Sunday, May 16, 2010

Where I stand (May 2010)

it's been a pretty hectic weekend, and i'm so not ready to start another work week tomorrow. but gotta keep plugging along to pay the bills, right?

over the course of the week, i took a look at where i stand with all of my loans, and updated my budget, and even though i owe a decent amount of money, i'm actually doing pretty well and can't complain too much.  i just must have been born with the "pronto" gene, whether it's paying off my loans or fixing up my budget or other non-financial things.  but i gotta cut myself some slack and just chip away at it.  

so here's what i've got outstanding:
college loan #1: $4,915 @ 5%
college loan #2: $3,150 @ 0%
car loan: $10,565 @ 5.75%

since i graduated from college, my goal regarding a ROTH IRA has been to give myself some time to settle down, figure out what my budget is going to be like, pay off my highest interest student loan (that's already happened), and then have 2010 be the year i first max it out.  however, now that i've had to buy a car for work in the last 6 months, this massive car loan is breathing down my neck.  i've been around the block enough times to know every single side/argument of everything to do with car loans and i know, i thought about all of them, and i still made the choice that is right for me because at the time, i was still in my old position at work and i was fine paying a little bit on top of the loan each month and plugging along.  but now that i find myself in a new position making a decent (on the lower side of decent) amount more, all of a sudden, all systems are a go and i want to pay it off stat.  i'm a little torn thought - do i throw almost all of the extra money at the loan and push like heck to pay off the entire thing in 1 year?  my first payment was in late december, so i could try to be done with it by the end of 2010.  what would help, b/c i don't have THAT much money, is adding the money i get for business travel (reimbursed mileage).  or i could split it up and get the loan down to 5K, and still max out my ROTH IRA, then kill the remainder next year.  after that, i'd start aggressively paying down college loan #1.  i'm not even worried about #2, since that's $50/mo til it's done and it's not costing me anything extra.

with my pay raise coming in this month, i'm going to have an extra $600 to do something with.  i'm already contributing something to my ROTH 401(k), 5% with a 4% match.  but with my being unemployed for a few months last year, i drained a lot of my savings.  with my current bills, i have about 3 months of living expenses saved up.  

my preference is:
pay off car
increase emergency fund

i have until april 2011 to fund the IRA, and i may also split the money between growing my emergency fund and putting extra money towards the loan.  i should also mention that i'm thinking of increasing my tithe/giving, so that might throw a money wrench in everything and i wouldn't really care, as giving back remains my first priority anytime i run my numbers and/or am thinking about long-term goals.  

what will probably happen is i'll get an idea or a direction pop into my head and i'll follow that gut instinct.  that's sort of i work with my money, and so far, it hasn't done me wrong.  so i just have to be patient with myself, continue to sticking to my budget, remember that a little saving here and there do matter (hard to beat that square peg into the "go big or go home" round hole), and wait til i'm ready to make one or more of these bigger decisions.  if anyone has any thoughts, feel free to share!

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