My 27th birthday has come and gone, and for the first time in my life I'm taking a serious look at my spending habits and personal finances... or lack thereof.
The main catalyst, besides getting older and wiser, is that I'd dearly like to move to Portland, OR some time next year, and right now we can't afford to. My husband and I have been living in TX for the last year, almost entirely off my $60K salary, and I'm ashamed to say we've been living a bit out of our means.... cleaning lady, yard care, 2 cars for 2 people... we don't have CC or car debt, but with our hefty student loan payments ($600/mo for a combined $50k in loans) and a sizeable rent payment every month, we've been slowly chipping away at the $7K we had in the bank.
1) Track and eliminate excess spending. We signed up for Mint.com last month, on GRS's suggestion, and I was FLOORED by how much we were spending a month on eating out. Over $500 a month for two people!! That's almost as much as our student loan payments combined! So, we're cutting way back on the restaurants, letting the cleaning lady go, and cancelling a number of other monthly charges and extra stuff we don't need.
2) Bring in extra income on top of my salary, and use it to pay off the student loans. My husband does freelance work, but it's been a slow summer. He's ramping up now, though, and is on track to bring in a total of $15-$20K for 2008. We're also spending our free time putting together two web businesses related to the specialized work I do, which don't cost much for us to launch, but could easily bring in a few thousand a month. If that happens, the profits are going entirely towards killing our loans.
3) Sign up for an index fund with Vanguard and start putting money away for a house/retirement.
4) Get ourselves to the point where we can move to Portland and do well in the less-stable job environment there.
So yeah! I don't think anyone is going to be at all interested in these goals of ours, but it feels great to write them down! Thanks for letting me share.