Month 28 Update – Sallie Mae: $29,377.51 Car: 16,762.21 Total: 46139.72

The last month I started doing what Dave Ramsey refers to as a Zero-Balance Based Budget. Every dollar gets a name. My bf does a lot of number crunching in Excel as part of his job. I do too but not nearly as much. A few months consecutively I’ve always had more month than money. I thought I had all the answers. There are some nasty habits I was getting into.

Amazon.com shopping – I love shopping on Amazon and get some really good deals. However some of my purchases were non-essential and I would spend $400-500 or so over the course of a month on things that were nice. Since July 24th I haven’t made any purchases on Amazon. 

Credit Card – I fell into the trap of thinking because it’s earning points I should put every single item I want to purchase on the card. The problem is it’s ridiculously easy to underestimate purchases and make a silly justification about the points. My Chase Freedom card gives me cashback (right now it’s 5% back on gas plus the always-on 1% offer). My big bills I’ll put on the card but small things like food, movie tickets, it’s not really saving me much.

So here is what I came up with for a two weeks budget:

      Subtotal
Zero-Based Budget Starting Balance 1600  
  Credit Card -924.67 675.33
  Roth IRA -40 635.33
  “Nothing” -150 485.33
  Check from bf for a/c 250 735.33
  Sallie Mae -453 282.33
  Groceries -100 182.33
  Car Payment -150 32.33
  Haircut -15 -165
  Emergency Fund -50 -65
  Gas -40 -90
       

So you may see the a/c is on there. We had company over the other weekend and they were complaining that it wasn’t getting cold enough inside. I was in denial for a bit, then decided to call in to report it. The technician came to the house while I was at work and replaced the capacitor in the unit. I came home and it was working fine. Did a double take on what he actually did to fix it. $275 and my bf game me $250 back. Could’ve been worse, had the compressor gone on the unit it would run over $3k.

Onto my budget, my $280 car payment is due the 14th of the month and I have $450 set aside in that account right now. Really loving the car right now, gets 30mpg in mixed driving and provides a nice sporty / cushy ride. Doing good on my grocery budget, can’t buy pistachios, walnuts, kale chips or anything like that at $7+ a pop but I manage pretty well without it. My credit card balance will be zero again after my next payment for the electricity / car fill-up. It was -$5 2 days ago and now $235 because of $158 utility bill, gasoline and some other small things.

Off to bed now, still working on the $1k emergency fund. I have it for 5 seconds then a bill comes up or I want to pay them down. Got a smaller raise than I hoped, but good feedback from my boss.

Staying the Course – A Tale of Money & Things

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When I bought my car, I pulled a Bruce Hornsby, said to myself..There are Gonna Be Some Changes made. For anyone born after 1990, here’s the video.

So some of the changes:

  • Only ate out once this week, lunch and dinner included. Went out with a friend, spent $10.82 for dinner. Feel healthier since I eat salad at least once a day and have a ton less guilt. Do need to go food shopping soon though. Savings: Lunch – $40/wk Dinner – $80/week (some weeks it’s more but being conservative)  = $480/mo combined. Still leaving room to eat out on weekends, or go out occasionally and be frugal. 
  • Using Toll Road sparingly. I use a combination of the George Bush Tollway and Dallas North Tollway to get to work in the morning. It it $1.25 each way, I typically only take it to work in the morning and take the side roads back. Due to less overall traffic I end up losing less than 5 minutes commute time. Savings = 6.25/wk $25/mo
  • Strongly considering getting rid of one of the DVRs. There are 2 of us and 3 tvs. The tv in one of my rooms is only used about once a month. My Chromecast or computer can be used to watch video on it. Savings = $8/mo
  • Spotify – It’s $10/mo and causes me to go over the 5Gb of ‘unlimited’ data usage on my phone every single month without exception. XM Radio subscription in car is good for 3 months. I could sign up online but have read horrible things about SiriusXM’s customer service. It is integrated with my car’s stereo, but not sure I’d rather stream or do FM radio..
  • Cancelled Apple Developer Membership. I’d love to be a developer, but I lack the free time to reach the level of knowledge required to become one. There are also plenty of free courses online that I can use to get familiar with the basics, then reassess. Savings = $99/yr 8.25/mo.

All in all that’s about $530 in savings. Just need to make these changes now, less deliberation, more doing. That’s the Home Depot way. Ok I swear I haven’t lost it..

Talked to my friend who bought a fancy coupe recently. I was literally blown away by what he told me. His car gets 20mpg and his drive to and back from work is 30 miles each way plus an additional 250 miles a week in personal travel. So about 100/wk in gas He pays $100/mo in tolls, car payment is $600/mo. Total overhead (insurance, gas, tolls, car note) for his car is $1600/mo, not including depreciation or maintenance. Already in 3 months he put 10k in mileage on a brand new car.  He tried to trade it in upon realizing what a huge financial mistake he made but would only get half of what it was sold for. I couldn’t offer much words of wisdom and it wasn’t the right time / place for I told you so.

Moral of the story is sometimes people have fancy things but a whole lot of stress to keep those things. I could’ve made a similar decision to get a fancy sports car that wasn’t great on gas and not so practical for carrying passengers. Also my new car purchase didn’t boost my overhead much. Insurance went up $5 for 6 months and my payment is under 10% of my net income.

Suze Orman was right: People First, Then Money, Then Things, Now You Stay Safe. People meaning yourself because at the end of the day you are your biggest supporter or biggest enemy to financial security.

Month 27 Update – Sallie Mae: 29,719.74 Car: 16,762.21 Total: 46,481.95

IMG_5264 IMG_5257 IMG_5229 IMG_5004 IMG_5174So as I mentioned in the last post, I now have an automobile loan. The current balance is 16,762.21 at 0% and the payments are 280/month. Next payment isn’t due until 8/14 which is almost a week after my 31st birthday. As a proactive measure I am putting $75/week a separate savings account.

 

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Cutting back my student loan payment of $1,000 / month to $720 / month. I may be getting a raise next month. Assuming I receive it, my estimate is $30 / week, $137 / month $1650 a year. So that and eating out less at work ($40/wk savings) I may not have to cut back on paying things down as much as I think.

Have some household expenses coming up over the next few months that we are not looking forward to.

  • Plumbing work. The pipe running from house to the main line on the street has tree branches growing through it. This has resulted in sewage being backed up into our downstairs shower about 5 or 6 times now. We are working with a plumber to get it repaired who said the cost could run as high as $5k. He later mentioned the city would do the work for free. I e-mailed him asking him what I should tell them, went to the city and they basically said that the expense would fall on the homeowner. E-mailed my plumber back and am still waiting for an answer. Our downstairs shower also won’t get hot. It was working at one point, most likely due to a washer or bracket of some sort, but not any longer.
  • Shower – Both bf and I want a new shower. The upstairs one has mold growing in the crevices, no matter how much we clean it. Also the tub is showing wear. No idea how old both are but my gut tells me at least 20 years. I’d guess around $10k for the job.
  • Driveway – Roots pushing up on the driveway from the two trees in the front of the house. The driveway is sticking up a few inches. Have contacted the homeowners association for advice on both issues. They have been of very little assistance. Guess I shouldn’t expect a whole lot more for $99 / month. I expect this will run around $2k.
  • Dining Room – Dining room table is shot, it’s at least 8 years old and has travelled across the country. We checked out some new furniture at Haverty’s & Freed’s Furniture. This will happen around Labor Day as the sales get more competitive.

So here is an update on the Sallie Mae situation. Making progress. Want to keep it going at the same rate I have been for the last year. Momentum is power. I think worst situation is it takes me an extra year to pay things off.

 

Our cruise trip was amazing. 7 days, got to experience Roatan, Honduras, Belize City and Cozumel Mexico. A much needed break from the 8:30-5:30 shift I was working on too little sleep, and self-imposted lack of taking breaks. Too much of that cycle just made me miserable with life in general. Didn’t have the energy to go workout, to socialize, to cook diner. Just ended up feeling like a slave to work. I realize we all have crises to deal with, but making time for yourself is essential.

Here are a couple of pictures. Before this, I never left the US and was afraid of travelling. Now I’m starting to fall in love with the experience, minus the stresses of flying or dealing with unforseen occurrances.

So I bought a new car?

The New Car Purchase

Come the end of June I was faced with a dilemma. A dilemma that everyone who owns a car faces at some point in time. Do I keep my aging vehicle with unforseen maintenance costs or replace it with something newer.

I did a rundown of the costs for keeping my 2008.

I took a considerable amount of time  something newer or get a new / newer one.

Spark Plugs $150.00
Tires $400.00
Struts (Front, Rear and Alignment) $1064.23
Total $1614.23

 

KBB Value for the 2008 was about $9200, with an annual depreciation of $500 per year and additional losses as mileage increases. Once over 100k miles the resale value plummets around 16% / $1500 compared to current day. After 6 1/2 years, a squeaky brake pedal, rattles, a bunch of scratches, a bumpy ride, no Bluetooth and mediocre 25mpg MPG. So I started doing research. I was very close to getting Mazda 3 hatchback, but the lack of incentives, distance of the dealerships from my home and road noise were all concerns. Our Honda Accord is not much fun to drive, KIAs aren’t built well, Toyota reminds me of old people, I don’t trust GM, VW reliability is still sub-par and the premium makes are either bad on gas or I can’t afford them. So I decided to get a newer version of the vehicle I owned.

Spoke about it with my boyfriend, told him and the dealership the trade-in value would heavily influence my decision to buy or get car fixed. In 2008 I traded my 2003 model for $6000 and saw the car online for $10k. All because of timing and letting emotions grab the best of me.

This time things would be different. I wasn’t going to get screwed over by a dealership. Here are some of the things I did:

1. I chose the last day of the month and last day of the quarter to buy. This gave me the greatest amount of negotiating leverage

2. I picked last years model year. 2014 vs 2015. The ’15s are almost identical yet a few thousand more. The car I bought is one of the best MPG non-hybrids for its class.

3. I researched the dealership. It had the best reviews in the DFW area. I was satisfied with the experience. Was probably the lowest amount of stress I have ever experienced. Some of the tactics dealers pull are downright offensive and unethical.

4. Got a price quote from edmunds.com before I went in the door.

5. Negotiated to get the 0% off and have dealer go up on the price $1000 instead of the $1500 that I would have lost.

6. Made sure I got a good deal on my trade. $9000 plus the savings from not having to pay sales tax. This exceeded my expectations and lowered the amount of what I financed significantly.

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I love the way the car drives and handles. I can see myself keeping it 7 years. Didn’t buy an extended warranty on it yet, but have 3 years to make that decision.  I didn’t really want to buy a new car, but think now was as good a time as any to do it. Will post more but that’s my quick update.

Was talking with my friend who bought a new Hyundai this year and his payment is $600/mo. I don’t know what the interest rate is, but he got less than half what I did for his car at trade-in and paid close to 8k more. The car has great performance but the passenger’s legs almost get crushed in the backseat. Guess I’m not a fan of coupes…. :)

Month 26 Update – $30,610.82

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Broke the $31k barrier. This marks about a third of my original balance which included credit cards and student loans. Hate interest too if you haven’t figured that one out. Over $100 each month of what I pay is taking away from the principal payment…

Wasn’t able to pay as much this month as usual due to a series of different bills. Went to a wedding last month in Tampa. Had an great time staying in St. Petersburg. Great restaurants, perfect weather, hotel was mostly nice. The A/C died the last night we were there and the water pressure in the shower was lacking. Rented a Kia Optima car from Budget. Not a car I would recommend. Throttle very jumpy and handling not very good. It was 109.63 total for 3 days courtesy of my Costco discount and some coupons.  My roundtrip flight and hotel were 667.29 which I incurred in March.

Recently found out that as of August my employer will match my 401k contributions up to 6% of my income. There is some 2% retirement plan investment thing I think I’m enrolled in automatically but haven’t looked at that yet. So I have over $2900 in my 401k and up to $200 in my Roth.

So onto the picture below. Plumbing issues again in the house. The root cause I believe is due to someone flushing down a wipe in the toilet. Last time we had this issue I needed to call a plumber and pay close to $300 for the emergency visit. I hate spending money for no reason so I looked up a video on YouTube how to do it and drove down to my nearby Home Depot. The guy there was very helpful in explaining how to use the machine. After a few mosquito bites and lots of sweat in 90° F weather everything was done. Water flowing, toilet draining and only $50 out of pocket.

 

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After looking at some homes (just past the 2 year anniversary in ours), we decided not to pursue further. Seems like a whole lot of work for a place we aren’t super passionate about moving. Higher taxes, more commute time, less sq footage, difficulties in parking, having to cancel contracts and all that jazz.

Going on a cruise soon, my very first one. Looking forward to the experience. I need a vacation from my vacations. It’s usually been going somewhere for someone else (weddings, family, etc), but less so for us as a couple.

Boyfriend Getting It?

So let me start out this post by going to the recent past…When we first moved to the DFW area we were in temporary housing for a month. His employer paid for it and we weren’t really sure where we were going to be moving. Ultimately we chose a 3rd floor 2br/2ba apartment in a relatively happening part of town that was about $1300 a month.

About 11 months later we moved into a townhouse (where we are currently), with a 30 year mortgage in a very very quiet community. Most of the neighbors are retired or pretty close to it. The commute is about 10 miles from my job each way which is super reasonable. The mortgage is a 30 year and we put down much less than 20% through FHA program. Monthly mortgage payment is about $1000 which includes PMI and HOAs are 99/mo. Our closing amount was about $142k

A few days ago our realtor contacted us and said our home could sell for around $170k and she has two buyers. The place needs some work and there is usually some negotiation so I figure that number will be closer to 160. My fear is that if we stay here the cost of repairs will start to get high for a place we like but aren’t totally in love with. Still quite an improvement over the course of 2 years. Much to my surprise, bf wants to move own in size to a 2 bedroom slightly more south. The money used from the sale plus equity to date would go toward the 20% down on a different property and we would move from a  30 year to a 15 year mortgage.

A year ago he was looking at homes over $220k with much higher taxes but now looking at $150k and lower. Maybe my watching Suze Orman every week and telling him how much I want to be out of debt is starting to sink in? He also has been traveling a lot lately and doesn’t want to be house poor. Will see how this all pans out. Could be huge or things could fall through at the last minute.

Month 25 Update – $31,277

Month 25 Update – $31,277. Really cooking with Crisco now. Can’t wait to be under $31k.

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A lot of things have happened since my last posting:

  • Boyfriend’s grandmother passed away. Had to make an emergency flight to New York. Thankfully he accrued enough Frequent Flyer miles on American Airlines to cover the trip with only $5 each out of pocket.
  • Used über for the first time. $92 with a $10 discount, but paid for the convenience. Had no cash on me and used X which is the cheapest version of using the service. The driver was very professional and I missed out on a lot of the traffic associated with going from Laguardia to Nassau County. I wrote off the cost as my flight was ‘free’ and I was on my way to a funeral.
  • Saw my best friend in NY after she has been diagnosed with a hyperactive thyroid. I worry about her and saw her at a time she was near her worst with recent weight loss. She is going through tough times between not being able to work, on disability / waiting on insurance to process paperwork and rising medical expenses. Luckily the people she is renting from have been very accommodating. I don’t know about her job though but one can hope. It’s a well-known company on Long Island and I think it’s illegal to fire someone who is temporarily on disability.
  • Saw my mom on mother’s day, Albeit under less than ideal circumstances. She was happy to see me, even if it was only for two days.
  • Visited father and aunt at cemetery. Aunt passed away in 1999 at 41 and father 2004 at 47. 14 1/2 and 10 years respectively. The older you get the faster time goes. He never knew me as a gay man, as a homeowner, as a Texas resident or a man old enough to drink alcohol. A third of my life has gone by since he died and almost half since my grandmother passed away. Hard to really put that into perspective. I feel alone at times but also remember there are people here now in the present who like me and look up to me.
  • Finally got my passport. I waited till the last minute, thank god for the ‘Passport Holiday’ otherwise I’d still be in the doghouse.
  • BF is thinking about getting a Lexus CT200h as his next vehicle. His parents have one and I thought it was a pretty nice mixture of style and fuel economy. If he gets one I would love to drive it (and not have to pay the car note).
  • Starting to feel better. Still have a small cough that comes and goes but the crazy annoying bronchitis hacking is gone. I hope for good.
  • Going to a wedding this week. Got a good deal on a rental through Costco. $61.53 for ~2 days and 7 hours on a ‘Standard Car’ out of Tampa. Also found out I can park at the airport for as little as $9 a day and a free shuttle ride. My flight and our hotel stay have been paid for $667.29. I really think we’re going to have a blast.

Long day today. Debating washing dishes and still have to walk dog so that’s it for now.

Through Sickness and In Health

Still struggling with some health issues. Acute bronchitis is no joke. I also have sinusitis. On the following meds

  • methylprednisone for bronchitis
  • amoxicillin for sinusitis
  • singulair for asthma / allergies

Spent a few hundred dollars combined this month on doctors visits, tests, medications, humidifier. Have been working from home a few days or leaving work early. The nagging cough is what gets me. Had an ah-ha moment with my boyfriend that I need to start listening to him more. Long story short is he was going to surprise me with something but my lack of action in getting something done (i.e. putting off passport for 6 months) basically put that all in jeopardy. While online at the Federal Building in Dallas I was thumbing through Tony Robbins – Great Steps book that I acquired some years ago. I looked at the part about the pain and pleasure principle. Sure what you’re avoiding now may bring you pleasure, but in the grand scheme of life many of these choices create more pain down the line. 

The food choices, skipping the gym, not saying yes to doing something that could be exciting, everyone’s story is different. When I don’t think and just break through that feeling 9/10 times I’m better off. The tendency toward laziness does not serve me in the end.

So what does this have to do about debt? I was thinking of ways to diffuse the anger toward me and was going to surprise him with a $1800 60″ HD TV and sound bar. Fortunately the model I wanted was out of stock at Amazon. I also didn’t think it would make him happy. Plus the tv I was looking at was about $500 cheaper in January. Why overpay? We also have a total of 3 sets in the house, each one works flawlessly.

This experience of mine gives me gratitude for one. I am thankful to have access to high quality medical care, and insurance where I have to pay a very small percentage for my treatment. The accessibility to medications that will help bring my body back to normal is another. The support system both at my job where people are encouraging me to take actions to feel better (granted they also don’t want to fall ill) is helpful over other companies I worked at where over 3 days of being out it would cut into vacation time. I don’t have pneuomnia and avoided an expensive trip to the ER. Some people with no money go to the ER and come out with a couple grand in medical bills.

I watched a video from Stefan Pylarinos (yeah he’s a stud) on The Best Advice I Could Ever Give. Makes me think about how many times I’ve bounced from one idea to the next or one author’s material to the next and never really followed through with some of the advice I read to get ahead in life. There are times when it makes sense to get multiple opinions and others where following one voice, one message is critical to success.

Since I’m a little stir crazy not being able to workout I bought myself one of those workout balls and pushup bars. I find myself doing more exercises on the ball for my core muscles in a day than I would do some weeks.

This month I’m focusing less on money and more on having rich experiences in life. DJ EZ-Rock died earlier today. He was 46. My father was 47 when he died. Some people achieve to be happy and find that they get the car, the house, the relationship, the family, the whatever and aren’t fulfilled. I think finding happy moments along the way regardless of the obstacle is the only way to truly win at life. :) Posting this blog after midnight, off to get some shuteye now.

Month 24 Update – $32,140.58

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So here we are…April 5, 2014. Listening to some Fantasia and Aretha Franklin tunes on my Audio-Technica headphones while bf watches Scrubs and our siamese cat sits curled up a foot away completely unphased by both the noise of my typing and the television. I feel beat down by an irregular sleeping schedule, where I passed out around 10:30PM and woke up at 4:45AM. I was going to go the ambitious route and go to the gym / catch up on some reading. Instead I wormed around in bed for an hour before falling asleep again. Then I see the sun rise, check my phone and it’s 7:22. Oh crap, I’m late for work. So I go through the usual shower / iron routine, telling my bf to walk the dog and delaying breakfast until I get to the work cafeteria.

I hit an important milestone, on Month 24 of making straight payments to Sallie Mae. This shit is neither fun nor easy. I certainly see how some people can go for ten years of payments and still not have their loans paid off. Life can certainly get in the way of your plans to become debt-free. I have had some increased anxiety as of late with them. Going to Florida next month for a wedding. Bf reimbursed me most of the none I put down for that trip. $600 and change with airfare / hotel factored in. Then today he’s like you should really go visit your parents. Sure that would be nice but with what money, I have about $350 to my name right now. I currently have I hold myself to higher standards that I can get this paid off as quickly as possible while still enjoying life. Debt to me is slavery. I can’t turn back the hands of time but I can focus on my abilities in the pleasant to create a better life.

Another friend bought us tickets to the NCAA Championship games in Dallas next week. I don’t know any of the teams really, but it should be exciting. Never went to a basketball game before. Don’t lecture me, just because I lived an hour from Madison  Square Garden doesn’t mean I went. Same with the Statue of Liberty… or the World Trade Center back in the day.

I was thinking today maybe sell the car and drive around in an absolute piece of crap car until I am debt-free. Of course maintenance is an issue there and I’d always wondered how many years I could get out of a perfectly reliably running car of which I have full knowledge of all its maintenance records and overall treatment. Then I think about the $3k I put in the audio system that would not be appreciated by a 2nd owner or by the dealer / used car sales guy making me an offer. Last but not least I thought about how people get royally screwed over when trading in a car. Do I really want to put myself through all that again for a shiny piece of equipment that gets me from point A to point B. Even if it’s a hybrid or an electric car that will cut my fuel costs by half or a 3/4. I don’t want to be on the treadmill forever. I want to lose the weight and keep it off. My freedom, my sanity is worth more than material objects.

Also listened through the whole Millionaire Next Door Audiobook and stared going through Secrets of A Millionaire Mind. My goal is to shift my mindset to thinking more in terms of opportunities that exist instead of limiting thoughts in my head to generate wealth. Over the the years I’ve encountered systems of get rich schemes that sound good on the surface but upon closer inspection have either large inconsistencies or have so many negative things written about them why would I want to go down that path. MLM comes to mind, if people are going to buy something from me I want to believe 100% in the product / service and it must genuinely fill some kind of need or want in their lives.

I don’t think I’m a greedy person. I just know where I have fallen short in the past and want to see more of a payoff for my hard work and efforts.  Right now that hasn’t happened yet and it can be frustrating. I see myself farther along than I currently am. I feel beat down, tore down but I can and will get back up and do some amazing things with my life. A positive net worth would be a good first step. Last but not least along with getting more omega-3s, I find keeping a busy schedule is a sure-fire way not to get depressed. Simply put, ain’t nobody got time fo’ dat.

Was about to hit post, then I looked at Haha Money’s How Rich Are You article. Plugged my number in to a calculator and combined we are in the richest 0.4% of the world’s population and our income is 42 times that of the average person. For just me it’s in the richest 6.1% of the world’s population and income more than 14x the typical person. Kinda boggles the mind how I could be richer than so many people in the world yet feel so financially broke.

If anyone is reading this in their 20s, I have one bit of advice. Well two really. Start planning early and don’t let the time pass you by. I’m not old, but the years have taken a toll on me. Losing my dad and grandmother so young, watching them struggle with health issues for years, a decade of being unable to get traction professionally, racking up student loan debt. The most recent one was a former friend going clinically crazy last month & being checked into a mental health institution for self-destructive behaviors. He is out, but after some of the threats and obsessive behavior I no longer choose to associate with him.

So What About Retirement?

During my mid-20s I opened up both a stock trading account & a retirement account. I made a couple of big investing mistakes.

  • Not doing dollar cost averaging. It’s very difficult to time the market, even people who do it for a living get it wrong. The ones who do it right have their profits eaten up by capital gains taxes. If I continued to invest during the downturn of the 2008 era, all my portfolio losses would have turned into gains. I also would have a nice sized retirement account at this point relative to my age. $5,000 x 6 years = $30,000. Taking the calculation from The Millionaire Next Door into account age 30 x $30k / 10 = $90k is how much I should have in retirement at my current age.

  • Self-reliance. Letting the naivety of my 20s cloud my judgement in business. Thinking things would automatically fix themselves if I waited it out long enough. People make promises all the time and don’t keep it. Just because your boss is an incredible business person who has made a success in his career doesn’t mean he will make any efforts to keep you around in his business, or try to develop you into the kind of employee he / she wants to keep around. Work as a team but at the same time looking out for one’s own self-interests is key.

  • Eggs in one basket. I got burned way too many times not thinking about the level of risk associated with my investments. Put a few Gs in a penny stock, lost over 50% of it. Kept sending more and more money into it, basically throwing good money after bad.

Today my 401k is valued at $2300. Even though my student loans are a top priority, I also realize the time value of money and the importance of contributing in my 401k up until the match. So not including the match assuming an 8% average rate of return for my current balance up until retirement age (let’s just say 65).

That $2300 will be worth $34,006.29. This doesn’t include taxes on the yields, but still…not chump change.

One of the cars I’ve been eyeing as a replacement for my current vehicle is a new 2013 Infiniti G37 . 328 hp, RWD, VQ37 engine, 7 speed automatic transmission with paddle shifters. 0-60 in about 5.4 seconds. If I were to buy a new one for $30k, using the above calculations with a lump sum investment I’d be missing out on $444,000 of retirement income. How does that shiny new car sound now?

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Not saying I won’t ever buy the car, but being smarter about how much I pay for depreciating assets is very important if I want to be a PAW (Prodigious Accumulator of Wealth). :)

Lastly I wanted to reflect on how far I’ve come. It’s easy to say I’m not aggressive about paying my student loan debt quickly enough. Truth of the matter is in the 2 years since starting this blog over $3500 of what I paid has gone toward interest (@4.25%). So take the original balance of 45159.35 and subtract the Month 23 update amount of  33,018.91. Leaves you with $12141 plus 3500 so $15,641. That amount is more than half what I earned in 2010 and more than *all* my earnings in 2011. In 2010 it was because the job I got paid slightly more than what an intern might receive. In 2011 being unemployed and unable to collect unemployment contributed heavily to that…

So all things considered I think I’m doing well. If I keep making smart decisions I’ll have more money than my friends who currently earn more but spend less responsibly. Last but not least I started taking some fish oil in heavier dosages (4-6 capsules at 1000mg each). It’s really helped improve my mood. I was getting to the point of being cranky and lacking energy hardcore until I started getting more omega-3s in my diet. One could even call it mild depression. All the things I wanted to do because they make me feel better like the gym I couldn’t do. Almost like hitting a wall that you can’t climb or move around…I feel almost like a different person now. Like my drive is back and my outlook is more positive. Hope things stay this way. :)

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