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Archive for February, 2008

Only 2 no-spend days this month??

February 26th, 2008 at 10:03 pm

That's not very good, I must definitely do better in March! Of course, this month isn't quite over yet, so I still might manage one more. I rather doubt it, but we'll see.

I spent this evening trying to figure out how much I will need to pay each month, minimum, on each of my credit cards in order to pay off all my CC debt by the end of 2010. Very sobering exercise. It's going to require about $550/month, which I am not at all sure I can do consistently and still stash money away each month for periodic expenses such as car repair, clothing, gifts, etc. Well, at least I have a solid guideline now; if it doesn't work, I will just have to tweak it! And I plan on calling some of the CC companies several months from now and asking them to lower my interest rate; I'm waiting until then because I want to establish a better payment pattern. Hopefully I will be successful, which will definitely help me get this debt paid off sooner! I seriously don't even want to think about how much money I have paid credit card companies in interest and fees over the years. Sickening. Frown

Not happy ... ING, here I come!

February 23rd, 2008 at 10:59 am

I just checked out my bank balances, and the $4.00 came out of both of my savings accounts yesterday ... so now I have $1,496.00 in my EF and $124.18 in my Challenge account. ARGH!! Knowing that I can keep my money at ING for free makes me that much more irritated to pay $8.00 to keep it in my brick & mortar bank. I don't mind keeping my checking account there, since it is no-fee because I have my salary direct deposited.

So, does anyone know of any special deals for opening an account at ING? I am ready!!

ING: What are the Pros/Cons?

February 21st, 2008 at 04:48 pm

I have been pondering putting my savings in an ING account. I have read on this forum that you can have subaccounts w/ING? How does that work? Do they charge monthly fees? My bank charges me $4/month, and I just hate that! What is Electric Orange? Is that their checking account?

I'd love to hear from all who have accounts with ING. Pros and cons, any and all feedback welcome!!

Retirement Plan is now set up!

February 20th, 2008 at 04:12 pm

Finally!! One more step in the right direction, woo-hoo!! Smile

Oh, I guess I should add that I went with the 100% target allocation for now. Maybe one day later on down the road I will feel like I know enough to play around with it, but that day is a ways off just yet. Thanks to all of you for your input, you helped me out a LOT!!

Time to set up my 401k -- HELP!!

February 13th, 2008 at 08:00 pm

I have decided it's time to start building a retirement account. I know I need to concentrate on paying off debt, but I really feel like I need to get started on retirement at the same time. I really should have started long ago, but that wasn't possible with the way I'd ruined my finances. Now I work for a company who will match 50 cents for each dollar I contribute, up to 6% of my base pay. I think I'd be crazy not to get started!

Where I stand right now: I got my tax refund, and immediately put $1,500 into an emergency fund. I paid the remainder of my February bills today, and I still had over $1,000 left. I received half of my Feb. child support today and deposited that, and the other half will come at the end of the month. I also have one more paycheck still coming this month. So I am in a great position to set up my monthly budget so that I can put away set amounts monthly in categories such as gifts, car repairs, things that always totally knocked me off course in the past. At the same time, I have started my debt snowball! I paid off my first (smallest) debt, and I am getting close to paying off the next one!

I spent some time today reading all the 401k literature I was given when I started my job last October, and I am SO confused! All this financial stuff seems like Greek to me. I thought I would turn to all of you to get some advice and input. I know there are some real financial wizards in this group!

I have decided to contribute 6% of my salary. There are 10 different core funds in which I can invest: Fixed Fund, Vanguard Total Bond Market Index Fund, Vanguard Wellington Fund, Vanguard Windsor II Fund, Vanguard 500 Index Fund, Vanguard Growth Index Fund, Pacific Capital Small Cap Fund - Class Y, Wells Fargo Advantage Small Company Growth Fund - Administrator Shares, Vanguard International Growth Fund, and our company stock. I do have fact sheets on each of these funds, including their overall risk level rating (1-5), so I can answer questions (but reading them all just confuses me further)! Big Grin

All suggestions welcome!!

Got my tax refund!!

February 9th, 2008 at 08:57 am

I used Turbo Tax and e-filed, and got my refund directly into my account yesterday, exactly when they said it would show up! So, take notice of my emergency fund total to the left ... it is now $1,500 instead of $0!! I also was able to update my challenge fund, since I got a $10 check this week from Opinion Outpost. The "Save Yourself" account is at TD Ameritrade, and it's the Suze Orman deal where if you put at least $50/month into the account for 12 consecutive months, they will add $100. I set that up when I started my job back in October. So, I am feeling pretty excited! Smile Now I can really focus more on paying down the debt. I will update that total at the end of each month.

As it turns out, I was not eligible for a merit increase at work after all, based on my start date of October 8 and missing the Oct. 1 cutoff, etc. (basically the same reason I did not get a bonus). The person who told me I would be eligible for a merit increase is actually in H.R., and she felt really bad about her mistake the next day, when I told her that I'd learned that morning I would not be receiving an increase and why! I was a little resentful initially, but it was just a mistake on her part (and heaven knows I have made plenty of those!), and I decided I just need to concentrate on the positive, which is that if I had not gotten this job, I'd still be working in my old job at less than half the salary I now receive!! I really am fortunate now to have the job I do, and I want to make the most of this opportunity. I am excited about what this year holds for me, and it's up to me to make it the best it can be! Smile (Thanks to baselle for telling me how to get the smileys!)