Thursday, September 29, 2005

My Net Worth

I started tracking my net worth in August. At first I was terribly excited and squeeing all over the place because I figured that for the first time since graduating college I had a positive net worth. Then I remembered that pesky loan my dad gave me and shrank up. But the outlook was good; I was down only $148.

So for September, even though I have no net additions to my savings account, my net worth went up by almost $300, due mostly to contributions to my 403(b). I now have a positive net worth!

Go check it out at NetWorthIQ.

*Note: I have not included my personal business debt or assets. I may include them at end-of-year but for right now it's hard to track. I may also be able to track them easily if I ever buy Money or Quicken.

Wednesday, September 28, 2005

My Debt


*nervous laughter*

Perhaps I’m in denial?

I feel guilty that I haven’t mentioned my debt yet, when I’ve been talking about all this spending and saving. So here goes…

Hi. My name is PKThunder, and I have about $19,000 of debt.

I feel better now. I think the reason that I hadn’t mentioned it already is because it’s not terribly stress-inducing debt. It’s either good debt in the form of a student loan, or “stable” debt in the form of a monthly car payment, or it’s business debt, offset by the pile of inventory in my home office. But it’s still debt, and here are the details:

Business credit card: $2,284
Car Loan: $11,893
Student Loan: $3,378
Family member Loan: $1,485
Total: $19,041

So what’s my plan? Well, my dream is to be debt-free by my 30th birthday (less than three years away). There is a good possibility that it happens sooner. It depends on how much more important I place starting a Roth IRA and saving for a down payment on a home.

In the meantime, there is the wedding. I’ve decided to pay just my regular monthly payments on these loans until after the wedding, with the exception of the loan from my dad, but that’s just an additional $12 a month to make it a more “round” number.

I feel like I should be doing more with the debt, but as the wedding date approaches, I know there will be more and more things I’ll need to pay for and I don’t want additional debt because of it.

When March comes, it will be full-speed ahead! Because the non-credit card loans are within .05% of each other, I’ve decided to do the smallest-balance-first snowball method. The business credit card will be handled separately, of course, and I will be making payments on that as I make sales/profits. Then once my inventory is paid off, I can start paying myself!

Writing this out makes me feel better about my plan and my reasons for waiting to accelerate the debt reduction. For now I must keep my spending low, and any money still left in my savings account after the wedding will be proof that I’ve been doing a good job.

Tuesday, September 27, 2005

Change Jar

Hobie and I have been saving all of our spare change in a jar for about a year now, and this past weekend we took it to the bank to cash it in. We had already decided months ago that we were going to spend this money frivolously, and now we had just about $124 to blow. And what is Hobie's and my favorite guilty pleasure? Eating out!

So we went to Starbucks and Einstein Bros. for breakfast (very suburban!), and had a delicious dinner at The Melting Pot Saturday night. Here’s a helpful hint for those wanting to stretch your frivolous, blow-it-all-in-a-weekend money: Go to The Melting Pot late at night and ask for the Good Night Delight Special. We got all four courses (cheese, salad, entrée, and chocolate) plus a bottle of wine for $59 plus tax and tip, saving over $22.

We were going to save the remainder for a sushi dinner, but I had been having a hankering for Chili’s and I found out that yesterday they were donating 100% of their profits to St. Jude’s Childrens Hospital, so we went there instead. We’ll have sushi some other time.

And in wedding plans news…

We are now going to have a mini-honeymoon at Walt Disney World. My parents joined the Disney Vacation Club this year and have offered some of their “points” for us to stay a few nights at the resort and have a little fun and relaxation before we get back to the daily grind. This is now very affordable for us, as we will only have to pay for meals, gas and whatever activities we decide to do. Maybe by then we’ll have enough saved up in our change jar to have a fancy dinner somewhere in Disney.

Monday, September 26, 2005

Found money!

While researching Citi's new college rewards card (mtvU Platinum Visa, tantalizing because of it's generous rewards for restaurants, etc.), I started to wonder about what rewards are offered with my old Citibank Platinum Select, paid off and unused for 2.5 years. I logged in online and found 1801 points waiting for me! I can redeem those for a $10 gift card at any of several retailers.

I doubt I'm getting anything better than 1 point per dollar spent on that card, and these points will be expiring soon (only good for 3 years, I believe), so I won't bother trying to save up for the more points-efficient $50 gift card for 5000 points.

But dude! Free $10! Now I just have to decide if I want gas, or lattes or new clothes or something else entirely.

PS - you must be enrolled as a college student to qualify for the mtvU Visa. Boo. :(

Friday, September 16, 2005

Hobie's ring arrived yesterday, and it fits! Whew! I was a bit worried because he has such a big size and the company I ordered from cannot size it or replace it, only offer me the opportunity to buy another size at half price. I also had it engraved, which means I couldn't return it at all if it wasn't right. But everything's great, and I don't have to worry about it anymore. It's a pretty big hunk of gold. I'm impressed. I might have it appraised.

Now that that is out of the way, we look at the other expenses. My mom sent me a check for $100 for "veil", so that counts toward my Additional Wedding Expenses (AWS). So that makes the current amount I need to save for this category $1900. If we count four months (Oct, Nov, Dec, and Jan), that will mean saving $475 a month. I can do that. I will do that.

My savings took a huge hit this month because Hobie and I bought ski gear and passes (something we've been talking about since last spring after giving it a try and renting gear last winter), but I will still have about $350 in it at the end of the month.

My dreams of a honeymoon I've put on hold again. I don't think that should be a priority right now. Hobie and I do want to travel more some day, but we can wait until we've got a stronger financial foundation (and more vacation time).

So I'm doing okay. I like knowing that even though I put over $1000 on the credit card this month, I'll be able to pay it off.

Hmmm... note to self: Now that we have jewelry and expensive sporting equipment in the house, not to mention Mary Kay inventory and electronics, maybe I should look into renter's insurance.

Friday, September 09, 2005

I've purchased Hobie's wedding band through an online retailer for about $100 less than what I would have paid at Kay Jewelers. I charged it to my Citi card (to earn the cash back). Last week I moved a bunch of money into savings to anticipate this expense, and I figured I'd move it back in time for the charge to come due. But now I'm looking at my budget for the rest of the month, and if I can survive on $152 dollars between the Sept 15 and Sept 30 paydays, I won't have to tap into the savings. It can stay there and earn interest and be used for other wedding expenses.

Speaking of the wedding expenses, I went through and tried to think of all the expenses that I would need to pay for or pitch in, and I came up with a total of $2500, estimating high. Ouch. That's including the ring (at $500 est.), so really I have about $2000 left to go. This does not include the honeymoon. If I make it through the end of the month (and stick to the above plan), I will have $900 in the bank and 4 1/2 months to save up the remaining $1100.

Doesn't sound too bad, right? That's about $250 a month, and I already have $200 direct deposited to the savings each month from my paycheck. Except winter is expensive. First, there are the ski passes and equipment that Hobie and I want to buy this month. Then there are Christmas presents. And travelling to California to see Hobie's family for Christmas.

And then there is the honeymoon. I got it stuck in my head the past few days that I'd really like to take a cruise with Hobie the week after our wedding. We can go right out of Ft. Lauderdale or Miami, and we won't have to purchase additional plane tickets (as opposed to if we took our honeymoon later). We'll wait to see if we can get a deal and how we look going into the holidays.

Thursday, September 01, 2005

Argh. My "Additional Wedding Expenses" category just jumped up by a couple hundred dollars. On Monday night while Hobie and I were at Costco, I saw in their jewelry display the style of wedding band we both like for him. For $250 less than at Kay Jewelers. So we went back last night to get it, and we found out that they only carry it in size 10. Unfortunately, this style can't be resized, plus, adding three sizes to any ring is not a great idea anyway. So now it looks like I have to buy the more expensive ring, and put it on layaway. Well, I suppose if I were really disciplined, I'd save up in my savings account until I have the whole amount and earn a few cents interest before I have to pay. We'll see.