Saturday, February 2, 2008

Financial Picture Update

I took some time to update the figures to the right under My Financial Picture. I'm not reallly happy about it. My net worth dropped $3K in January. The biggest factor in this was the hit that my 401(k) has taken since the beginning of the year. I think I've lost about $5K. Not good. I hate the funds we have and hate the Paychex retirement tracking system even more. It's not easy to use at all. We move to a new plan this month and will be going through Ameriprise. Added to that is that the max employr contibution moves fom 1% to 4% of our salary. This is huge. It will add over $3K to my 401(k) this year. Thank God. I am really wanting to get to t he $100K point in retirement savings. The market in general has not done too well so my stock portfolio is down as well. But, I'm still buying and holding.

I am making no headway with the credit cards. My total balance went down by only $100. The finance charges are killing me. In order to help combat that. I am going to break up my monthly Discover card payment into weekly payments and throw anything left over to the cards at the end of the month. This way my daily balance can be whittled down . There is no use in me keeping $50 aside each week in my checking account. I'll send it right to Discover. Hopefully, that will help. I am shooting for a $200 regular payment. I will be putting any supplemental income right to Discover so when checks come in for survey groups, secret shopping, etsy sales, etc. I'll be putting them straight to the card. I'd like to see next month's balance be $5500. That would make me feel better about life.

As always, chant to the tax return gods. I need them to come through for me.

Friday, February 1, 2008

January recap

The first month of the year is done and I am pretty pleased with how it's gone. I have really trimmed spending significantly. This is what I am most proud of. The biggest help in this realm has been the serious reduction in eating out. It's really hard not to sometimes, especially as everyone heads out of the office to my favorite Chinese place. Must. Have. Willpower. It's been easily curbed by my resolution to go to the gym more. Twice a week I hit the gym during lunch and thisinly allows me a quick meal at my desk.

I printed out my bank statement to do some quick analysis. I broke out my expenses for the month into a few areas where I had made goals. This is how I did:

Meals Out: $82.76
I did have 5 girlfriends in town in the middle of the month and we actually limited ourselves to ne meal out, which I paid $30 for. The rest of it was three lunches out, a meal at a night meeting, and treating my daughter to pizza. I have more than cut this in half from December and would have been less save the great lunch out with the girls.

Groceries: $269.33
Again, this was a little higher than I planned as I had houseguests for a few days. Of course, they were MORE than generous with buying supplementals and I love them for it. I took November's numbers for groceries and tey totalled $461.19. Wow. Two things are at play here. First, I am watching the flyers and cutting coupons. Second, I am no longer buying liquor. Of course, I had a boyfriend in November so I kept the house better stocked. Not dating is saving me $200! That was a joke...

Gas: $227.48
This is pretty close to what I had budgeted! Off by $27.48 but I have discovered which tells me the cheapest gas in area. One day the Circle K was 2.84 a gallon and I was able to find a station two miles away for $2.71 a gallon. Good deal.

The bad stuff? I still have to pay my cable bill and I had about $15o in miscellaneous expenses. Just little things here and there. This is where I need to severely monitor and cut back. That is my biggest goal for February. I mustcurb as much spending as I can and put the money to the credit card. I can reward myself a little bit here and there. I really want new workout clothes. But, I need to see that balance go down more before I can!

So my goals for February are:

Groceries - $200
Gas - $200
Meals out - $40
Miscellaneous - $50

I am certain I can do this!