OK, time for an update and some accountability. Which means it's not as good as it should be.
As of Sept. 19
SAVINGSS-1) 2007 SEP-IRA for DH - fully funded at $7900 - DONES-2) 2008 403(b) contributions for me - Contribute $1000/month - DONE S-3) Establish Emergency account of $10,000 - Currently have $8000
No change - I forgot about September estimated taxes, so no new deposits.S-4) Max out 403(b) contribution with October raise - additional $291 per month
To be done, I hope (assuming we get raises this year - the economy is starting to look bleak, so merits may be canceled).S-5) I need to establish an ING Direct account.
I got an email with a link (which I just checked, and it's now expired), but haven't done it yet. They want $250 to start the account. I will deposit $150 in birthday checks to my credit union savings account next week, and then transfer the $250 to ING for that new account.DEBT REDUCTION
DR-1) Pay off joint credit card (current balance $12,535, Interest rate of 6.12%)
OK, not good. We bought two big-ticket items in August/September. Current balance - $16,906.
And that's with a September payment of $3K. I don't regret the purchases, but maybe we should have paid cash? Actually, we couldn't have for one - we were out of town, and the funds were inaccessible.
The only silver lining - DH says the business can finally afford to pay back the $10K he "borrowed" from our personal account in February.
My intent is to pay off as much as possible, while getting the Emergency Fund to the $10K level. This will mean $2K to savings, and $8K paid against the CCd. In addition to the budgeted $3K payment. So that should bring the balance down to more like $6K.DR-2) Pay of individual credit card (current balance $1600, interest rate of 4.99%)
Again, as posted in an earlier note, Girly Weekend and my brother's first visit in-state in 10 months meant we spent more in gas than intended. I also splurged on gifts for others, including sending my SIL to a massage (she has 3 kids, and needed the break). I also had the 30K service on my car - which was $750.
Current balance: $3127. Ouch.
So, I've decided to start watching the expenses. I thought I had them under control, but I see that the past two months, I've been spending more than usual. The good news: I'm starting some new habits.
1) I'm tracking my daily expenditures, and have created a "daily expense spreadsheet." I've discovered, in going back through the past couple of months' of expenses, that I'm spending waaaaayyyy more on gas, gifts, beauty products, books and my car than I expected.
2) I've decided to get back to basics with spending. I've gone to the bank, and withdrawn cash. I have $82 to get me through the end of the month ($7 per day on weekdays, and $10 Sat/Sun). I will carry only that day's money with me.
3) I'm also categorizing any and all credit card and ATM charges. I'm considering going to cash-only for everything on that list, including restaurants, entertainment, car repair, books, gas, lunches and gifts.DR-3) Pay off car loan (current balance $14,369, Interest rate of 5.3%)
Later on the list...
So, while I've taken a couple of steps back, I feel that I'm scrutinizing my habits and unconscious behaviors more aggressively than I have in awhile.
One other note: I reduced my over-withholding for Federal taxes today. My take-home will be an extra $300 per month, which means that CCd WILL BE PAID OFF by the end of the year.