Thursday, September 21, 2006

September Update…

Cash Only System…

September is moving right along. I am pleased to say that I’m loving the cash only system. It is absolutely wonderful. I will also say that I am less anal as well with balancing everything. While this may be a bad thing for some people, I think that it is working well for me because I was becoming obsessed with writing down every dime that I spent. I was spending so much anyway that 1) it didn’t help and 2) I never had time to go over my spreadsheets. So I use the Bank of America Keep the Change Checking account and use it solely for my personal spending. I am able to track it that way. I use my other bank account for unexpected expenses like my car repairs this month.

Car Repairs…

Speaking of car repairs, I just spent $260 to get my car serviced, including cooling and transmission flushing, oil change, tire rotation and winterizing. Right now, my car is 4 years old and has 45k miles on it. I drive about 100 miles a day, 4 days a week downtown to work. The dealership serviceman also told me that I would need 4 new tires before winter because they were near bald. This is scary business especially considering the sheer amount of driving that I do daily. So, I am going to do my research and try to find a good deal on the tires and have them replaced soon. Winter here in Chicago is approaching quickly.


As many of you know, I had 2 call back interviews and I am in wait and see mode. I also haven’t heard back from another firm and sent them a follow-up letter that still expressed my interest. I would love to work for either firm and would be blessed to get an offer. I am still doing my best to network, network, network but it is extremely hard with my schedule and completely wrong and difficult to make personal calls from work regarding employment at another company. So, I am forced to make many of my calls from home on Fridays since I need a new cell phone and the only one have now is cheap and completely unreliable. Yet another expense that I will incur soon. I am going to bite the bullet and get one with a PDA because I need a way to keep up with my crazy life.

Savings/Investment Update…

Right now, I have approximately $4,400 in my ING accounts. Once my funds become available, I am looking to move my long-term savings of $4k to Emigrant since they have a beneficiary designation form. I will keep my short-term savings with ING and continue to fund it with $100 automatic investments every month. This account is for my sister’s wedding next year.

I opened another ShareBuilder account to get a $25 bonus. I am hoping to be able to invest $200/month into ShareBuilder. I chose SPY, which is the S&P 500 Index.

That’s it for now. Thanks for reading this long post. LOL!!!

Friday, September 15, 2006

Major ING Drawback...

Something has been bothering me about opening the online savings accounts. Call me traditional, but I just like the idea of branches and being able to have immediate access to my funds. Needless to say, I am going to need quite a bit of coaxing to continue using the online savings accounts.

So over the last 2 days, I’ve been thinking about the fact that I never signed a beneficiary form for my I do with a traditional bank account. So, if something were to happen to me, the funds can go directly to that person. Since I’m not married and don’t have any children, my parents are the beneficiaries of my bank accounts, insurance, and retirement funds. Although I don’t have a trust established or a will (I will need to do this soon!!!), I know that they will receive everything because they are named beneficiaries using will substitutes. My condo is another issue.

I don’t share all of my financial business with my family so it’s not like they would know I have online savings accounts. The only other option that I have is to make the account a joint account and I don’t want to do that either.

Yes...I am leaning towards pulling my money soon. This is one I can’t get comfortable with especially since you never know what may happen in today’s day and age.

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

September Progress Report…

I cannot believe how quickly September is going by. It will be Halloween, Thanksgiving and Christmas before I know it.

I am plowing my way through September. I had some job seeking related expenses like parking for interviews, new interview shoes (my other shoes hurt like hell), and some dry cleaning expenses. I know I need to curb my eating out expense but I don’t have the focus or energy right now with work, school, interviewing, etc. That’s enough right! LOL

Anyway…I am still waiting for a $900 tuition reimbursement check. I opened a new ING account and deposited $4k of my savings. I will deposit additional funds at the end of the month because I still have about $4k sitting in my checking account and I want to have that number around $2k.

Can anyone tell be about their experience with HSBC? They have a better savings rate than ING so I may look to transfer my long-term savings/ debt repayment funds into that account.

So far, I have approximately $45 in my Bank of America Savings account from the automatic $25 monthly checking transfer and regular Keep the Change deposits from my checking account debit transactions. I will be transferring the balance of that account to my ING account at the end of the month.

Thanks a bunch!!!

Thursday, September 07, 2006

August Recap…

This is my August Recap. It’s not pretty thanks to the payoff of my vacation that I never took, overspending, and approximately $10k in tuition and books. My net worth declined even further into the Red to ($77,871) from ($63,368), a $14.5k difference. Ouch!!!

For September, I moved to an all cash/debit system. We’ll see how that works out.

  • 401k performed better.
  • Increase in cash balances are financial aid funds that I need to move over to ING.
  • Opened an ING and Sharebuilder account.
  • New student loans are all federal. No private loans. I went with the new Federal Grad Plus loan so that my interest rate will be maxed out at 8.5%.
  • Next month should be a lot better. I am contributing $25/month to my savings account to avoid account fees and $100/month to ING and Sharebuilder (S&P 500). At the end of the month, I will be transferring all savings from the Keep the Change program to ING which should be in excess of $40 with the $25 savings deposit as well.

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

My Neighbor is Moving…

I am kind of sad because I really like him a lot and he is always so kind to me. He is an older gentleman that previously worked in advertising so he has a great sense of humor. He bought his place about 2 ½ years ago, a little less than 6 months after me. I have been in my condo for 3 years as of July. His condo is a 2 bedroom with 2 full baths and an attached garage. My place has 3 bedrooms, 2 full baths and an attached garage. He put his place on the market for $155M. It will be interested for to see what his place sells for.

Currently, I value my condo at $150k. I may be undervaluing my place so I will be keeping a close watch and may get to adjust the value of my condo, especially with the upgrades that I completed in February.

As it stands, once I finish with law school, I will have approximately $100k in private student loans and $110k in federal student loans. I am hoping to secure a legal position that will boost my income considerably from my current $55k. After a year or two, I hope to save and pay down as much of my student loan debt as possible, contributing all bonuses, tax returns, and extra funds towards debt repayment. It is my ultimate hope that with the sale of my place in the next 3 years, I will be able to completely pay off my private loans, especially with $60k in equity in my home already. Then I will be left with a federal loan payment of approximately $500, that will decrease to ~ $300/month with the pay-off my new federal grad plus loan and last year of regular federal loans that I will not consolidate due to the inreased interest rate.

Lofty goals? Of course…why settle for less.