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Archive for October, 2012

Progress on not eating out as often

October 23rd, 2012 at 02:04 pm

I ate 4 meals from restaurants last week. Considering that included the weekend and during a cold (Pho is wonderful when your sick), I am actually quite impressed. During the heat of this summer, we ate out every supper (think salads and veggies but still) and weekends have always been the bane of the food budget (min 4 times per weekend).

We will always have a minimum of 2 per week just because of scheduling but I am surprised that we essentially went from 15 times per week to 4 in one to two weeks time (last week was the first complete week since we decided to cut back).

What is really surprising is that I think I was burned out on eating out. I haven't missed eating out this time which is surprising because usually I am the one wanting to eat out.

The amount of money that can go to paying off debt from cutting down the eating out is going to be tremendous. It already slowed the spending on the credit card we use to pay everthing (its paid in full).

Remaining Debts

October 16th, 2012 at 01:57 pm

The Debts (as of early November)

Amount Item Interest Expected Payoff

$11554 credit cards (0%)(variable but 2013)
$11499 car loan (1.1%) (March 2015)
$7994 student loan (5.15%)(April 2015)
$115745 mortgage (April 2025)

I thought about posting a budget but its not really necessary. We earn more than we spend and that is true by quite a bit. We were spending fools this summer because of the long overdue items we had been holding off on and we still made progress (and that was prior to my husband's job upgrade). Our choosing to cut back on eating out just allows us to put even more towards the credit card payoffs.

We also have the additional promise of bonuses for my husband in the future. We figure these will go straight to debt or savings depending on which is the priority at the time.

While the credit cards are our lowest interest rate, we want them gone for convenience sake so this last balance transfer round is our final one (which is why everything is based on November, we just played the transfer game this month). Our main goal is to see how quickly we can pay these off. Currently shooting for July but may move that up if our extra income is much larger than expected (no, we still don't know the full amount of his pay increase by virtue of the bonuses and his overtime).

The car loan and the student loan vanish at a similar point in 2015 which is why we are thinking of letting those two run their course and build savings in the meantime (not to mention both are designed to make it difficult to make extra payments).

I think I would be happier having a full emergency fund which is something I haven't been able to justify while the credit cards are around. That said, I suspect that when my cash equals the remaining balance on either of those two items, I will just make one final payment and be done with it.

Also, after the credit cards are gone, I will have both of us ratchet up to 15% in the 401(k). I have a roth I contribute to as well though the amount is only 2.6% of my income.

So current goals

1. Payoff credit cards
2. Up 401(k) contributions to 15%

Its steps 3 and 4 I am not sure about. Should I up my roth, build my savings, payoff the student loan (car loan is kind of pointless other than to say its gone) or some combination of the above. I have plenty of time to decide so its not like I have to make up my mind immediately but I am not used to being so wishy washy on my goals. I think part of the problem is that I really won't know the full extent of our extra income until spring so I won't know how many goals I can work on simultaneously until then.

For now though, those two goals should be good. If I blow through the first one faster than expected, then I will probably have enough extra income to work on multiple goals which would change them anyway. :P

What would you do as your next steps?

Need to set new goals

October 15th, 2012 at 02:03 pm

I have been lurking for awhile but not posting since I haven't had much to say lately. For awhile I wasn't making huge amounts of progress due to the change of jobs and drastic cut in incomes but since then both my husband and I have recovered financially to a point where we are both better paid than we were before the whole layoff fiascos.

We are about to break the 6 figure networth mark (probably in January) and I am currently debating setting more specific goals for myself.

At the moment, our newest goal is to minimize eating out. We still have some credit card debt (11k) left from the bad old days when we were spenders and had significant drops in income so eating in will allow us to speed up paying this off. Basically, the less we spend, the more extra 1k payments we can put toward the debt. It will definitely take less than a year to pay them off but I am shooting for early summer payoff if I can.

I was thinking that once the credit cards are eliminated, I can focus more on building emergency reserves. We have a small one growing in the background right now but know that I will need a roof and furnace in the future plus I want 6 months expenses in the bank at some point.

Then there is also the retirement savings. We contribute over 10% at the moment but will up this after the credit cards are gone. Maybe up that to 15% and the rest of the extra can be to the emergency reserves.

Still thinking. Later when I have more time, I will post the debts and budget so people can see where we are at and weigh in.