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Archive for January, 2009

January Challenge

January 29th, 2009 at 12:42 am

So this month I thought I'd begin to focus (?) on any extra savings going into my money market account. However, before doing that (and being the hyperactive and easily distracted person I am), I had preliminary savings goals I wanted to check off the list quickly this year.

I want to fully fund my Christmas account and beef up my checking account cushion and my freedom account cushion. (The list goes on and on, since I'm usually all over the place with these savings goals, but I'm REALLY trying to limit my focus!)

I got a bonus at work (about $620) for which I'm soooooo grateful considering the times we're in. Instead of adding it to my 'challenge' account, I added $600 of it to the Christmas account.

Christmas account new balance Jan 28, $649.

I added $30 to my checking account cushion -- New balance Jan 28, $720.

My $20 challenge to my money market netted a $35 deposit (this included leftover budget money in dollar bills, quarters and dimes, PLUS a $20 bill I found in a zippered pocket of a purse I haven't used in a few weeks. Yay me!)
My automatic transfer of $180 was also deposited on Jan 20.

Previous money mkt balance, $7,531

New money mkt balance Jan 28, $7,666

New balance toward extra mortgage payment Jan 28, $480

Total in account Jan 28, $8,146

Random Acts of Deposits - My 2009 $20 Challenge

January 27th, 2009 at 02:53 am

Last year I made several random acts of deposits to various savings accounts (I have many!), but this year I want to focus. FOCUS!! While I still have several automatic savings plans in place and several savings accounts, I plan to use the strategy of the $20 challenge on primarily one account, the wealth account (or my money market emergency fund).

I had to use $2,000 from it to pay part of my son's tuition bill last semester, so I not only need to replace that, but I want to get the balance up to at least $15,000. Already I have an automatic $100 going in each month (plus $80 going in for extra payment toward the mortgage).

Can I do this?

I might be able to increase the allotment. In addition, the random acts of deposit will be more consistent (every week?) and will include:
1. My loose change
2. Adding money to round up the account balance
3. No drive days, I'll add $2
4. I'll add money that I planned to spend but ended up not spending. (For instance, I planned to pay $12 for lunch earlier this month, but my friend insisted on buying.)
5. On days that I mail out submissions, (I write), I'll add $1 per submission
6. Leftover dollar bills from budget envelopes
7. Found money
8. Gift money
9. Extra budget money
10. Household refunds and the occasional 'surprise' sales (i.e., if I planned to pay regular price for something and then find it on sale, I'll bank the difference...though I rarely plan to pay regular price for things!!)

Balance Dec 31, 2008: $7,531

Balance of extra mortgage payment savings: $400

Total in account is $7,931

Freedom Account 2009

January 27th, 2009 at 01:44 am

The plan for the Freedom Account continues. It's been a great thing for me. I expect a lot of activity this year, just like last year...

For 2009:
Total projected automatic deposits: $2600 (100 per pay period)
Total extra deposits planned: $700

Spent from Freedom account in Jan 09:

From Car Maintenance: $132

From Travel and Cushion: $470 (Trip to visit parents)


Current balances of subaccounts on 26 Jan--
Cushion 1: $1500
Cushion 2: $101
Car Insurance: $1004
Car Maintenance: $184
Home Escrow/Warranty: $200
Medical/Dental: $757
Replace Car: $200
Travel: $3

Spending Plan 2009

January 27th, 2009 at 01:32 am

I've decided to track my spending per paycheck and pay period, rather then do it by month. I've set up a spreadsheet that will show what I plan to spend and save from each paycheck, what I actually do from each paycheck, the difference between the two and the cumulative total of spending and extra saving for the year through the current pay period. Seems a little intense, but I think it'll be more accurate. I also plan to do a percentage of planned amount spent through the year so I can see my progress.

I want to keep track of extra savings on the spreadsheet as well as keep track of automatic savings and savings balances on another sheet. (lot of spreadsheets!! I think I might keep handwritten notebook paper records on some's portable and I might stay more motivated)

Spending/Saving Plan for the Year 2009:

Total 401K saving projected (from gross pay): $3,250
Projected Net Spending Income $38,500
Planned IRA savings: $1,200
Planned Freedom Acct savings: $2,600
Planned Christmas Acct savings: $1,000
Planned wealth account savings: $8,000 (!)
Planned Tithes/Offering: $6,000
Planned Mortgage payments: $9,792 + extra $1,000 toward principle
Planned spending for Utilities: $3,600 (doesn't include cable)
Planned spending for Groceries and Household Supplies/Toiletries: $3,200
Planned money to the kid: $1,000 spending, $3,500 college (from 2009 income).

I'll continue to keep a cushion in my checking account, which I do by keeping two account totals (grand total and budget total used for bills...requires a lot of math, but I do love math and am up to the challenge). Grand total includes 'float' (which I think is what Tightwad Kitty called it in her budget plan--thanks!!). (Example: I set aside $140 in the budget for the electric bill but if the bill is actually $100, the difference of $40 is transferred out of the budget balance and remains in the checkbook cushion/grand total to cover when the bill is actually OVER the $140. So far so good.)

On Your Mark, Get Set...Wait a Minute...2009 has arrived with extra bills

January 14th, 2009 at 12:24 am

I have some breathing space from the end- of-year church reports that I prepare so I'm baaaack. I've been working on my 2009 budget and saving plan, which will still need a little nudge with upcoming changes in my pay and in bills.

It's a fresh start and I'm still excited. The kid, however, has made his presence known on his Christmas break from college. Remember he totaled his car in Sep 08? Well, my spouse (his stepfather) let the kid borrow the Toyota a few times (my spouse's car) during the break and a funny thing happened while the kid was driving... One, he hit a curb in the fog (driving too fast, no doubt) and the car required a $332 strut and rim repair, plus a $50 alignment. Two, on New Year's Day (Happy New Year's to us!!), he backed my husband's car out of the garage with the car door open and crumpled the car door. (We were able to adjust the track on the garage door...the car door...not so much.) The cost of that was $270 for a salvage car door replacement and $45 for a body shop to replace it. My spouse is the one with the heart for children and family and all that, but I'm hoping he reconsiders allowing the kid to drive his car. There's nice... and then there's too nice. This is the very reason why I don't allow the kid to drive MY car.

Fortunately, we had the Freedom Account working for us, plus a cushion in the checking account which covered both expenses. I WAS ahead by $700, toward my cushion in both my Freedom Account and checking account and now I'm not. Thankfully, the kid's back at college now. (say it with me everyone--YAYYY!!!) We'll begin again.