Monday, January 14, 2008

Money Monday: January 14

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.

Getting Busy

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…


Science PhD Mom said...

Ouch. I have a hard time keeping groceries & household down to $100 per week. And you throw in "everything else". I need to get myself onto that self-discipline level, yes indeedy I do...I'm even now avoiding my workout today!

PipneyJane said...

<< Wave pompoms >>

Go Tama!!!

- Pam (cheering from the sidelines)