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Archive for January, 2009

Time for Another February Challenge!

February 1st, 2009 at 03:11 am

Since February is the shortest month of the year, it's a month that I try to do as much of a "fiscal fast" as possible. No extras, but I still go to the grocery store weekly, take the furkids to the vet if they need it, etc. Last year I was able to keep my monthly expenses down to $2200. This year, I'm budgeting for $2400. Weight Watchers is running a promotion starting Feb 2 and running for 2 weeks that allows you to save about 15% over their weekly fee. They'll allow you to pay up to 16 weeks in advance, so I'm going to do that. I still have 3 weekly coupons left, so if I pay for that next week, I'll have my Weight Watchers paid for through June 13. So far I've lost 12 pounds, and am hoping to at least double that by the time those new coupons run out.

2008 Wrap-Up/2009 Goals

January 5th, 2009 at 08:47 pm

Better late than never.

Here are my goals from 2008 with a report on how I fared.

1. Continue to save 15% of earnings (ideally 20%). To do this, I will make special effort this year towards cutting food costs. Not able to do so. I had a major pay cut that occurred in Sept, 2007, and most of my savings from 2007 were from the beginning of that year. At my current income, my expenses match my earnings, and I have not been able to save, nor have I done a good job on cutting expenses, other than sporadically.

2. For 2008 only, put most of that towards short-term savings (CD ladder) to give myself sufficient liquidity during a career change.
Jan 1, 2008 cash balance: $8023
Mar 31, 2008 balance: $8200
June 30, 2008 balance: $8606
Jan 1, 2009 cash balance: $7785 (I had a $1000 home repair back in July)

3. Do everything possible to make that career change happen! Planning to do an internship this summer and apply for jobs in the fall. Although I'm not a traditional college student, that's what the market is geared for, so I expect the career changeover to occur in June 2009. I am set with employment until then (phew!) I did not do the internship (couldn't manage that and completing the coursework simultaneously) but I completed 3 classes for credit and audited a fourth, completing my accounting degree. My paycheck continues through August, and I am getting serious about the job hunt now.

4. Continue paying extra on the mortgage. Goal is to cut my payoff date down to 22 years total (age 67) or ideally 20 (age 65).
Jan 1, 2008 balance: $89,300.
Mar 31, 2008 balance: $89,000
Jun 30, 2008 balance: $88,560
Jan 1, 2009 balance: $87,500

5. Continue investing for retirement--at least 1 million. Goal is to get there by no later than age 65, ideally age 60. Currently I'm on track to do so, as long as I can (1) earn an average of 8%/year on my retirement savings and (2) get some contributions towards my retirement from my employer.
balance 1/1/08: $127K
balance 6/30/08: $121K (market drop)
Balance: 1/1/09: $99K (market drop)

6. Nonfinancial goals: Lost at least 15% of my weight, exercise daily, and maintain at least a semblance of a social life. Well, I lost weight, gained weight, and lost weight to end the year 3 pounds below where I started. I did ok at exercising regularly, though not daily, until sometime into November. Social life was pretty minimal but I did see my boyfriend once a week, had friends visit from out of town twice, and had about one get-together with friends a month, so at least the minimal semblance of a social life was maintained.

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My goals for 2009 are listed under author info. The main goal is to finally make the jump to a new career. Pretty much everything else is secondary. I'm also working on losing weight--I joined Weight Watchers right after Thanksgiving and have taken off 12 pounds so far. I'll have to keep up the exercise to keep losing, and by eating fewer calories, I'll eat less and eat out less often, so that will help keep food costs in check.