What’s in store & check your math!

January 22, 2012 at 9:00 am (goals, house, Saving Money) ()

I love fidding around in excel. Since ex-mr. maven decided to move to the central plains, I’ve been running scenarios in my budget spreadsheets of how long it will take me to pay off my debt. I felt girded to slay the lion, I felt ok. I had a longer slog ahead, but I was prepared and armed with my facts and figures. Then I’ve been discussing possibly moving to a house with a girlfriend and cohabitating to split rent and utilities (unlike the scenario with mr. maven living with me). I reran the figures, taking into account the additional money I’d save.

Lo and behold I realized I had made a fatal flaw in my initial calculations!!!! Excel works great to extend a series of numbers and formulas. What is NOT very good at is extending dates. I had extended my months from Jan ’12 to Feb ’12 down through the years, but somehow, it messed up and I “misplaced” an entire year! I realized that because I F’d up the date column, when I thought i’d be ok to pay off all debt by end of 2013, it was more like end of 2013/early 2014!!!!!!!! Crap!

so basically, unless I make an extra $300/month, or pay less rent/utilities by $300/month, I’m looking at 3 years to pay off debt. If I get a cheaper place, then I can shave a year off and make it back to my original, end of 2013 projected date payout.

I’m such a dork. Oh well, good to know these things now!

So yesterday my girlfriend, S, and i went to look at a few places together. It’s a bit of a rude awakening. We are both in our 40s, both working adult professionals (she works in a scientific field, so makes more than me!), and both single. We’re both also done with cheap/sub-par places (no more dingy mother in law basement apartents). It’s amazing how poor the choices are for places in my price range. I am ok up to splitting a $1350/month house. Any more and it’s almost not worth it.  That means that either the house will be a dump in the best/most central areas of Seattle, or be on the fringes, or in a bad neighborhood. Basically, it’s a radical shift in amenities and neighborhood quality of life. She wants a place she can walk around in the evening (ie, it needs sidewalks and should be a lower-crime area). We both want to be close to a good/inexpensive gym. I don’t want a hideous commute. She’s considering leaving Seattle in a year, so it has to be a place I can find a replacement roommate to live in if she moves out later on. It needs to be 2 bedrooms with copious extra storage (ie garage, extra bedroom, etc). We both have a household of stuff in furniture, and we both like room for projects (and I have a ton of art in storage from having done art shows). In a way it’s fun, but in a bigger way, it’s depressing. Plus there’s that really fine line of finding a place that you want, with enough time to give notice to both our existing landlords, when the landlord we would be applying with wants a renter sooner than we would be available to move in (like in a week, or Feb. 1 for example). It will be really hard a good place, with the pressure of beating another person to the punch, while having enough time to give 1 month’s notice. Ugh.

I’ve never lived in an apartment – maybe i should just find a cheap place and do that. Ugh, but I want a yard. Anyway, the house hunt is on. And remember…double check your math, people!

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May: Goal Check-In

May 21, 2011 at 7:37 am (goals, Uncategorized) (, )

Here’s my May check-in on reaching my 2011 goal to pay $10K towards debt. Let’s break this down to the average payments needed to stay on track: Starting with $10,000 for 2011, minus my $880 tax return = $9120 that I have to come up with. Divide that by 12 months = $760/month needed to reach my goal!

So my goal is to pay an average of $760/month.

Tax Return – $880
January – $1004
February – $850 paid
March – $900
April – $750
May – $700
———————
2011 total to date: $5084
Compare Goal-to-date (amount needed to pay to stay on track): $4680
Above goal by: $404!!!

This doesn’t include any snowball payments (my recent windfall or a cash-out on a recent claim from a rear-end accident on my old vehicle that I never had repaired before I sold it) or even my new debt, the auto loan payment. While it’s hard to separate out that extra activity, I’m purely interested in seeing if I’m able to pay $10K towards debt this year. I don’t count that activity because it’s like cheating – it has nothing to do with income, or budgetting, it’s like free, unexpected money. My previous yearly payments had been woefully below $10K, and I thought I should ramp up my expectations this year. I’m glad to say that not only am I on track, but I’m proving to myself that I can pay more than I had realized I could.

The moral of this story? Paying debt isn’t hard if you make it a priority, focus on it, and enjoy the little thrill of hitting transfer when logged into online banking. I’m also hopefull that even WITH a car payment due every month, I’ll be able to meet this goal. I have to remember that with the savings from improved gas mileage, it’s only an extra $200 monthly payment, which isn’t that much!

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February: goal check-in

March 3, 2011 at 6:19 pm (goals, paying debt)

My big goal this year is to pay $10K towards debt, which at the start of the year I thought might be a real challenge. (Not including my upcoming windfall of course!). So how’m I doing so far, now that February’s budget is about over?

Well, in short: I rocked it! I immediately paid $600 once I deposited my second paycheck. Then, at the end of the month, I realized I had enough extra to put in another $250, bringing my monthly total to $850!!!

My initial goal was to pay $750 per month. Now that I’ve gotten my tax return, let’s see if that was realistic:

$10,000 for 2011, minus my $880 tax return = $9120. Divide that by 12 months = $760/month needed to reach my goal!

So my goal is to pay an average of $760/month.

Tax Return – $880
January – $1004
February – $850 paid
———————
2011 total – $2734
Compare Goal-to-date: $2400
Above goal by $334!!!

Wow. I’m awesome. Cue the teacher bestowing a gold star upon me.

Despite my goal-meeting awesomeness, I do have to aknowledge that it may be a little challenging in March. February was a SHORT, tiny-paycheck month. The paycheck that I’m about to get at the beginning of March will subsequently be smaller than usual. So I think March will be a tough month. I’m also looking towards some upcoming expenses that I recently referenced (in my windfall post). I really really need to get my passport renewed, since it takes so long to get it back! I need to get my bicycle ready to roll (ha ha ha, sorry) with some tlc and new parts, PLUS get a new pair of sneakers. All this in March? That may be a little expensive all at once.

As long as I stick to my not eating out much, going to the gym 5+ days a week (which doesn’t allow for time to do anything else, go anywhere else, or spend anywhere else!!!), prepare all my lunches, then I should be relatively ok. I just went thriftstore shopping last weekend and I got a new pair of jeans ($10!!!). I still need 1 more, but other than that, I’m relatively good. Maybe it won’t be so bad!

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Milestone, taxes, and general ramblings

February 24, 2011 at 10:49 am (debt stats, goals, taxes, Uncategorized)

Today is a great debt day! I paid off my second to last debt and only have the SBA loan remaining. Whoo hoo! It’s an exciting moment to finally get to that point.

On top of paying the final $654 on my last remaining credit card/loan, I also just got my $880 tax return back, which I immediately paid towards my *last* debt, the SBA loan, bringing the total under $27K! Fabulous day indeed!

February is a bad income month, since it is so short. I also forgot to put in my hours for one day so my check from Monday is short a day! I wasn’t too horribly upset, since the next check (after the end of February) is only 9 days!!!! So an extra day of pay (a paycheck late) will be more than welcome when it comes time to pay rent and bills.

Still maintaining bringing lunch every day to work! I have gone out once this month, but that was a planned-in-advance activity, so I am going to include that in my restaurant spending.

I also have a very sizeable check coming my way in a week or three from a settlement. I’m involved with a 2-part lawsuit due to a bunch of accidents I was recently involved in the last few years. I haven’t ever spoken about them, but I should be getting about $7K, which I am going to pay towards my debt. Even though I’d love to go to Europe. Even though I’m bemoaning the fact that my truck has such sh*tty mileage and I want to get another Subaru outback. Nope. Not going to do anything but pay debt. Even though I really really want to do something else! I may have a big splurgy dinner out. Once. But that’s it.

Nothing else to report from the maven household. Working. Going to the gym (a lot!). Cooking at home (a lot). Not much else!

Stay warm everyone!

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Changes I’m making for 2011

January 29, 2011 at 9:47 am (budget, goals, paycheck)

I made a decision about a year ago that I wanted to increase my 401K contributions. But how to do that while focusing primarily on debt repayment? Well, I came to a compromise. Every year, I would increase my 401K contribution by 1%. I figured that that should be either equal or less than any raise I might get, or if I didn’t get one, I’d not really notice the $500/year reduction in my paycheck, which is what I calculated what 1% is equal to. So on Dec. 30 I changed my contribution from 4% to 5%. So far so good.

Then came the news that I got a $1 raise, quite unexpectedly! Then I heard about the payroll deduction changes in social security taxes. I had heard about it, but it wasn’t until I looked over my first paycheck of 2011 that I saw it made a big different. That means that I’ve gotten a 6.5% raise this year between both income changes. I thought about it a while, and decided that I’d increase my contribution up to 6%. While I could go higher, I have some other immediate goals I also want to contribute to.

Debt repayment is still my main, primary focus right now. But I am also making a big investment in my health this year, which by happenstance, started at the new year, but is not really a resolution. It’s been building for a while, and after I finally got healthy after some lengthy nasty winter colds, I started returning to the gym (for which I have been paying and not using since last summer!!! Boo.). I started cooking almost every meal at home (no more restaurant spending! yeah! or at least, much less). I started bringing all food to work for lunch (no more lunches out, yeah! much cheaper!). But I also need some additional clothes and shoes, and such. That’s going to be hard to maintain my clothes fund at $50/month if I have to get sneakers and additional (and highly expensive) workout clothes. Wicking undees, $15/pair! Good quality no-bounce bras ($50+). New sneakers every couple of months $100-$125/pair! Plus, I have committed to going out on regular outdoor excursions. Snowshoeing and hiking at least 2-3 times/month. That’s a lot of gas to drive 2 hours into the mountains. Plus some additional gear. I need a new waterproof backpack (my $10 pack from target is fine for the gym, but not for putting on the snow when I take break snowshoeing and need to eat my lunch!!!). An annual forest pass, $35. Mount Rainier annual pass, $40.

I have already realized that I also want to start a trip fund. No, I don’t have plans for a big extensive trip to Hawaii or Europe or anything like that (at least for now!), but I do want to do an extended driving/hiking trip this summer. Extra gas, maybe a motel room? Or maybe going up to Whistler in Canada for a snowshoeing trip with a girlfriend. Fitness based, and relatively local, but with a tight budget, there’s not much room for extra $200+ expenses! And J wants to go visit his family in N. Dakota this fall, and have us do a driving trip out there. All this means more money. So I’ve decided to start a $50/month trip fund. And that may be too low, maybe $75? This should alleviate some large unaccounted expenses that occur for me. And with all the changes to my salary due to the above reasons, I have enough to cover it without having any overt changes to my budget!

I am also happy to report that I have maintained my goal to pay $750 per month, instead of the $600 I had been averaging last year. It was less difficult and more realistic than I had expected it to be! I am being way more frugal than I had been, but I’m still able to do the things I want, just a little less so. I’ve reviewed my spending habits and have recalculated my debt free date to be November 2013!

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2010 Plans (& Goals)

January 3, 2010 at 7:59 am (goals)

I’m going to stick to the basics in 2010, mostly things I’m excited to do and change: stick to my debt-paying strategies, get rid of stuff while making a little money on the side, and become more active and healthy, and work on my relationship. I’m not going to artificially list a bunch of goals to achieve, but rather leave room for growth to happen and focus on what will make me happiest.

Pay another 20% towards my debt
I want to pay off another 1/5 of my debt in 2010. This is a specific dollar figure, but based on past history (all of 2009!), I know I can manage it in 2010. I’ve made it a priority as of 14 months ago, and I’ve still stuck to it, so I’ve proved that I mean it! Ideally, I’d love to end the year with 40% of my initial debt paid. Currently I’m at 18%. This would put my debt at $27,100 at the end of the year. That means I’ll have to pay $9,894 this year, or $825 each month on the principal.

Have a big yard sale
Moving is always an opportunity to see how much stuff you have and don’t need. I just moved on Thanksgiving. Unfortunately, cold, rainy, winter weather is not the ideal time to have a big yard sale and meet the neighbors. I’m going to shoot for June/July. Anything that doesn’t make it will probably end up on Ebay and Craigslist, now that I finally am able to have internet at home! J will be doing this with me – he has lots of stuff to unload as well!

Grow a HUGE garden this year
Not much I have to do about this. It will happen with or without me, but I know that I will be involved (maybe not so much when it comes time to weed, but I’m good for the rest of it!). We’ve already rototilled a 10×20′ patch in the back yard and still have to plant several large raised beds in the front yard (that’s the only area that will get full sun). The landlord is fine with that, luckily. J has a farm background and has already ordered all the heirlooms seeds necessary to grow everything. Now we just have to get the soil/compost delivered and build the beds. At least we can get all the free wood we want from work (it already built our compost bin). It will be nice to have most of the vegetables we use come from the garden. Plus all the canning we’re going to do, now that the garden is at the same place as where we live! J still wants to keep our community P-Patch for growing potatoes, since they did so well there, and no one stole them, unlike the onions (which I still don’t understand). This should help a lot with grocery spending this summer and fall.

We’ve got seeds for corn (ears and popping varieties), pumpkins (1 for halloween and 2 for eating/canning), melon, peppers (2 varieties of sweets), tomatoes (4-5 varieties for canning, eating, and cherry tomatoes), lettuces (that’s my interest, I’ve got 10 kinds!), onions, leeks, zucchini (I’ve never grown them!), fava beans for the fall, cucumbers, beans (1 or 2 varieties for drying), peas, pole beans, carrots. Potatoes we’ll have to get locally later in the year. Oh, and of course garlic! Still not sure where to plant the herb garden – that’s the most important part! Rosemary, chives, thymes, sage, oregano, & parsley. Luckily herbs grow super well in the Pacific NW.

Be more active
I’m not setting specific goals with this one, but I want to start going outside and doing things like I used to. I think I’m over the worst since my Sept/2008 car accident, so I should go out for regular weekend hikes! I haven’t done that for 2 years now and I’m really noticing the lack. I have started taking walks in the neighborhood, since I have one to use finally! I never wanted to walk around our dark, deserted, sketchy industrial park that had nothing but cheap housing , deserted warehouses and bars nearby, oh and of course the tons of homeless people. That’s partly why I moved! No yard, no outdoors, and really sketchy people walking past our windows looking in when we had them open, and we were always afraid of break-ins. Now it’s quiet, there are hardly ever any cars, everyone walks their dogs, I have great views of Puget Sound and Vashon Island and the Olympic mountains.

Save for medical costs
I am going to add a medical/health fund to save up for in my budget. I have a few things that are going to be coming this year. I don’t buy a lot of health care items, like lotions and medicines and the like, but I need something to pay for vitamins and co-pays. So this year I’m starting one so I don’t have to hide it in something like my food budget.

Switch my bank to a credit union
I have been wanting to “buy local” and stop supporting fat-cat corporations. I want to say goodbye to my Wells Fargo accounts and I’ve decided to go with BECU (Boeing Employees, but it’s open to all WA state residents). There’s a branch right by work and also a mile from home. I was going to do this 2 months ago, but thought I should wait until my SBA loan matured and the redistribution of the balance got resolved. I didn’t want to leave WF and then ask for them to increase my personal line of credit limit (I had expected to have to move a bunch of money out of the SBA when it matures next summer). My thinking was that by having a different bank for personal needs, they would not be as generous with extending my credit limits. However, they have just informed me that they are keeping the loan at 5% and transferring it to a business line of credit, once the SBA matures. That solves my biggest looming financial problem. 

I think I can safely transfer my personal checking account to BECU now. I can’t wait to open multiple savings accounts to keep all my mini-funds organized and separate (and no longer a wad of cash at home, which always felt a little wierd). I expect this will get done by end of February.

Create a Date Fund with J
I told J that he has to put $20 each paycheck in the kitty for going out. We get paid twice monthly, so we’ll each be contributing $40 each month to going out and splurging. Could be a dinner and a movie, or drinks and the symphony. I’m not going to make a separate budget for this, but I’ll take it out of the restaurant portion of my budget, since most of it will be spent on food. J is completely on board on this. I think he wants to have an approved spending outlet that he doesn’t have to feel guilty about. It’ll be a pseudo-date night. This will help keep our relationship fun. I think everyone should do this!

That’s it! Nothing about my net worth (can’t control the stock market, and I want to pay off debt rather than save), nothing about snowflaking, and just the minimum to continue on my path. Here’s to fun times and improved financial stability in 2010!!!!

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2009 Goals (results)

January 2, 2010 at 10:28 am (goals, selling art)

I had a lot of goals at the beginning of my first year of PF blogging. Let’s see how I did.

Bring Personal Line below $7K
I transferred the entire balance to two 0% interest cards during 2009 (Discover and US Bank) and had it at $0 for quite some time. If I include the amount on my US bank card (originally on the personal line), plus what got transferred back from the Discover card once their offer expired, it’s just over $7K. The actual balance is less than $1,500, so I’m happy. SUCCESS.

Schedule 4 art shows in 2009.
I scheduled 3. I didn’t sell anything. I don’t know if I just didn’t put out the energy, or if I should have pushed to do new work, or if I just had prices that were too high for this economy (I think the latter). I’m scaling this back right now. I just moved, and I’ve got to figure out if I should be making new, cheaper, reproducable work that isn’t a limited edition (with higher prices). I know my work is good, I just haven’t gotten to the right venues. All my artist friends and co-workers have also said that it’s a crappy time to sell art. No one is buying. I should be pushing more with galleries and competitions (which often have shipping costs, though).  Right now I feel like my art is taking a sabbatical while I figure out my finances, moving, my relationship, and getting myself back to center. FAIL.

Submit work to Seattle Art Museum’s rental sales gallery
I’ve already had art as part of their inventory. I have gotten regular checks from my work being rented, but they returned a few pieces and didn’t have many left from me at the start of 2009. I submitted work once during the year, and when asking about doing it, was told repeatedly that they were not accepting any submissions. In fact, they were scaling back their inventory for everyone. The economy hit them hard I believe. Through no fault of my own, this was an unachievable goal. FAIL.

Review art submissions regularly
I’ll say up front: FAIL. I really stepped back from thinking about art, submitting to competitions, or anything! I had other things on my mind this year, my health (still recovering from a car accident, not exercising, and living in an art studio that did not foster activity very well), my job (a lot of stress there, but it’s improved as my people and management skills have increased), my finances, and then moving. I think, looking forward to this coming new year, that I’m ready to be more active, get healthier, and focus on ME, rather than my art.

Save a $1,000 Emergency Fund
SUCCESS! I had this in place early in 2009. Initionally I focused on saving this more than paying off debt. It was at $1,000 for most of the year, until November hit. I had a large unexpected car issue (a wasp shorted out my engine) that I elected to use my EF to pay for some of it (since my car fund was emptied at that time) so that I could continue to pay debt down – I had been behind and felt like I needed to catch up. I know it was the right decision, and I will continue to pay back my EF and it should be back at $1,000 by end of March.

Snowflake $100/month
Complete and total FAIL. I think this was too ambitious. I was not ready to get a second job; I did not have internet, so could not do surveys; I did not live in a good area for doing a yard sale; I could not sell stuff on ebay/craigslist since I didn’t have internet; and it was a horrible year to sell art. I think I chose this goal since so many other people were doing something similar. I’m doing this journey solo while being in a relationship, and I think it’s much harder to do unless you have a 100% support from your family. Not an excuse but I don’t think I was ready for this quite yet.

Yet for all of the fails above, overall I feel quite positive about the year. I paid off over $8K in debt (or 18%), I have some savings, I’m in a better living situation than when I started, and I have a plan in place to complete the journey! I may do it a little slower than some, but it’s something I know I can maintain easily. I even feel like my debt payoff date is too conservative and that I can do it faster! Unofficially, I hope to be out of debt by the end of 2013.

Next posting will be on my plans and goals for 2010.

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Bye-Bye NCN & Year-End Debt Check-In

December 31, 2009 at 11:17 am (blog housekeeping, goals) ()

The NCN Network and their cute progress pie charges are going the way of the US Housing market (down out and away), or do I mean my year-end bonus? I have to say I’m disappointed. I enjoyed going there every so often and updating changes to my debt balance. It was nice to get a visual snapshot of my debt journey status. Apparently, this has been disabled and discontinued.

Because of this, I have removed their page from my blogroll, (which, on a side note, has been getting mighty slim lately). I’ve also removed 2 other blogs, one for inactivity, and another because they were not as for-real debt-minded as I had originally thought, and I wasn’t having as much fun reading it.

I’ll have to look for more blogs to add. In the meantime, to make up for this loss, I’d like to state that currently, I am 18% towards my goal of paying off $45,117 of debt! I realized I had enough extra money to bring my total up from the previous 17.4%, which had the added bonus of moving my debt total to *under* $37K! I’m super excited!

I think the first year is the hardest  – making significant changes in spending and saving habits, starting a budget and sticking to it month in and month out. I feel confident that I will be able to beat my goal date of May 2014, after seeing my progress for more than a year! I expect I should be able to get it done by the end of 2013.

I expect I’ll have additional income – I fully expect at least a $.50 raise starting Jan. 1, my job is stable and not in danger of disappearing. The other important aspect to consider is that the amount of money I spend on interest will continue to decline over time, as I pay down the principal on my debt. That means more of my monthly debt payments will go towards the principal and less towards interest.

I should also mention that I redistributed my debt totals within my Wells Fargo loans to put as much as I could in my lowest-interest loan, the SBA loan. I have under $1,500 left on my Personal Line of Credit (10% interest), and the SBA loan is almost maxed out (5% interest). My only other debt, which I had transferred to a US Bank credit card, is currently at 0% with no visible ending date. I will continue to pay the minimum on that for as long as they keep the interest at 0%! By March, I should have paid off the rest of the Personal Line and have only the US Bank and the SBA loan. So my only interest will be at 5%. I don’t think I’ll be able to beat that!

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Almost 1-year, am I meeting my repayment goals?

November 24, 2009 at 9:42 am (debt stats, goals)

I began this blog, and a budget, in Oct. ’08, but I didn’t begin paying down debt until the start of 2009. As the year comes to a close, I decided to do a check-in to see if I’ve stuck to the plan and am on track to pay off all my debt within my planned 5.5 years.

I originally planned on my debt repayment journey taking a full 6 years, but thought I could do it by my birthday in May, instead, so I shortened it to 5.5 years, as an arbitrary, but hopefully realistic goal.

If I divide my initial debt, $45,765, by 5.5 years, that comes out to $8,237 per year, or just over 18%.

It’s funny, I recently updated my No Credit Needed chart, and thought, hmm, looks like I’ve been doing pretty good so far – the pie wedge shape that is “paid” seems pretty large (it is 16.18%), which is completely opposite of how I thought I’d been doing! I had fallen off the budget bandwagon for 2 months earlier this year, so thought I was seriously behind. I’ve only paid off $7,500 so far this year and had been thinking how poorly I’ve done.  

Turns out I’m pretty darn close to where I should be. I’ve done better than I had realized.

I don’t know that I can completely pay an additional $737 (the remaining balance I need to pay to meet my 18% goal) off before the end of December, but I will be very close! I could always raid some of my mini-funds/emergency fund to pay it all and reach my goal, or maybe I’ll just let it slide. There’s a chance I might actually get a small bonus from work (we’re on the edge of making it!), so I may be able to make up any lost ground in January.

I’ll do a follow-up post beginning of January to fill you all in on my progress and the final result.

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Retirement status check-in

November 21, 2009 at 8:49 am (goals) ()

My company uses Paychex  for employee benefits and wages. They have an interesting online retirement calculator that I just discovered and began playing with. The basics to start: my age (upper 30s), annual salary (almost $50,000 including overtime), my current savings (currently $46K, a week ago it was $50K, darn it!), and my monthly savings allotment. 

They have some basic pre-sets, such as annual cost of living raises, or 3%, and expected rate of return, 7%. Right now I’m in a somewhat aggressive mix of funds, since I don’t care and it will be 25-30 years before I start seeing any of this money, if not longer. 

So here’s the wakeup call. To get enough in there for it to continue making money in interest, enough to live on, I would have to get about 1.6 million to retire and live at 80-85% of my current salary. So how much would I have to put in savings every month to reach that goal? 

15% of my salary! 

It’s funny, I started thinking what it would look like once I’m out of debt. You know the thoughts, “if I didn’t have to pay the minimums or pay extra towards the principals, what would I do with the extra money that I’m throwing away every month?” I think all the learning I’ve done by reading and joining the PF blog community has been a major education. I think I’d love to live a little less frugally, but not excessively so. I’d like to be able to save up for some vacation trips, a month for southern france, a scotch and photo tour of scotland, that kind of thing. But I think I’m finally grown up financially. I don’t think I’ll ever be as frivolous as I’ve been. I know I will never rack up debt again.

I know when this long journey is over (and I still have a long ways to go), that I’ll definitely continue budgetting and instead of debt-paying, saving. I fully expect to increase my 401K allotment significantly past the current 3% that I contribute. That’s enough right now to get an employee match (not much, but at least something). I’ll also continue to sock cash away to have at least a 6-month cushion of living expenses. I’ll also start contributing to a Roth IRA every year and begin investing.

I guess once I become debt-free, 15% won’t be that big of a deal, I think I already spend about 25-30% on debt each month.

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