Well. That’s it. The last guest has left. The last present gone. The last promised purchase made. Time to roll up my sleeves and get busy.
What I Want To Accomplish
Pay off one non-lien loan (meaning it is not secured by the house and therefore not tax-deductible) of $10,997.28. Currently at 6.9% interest, with minimum payments of (get this) $130. Yeah. If I were charging $60 a month for you to owe me money, I’d want to drag it out as long as possible, too!!
And, I want to work on our emergency fund. I currently have $2,500 in there. I want $20,000. Note that I’m not saying, I want to have $20,000 in there by the end of October. Because, all evidence to the contrary aside, I am not actually that crazy. I want to work on it. I want to do the best I can.
And if by some divine intervention or extreme fit of cleverness I do it, by God I am so treating myself to a day at the spa.
What I’ve got to work with
I have a monthly budget of $2,500. This does not cover the mortgage, car loan or HELOC, but does have to cover “everything else”. Groceries, PG&E, aforementioned loan, life insurance, medical and dental costs, gymnastics lessons, gasoline, etc. etc. etc. I’m used to just spending that money without really thinking about it – as long as my spending doesn’t exceed it, I’m good. I’ve got the college savings and the mortgage and minivan payment and all that taken care of before I get that $2,500 to spend – but now, I’ve got to get rid of that loan and build up the emergency fund with it as well.
For January, I’m going over the bills. Large and small, I want to look at what exactly I’m spending on things. I’m especially interested in things that I don’t normally pay much attention to, like the cell phone plans and other “subscription” like services. We often become blind to bills that simply come and go – things that are automatically charged on our credit cards or debited from our checking account. I’ll be taking a good, hard look at each and every one of those, and deciding which things need a further review (or dismissal) and which things need to stay.
For this week (and probably through the end of the month), I’m going on a very strict cash budget. I’ve given myself $100 for all non-recurring spending. Groceries, gasoline, clothing – anything I would normal fish out a credit card to pay for have to come out of that $100. I already went to the supermarket and spent $35, and took another $60 in cash. That’s all I have left for the week, including the weekend. Yeah, I’m gypping myself $5. I’m sure we’ll survive.
And, I’m sensing a “stay at home” kind of weekend coming up…
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