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The Facts.

August 1st, 2007 at 11:20 am

So I sat down last night and balanced my budget. That was a bit depressing.

+$3,400: Total Monthly Income.

-$1125: Split mortgage and bills.
-$405: Home equity loan.
-$100: Extra payment to Home equity loan.
-$350: Gas and car maintenance estimate (commuter).
-$150: Dining out.
-$100: Clothing allowance.
-$100: Emergency savings to ING account.
-$100: Personal care.
-$45: Pet.
-$33: Gym.

That leaves $892 each month. That's GREAT! That an extra payment to the home equity loan, PLUS upping my savings each month!!! Wait. Uh. I don't have $892 at the end of each month. Where is it?? Oh yes, I ignore my homemade lunch most of the time in favor of dining out with coworkers. That's right, I bought a pair of $200 shoes - to replace my staple black strappy heels. But two weeks later I found a pair super cute Coach peep-toe pumps at Nordstrom Rack that I just HAD to have as they're classic...$119 down from $300. That was like SAVING money! Right?

Goodness. I am NOT this retarded. Seriously. I have faithfully categorized and recorded every purchase I have made for the last 2 years. I know exactly how much I've spent on clothing. I know what my monthly average is for dining out. I am aware of my tendancy to not shop for 4 months straight, then impulse-buy a $300 coat. But I excuse myself constantly. "That was an anomaly!", "Oh, that month I travelled a lot", etc.

My situation...I'm 27, female. I own a house in Northern CA. My boyfriend lives with me (hence the split mortgage and house bills). Besides that, finances are completely separate.

I have a 401k through work - which is good...but I don't have anything to compare it to; what SHOULD I have in there? What's normal for someone who's been employed for 5-6 years? Also, my e*trade account - which I'm shamefully ignoring as the only stock I have is company stock and it's been faltering for the last 6 months. But where do I start?

So I'm here. Hoping that being accountable to a community of sorts will help me along. Give me that obsession! Because I don't have anyone in the real world other than myself. And apparently, I'm sucking at it.

14 Responses to “The Facts.”

  1. JanH Says:

    Welcome! This is a great community of people! Looking forward to hearing more from you.

  2. littlemama Says:

    Have you read Total Money Makeover by Dave Ramsey? Maybe that will help motivate you a little. (Save $ and check it out of the library.) Good luck!

  3. librarylady Says:

    Love your blog name. It made me smile.
    Good luck!

  4. Ima saver Says:

    WElcome, join our $20 challenge and you will be surprised how much money you can save each month.

  5. katwoman Says:


    I think you're doing great for someone your age! You own a home and you have a good chunk of money in an emergency fund. That's fantastic!

    From the looks of it, all you need is a little fine tuning and you'll be set. Like they say: You can never be too rich or too thin. I like the rich part, myself.

  6. LuckyRobin Says:

    Hi, welcome. I enjoy your humor already. As for the 401K, I'd say since you own a house, you probably shouldn't expect to have had too much in there just yet, but now is definitely the time to start revving it up.

  7. shiela Says:

    Welcome, glad you could join us.

  8. dtjunkie Says:

    Welcome! I think you'll find this place helpfull.

  9. Broken Arrow Says:

    Hey, welcome! Smile

    The only thing I want to add is that you may want to consider dumping your company stock. For one thing, it's one stock. There's no diversification. Second, it's your own company's. Third, it's a taxable investment.

    If it was up to me, I'd go ahead and take a hit on selling it and put what's left into a savings account for your emergency fund.

  10. schadenfreude Says:

    Oh my! Thank you EVERYone for the encouraging words! I must admit that once I posted this morning, I kept having the urge to post more and more in some form of financial self-flagellation.

    Littlemama: I haven't read many financial books. I started the Finish Rich Workbook about a year ago, but didn't get very far into the organization as it required I overhaul my current system. Then I began to question their methods vs. mine...and I lost track.

    Luckyrobin: I know I have a ways to go before I need the 401k...but I just need a benchmark. Don't know where to find one!

    Broken Arrow: I know. But it was doing SO WELL for SO LONG, I sold some at $97, then got greedy...waited for $100...then got distracted for a few months. Next thing I know it's in the 80's. Now 70's. Dammit.

  11. fern Says:

    They usually advise to never own more than 10% of your portfolio in your own company's stock.

    If you're looking for ways to free up more money, just comparing your budget to my own, and your income is pretty close to mine, I would say that your monthly allowance for dining out, clothing and personal care seems a little high. That is, if you consistently spend this much most months.

  12. LuckyRobin Says:

    If it helps my husband's 401K had about $15,000 in it by the time he was 26 after 4 years of working there, but they matched at 100% for up to 6% of the contribution. Our current 401K is nowhere near as good a match.

  13. monkeymama Says:

    I thing a good general rule is to have put 10% in your 401k every year. If not, you would have a little catching up. On one hand, I was thinking we put so much energy into a house that retirement was not a priority until now (age 30). On the other hand, we always put 10% aside, just didn't think about it much (401ks and IRAs). We probably had a good $20k at your age (between the 2 of us) but I am not sure. It depends on the year. We haven't done great on it (no matching and not a lot of appreciation) but we're making up for it now. I don't think most people at 27 have much. If you haven't done the 10% thing, I would aim for more than that to catch up. It is really less what you have and more what you are saving going forward.


  14. terri77 Says:

    Well I see dining out but I don't see groceries, is that under house bills?

    Finish the Finish Rich workbook. You set up and get everything organzied once and then you don't have to think about it again.

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