Sunday, January 31, 2010


January is officially coming to an end, our first full month back to regular, non-furloughed paychecks. Total debt is up for the month by $237, a figure I'm content with. This month we made my first payment for school (which is worth so much more than the $237 we ended up netting!) and we have two more monthly installments ahead of us. With the big credit card payments we're able to make right now, we should be able to hold steady for February and March, and start seeing a reduction again in April.

Still feeling good about 2010.

Monday, January 18, 2010

The "List"

I'm a list girl. I make to-do lists, shopping lists, planning lists, lists of goals, wish lists, even lists referencing other lists.

One list that has been hugely instrumental in our journey to pay off our debt was one I made a couple of years ago, and periodically add to, edit and adjust. It's a wish list of sorts, a list of "extras" or things that we'd like to buy but need to save up for, both large and small.

Just like dieting without ever allowing yourself a treat will backfire, so it is with saving money. Sometimes a person needs to splurge a little to keep herself on track! So we plan for those splurges, and we save for those splurges. Instead of rushing out with a credit card in hand, we wait until the bills are all paid, all the necessities are taken care of, and we have the funds available. Waiting for something you want to buy makes you 1) be sure you really want to make that purchase. Sometimes things get crossed off the list before we get around to buying them, and 2) appreciate it so much more. Delayed gratification is indeed a powerful thing.

This week, we pooled some Christmas and birthday money and ordered a new telephoto lens for the camera, something that's been on the list for over a year. I can't wait to get it, try it out, and enjoy it... 100% guilt-free.

Yes, I love lists.

Sunday, January 3, 2010

2010 Goals

3 days into the New Year, and after sitting down with a pen, paper, and calculator, it didn't take us long to determine where we needed to be headed over the next 12 months.

Our specific goals for the New Year:

1. Begin a monthly savings for our trip east in 2011. We are planning (loosely for now) to take 3 weeks off and drive back east to visit some friends and family in the fall of 2011. It's an ambitious goal, to be sure, but we know the only way we can possibly make it into a reality is to start saving what we can, and start now.

2. Reinstate our 401K savings. With the furloughs, we had to cut back everything we possibly could, and that included the 401K contributions for a short period of time. We knew we could only responsibly do it temporarily, so next month it will go back into effect.

3. Increase our monthly savings for our car expenses. We save every month so that we have the cash available when registration, insurance, and repairs become due. Like many other areas of our budget, it took a reduction because of the furloughs. Next month that will go back up as well.

4. It should go without saying, but we will also continue to snowball towards our target credit card. This year we hope to see a substantial reduction in credit card debt by the end of the year.

We're ready.