I dropped my car payoff envelope in the mail yesterday. It feels good to have a car paid off when it still has less than 3500 miles on it.
I cheated a bit to do it, (took $1K out of my emergency fund to do so), but I didn't want to have to wait any longer. This will be replaced next month.
All in all, I estimate I saved about 500$ on interest by paying it off early. That money certainly wouldn't of made that much sitting in my 1.85% APY ING Account, so I'm glad I did it.
Upon replenishing my emergency fund back to an even $10K, I will begin to fund my Roth IRA for the year. Also, I have raised my 401(k) contributions by a percentage point. I will bump that higher if I get a pay increase later on in the year (at this point, I'm happy just having a job given the economic conditions).
It's time to start building my housing down payment fund. I believe I can realistically put a $1K a month toward this goal, which I will keep in a separate ING account as demonstrated by JD's How to Prioritize Savings Goals (http://www.getrichslowly.org/blog/2009/02/20/ask-the-readers-how-to-prioritize-savings-goals/
) post the other day. I don't want to rent forever and would like to buy my own place in the next 3-4 years -- depending on how the housing sector and my earning is looking at that time.
I would like to re-sign my lease in my current apartment as it fits my lifestyle for the moment, am comfortable with my financial goals at this cost of rent, and would like to avoid paying moving costs this year. I will have this conversation with my landlord soon -- I'm still about 6 months away.
Random tips of the month:
- Never go grocery shopping without the weekly ad which shows up in the mail each Wednesday.
- Go grocery shopping every Sunday to have food at home, helps avoid eating out. Also, I buy things that are good deals, even if I don't "need" them at the moment to save them in the cupboards for future use.
- Self-imposed 1 drink limit when I go out to a bar or pub with friends. Generally have a few drinks at home before or after.
- Avoided internet purchases, no matter how small. At times, I would buy things that were "good deals", even though I didn't really "need" them!
- Track all spending in Yodlee (including splitting and categorizing cash purchases -- allows for accuracy and "no cheating").
- Spent a lot of time studying for my Microsoft certifications lately. These exams are paid for by my work, can grow my career and earning, and are a good use of my time.