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My Money Enlightenment

December 15th, 2007 at 04:13 pm

Saving more than $100 has been a foreign concept to me. I don't know how and I don't know why but I do know that had to stop.

I have one last credit card that is about to be completely paid off, which I am very proud of. One last payment and it's all done. I'm fairly sure I'll be staying away from high interest credit cards for a long time— if I do attempt to go down the credit card road it won't be for another year and it will be mainly for a rewards program and will get paid off every week. But that's a plan I'm not even going to attempt for another 12 months.

No, my immediate plan is to save. Like I said, saving never really sunk in before while I was growing up. Sure, I saved up for speakers or the Spice Girls CD when I was a kid, but saving for the future, HA!

Now that I'm living on my own, have a full time job, and no kids, I started to notice a sizeable amount of cash left over in my checking acct after paying all my bills. For a moment I thought about going shopping but then I heard about high-yield savings accounts. So I researched it.

And researched it and started reading about personal finance and that lead me to realize that I've been wasted money that could have helped me in the future. This was my enlightenment towards money!

So I've opened a savings account at iGObanking and have funded it with $515 and plan to contribute about $250 from each pa check to reach a goal of 6 months worth of expenses or about $10,000.

My other goal is to pay off my debt, which isn't as bad as you would think. I have just a little bit left to pay off my credit card which of course is a store CC, to Ann Taylor, so it is completely impractical.

I have a car loan which is $261 a month. Again it is completely impractical, I'm not sure what the terms are, what the rate is, and how much is left. Purchasing the car in 2004 was never really thought through like it should have—why bother when the bank just gives you money! So now I have to figure out how much is left and how quickly I can get it taken care of.

I also have my college loans to pay off. Currently I can't admit how much I owe, I just can't wrap my head around it. So I'll need some time I think. I've been making the monthly payments of $174 which I think is good. I've been doing that on time for about 6 months, since it started to come in.

So these are my goals for 2008.
1. Fund an emergency fund of $10,000
2. Reduce debt. Seek out car loan debt, pay it off as much as possible.
3. Figure out how to reduce college loan, pay off as much as possible and realize that it's not the end of the world. It can be done.
4. Live below my means.

And most importantly, create a spending log. The reason for this blog is to log my spending. At least for now the majority of my posts will be for a spending log, cause I really need to track what and where I'm spending and figure out what I can reduce and use that savings to conquer my debt.

I think this can be done.

7 Responses to “My Money Enlightenment”

  1. Aleta Says:

    $10,000 is a good emergency fund to have, but I would think that your interest rate on your car would be higher than what you're making on the savings account that is taxable.

    Dave Ramsey reccomends a $1,000 emergency fund and then start paying off your debt. I think you'd be way ahead to get rid of your debt and then taking the debt payments and adding them to your emergency fund. Just a thought.

  2. cptacek Says:

    Hi Caroline, and welcome. Congratulations on your enlightenment Smile.

    May I suggest a few things? First of all, figure out the terms on your car loan and the terms on your student loan. You need to know the interest rate, total amount due and monthly payment. Also if there is a pre-payment penalty on the car.

    Then, figure out the interest rate for the iGObanking account.

    In my opinion, these three pieces of information are vital to know before making a long term plan. Depending on the interest rates and such, it may make more sense to do one of the following:
    a) Pay off the car as quickly as possible (make minimum payments on the student loan)
    b) Pay off the student loan as quickly as possible make minimum payments on the car loan).
    c) Pay minimums on the loans and pour money into the savings account.
    d) Save enough in your savings account to make you feel comfortable, pay the minimums on the student loan and invest the rest in a Roth IRA.

    Of course, all of this depends on the interest rate and your long term goals.

  3. Ima saver Says:

    Welcome, lots of good advice here!!

  4. frugalhousewife Says:

    Welcome! Definitely find out the amount you owe and what the amount of interest is. Just seeing how much interest I was handing over each month has been a great motivator to pay off the loans early. Good luck as your work toward your goals in 2008!

  5. fern Says:

    The others all gave good advice, I'll just ditto that.

    But i wanted to add: Excellent start! Good for you!

  6. disneysteve Says:

    Welcome. And congratulations on your enlightenment. I have a question. Are you participating in your employer's retirement plan? If you have a 401K/403B and there is a company match, I'd recommend contributing enough to get the full match. If there is no match, I'd work on fully funding a Roth IRA. You should do this AT THE SAME TIME that you are building your EF. You can never make up for lost time with a Roth. You have until April 15, 2008 to contribute up to $4,000 for the 2007 tax year and beginning January 1, 2008, you can contribute for the 2008 tax year ($5,000 max). If you have $700/month available to invest, put $417/month into the Roth for 2008 and put the rest into your EF.

  7. Broken Arrow Says:

    Welcome to the board. Smile Glad to see that you're going to become financially responsible at such an early age. I wish I did that, but better late than never eh? Big Grin

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