Sunday, January 31, 2010

The Big Level Off (or Current Net Worth Approximation)

After updating this month's net worth, my graph is beginning to level off. Up 0.59% from last month. Paying off (mostly all of) my credit cards has certainly decreased my liabilities (yay!). My retirement account depreciated a bit. Hmm... It's currently at a previous employer and I'm not sure what I want to do with it.

I remember calling the retirement company and asking if I had to make a decision by a certain date or forfeit my funds. Upon hearing that I didn't have to make a decision, I literally squealed. No joke. The woman on the other end must have thought I was crazy. I guess I like not having to make serious decisions on someone else's timeline. I like to make decisions when I want to. Deciding when to make this is all the fun!

Soon, there will be a new feature to my blog. It will stay a secret for now (it's still in the works). But it will provide more of a peek into my personal life and my goals and dreams. I can't wait to surprise you!

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Not quite done yet...

I was so excited to have paid off my credit cards, I forgot about the residual interest monster. Creeping in to ruin my perfect zero balances. Arriving in light-as-air envelopes. There's no way to escape them. They come in small one and two digit numbers. But they'll make you whip out a check of log in once more to the card site after you thought you were all done.

So far today, I've called three companies and had the best luck with Capital One. $20-something: poof! Gone! It appears I perform better earlier in the day with women rather than later in the day with men. Some of them are so matter-of-fact: "That's legitimate interest... you're supposed to pay that." I'm doing my best to act dumb to get out of these little inconveniences. I know it may still be my responsibility, but I am willing to keep calling. To reach a woman. Earlier in the day. Who will erase them. Forever.

In other news, I was alerted by Mint that I had a $99 annual fee on a completely different card. Interesting. I don't pay annual fees. Especially on cards without points or miles or doodads. What's the point? Again, I reached a man (a gruff man, at that) who proclaimed that I was sent a notice back in October to the effect of this change. After confirming my address with me, he insisted that I must have received it. I demanded that I heard nothing of the sort. In all honesty, the mail he's talking about probably got shuffled away with all of those resumes and job offers. I had bigger fish to fry at that time.

So I will have to pay off and close that account. Bummer. I will try to call tomorrow and reach a woman or a manager and wave my long credit history in their faces. The only caveat is this card used to be with my bank and then it was sold to another creditor. So they don't know of my long history and clout with the bank. This could get ugly.

Friday, January 1, 2010

Goals for 2010

I'm jumping on the bandwagon and creating goals.

[I guess if all the other bloggers were jumping off their proverbial bridges, so then would I]

I don't usually do this sort of thing, especially in the financial realm. Well, I have more short-term goals. Such as, get a paycheck, pay my bills, get a paycheck, pay my bills. I do believe goals would help me reach my full (financial) potential, though.

Backstory: Before attending a recent wedding, I read up on some blogs about the exorbitant costs involved in destination weddings. So I decided to budget and save the amount I needed in cash before charging up a card. It was fun to put together the spreadsheet, figure out the amounts for the different travel options and have an exact number to aim at saving. While I didn't reach my goal of saving the entire amount (bummer! but I got very close), it was actually a fun challenge to see how much I frugalize to make my budgeted goal.

Side note: friend and I are not that close anymore and it's really fun to vent (quietly to myself) the exact amount I spent being there for her on her special day while she's not really here for me now. Just a tip for the future, ladies (and gents!).

So here goes my fun goals!
Personal Savings
I would like to have at least $15,000 in personal savings at the end of the year. This would be roughly an 8-12 month emergency fund.

Credit Card Debt
I will not accrue any credit card debt for this calendar year. (barring any emergencies!)
I will use cash as much as humanly possible.

Student Loans
I will pay off at least half of my student loans ($9k) by the end of this year.

There. That should give me something to measure in 12 months.

As for personal goals, here are what I am aiming for:
Lose Weight
Who isn't listing this one? okay, you with your hand up, I officially hate you!

Make New Friends
This may be hard to balance with my financial goals since friendships do seem to leak my funds. (gifts, lunches, dinners, etc.)
Be a Better Friend to Those Who Are Already My Friend
As easy as a phone call, as hard as just being there. I need to reward those who already love me.

Simplify Life
I sometimes make it a habit to make things harder for myself, instead of easier. Here's a reminder to not torture myself this year.

Organize my Surroundings
This is the work that will lead to simplifying my life. I am always losing things and waste valuable time searching for the most inane things. Why not just organize ahead of time to avoid this wasted time and energy? Methinks others do this already. I was just born and bred to be messy and somewhat enjoy the challenge (but certainly not the stress) of having to find things in a pressured situation.

Okay, so wow. Those personal ones are not very measurable. Perhaps I should set up monthly milestones to achieve for those.