Friday, January 4, 2008

The Beginning

New year's resolutions, goals, commitments... I find the whole business exhilarating. In fact, I probably like the idea of having a goal and accomplishing it more than the goal itself. The challenge keeps me motivated. So this year, I am embarking on the self designed Great Money Challenge.

The Great Money Challenge

  1. I will contribute the maximum allowed to my 403b plan (I have never done that before, and over the past 6 years haven't been contributing anything)= $15,500
  2. I will contribute the maximum allowed to a Roth IRA (don't have one yet, will need to open one)= $5,000
  3. I will pay off all of my non-mortgage debt= $17,843 (all of it, except for $916 in student loans, is at 0%)

  1. I got a raise last month! woohoo! My full time job finally pays me $40K (should I be keeping that private? I'm going to start out with some level of transparency though so that the numbers make sense to people who may be reading). Over my ten year earning history my average annual income has been about $28K so this new number looks really good to me.
  2. My health insurance premiums are completely paid for by my employer (nice perk). In addition, I just switched over to the health plan that will reimburse me up to $300/yr for my gym membership (which I have had for years and which I use 4-6 days a week). I also have a very sparse history of illness.
  3. I bought a house last year and managed to find two great roommates to share it with. With their help, my housing expenses including utilities and high-speed internet is $365/month (which I think is fantastic for any part of the country and especially for my beloved adorable little house).
  4. I do some part time work for a friend which brings in an extra $500/month after taxes (if I choose to put in the hours).
  5. My car is fully paid for. A 2000 Honda with 83K miles.
  6. I have $4K in my cash savings or emergency fund.
  7. I have $10K from some old investments that I will put towards debt repayment and the Roth.
  8. I am single so I don't have expenses for kids or a spouse.
  9. I am a pretty organized person.

Monthly expenses to be grateful for:
Health insurance: $0
Car payments: $0
Child care etc: $0
Housing: $365
Gym membership: $20 (after the reimbursement)

Monthly income to be grateful for:
Full time job that I love: $3334 (before taxes)
Part time job that is flexible: $500(after taxes)

Possible Hurdles
  1. I bought a rental property a year ago but I've been having trouble finding reliable long term tenants. If the house stays vacant for too many months it'll seriously impact my ability to contribute to my retirement plans. I don't plan to use any income from the rental property for living expenses until I have a good cushion saved for surprise expenses.

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