Saturday, May 17, 2008

Shopping Trip

I made my monthly shopping trip to Trader Joe's today. I go once per month and buy everything I want for the next month. I stuck exactly to my list today and only spent $20.52. It was exactly what I thought that total would be. That's always a great feeling to be right on with no surprises.

My monthly food budget is $120. This includes eating out and groceries. I very rarely eat out, so it's not an issue that they are combined into one amount. I spend between $20 and $25 at Trader Joe's each month. The rest is my weekly shopping trip to a regular grocery store or Super Target depending on where the better sales are. I usually go grocery shopping on Sundays and plan my list based on the new sale ads for the week. I don't think that my food budget is excessive based on what I have seen other people have budgeted each month. I bring my lunch to work every day, so this saves a lot of money.

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Trying To Decide

One of the reasons why I wanted to start this blog is because I am struggling to figure out some things financially.

1.) How much do I need in my total savings at all times for an emergency?
- My current goal is $6,000 for my emergency fund, but as long as I have that in my total savings I feel like I should be okay.

2.) How much should I pay down on my current debts versus save?
- I am debating about taking anything over $6,000 from my savings account and putting it towards paying off my debts. I currently pay extra each month towards my debt, but it would be nice to pay even more. Is this a good idea? I think it all goes back to what is the minimum that I am comfortable with having in savings in case something happens?

My third question is both financial and personal.

3.) Where do I want to live?
- I feel as if I am currently priced out of my area. I am not able to afford to buy a home without a large savings. Even if I save a large down payment the monthly mortgage payments will be more than I want. I would like to live in an area where I feel more financially stable, but how far am I willing to move from my family. I am planning to start saving for a house down payment in the next two to three years. Even once I start saving it will still take me a number of years to save a 20% down payment for the area that I am currently living in. I also live somewhere warmer!

These are the questions that I struggle with then working on my finances. I am hoping that this blog journey helps me answer these. I do read other PF blogs and feel that they also help with these questions.

Friday, May 9, 2008

Stimulus Money

I just checked the IRS website to find out when I should be getting my stimulus check. I should be getting it next week! I am not planning to spend this money. It will be going directly to savings. I am going to use it to build up my travel fund. I may be traveling late summer/early fall with my brother to look at colleges he is interested in. I am also hoping to check out areas that I like, so the trip would serve two purposes. I am currently trying to decide what area of the country I want to settle down in. This money will eventually help me figure that . . . or at least I hope so. I have been trying to figure out what area best suits me for awhile now. I am not a big fan of wind and snow (especially together). My stimulus money will have a few months to earn interest before I use it which will also help fund the trip. I hope that my interest rates don't bottom out by then!!

Thursday, May 8, 2008

Starting Out

Welcome to my blog!! I am a twenty-something woman on the journey of life struggling to find my place while paying down my debt. Since graduating from college I have started watching where my money goes much closer. I am currently working to pay off my car loan and student loans while also saving for a home of my own and retirement. Please join me on my journey through it all.