Upcoming Financial Goals

I have a lot of upcoming financial goals, some of which I’m going to have to prioritize because I don’t think I’m going to be able to do all of them in the time frame I’d like. Of course my mind works best when I get all typed out so I can do my “think through” process.

A lot of this isn’t just financial either, it’s also depending on how much time I have left off work. Since I have a large amount of time I am taking off in October, that could hinder these plans as well.

And those that -are- financial, the timing could also depend on what freelance work I am able to pull in. I’m not afraid to work hard for it, so long as I can find the extra work.

Goal #1 – Debt free by March 2011 besides the house

I originally wanted to have this loan from my friend paid off in December, but that has been delayed. The goal for this is technically February now, which is only 2 months later than originally, but because of the delay it may set back all of my other plans below. This is the #1 priority goal before all the others.

Expense Breakdown:
Debt owed to friend: $4800
New Interest Debt: $1000

Estimated Expense:
$6000 by March 2011

Goal #2 – Trip to Scotland in May

A grove-mate is taking a year of college in Scotland starting this month. She wants us all to come out to visit, and of course we -want- to come out to visit. We’re planning to attend the yearly Beltane Festival out there at the end of April/Beginning of May.

My estimates after doing some flight and car rental pricing (haven’t done hotel rooms yet, but I did include a generous figure for them), is it will cost about $1000-$1500 to make this trip. This includes, food, lodging, rental car, spending money, passport, and flight fare. I’d likely save up the higher end of the figure to accommodate any last minute expenses or emergencies. If I don’t happen to spend it all, well then I have a nice cushion to put towards debt so I can’t lose.

As of right now if I started saving, I’d need to save up $161/month, which I am not able to do right now because of my debt repayment plan, and I don’t plan to derail that. However I do get a hefty tax return every year because of my itemized deductions, head of household with a dependent, and mortgage interest, so I suspect the majority of this will be taken care of with that. IF that’s what I decide to spend the tax return on.

If by some chance I am not finished paying off my debts by February, which is highly likely, then the tax return will go there instead. Since I won’t have anymore debt repayments except the house, then it’s still possible I could save up for the Scotland trip in a small amount of time by redirecting my former debt payments into my trip savings.

To be honest, this is probably the most expendable goal out of all of them. Not because I don’t really want to go, I REALLY want to go. But because it’s so expensive -and- the least practical. This trip is one I could really take any time, I don’t necessarily have to do it next year. I want to because my friend will be in college over there, and I know she’d love to see familiar faces. But it is a large expense that isn’t a necessity, and I have to remain practical.

The trips with the boyfriend are very inexpensive, which is why that aren’t rated as expendable (though still expendable as a whole).

Expense Breakdown:

  • $400 round-trip flight, priced this month
  • $400 for car rental fee, will be broken down into shared expense to all those who go, so could range from $50 to $200. I’m going to estimate at $50
  • $200-$250 for food ($30/day for 7 days, generous figure)
  • $100-$200 shopping leeway
  • $135 for a passport
  • $400 for hotel (just a guesstimate, haven’t priced these yet)

Estimated Expense:
$1500 by April 2011

Goal #3 – Time off with the boyfriend

I have two upcoming trips planned around the same time as the Scotland trip. One is to the Trillium festival, which I always go to, and the boyfriend plans to go with me next year. Because of his attendance, I’d likely want to take a few extra days off work to spend with him before and after the festival (especially since it’s also my birthday). This is a relatively inexpensive endeavor. It usually costs at most $50 for me to go to this festival, which includes the festival fee and meal plan. I already have all my camping gear so I don’t need to buy anything except a few odds and ends for him. The main issue here is available time off of work.

The other trip is for me to visit him for his birthday next spring. Which will be relatively inexpensive as well, just food and flight, but would require at least an additional 2 days off of work, maybe 3.

Expense Breakdown:
Trip to Trillium in April: $55 + gas (he will likely pay for his own festival ticket)
Extra Travel/food expenses while he’s visiting: $80
Half of his flight to MD: $100

Half of my flight to -him-: $100
Extra travel/food expenses while I’m visiting $50

Estimated Expense:
$500 to be generous for both trips, by Jan 2011 in order to buy tickets early

Goal #4 – Buy dad a used vehicle in September 2011

I want to buy my dad a used vehicle under $10k that is 2000 or newer, has less than 75k miles, is 4WD, and gets decent gas mileage. But I must pay for it in cash because I refuse to take out anymore debt. So I will have to not only save up for this, but am also researching a proper vehicle for him. I don’t necessarily want to delay this goal, but I may not have a choice. At least his vehicles are working -for now-.

Estimated Expense:
$10,000 is the max I’m willing to pay for this, by September 2011 (or as soon as I am able after that)

So yeah, next spring is looking busier and not financially friendly. I’ll just have to see how things go between now and then.

Last Personal Loan Debt Reduction July 2010

I’m keeping track of my payments towards my final debt balance (besides the house) to kinda see the progress as we reached my goal of having this gone by or in December 2010 April 2011. This report is slightly different because there is no interest on this, as it was a loan from a friend.

  • Starting Balance of Debt in July 2010: $4850
  • Total Payments in July 2010: $50
  • Total Payments YTD: $200
  • Starting Balance for August 2010: $4800
  • $0 Goal: December 2010 April 2011

Notes for this month:
What happened to June!? Well, no payments happened in June, unfortunately. Dad’s emergency gall bladder surgery took up the excess I would have used for debt repayment.

Why is July’s payment so small!? Because of the above, in addition to a new air conditioner and getting dads truck fixed, I created excess debt and decided to make minimum payments on this personal loan until this new interest debt is gone.

I don’t know whether I’m going to make posts on the interest debt that was created, only because it’s fairly small and won’t last that long. I hope to have it paid off soon enough so that I’m only focusing on this debt again.

Additional Payments in this series:
May 2010

See also:
My series of paying off dad’s loan in 8 months and My series of paying off my remaining interest debt.

Making an Effort, No matter how small

I take time every week or so to reconcile my dads accounts (I reconcile my own daily). His checking, the checking I opened for him for his spending money, and any credit accounts he has that have an online system are kept watch of.

I’ve noticed recently that dad has taken it upon himself, without any sort of prodding from me, to start paying double on his Tractor Supply account (his largest account with the most ridiculous interest rate). He still spends money on this account for feed for the animals and occasional odds and ends, but the money he pays back onto this account covers that -and- his minimum payment.

So, slowly but surely he is actually reducing the amount of money on that account all on his own. This is a very good thing, and I am proud.

I’m sure it helps that he no longer has to go the wound-care center, which was costing $112/month in treatments + $50/week in gas, approximately.

He is making an effort, and making small progress. That is what counts. Now if only I could curb some of his spending 🙂 But one step at a time.

In other news, I got a surprising rebate today from my USAA card of almost $50. Hey, free $50 automatically placed onto debt repayments. I like this idea.

I’ve also noticed I am anxiously awaiting my bi-yearly auto-insurance bill. In fact I’ve been quite impatient about it, checking every day HOPING(??!) I can go ahead and send the money in that I saved up over the last 6 months. I started doing that 2 years ago and it saves me quite a bit of money paying the entire 6 months at once rather than each much individually. I just round up what they normally charge me and divide it by 6. That’s my payment to myself every month. After 6 months, I just send them a check with that money. Any excess (usually $50 or so) is usually placed towards any other debt or savings available. No stress, no worry.

To think in 2003 I let my car insurance lapse because I didn’t have the money to pay it that month. And it cost $150 extra to get it back on. Blah.

Yes, Money stresses even me out sometimes :)

People think I always have it together, financially. For the most part I do. I didn’t always, but that’s a whole other post for another day (and one I’ve been meaning to make again here sometime soon). But the last month has been particularly stressful, and I generally sit down and think about what I plan to do to trudge through the next 3 months. Usually this is done through blog posts.

The current status:
Well, first off, my bills are fine. I never have any trouble paying my regular bills, because I make them #1 priority. The first one being the house, obviously. Still to this day I see people who are late on rent, forget to pay rent, can’t pay rent, because they spend money on other things first (chinese take-out and tattoos anyone? Seriously?). ALWAYS pay your mortgage/rent first, and figure out the rest later. If you don’t have a place to stay, if you are foreclosed on or evicted, it’s going to hurt you a lot in the long run.

Now that my mini-rant is over…

So yes, my bills are fine, no concerns there. My current struggle is with debt repayment and putting money back into savings. I am about a month away from getting my savings back up to “acceptable” emergency level. That is going to continue, and once I hit that level, I will stop putting money into savings again until the debt is gone. Once the debt is gone, then everything goes back into savings again. See how that works?

The Stress:
The debt however, I’ve become a victim of my own advice. With recent events concerning my dads emergency gall bladder surgery, now his truck breaking down again as of last night (after I bought my vinegar, argh), I’ve attempted to pay off two debts at once. 1. My fathers recent situations, and 2. my last personal loan debt from a friend. Doing both at once over the last month has not been helping, simply because you’re making less of an impact, while other stuff starts “piling up”. That’s why in my Personal Finance class, I say to make your minimum payments, and put everything else on one debt until that debt is gone.

So while I do feel bad that I’m going to have to reduce paying back my friend, and even moreso not reaching my goal of having them paid back by December 2010, it’s going to be better in the long run. I don’t know how much fixing my dads car and truck is going to cost me, but whatever it costs it is going to charge me interest. So I’m going to have to pay it off as priority. But I will be at least sending some money to my friend in the interim.

The concern now though, how much is all of this automotive work going to cost me? Catalytic Converters, some other thing I forget, and yearly inspection for dads car. A tow to a mechanic and then whatever the mechanic fees are for dads truck. I can’t imagine getting out of there for any less than $1000.

The sad irony is, I do plan to buy my dad a new used vehicle eventually (in cash, no car loan). AFTER the debts are gone besides the house. Theoretically I was hoping for September 2011 as a birthday gift. It may still happen, it may not. If we can get these two vehicles working enough to last another year and a half, I will be very happy.

Last Personal Loan Debt Reduction May 2010

I’m keeping track of my payments towards my final debt balance (besides the house) to kinda see the progress as we reached my goal of having this gone by or in December 2010. This report is slightly different because there is no interest on this, as it was a loan from a friend.

  • Starting Balance of Debt in May 2010: $5000
  • Total Payments in May 2010: $150
  • Total Payments YTD: $150
  • Starting Balance for June 2010: $4850
  • $0 Goal: December 2010

Notes for this month:
I didn’t do as large a payment for my first payment towards this loan that I would normally do, simply because I had a few other obligations I wanted to take care of. But July should be mostly full swing again. I am hoping this summer I can get some extra freelance projects in the works that I can put extra money towards this loan and get it paid off even sooner.

Anyone need a website? 😀

See also:
My series of paying off dad’s loan in 8 months and My series of paying off my remaining interest debt.