Thursday, March 26, 2009

Saving and Debt Priorities Edits

I filed my taxes earlier this month because it was one of my monthly goals for March. After spending my federal tax refund in my head several times before I actually received it, I decided to use a chunk of it to purchase a MacBook. The rest of the refund (about $800) went to my emergency fund which let me reach my $3,000 amount for my short term emergency fund earlier in the year than I thought I would. I'm still waiting on my state (District to be accurate) refund, it will go straight to savings though.

I must say I LOVE my new computer. I didn't realize how slow and ancient my 5 year PC laptop was until I started using my new MacBook. This will most likely be my largest purchase of the year and I think it was worth it. I am a grad student and having a reliable computer is important to stay in touch with my instructors and to do assignments. I also enjoy all of the features Mac's have but still need to play with them to learn how to use them.

So now that that purchase is out of the way, any other unexpected and expected windfalls in 2009 will go toward these categories:

  1. Emergency Fund. Since I am far from having 8 month's of living expenses saved, I will continue to add to this fund (a minimum of $50 per month) but still have to evaluate how much I want to save by the end of 2009. I realize if I had a true emergency, my savings is meager and I want to remedy this as soon as possible.
  2. Credit card balance. I've been treading water with my credit card balances, not really increasing it, but not really paying off which is ideal. I want my credit cards to be completely paid off by this time next year, I can't start another year with this albatross around my neck. I will pay a minimum of $500 per month on my credit card debt from now until the end of the year. Out of the three credit cards I have, I am focusing on the card with the highest balance because it has the highest interest rate. I know people like Dave Ramsey have a different view on this, but I HATE paying high finance charges and would rather pay down the higher interest card faster than the lower interest cards (one currently has a 0% APR). I know my progress is less apparent this way, but its the way I prefer.
  3. IRA Starter Fund. I still have the goal of opening a Roth IRA with Vanguard, but don't want to raid my emergency fund to open one up, so I am saving separately for this goal to achieve by the end of 2009.
  4. 2010 Travel. I want to go on at least one international trip in 2010. So even if its just $5 or $10, I will add to this fund each month.
Other goals like a car fund, student loan pay off, and home down payment are to be saved for 2010. think my goals will remain the same through the rest of the year. I haven't been focusing on my finances much recently. But now its time to get refocused. My budget also needs to be tweaked, my birthday month is soon coming to a close and I've felt very spendy lately (I'll blame it on a minor quarter life crisis now that I'm 25). Hey, I'm human! But now it's time to get my spending back in check.


Anonymous said...

I bought my MacBook with my refund last year. Best thing I''ve ever bought, hands down. The only bad thing is that a lot of stuff is designed for PCs so it's fun to figure out how to make it work on your system.