Nov 6, 2009

Medical Costs, Life Costs, ... are expensive

My medical AND entertainment costs are adding up, and I'm behind in accounting for them. I really need to sit down and make a budget for all of these costs. Some are not necessary, of course, but I'm still struggling to understand how much money I should/can spend on LIVING versus SAVING.

A reminder... I do have $8k in a CD for my emergency fund as well as another $4k in laddered 6 month CDs. I'm about $150 from maxing out my Roth IRA for 2009, and I have put about $5k in stocks & ETFs over the year. Additionally, I overestimate on my taxes so I will have enough to put at least $3k into my Roth for the next year to get it jump started. Plus I put $100 a month into my 529 plan, which may or may not be a stupid idea.

However, I'm worried my current medical and non-medical "fun" spending is going to hinder my savings at all. Basically, I really need to budget. I don't think I'll be getting a raise this year... (I don't know if companies like mine give raises, esp in this economy.)

Here's the thing. I have decided that I want to spend on ME. That is, on making myself a better person, inside and out. But all of this soul-searching guidance and external beautification is expensive. Very, very expensive.

This weekend I want to come up with a serious budget, but right now I just want to look at my major expenditures per month. Please don't judge yet -- I KNOW there are many things here that I don't need, and that I'm very fortunate to be able to afford such things! I know one day when I have a family or even after I go to grad school and have to pay back loans I will have much less flexibility in spending on myself.

Extra Monthly Costs:

$250: laser hair removal financing plan (over 18 months)
$250: group therapy to deal with social issues (4x month) OR
$200: career counseling (2x month)
$190: voice lessons (2x month)
$60: one dance class
$32: gym membership

There are actual medical bills I need to sort through:

$2000: one-time necessary (non cosmetic) dental work (this is beyond my insurance coverage)
$400: foot doctor, 1 consult, xrays & 1 follow up
$100: gynecologist ultrasound

On top of all this, I'm trying to get a grasp on how much graduate school will cost me. I'm completely confused about financial aid. If my savings will hinder me from getting need-based financial aid, shouldn't I spend it all before applying to a grad program? That sounds counterproductive, but if they really decide on your financial aid based on how much you're making and how much you have in savings, I should spend all my money and quit my job! I'm just not 100% sure I want to go to grad school yet, so I don't want to spend all my savings yet. Oy.


Artisticpixie said...

Maybe list out all your priorities. What's really important versus what isn't. I've researched grad school and it's expensive. I applied last year and I didn't get in so I'll have to put it on hold until I can gain the experience to reapply and pay for the classes. There isn't much financial aid for grad school. Unless your undergrad gpa was A+, you're more likely to get a financial aid package with student loans even after filling out the fafsa. I'd say look into what financial aid is out there for grad school. As for what needs to be paid off, I think the medical bills seems more important. I actually paid off all my dental bill this past summer and it was a lot of money! I hope you're able to figure out how to pay for everything but try not to blow your savings away. You're always bound to need the savings especially for emergencies. I'm in a similar boat with finances and paying off medical and other bills. Good Luck!

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