I just wanted to say that I'm really enjoying reading your posts! I do pretty well managing money and am in a decent position so far with regard to saving for retirement, but you're inspiring me to see what more I can do.
IOBA, are you an accountant?
Follow my financial journey: http://www.frugalrican.com
lolabelle - aw, thank you! I plan to post weekly about the plan for a 100 grand. I have already started to sum up this week's actions into a points to post.
FrugalRican - nope, not an accountant. Friends say I have a PhD in finance, since I "get it" and can talk circles around bankers and accoutants, but I do not have the formal degree. A lot of my "smarts" is from having to be responsible for myself at a very young age. I learned early on how to stretch a dollar, comparsion shop, etc. Since then, I am a sponge, soaking up as much information as I can about different topics.
The third week closed with a nice jump in interest being earned!
The amount of money that I need to find under a rock for my 100 grand plan – currently $28,953.73. The number subject to change on a weekly basis as I find money here and there, while earning a little interest on my savings/cd’s.
IOBA -- your money management is fascinating to read about! I have a few questions though.
What do you use your credit cards for?
How do you budget for gift giving <--- THIS is a huge money drain for us. It seems like every time we turn around there's a housewarming, there's a baby shower, wedding shower, wedding gift, graduation, BESIDES all the birthdays. What do YOU do?
Your savings plan, laddered CDs, and everything else you've spoken of in your other posts amazes me!
Oh yes, you keep referring to TSP -- what does that stand for?
Thank you for your inspirational posts. I really appreciate everything you've written.
Well, add me to the pile of inspired individuals. I will be following your journey and appreciate you sharing with us!
I have a five month old who has more money in his savings account than I did in mine, so I decided instead of just saving for him, I should save for myself, too. It's funny that you say you pay yourself first, because that was a realization that I just recently came to after a few months of dumping extra money into my savings. I'd heard the saying before but I never applied it to myself. Rent is priority, utilities are priority, my car was a priority before I paid it off - I should be a priority, too! At least over shopping and snacks from work!
I have recently budgeted and with all of my bills, I have too much money left over to not be able to save some of it. Hilariously enough, I have managed to save more money with a baby than I ever did before he came along. No more going out every night, buying drinks and $30 worth of Taco Bell.
discernment - So glad you asked!
1. Credit cards -
* Lots of work travel. Sometimes takes up to three months to be reimbursed. Yes, there is a work issued cc, but I would rather put it on my cc and earn the points.
* Gas and auto maintenance/repairs. Even though my car has 130k+ miles on it, it's still all maintenance with no repair bills yet. (Thank you!)
* Cell phone. I call up each month and charge the cell phone to the cc.
* Maintenance. Anything that is maintenance for anything, I put on the cc. For the points, of course.
* Some food - if I run out of cash. I do try to stick to cash for food related purchases.
* On occasion - entertainment. I don't go to the movies very often. When I do, it's the discount theater. Or I will rent a movie from Redbox. I will go to museums, aquriums, etc. I try to plan ahead so I can pay cash for these, but sometimes, it's not in the cards. I also ask for every possible discount for the ticket, if the place is not free. I ask for AARP, AAA, military, out of state, it's Wednesday, it's nearly closing time discount. I am often pleasantly surprised to receive some kind of discount! lol - um, I don't have membership with all of those things listed, but I ask.
* National Park Pass - $80 - charge. For the points of course. I don't buy it every year, same time. I wait until I go to a National Park and then purchase it. So sometimes, but not always, there is a gap in the membership.
2. Gift giving. For the most part, we actually stopped gift giving.
* For the kids, we put in money into their bank account. Basically, a dollar for their age (20 yrs old gets $20) until the age of 25. Then we stop. The kids receive gifts from their friends and from their grandparents. They never seem to appreciate the effort people put into gift buying for them. So we stopped. The money saved up until there was enough to put into a cd for them. There it sits until one of two things happens - they graduate from college with a Bachelor's or higher OR they pull their heads out of their behind. <--- to explain, we have one adult child who doesn't speak to us for other reasons. So the money will sit in the cd indefinitely. She's 24 next month. The next adult child graduates from college next month (oh my gosh - in 2 weeks!). if he stays in touch and talks to us after graduation, then he will be given a choice of what to do with the mula in the CD. The third one knows it's there and can't wait to get his hands on it. But he has some time yet - he's only 18 and still in high school. In addition to the birthday money, we put aside $100 into their accounts for every year of high school that they complete successfully with a cap of four years. The idea is that they can use that as seed money when they graduate from college to get their first place, or whatever. We also give the kids (or mail them) a nice card.
* We also offer the kids the home cooked meal of their choice and an experience. We use to do birthday bbq's and pizza parties. For major events, like graduation, we offer them a trip to some place they would really like to go to BUT they have to plan it themselves and give us the information at least 6 months prior to departure so we can plan for it and save for it. Little kids are happy with local things - like the park, the pool, the bowling alley, grandma's. Older kids want to go a little further away. The young adults want to take more exotic trips - like to Europe. We said ok, but we need a year to save. Too long for them to wait. Lol.
* Parents - a nice card for birthday, mother/father days, and the holidays. At the holiday time, we send a food basket that everyone there for the holidays can enjoy OR we send them a gift card for their grocery store so they can indulge. One set of parents is very comfortable with money, but won't indulge in some unique things. The other set of parents have a fluxating income in their retirement.
* Siblings - a birthday and holiday card.
* Neices, nephews, cousins - a birthday card. Some neices, nephews, cousins are kinder and actually say thank you and acknowledge the card. Those relatives are invited to join us for fun activities and trips. For those that don't. well, ok, your choice. When they were little, we would do things like present them with fresh strawberries from the garden - they loved it! It was edible and in the moment! As they grew older, sharing experiences and spending time together worked.
* Co-workers - a nice card.
* Baby showers, bridal showers, and all of those types of things - a nice card.
* Housewarming gift - I give them toilet paper, paper towels, and keenex. Stuff I already have here. Seriously, I do give them that stuff!
To sum up the gift giving - we don't go shopping and spending money very often. Our max budget is $200 for the year. That includes kids, etc. It was a major change for us, especially for me. But I find that I don't stress over finding the perfect gift. I dont' worry about the money. And nobody expects something from me, other than to spend some time together and make a new memory. It's WONDERFUL!!
If I come across something that is sooo perfect for someone, I pick it up and give it to them as a gift. It's a "Just because you are you" gift.
Going to giving cards and memories is a major change for many people, but it's soooo worth it if you do make the change!
3. Savings plan, laddered CD's, and everything else --- it's amazing how much I have been able to save without realizing it! Pay yourself first. The CD's really surprised me! I have more in CD's than I do in savings - for the moment.
4. TSP - thrift savings plan. It's the goverment version of a 401k plan.
5. You didn't mention it, but it goes along with gift giving - and that is donations. We set aside $200 a year for cash donations. Now this is going to surprise you. It definitely surprised me. The few places I have given cash donations to before haven't asked since. It's shocking. I also have a rule with them - I want an acknowledgement, a thank you for the donation. Since no one has asked for a donation recently, it's kinda faded out of the budget. The same mula that was set aside a few years ago just sits there, earning interest.
6. Debit card -- I don't have one. If I want cash, I have to plan it out and walk into a branch. Really helps with not overspending.
Along the same lines, I participate in free cycle. It's nice to know that I can give to my neighbors and the items will be used.
Week four is about to end...and boy do I have some stuffs to share!
Edited to correct a spelling error.
Adalen - I this sounds different, but I really do pay myself first. You mention rent, car payment, utilties as being priortities... For me, those are secondary things.
My first priority is savings. The money is direct deposited into an interest bearing account each payday. I predetermined how much I could save when I did my budget. So that amount is saved first. Period. No matter what.
Then I get my "budget" money into my checking account, different bank. You know how things are - we budget, we plan, and life happens. It doesn't matter. The first thing I do is buy that CD. Period. No matter what.
Then I use what is left over and massage it into paying the bills. Sometimes I have to cut back on my food budget becuase I have to pay a medical bill or the utiltiies were higher than planned for. Sometimes, I have money left over from the gas account. Well, ya know what?
That money left over from gas stays in the gas savings account so that I build up enough to pay for maintenance. AND it earns interest!
I am not in a position to do a buget plan with the utility companies right now. (I had a house mate that ran up the electric to an average of $300 a month! MY average bill is closer to $20-25 so it's not financially feasible for me to be on the budget plan right now.) But I encourage everyone to do the budget plan! It makes creating and sticking to a budget so much easier!
1. My suggestion to you would be to figure out how much you can save for yourself. Put it in another bank where it's near impossible to get to.
2. Then set a small amount of money to put into your son's account. Say $25-50 a paycheck? Let it sit there until there is enough for a CD. Then move it into a CD.
3. Put all loose change into a diaper fund. It will cover incidentials that the budget says no way to. It does add up! (I put my loose change in the bank almost weekly. It makes a huge difference.)
4. Put $10-25 into a Mommy Massage Fund, aka as the Parent Massage Fund, aka the Me Time Fund. That is play money for you, for those times you need to have some pampering.
Focus on short term savings, medium term savings, and long term savings.
Short term - is in the next year or so. I save money every paycheck for taxes, car tags, National Park pass, things like that.
Medium term - that is five - ten years or so. Although my car has 130k+ miles on it now, I know that in five years or so, I will probably need to purchase another car.
Long term - that is ten years and beyond...or to infiity? Isn't that what Buzz Lightyear would say? That is retirement (FIRST) and college education (SECOND). And remember, not every kid will go to college, so don't lock it up in a Education fund that only can be used for tutiion! Put it into other things you can get to in the event the money becomes yours. For example, we have a nephew who has really **bleep**ty parents. I don't think he has the smarts for college and I know he doens't have the home support to go to college. We have been saving for him, just like we did for our kids (birthday money, holiday money, and $100 for each year of successful high school, limit 4 yrs). After he graduates high school, if we can talk to him, we'll tell him about the money. It's not going to be a whole lot of money, but it's enough to help him get started on his life. And if he wants to live here and go to school, it will pay for one semester. No one knows about the money, for the obvious reason he has **bleep**ty parents and we arent' doing this for our other nephews/neices.
That is all very great information, thank you so much! I actually put $80/m (minimum) in the baby's account and extra if I have it and at the end of the year, we are planning to put it into a CD and continue that every year (for infinity). I had been trying to figure out how I would organize my savings accounts and short/long term goals sounds a lot less painful than all the math I was trying to do.
Thanks for sharing.
Thank you for answering my questions and sharing further useful information, I am an old dog STILL trying to learn some new tricks!