Tuesday, September 04, 2012

July and August 2012

I am plugging away here in 2012. I updated my profile on NetWorthIQ for July and August 2012 and I am making steady progress. My debt is going down slowly but surely and my new $100k salary makes living a lot easier. I do need to get focused a bit more on squeezing the budget so that I can put a little into savings and make a double payment on my credit card each month. I am scheduled to have a surgical procedure at the end of the month. Nothing major but I will be off work for a week and have some medical bills to pay. So, for the rest of the year, it's just status quo and trying to establish a budget and plan for 2013.

I hope you all are doing well!!! Cheers!!!

Friday, August 03, 2012

Net Worth

I updated my financial snapshot at net networthiq...Click on the graph to the right and check out my progress. The new salary is helping out a lot.

Thursday, May 17, 2012


All is well in my world. This new Wealth Watchers Plan is working pretty well for me. I find the $40/day more than sufficient throughout the week so I have money left over for the weekend, etc.  So far, I am still within budget for the month and it’s kind of hard to believe. I don’t get paid again until the 30th.

Things have been non-stop since I started my new job. I just got back from traveling to another country for work last night and I’m pooped!!! I am so glad that I get to work from home on Friday and Monday due to NATO. I may even catch up on some laundry. =)

My car’s check engine light came on Tuesday. I have to call and make an appointment to find out what’s wrong with it plus it’s been acting up a little bit lately as I mentioned. I still have $2,000 in an emergency fund that I can use that for repairs if necessary. So, I am not too worried. Hopefully it will be a minor fix.

Thursday, May 03, 2012

Mother’s Day….

Mother’s Day is swiftly coming up on May 13th. I have no idea what to get my Sister and Mother. So far, I think my brother-in-law is going to cook out at their house which means my Mom and Sis can just chill out. I can bring some stuff over to contribute to the meal. Thing is, that will cost money in addition to buying gifts.

I think the gifts are going to be $25 gift cards each but I have a goal to spend no more than $100 for Mother’s Day, including the stuff for the meal. I hope I can pull it off. That being said, I have put aside some money each day to save towards Mother’s Day with my little $40/day experiment.

Hopefully, a little planning and foresight will go a long way and my checkbook will be happy with me. FYI…I am doing really well this week with my Wealth Watchers $40/ day Daily Dollar Limit. I may already have the $100 available for Mother’s Day by the end of the week. =)

Wednesday, May 02, 2012

Gail Vaz-Oxlade & Til Debt Do Us Part…

So how many people have watched Til Debt Do Us Part on CNBC? It’s a show where Gail Vaz-Oxlade will put a couple on a strict cash budget and then put that couple through money and relationship challenges. This is supposed to strengthen their relationship and put them on the path to financial stability.

Well the concept of a cash budget appeals to me. What I do know is that CHITOWN CANNOT BE TRUSTED WITH A CREDIT CARD!!! I don’t even carry them in my wallet anymore. The problem is that I am just as careless with a debit card. If there is money in the account and all the bills are paid, I have this mindset that the money can be spent. Well, that only works if you don’t run out of money before the next paycheck. That is rarely the case for me…Actually, I don’t think I’ve ever made it to the next paycheck without going into the Red. So Sad!

Any Hoo…Below is the cash budget that I came up with using the budget on Gail’s website. I tweaked it a little and of course added some color but overall…it works!!!

Monday, April 30, 2012

Wealth Watchers...

Alice was nice enough to give me the link to the Wealth Watchers Article. Check it out here. I am in my third week of using this method and it's working out pretty awesome so far! I look forward to giving you guys an update at the end of the week.

Sunday, April 29, 2012

New Job & Wealth Watchers

New Job

It's hard to believe I am coming up on one month on the new job. The transition has been good for me and my new team is great. I also got my first paycheck under my new salary. All I can say is Thank You and Wow! My take home went from ~$4,950 to $5,850 and I still only get paid once a month.

Wealth Watchers

I am working on a new budget but I came across an article a couple of weeks back based on the book Wealth Watchers. It was a pretty cool article and I should try to find it again so I can post a link to it but google it for now. It was basically an article about a simple budgeting program where you take your income, subtract your fixed expenses and then arrive to your discretionary income. Then you divide that number by the number of days in the month/pay cycle to get your Daily Disposable Income (I like to call it my Daily Dollar Limit).

So after struggling with my once a month paycheck and blowing my budget month after month, the article was timely because my budget for April was blown and I wasn't halfway through the month.

So based on my new salary, I figured out my Daily Dollar Limit based on my monthly dictionary income to be $40/day and that was after putting aside $500 for savings. Not bad.

I took out $280 on Sunday and allotted myself $40/day with the goal of spending less than the $40/day in case I had a heavy spending day but also so that I may actually save something during the course of the week. The ultimate goal is not to spend more than the allotment so you don't overspend for the month.

During Week #1, I underspent by $39. Week #2, I underspent by $163. The best news about this experiment is that you don't have to feel bad about spending the money because it's your discretionary income. The whole point is not to overspend and have to pull from savings or draw on credit. The more you underspend, the more you can save up for a purchase, put money away for savings and/or pay down debt. I am going to keep the experiment going. It may be the simple plan I have been looking for all along. =)

Thursday, March 29, 2012

New Job & Net Worth...

Hi All!!! 

I start my new position at the Bank on Monday. I am excited for the change and of course I am excited about the higher $100k salary. My net worth is trending up. See and click on the Networthiq chart to the right. I am feeling good about this year and I look forward to all of the progress I can make professionally, personally and financially. Overall, I am in a better place and frame of mind. =)

Thursday, March 08, 2012

Lazy Day...

I had the best lazy day ever!!! Migraine subsided around 1pm and I got caught up on One Tree Hill, Law & Order, my reality TV and BET shows. I won't get into all of the Girl Scout cookies I ate today. Nope...I won't tell you about all that sugar!!! Well I didn't spend any money today. :-)


It's amazing how your body will eventually tell you to slow down. The last two months have been crazy busy traveling for work, meeting deadlines, doing some legal work on the side, and negotiating and accepting a new job offer...etc. It's been non-stop and my weekends have been super busy with minimal downtime. Well it caught up to me and I'm exhausted with a migraine. It's a little better now but it was pretty bad. I had to call off work today and I am going to try to relax if I can remember how to relax.

Have a good day!

Monday, March 05, 2012

New Job & Condo Update...

New Job:
I have been hard at work over the last year on special projects to try to differentiate myself from my peers and gain some exposure. I was offered and accepted a new position in Risk Management at the Bank. I am excited and nervous about the transition and it's pretty bitter-sweet because I love my current team. The new division made me an offer I couldn't refuse. My salary is going from ~ $80k to $100k and my bonus potential is much higher than it is now. With little prospect for growth in my current position, I accepted the job offer and I start my new position in April. Things moved really fast because they approached me and I wasn't actively looking for a new position. It's still very nice that I was on the short list and my efforts were recognized.

That being said, I will have some improvement in my monthly cash flow. Thumbs Up!!!

Condo Update:
I spoke to a Realtor and I am also considering trying to sell my condo and move back home with my Mom and Dad for a year. This will allow me to accelerate the payoff of my private student loans. With current market values, I am not sure if this is possible but the Realtor is willing to market the property so long as I agree to do it for at least 6 months. I am trying to decide if and how much I am willing to buy my way out if necessary in order to improve my financial situation long-term.

The thing about my condo building is that it needs major work (Woodwork and a New Roof) and I can see a special assessment in the $10k range within the next year. So instead of paying the $10k special assessment and then having to pay my way out of a sale in another year or two, I am considering how I can pay my way out now and save myself some money over the long haul. One thing I do know, I really don't want to be living where I am in the next 3-5 years.

So that also being said, I am considering renting out my condo in the event I am unable to sell it.


Tuesday, February 07, 2012

No Refinance Under Obama's Plan...

I am a little...no REALLY BUMMED!!!! I was looking into refinancing my mortgage under Obama's new plan with Bank of America but due to the new Bank of America guidelines, refinancing my mortgage wouldn't have saved me a thing and it would have taken years to break even. At most, it would save me about $60/month as my rate went from 5.875% to 5.25% but it would have cost me almost $2k in fees. Where is the deal in that when rates are so low?

The biggest reason I am so bummed is that my student loan payments are going from $1,162 to $1,410 in June and I needed to try to find somewhere to save and offset the increase. BUMMED!!!

So my credit score is through the roof (800), I have never missed a single payment to anyone EVER and I can't qualify for a lower rate because the market values have tanked, there is virtually no market for selling condos in the Chicagoland area and I went to school to invest in my education and my monthly student loan payment is higher than my mortgage payment and my assessments included!!! So is this why people walk away from their homes? I owe about $120K on a property that may be worth $70K.

Okay....Bummed!!! BUT....Thankful I can still meet all my monthly obligations!!!

Monday, February 06, 2012

Bonus Application and Update...

I am moving right along through February.

I paid off the credit card I was using the last few months which was right around $5k so all I have left is the $20k card that I have been paying off for a few years now. I can't wait for that card to go away too! I did transfer it back to Chase for a 1% transfer fee and 1.99% interest rate until April of 2013. With my bonus, I paid off the $5k card, replenished my Efund and put the remaining $3k into savings for health/auto expenses. My car needs some work and I may need surgery this year so that money is already earmarked.

I did a real estate closing on Friday and scored $400 in business income. Not bad. My legal/business expenses each year total approximately $2,600 and it includes primarily my attorney registration, state annual filings, professional liability insurance and email/fax service. I tend to have to pay for it out of pocket because I don't have much time to do legal work so I am excited that I did some work to offset those expenses. Yeah Chitown! I am entertaining more calls and legal opportunities so I can put this law degree to use. 

That's about it for now folks. I went skiing with my family on Saturday and that was a lot of fun. Work is super busy right now so I have to stay focused to meet some deadlines. I am still exercising and bringing my lunch more often. I will start running again in March. All is well on my end!!! Wishing you all a great week!!! =)

Monday, January 23, 2012

January Update...


January has been fun and interesting. In 2011, I got baptized for the first time and I started going to Church regularly in September.  When you go through all the things I went through in the past few years, there comes a time in your life when you realize you just can't go about it alone. So, I had to rely on faith because I swear there were times when I felt there was only something or someone Supernatural keeping me on my feet...especially when I wanted to fall to my knees and couldn't get out of bed. Today, I smile! Today, I feel joy! That my friends, is progress and love!

Despite all the trials in 2011, I scored by first ever Distinguished Rating at work. Only about 2% of of employees score this rating so you know I worked my tush off in 2011!!! I volunteered for special projects and really focused on doing an exceptional job in the office. It paid off!!! I got a 4% raise effective at the end of this month. My salary is now $82k and I got a $16k bonus that also pays out at the end of the month. I have a credit card I've been using that I need to pay off and then I will be able to breathe a little easier!!!

Budgeting for 2012 has been a challenge! It seems like all of my expenses are jumping up including my student loans going up another $250 in June and my train pass going up 30%. Budget issues are being passed along to the consumer big time but I am hanging in there. I am going to look into refinancing my home with Obama's new plan which will allow me to take advantage of a lower interest rate without having to ruin my credit or miss a payment. The closing costs are less than $2k so in one year, I will break even if I can reduce my rate from 5.8% to low 4%. 

My boss asked me on Wednesday of last week to fly out on the drop of a dime for business. I was on a flight the very same night. Fun! I couldn't get back on Friday because my flight was cancelled due to Chicago's snow storm so I made it back on Saturday. Since I let my corporate card expire, I had to use my personal credit card so I will be putting in for reimbursement this week.

That's about it my friends. How did you guys do with your finances in 2011? What are your goals for 2012?

Friday, January 06, 2012

2011 Recap and Update…

I know it’s been a while people but I am alive and well!!! 2011 was an interesting year for Chitown. I had some ups and some downs but in the end…I am still standing!!! I suffered a break up, I got serious food poisoning, my grandmother passed away, my father had emergency quintuple bypass surgery and I got the news that I will need another surgery next year. Is that some craziness or what?!?!?!

I started out the year very focused following Dave Ramsey’s program and starting my goal of running a 13.1 Mile Half Marathon. I did well financially for about 9 months and then I went on a mental lapse and put back on some credit card debt. I shouldn’t have but I did. I also put back on about 10 of the 18 pounds that I lost as well.

I ended the year with a $12k improvement in my net worth and down 8 pounds. I finished one half-marathon with a time of 2:33 but got serious food poisoning the day before the second half marathon. I landed myself in Urgent Care for 2 IV’s and a few shots the day before the race. Needless to say, that trip to Urgent Care dashed my exercise program and put me in a funk. I also incurred about $750 in medical bills. So September 11th, I cheered on my brother-in-law and he finished the race for both of us.

The following month of October on a Wednesday, my Grandmother finally succumbed to Alzheimers and within a few days, my Father landed himself in the ER with chest pains. My world and my mind were spinning!!! We spent the next two weeks in the hospital with him as he went through angioplasty and then emergency quintuple bypass. He is now home and going through cardiac rehab.

So the last four months, I didn’t have the focus for budgeting and I whipped out the credit card and just went with the flow. That’s about it folks. I updated my Networthiq profile so you can see my month-to-month progress through 2011. Just click on the blue chart and it will take you to the site. I also updated my little progress charts on the right bar.

I have to sit down and set some new goals for 2012!!! I am really excited about this year and I hope to come on here a little more often and give some updates. =)