Wednesday, April 11, 2012

What I'm Trying to Do

I’ve read a lot of personal finance and budgeting blogs and what I’ve found is that everyone is trying to do something a little different from everyone else. Why is that? Because we all want different things. Some want to buy house, others want to pay off debt, others are saving for their children’s college funds. What it all adds up to is financial freedom, which does in fact lead to personal freedom. So what is it that I want? What am I trying to do?

  • Establish an emergency fund of at least 3 months

I realize that most financial gurus (Suze Orman for one) suggest 6 to 8 months of an emergency fund. I’m comfortable with three considering that for my entire adult life I’ve had none. This would equal about $4000. Will I save beyond that at some point? Yes….but not to the exclusion of other things….like a house.

  • Buy a house

I have some qualms about this one and it may not happen but I do think that owning a home is a sound investment, I would prefer to not continue renting forever, and while I dream of moving to another state where the climate is better (I hate the heat) the reality is that in this economy I won’t be leaving my job any time soon. Also I know that I could always rent my home if I chose to leave. So for now this is on the agenda. While the above mentioned expert says not to even consider buying a home unless you have 20% saved I plan to save 5% and hopefully qualify for an FHA loan. I will also save another $5000 for closing costs and inspections. My intention is to buy a home in the $100,000 range. Therefore this will require an additional $10,000 in savings. I believe that’s something I can achieve by the end of next year.

  • Lose weight

I’m sure to most this doesn’t sound like it has anything to do with finances but…I beg to differ. Being fat is expensive. I plan to detail this in another post but here are some ways being overweight impacts your budget: food costs, clothing costs, medical costs – need I say more? Don’t worry – I will later.

  • Improve my credit

I have a history of being financially irresponsible. I’m not going into detail but the truth is that until I came to work at my current job I made very little money. It doesn’t excuse my behavior but it does explain it. As soon as I began making what is truly a “living wage” my bills started being paid. My credit has improved a lot in the last few years but my intention is to continue that trend with excellent payment history and a good debt to income ratio.

  • Earn my bachelor’s and master’s degrees without student loans

I’m a lucky girl because my job has tuition reimbursement. I’m using that program to its fullest in order to earn my undergraduate degree in business. My hope is to graduate in December. This is being a little overly ambitious and it very well could be May. Regardless – I’m moving in that direction. Long term goal – MBA. Once again while this is not directly related to personal finance it will impact my earning potential over the long term.

So now that you know what I’m trying to do the next obvious question is – how am I going to do it?

Short term goals:

1. Save $250 per pay period for the rest of 2012 (20 pay periods X $250 = $5000 savings)

2. Lose 7-8 lbs per month (weight loss of approximately 60 lbs by the end of the year)

3. Complete my bachelor’s degree in 2012

How I’m going to do it:

1. Use a spending tracker – track all expenses, discretionary and necessary

2. Join a gym, give up soda, fast food, and eating out for the most part

3. Continue taking classes

What is it that you want to accomplish with your budget?

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