Saturday, February 28, 2009

February Redux

Month Two of 2009 down, and a ton of progress made - what an exciting month!

No-Spend Days: 18/21
No Eating Out Days: 25/24
Extra Income: $45 ($35 gc for rx transfer, $10 gc from surveys)
Money Into Savings: $1,000.59
Debt Paid Off: $687.04
Retirement Savings: $1,273.45 (really!)
Other Money Spent: $376.74
Workout Days: 9
Books Finished: 3
Times Flossed: 4 (that’s a 100% increase, ha ha!)
Letters/Cards/Contacts: 3

Progress on 2009 Goals:
  • continuing to reduce my Bank of Mom debt (turtling for now to rebuild savings/EF)
  • have kept my card paid off each month - monthly goal met!
  • kept my credit union savings/checking account balances above $750 in each account to take advantage of the special rate - goal MET!
  • new goal added: saved $100 and started another new account at Sterling Savings Bank (which will get me a $101 bonus in 3 months) – goal MET!
  • met all of the monthly requirements for my Checking ++ account to earn 5.00% APYmonthly goal MET!
  • Saved $1,000 and started a Roth at Vanguard. Also rolled my current Roth money out of my broker account. (This was a big goal met for me, although on my actual goal sheet it says to max out as much of it as I can by April 15.. so I guess we have to wait on that part still!)
  • continued contributing to my SIMPLE IRA (w/matching)
  • kept my "Little EF" above $1,000
  • continued contributing to my "Big EF" (although I probably will be taking some out of it to keep working on that Roth goal)
  • continuing to post on the No-/Controlled-Spend thread, and got 18/21 no spending days (aw, goal missed) and 25/24 no eating out days – goal met!
  • Despite my later work schedule, I actually worked out more times this month (9!) although there were big breaks in between those days. It’d be good to be more evenly spaced out with the workouts.. we’ll see.
  • Worked hard to stay positive at work this month, although it was harder than last month. Did not feel like I had a lot of energy at work. Will try better at this in March.
  • Updated my resume – goal met!
  • Got a performance evaluation – it was glowing! Hard to identify areas for improvement, actually. Will need to think about that part some more.
  • Continued to learn about investing – I feel really solid about what I need to know for now, so I’m going to consider this goal met! (When I get enough put away to branch out into emerging markets and so on, I’ll put the goal back on the list.)
  • Saved my entire tax return and put it into my new Roth! Goal met!
  • Took more surveys.. and got to cash out two of them, actually! Got a $10 gift card to amazon, and will be getting a check in the mail for the other program. I’ll count that one when it actually arrives. Monthly goal met!
  • Was not so patient this month. Will try again in March!
  • Sent my Grandma and my Dad Valentine’s cards, and sent another card to Grandma. I’d like to add in a phone call to her for March.

Man, what a February. And to think that last February I was $20k in credit card debt. Look at me now :)

Tuesday, February 10, 2009


Just a quick p0ast tonight, as I am very sleepy. I've been working some long days, trying to get enrollments up school. I seem to be getting more parents wanting me to "entertain" (?) them, show them lots of snazzy science experiments and dazzle their kids with how FUN learning is. While we do make an effort to make sure that it is, indeed, fun wherever possible--it's educational therapy. These are kids who need to make up credits, who need re-teaching or to work at their own pace. The problem is they have been in "fun" classes where they do a lot of art projects and "discover" concepts (or don't) and, most importantly, work in groups, because that is the solution to all educational problems today, in case you didn't know. Anyway it's made me feel really supremely irritated but I smile and I dazzle them (as best I can) because I want to try and stay optimistic and high-energy at work and get those enrollments. Some days are easier than others. Days that end at 8:30 pm are amongst said "others." But at least I persevered and ate dinner at home... and it's one day closer to payday!

Tuesday, February 3, 2009


Today I called up Vanguard and opened a brand spankin' new Roth account. I'm going to roll over the funds in the Roth at my current broker, because their fees are way too high. I did a bunch of research into different mutual fund companies, I read a few investment books, and I looked up all the data on different mutual funds that would match my desired asset allocation. Yes. I made a "desired asset allocation." Of my own. With my actual brain.

I called four different mutual fund companies numerous times to get all of my question answered, and I kept calling back until I really understood what was offered. I chose a company whose customer service had been demonstrated as excellent (repeatedly), which also happened to be the company with the lowest expenses, an easy-to-use online interface, AND longer (wider? bigger?) operating hours in case I actually need to talk to a human being. I even laid out which of their funds I will be investing in (eventually, when I have enough to meet the minimum in multiple funds), but for now I can start with a lower-minimum, pretty conservatively allocated but strongly performing fund.

I went online and made a call, and now the account is open, the check is in the mail, and the rollover is in progress.

When I hung up the phone, I felt a tremendous surge of power--and no, before you ask, I had not spilled my pepsi on the power strip or anything of the sort. I just felt that I am taking financial control of my life. I am smart enough to do this, I am dedicated enough to do this, and I can do it on my own: I don't need a broker to do things for me (and sock me with a bunch of fees on the sly), and I don't need to be scared of the big bad investing world. I am a powerful and intelligent woman, and while I might not have very much money, I am going to do amazing things with that little bit, and make it grow bigger and bigger.

Just you watch!