Aug 7, 2008

Getting Back on Track - goal: from $12k to $30k savings in 1 year

In this past year, despite being conscious of my poor spending habits, I managed to whack my net worth down from $26k at its highest to about $12k, where it is currently, give or take a few k.

Most of the damage was done on my trip to Israel, when I basically threw most of my financial wisdom out the window. The biggest problem, it seemed, was that because the trip was pretty much "free" (even for the week after the free trip, I stayed with my family all over Israel for "free") it was easy to spend money for gifts and little items for myself here and there. Well, it all added up. Meanwhile, I was paying $1050 in rent for the month for my empty studio apartment back in Cali, and I wasn't making any money either while I was on vacation. It doesn't take a math genius to figure that out.

The good news is that as long as I stick to a tight budget this year, I should be well on the way to healing my ailing savings account.

While I need to just accept the fact that anything in my net worth involving the stock market is being kicked in the groin repeatedly right now, I can do quite a bit to get myself out of this financial rut and figurative debt.

According to my calculations, I'm about -$9000 in the "red" (not literally) in my cash accounts. My non-liquid savings accounts are at $21k, which includes those suffering in the stock market, so in reality my overall "net worth" is somewhere at $12k. I'm also getting another paycheck in a few weeks, though some of that will go to rent.

For the sake of my mental health, I'm going to use this entry to re-draft my budget, so that I have a very clear plan on how I can save $17,000 in one year. That's really just about $1500 a month, right? I think that's... well, that might be do-able.

--------------
Fixed Spending: $994.32

$635.12 - Rent (includes water & garbage)
$60.00 - TV / Internet / PGE (estimate)
$97.64 - car insurance
$146.78 - health insurance
$54.78 - cell phone
---------------------------------------
$994.32

OTHER: $900

$400.00 - Food
$100.00 - drugstore / vitamins / cleaning supplies
$300.00 - gas
$100.00 - entertainment
-----------------------------------------
$900

...

$1600 - $1900 - approx "necessary" spending (+/-)

...

Income:

$4800 + $400 / month before taxes
$5200...

about $2600 after taxes

So... saving $1000 a month, if I never ever go to the doctor, or buy clothes, or eat out... is possible. Right?

I'm also looking into seeing if I could get a cheaper health insurance plan since it's not really doing me any good and it's just for emergencies. I had to pay $65 to go see a doctor just to get antibiotics for my last UTI anyway, so why does it matter how high my deductible is?

Anyway, saving $1500 a month looks somewhat unlikely. However, I am overestimating my tax payments since they won't really be exactly 50% of my income. They'll be close to that, maybe 45% when all is said and done after self employment tax, but at the least, I figure if I'm saving 50% that will give me some extra dough at the end of the tax year to close out my Roth IRA for 2008.

Ugh, I feel like I'm making a lot of money, but it's no where near enough. I wonder if I should look for another, better paying job. But I LOVE my job. I make $57k a year, though not really, since that's on contract and no benefits or time off is included. So I figure I prob make about $50k a year in comparison to my past jobs. I just have no idea what I should be making. I charge some clients $50 an hour for work, but that's all on smaller projects, I can't justify asking for that sort of raise at my current gig, nor do I feel the work I do there warrants $50 an hour. There just isn't enough work for me to do there in terms of work that I know how to do - writing. I do a lot of other things, but a lot of those tasks are literally shared with an intern.

Futz, I'd like to be making $65k a year w/ benefits. I have no idea if that's a ridiculous amount to hope for with my experience and given that I live in the Bay Area. I'm also kind of frustrated with the fact that 40 hours per week at my company does not = full time. Granted, I work my 40 hours a week at random hours of the day and night, and they aren't picky about it - but still, I just dislike that 40 hours a week no longer equals full time. To be full time at my company, I have to work 60 hours a week. But really, what would I do for 60 hours a week? I don't even know how many hours I'm actually working... but I'm sure it's more than 40. I need to start keeping track of where my hours are going. I just feel like... if I worked for an advertising or interactive marketing agency, I'd know where my hours were going, because they'd be spent writing, and I'd have something to show for all those hours. At my current job, it seems like I have little to show for the work I do. I'm so used to being a journalist, where every day you're worth is in your clips. Here, it's ideas, it's finding bugs on the site, it's doing a lot of little things that are kind of sort of in my job description... and I worry that I'm not doing enough, and I worry I'm doing too much, and I wonder how I can move up in the company when there's really nowhere to move up to...



3 comments:

lulugal11 said...

Wow, yeah it sucks that 40 a week is not full time because of the way you work.

Remember to thank God that you have a good job even though you would like to make more..because there are people who make lots less. :-)

hereverycentcounts said...

lulugal11: I know I'm very lucky to have the job I have because there are other people who make a lot less, and I'm definitely grateful for it. I also feel like I can't let being grateful get in the way of asking for a raise or finding a full-time position. There are people who make a lot less who have much better health benefits, and at this point, I'm kind of feeling like the health benefits are more important.

Anonymous said...

Wow, $57,000 a year is a lot. We are a family of 3 , who lives on $660 every 2 weeks & for the most part we get along ok.Do you have a health savings account. This would be 1 way to lower your taxes, as it is not taxed. I also believe that the 401 K & Roth IRA accounts help lower your tax respondsibility. blessings,Lisa

Post a Comment