous and $20 for personal care. This has actually worked out pretty well because I find that I do the majority of my spending on the weekend. So, I withdraw the money on Friday and then I have to make it on whatever is left the rest of the week until Friday rolls around again. No trips to the ATM!!!
At the end of the week, I have allowed myself to allot any remaining cash towards whatever category I want the next week. Then, when Friday rolls around again, I start the process all over again with a $200 cash withdrawal and divide it among the categories. It's actually been pretty fun!!! I am still working on it but it looks like the way my actual 2011 budget will work, is that I won't have $800/month or $200/week but rather $640 or $160/week. This experiment is still a nice way to get my spending under wraps before February rolls around and I am in the true thick of things with my zero based budget.
Okay...this was long. I guess I am making up for my lack of posting. Bless you if you made it this far. =)