A $10,000 decision

I made a bold move last night and decided to transfer $10K from my savings account to my checking account. After much thought, I have decided it’s time… Time to kick Sallie Mae to the curb. That’s right. I’m going to be aggressively paying down my debt so I will be debt free by the time I get married.

I currently have just under $24,000 in my savings accounts. They are broken up in to three subsections. A $10K emergency fund, a $10K extra savings, and a $4K wedding fund. I had been hoarding cash and saving as much as I possibly could because I was scared of the unknown.

I knew I had more money in savings than I needed, but seeing my bank account grow every month really gave me a peace of mind. While there is definitely security in having a large sum of cash easily accessible, there is also security in being debt free. Beginning my marriage with no financial obligations to anyone (but me and the wifey) will be an incredible feeling. Furthermore, I have a responsibility in this relationship to not be a burden. Girl Ninja is debt free, and I truly believe I owe that to her as well. She doesn’t care if I pay the loan off or hold on to the cash, but I think two  years from now, she will be appreciate, and understand, that this was the right decision.

By making this lump sum payment, my student loan balance should fall just below the $5,000 mark. Do you realize what this means? It means the interest I’ll be paying towards this loan is going to drop from $84/month to $29/month.  That makes for a $55/month savings. Booya for savings!

I’m not going to lie and pretend like it wont suck to depart with such a big chunk of change  (I mean, I worked really really hard for that money), but in the end I know it’s the right decision. And if for some reason the crap hits the fan, I’ll still have my $10,000 emergency fund as a first line of defense.

It’s going to feel SOOOOO good to be done with Sallie Mae in just a few short months. I can’t wait!!!!

Net Worth: February 2010

I would like to officially welcome my Net Worth to 2010. I have some ground rules for the NW for the remaining 11 months…GO UP!!!! It’s all about growth baby, not to be consfused with “growing babies” (baby ninja’s aren’t coming till 2050). Let’s see how I’ve done…

Checking Account(s): $1,877, -$2,483. My checking accounts (INGdirect and Chase) took a hit over the last month, but for good reason: I transferred a couple thousand dollars in to my online savings account. You’ll see that growth in the next category.

Savings Account: $21,065, +$3,340. I have officially broken $20,000 in my online savings and it feels good. If you are wondering why I haven’t just paid my student loan off it’s for a few reasons. 1) I’ve got a wedding pending and don’t know how much to plan for my wedding expenses (i.e. gifts, honeymoon, etc). 2) Girl Ninja and I have many unknowns ahead of us, and having extra cash on hand helps calm us mentally. 3) Because it’s my blog and I can do what I want 🙂

Roth IRA: $13,368 -$387. I don’t like it when the stock market goes down, but I guess it has to happen from time to time. Oh well, glad it was only a few hundred dollars of money I wont touch till I’m old anyways.

TSP (401K): $11,759, +$118. Five percent of each paycheck makes its way in to this account, which get’s fully matched. I invest in very similar funds in both my Roth IRA and 401K. I use to contribute 8%, but after some thought, I decided to reduce down to 5% this year.

Student Loan: -$16,003, +$190. Oh Sallie Mae, how much I loathe thee, yet I still keep you around. I find comfort knowing I could rid myself of you at any moment. Don’t get too comfortable, you won’t be sticking around that long.

That put’s me at a net worth of….drumroll please….. $30,234!!! I’m up $1,441 from last month, which means I have officially joined the $30,000 club (if such a club exists). I can’t wait for this month to be over, because I will be seeing a $12,000/yr raise coming my way in early March, it should work out to about $700 extra each month that will go straight towards increasing my NW. Thanks for poking in ya’ll and I’ll be seeing ya tomorrow!

If you have wondered why the blue bar (debt) in the graph sometimes increases, it’s because my credit card balance gets taken in to account each month. Even though I pay the balance in full it still appears as a “liability” in Quicken. I just deduct this from my checking account balance to give myself an accurate net worth reading. This is why my total increase, may not always necessarily match with the total of each category, but I promise the overall total is REAL. I choose not to include my car in my NW calculations, which would probably increase my worth by about $8K.

Monthly Expenses: November 2009

If I could only use one word to describe November, it would be, bleh. Mediocre at best, at least it felt that way after last months RADICALNESS. I guess I shouldn’t be complaining ’cause I still brought home more than I spent, and when that happens, life is good. Here’s where the money went…

My Income:

Salary: My take home pay from the day job. I should have only brought home about $2,700 last month, but I got paid out for the last of the overtime I worked in October. It’s gonna be depressing to watch my income drop. Oh well, in February I get a $12,000 raise! YAY!!!

Gift: Mom Ninja’s hooking it up with some money to throw at my student loan. Everyone should say nice things about Mom Ninja down in my comment box, haterz not allowed 🙂

My Expenses:

Auto: Looking at my Auto expenses make me want to throw up. My car registration was due, so that was $220 gone. Another $180 came from one of the stupidest things I’ve ever done (car mirror vs fence = fence wins).

Dining/Groceries: Fudge! I broke my grocery/dinging budget for the first time in a REALLY long time. I have a goal to be under $250 total for food each month. Unfortunately I broke that by $26.74. I went out to eat quite a bit last month because I had been on a business trip abroad for six weeks and wanted to go out with my friends 🙂

Interest expense: Good ol’ Sallie Mae. Brought the old hag down another $1,600 last month which ain’t to shabby if ya ask me. Especially considering my minimum obligation is only $230.

Travel/Reimbursement: These were all costs/reimbursements related to my business trip to the Marshal Islands. Nothing to exciting here.

The other categories were too unimportant or self explanatory so that is why I didn’t cover them. The overall total at the bottom is the cash I had leftover after all my expenses. I ended up having $1,670, which I put in to my savings account. I’m foaming at the mouth, waiting for that raise to come so I can have even more options with my cash flow.

Is it bad that I’m not excited with over a $1,000 do-whatever-the-crap-I-want-category? Don’t answer that. Are these monthly expense reports even entertaining for you to read? I’m imagining in my head right now, all of my readers hating these updates. If that’s the case, I’ll stop 🙂 Let me know. THREE MORE DAYS TO CHRISTMAS!

* Are you wondering why I post the previous month’s expenses a couple weeks late? I use quicken to track my spending and I have to wait until the end of the billing cycle before I can download these transactions. I know I could manually add each expense as it comes, but I am entirely too lazy for that. Thanks for checking in and if you got any comments, tips, or advice I’d be more than happy to hear it. *

A little extra cash flow never hurts.

I’m stealing this idea from My Pretty Pennies, so I better give her credit. You rock my face off girl!

Screen shot 2009-12-16 at Dec 16, 2009, 12.21.23 AMI’m addicted to making money. There is something about being productive that is rewarding, especially when you get paid for it. When I’m not working, I’m figuring out ways I can do something I enjoy and get paid for it. I’ve been tracking my “extra” income over the course of the last year and thought I would share it with you all.

I have a couple different sources of extra income…

1) Yes, this is still embarrassing, but sometimes Momma Ninja hooks her baby boy up with some cash so he can pay down his student loan. I guess this can’t really be counted as income, since I didn’t do anything to earn it, so we will call this “gift” money instead. This article explains why I am comfortable accepting donations from the bank of Mom and Dad (no people this is not an actual bank). Wanna know how much Mom Ninja has thrown my way? $2,000!!! Holy guacamole. I don’t think I realized I got this much help. I’m totally taking Mom Ninja out for ice cream when I visit over Xmas time. That’s right mom, anything you’d like….as long as it’s less than $5 🙂

2) Interest income. Year to date, I have banked $78 from my online savings account. I pretty much forget this money exists cause it just get’s totaled in with my savings balance. I really wish I was getting a 5% APY, like a couple years ago.

3) Blogging. Boo to the Ya. I wasn’t really planning on monetizing my blog, or at least I wasn’t actively pursuing making blog money. In the 8 months I’ve been around, I’ve managed to bring in $800. That averages out to $100/month. That means you all are totally paying for my gas/water/electricity each month. I need you to keep stopping by so I don’t have to take cold showers and sit in the dark. That would not be fun.

4) Tutoring. I took a huge hit in tutoring income this year. Most of my ‘my kids’ have reached their senior year of high school and are no longer required to take a math class. In 2008, I was tutoring about 8-10 hours a week. I brought home $11,000 in extra income from tutoring last year. 2009 was not so bueno. I definitely can’t complain though because any money is good, and I’m definitely not worth the $40 an hour I charge for Algebra and Geometry. This year I made $5,000 tutoring. It’s the easiest and most fun way to make a quick buck.

All totaled, I supplemented my base salary with about $6,000 of earned income and $2,000 in gift money. 2009 has been good to me and I’m hoping 2010 will be even better. As my tutoring kids get older, I’m beginning to think of new ways to make money. What are some means you all have used to bring home some extra bacon? Do you know how much supplemental income you made in 2009? What’s the easiest way to make some moolah (that doesn’t involve anything illegal)?