September 2013 Goals Update

Pumpkin spice lattes are back, figs are in season at the farmers’ market, and Victoria’s Secret says I’ve leveled up in their new product line!  All in all, I’d say life is pretty good! I’m even happy to forgive that I worked 6:30am to 8:30pm at my day job today and that my PSL extra shot light whip cost over $5 this morning.  Seriously, every time I draft a post to this blog, I get a crazy day like that.

Most of my weeks in August looked like the schedule above so I’m also happy to report that my overtime looked pretty good, too. Good enough that we were able to make a huge dent in B’s outstanding debt, and at least some forward progress towards our goals.

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August 2013 Dividend Income Update

Dividend Income PicAnother month has passed and I’m happy to report continued dividend income earnings!  The month of August was actually rather tumultuous as the market couldn’t seem to decide which way it wanted to go, but to my benefit, I’ve been searching for investment options that will increase in value over the long haul.  I’m still really new to this but it’s exciting to think that the passive income I’m generating could one day cover my rent or living expenses!

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August 2013 Goals Update

Happy August! It’s hard to believe we’re halfway through 2013 already, which has many of us doing a check-in on our yearly goals. In the IBWT house, we’ve been having a lot of money and career discussions.  These are some of the goals we’re working toward this month: Continue reading

What Emergency Funds are For

milo tail 3It’s been a rather long week for us.  Hours at work have been crazy (7am to 10pm crazy) and on top of that, we were hit with an expense we weren’t planning for.  $1,079.67 of expense to be exact.  One of our cats tried to sneak out of a closing door which opened a four inch gash that says he wouldn’t have been a good side-kick for Indiana Jones in the Temple of Doom. Continue reading

2013 Dividend Income Posted!

Hello beautiful people.  Hope you all had a good weekend.  I finally got around to posting a copy of my investment portfolio and my 2013 dividend income received to date (see nifty new page above!).

So far, my dividend portfolio is spread across 7 companies and 3 funds averaging a total return on investment of 10.43%.  This number has been fluctuating up and down pretty well recently with the market swings, but my dividend income is only increasing.  To date, I’ve made $76.01 in dividends on approximately an $8,000 investment which is better than my current savings account interest rates at both Barclay’s and Ally.  I’m projecting $120+ in total dividend earnings by the end of the year even if I don’t invest any more. Continue reading

Newlywed Finances (Part 2): Making Our Financial Goals

marriage-moneyOne of the most critical discussions a couple can ever have is around personal and shared financial goals.  Questions like, “will we buy a house or travel?” “have kids or start a business?” or “retire early or support my parents?” can potentially grow or separate a couple in love.

Mr. Budget and I have been trying to talk through these questions for years, and we still aren’t on the same page about everything, but talking is important to understand where each person places value in their life.  Sometimes, money goals and decisions can have a lot to do with how you were raised and the experiences that you personally were exposed to.

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Friday Finds: Birthday Edition!

Happy Friday!  Only a few more hours to go until the weekend begins and I hope that’s reason enough to make you smile.  Anyone have plans for it yet? Continue reading

Newlywed Finances (Part 1): State of our Union

state of our unionMy dad and sister were watching a news segment the other day that said every father should ask to see the credit report of prospective suitors.  After first thinking about how chauvinist this report sounded –  I don’t need my dad’s approval or my boyfriend’s ability to take on debt to support me, thank you very much! — I agreed that it’s really not that terrible of an idea.  My sister thought so, too, and backed my dad up by saying she “wants to marry a guy who has a sense of humor.  If he can’t find that funny, I don’t even want to be with him!” :) Continue reading

June 2013 Net Worth (Up $23K & last update as a single woman!)

IBWT net worth update It’s been a few months since my previous net worth update as a single girl, but since I’m going to be combining finances with my new husband in the near future, I did one final check to see how I did.

Since October 2012, my net worth went up by $23,000 across all of my asset categories except my spiffy little Honda hybrid.  (Sadly, my car couldn’t keep appreciating in value like it did in previous updates.)  Not shown in this chart is that through monthly, dedicated saving into a joint wedding savings account, husband and I were also able to pay for our entire wedding in cash.  Last year, we were on a quest for a rewards credit card that we charged all of our wedding expenses to and paid off in full each month, and in return, we were able to get 4.5 *free* round-trip flights from L.A. to D.C. over the holidays. (I think that was the easiest $2,250 we ever made/saved :)).

WHY MY NET WORTH WENT UP

1.  AUTOMATED SAVINGS
The biggest increases recorded were across my investment vehicles.  Wherever I can, I try to automate my savings into various accounts such as my 401(k), my Roth and QQQQ, and my wedding savings account (not shown here).  It’s significantly easier to part with money you never have a chance to get attached to.  I also made sure to make sure I contributed enough to my 401(k) to achieve the maximum company match possible, which is 10%(salary) at my company.

2. HAVE A PLAN TO SAVE/INVEST EXTRA INCOME
When my annual bonus came in, it was so tempting to splurge on something useful or fun, but it’s also important to reign in these impulses and have a plan for the money before it sits in your account too long.  For me, I decided to split the difference!  Half of my bonus was sent to my Roth IRA  and the other half went to my wedding account to fund a fun ziplining/snorkeling/rappeling/sight-seeing adventure in Mexico for most of my family and some friends.  Worth it!  We were able to have our cake and eat it, too!

3. INVEST WHERE IT MAKES SENSE FOR YOU
In my first two years out of school, I paid off all my debt and saved up a $15,000 emergency fund through smart planning.  Since at the time I had no debt, my emergency fund can cover 10 months worth of expenses, and savings account interest rates aren’t keeping up with inflation, it didn’t make sense for me to keep adding to it.  The increase you see is strictly from interest accrued on the account monthly.  I decided to start dabbling in the stock market.  First, I purchased 1 share of Apple ($715), watched the stock decline ~$150, and got smarter and started investing in more boring but stable companies with long histories of growth.  In March, my investment account was averaging about a 15% return, but now it’s holding steady at 6% which is still pretty reasonable to me.  Obviously if you have debt or you don’t yet have an emergency fund, these two things should be priority!  After that, look into starting a Roth IRA if you don’t have one (find my previous post on Roth benefits here) before moving on to other investment options.

 WHERE DOes i.b.w.t. GO FROM HERE?

Now that Mr. Budget and I are legally a married household, we’ll be working to merge our finances and work toward the future together.  This means that our wealth is shared, debt is shared, and future money decisions will also be shared.  Mr. Budget still has about $18,500 in debt to pay off  so one of our top goals is to agree on and stick to a debt payment plan to blast it all by this time next year.  I’ll keep you posted!  As for future net worth updates, I think we’ll keep those coming, too!  Expect the next one to look very different.

How is your net worth progress or debt payoff plan going?  Got any tips for me or questions about my numbers?  Let me know!  I’d love to hear!

Evolving Financial Plan (and blog!)

Now Jade photo

Now Jade resort

A few short weeks ago, Mr. Budget and I came back from a fabulous vacation to Mexico where our closest friends and family joined us for our wedding.  We chose to have a destination wedding in beautiful Playa Del Carmen because we thought it would be much more fun and affordable (for us), and I think both parts of that turned out to be true!  While we didn’t actually stick to a budget (so bad!), I did track our savings plan and expenses, and we were able to pay for the entire event in cash.

I’m still in a state of “de-compressing” from all the stress of planning a wedding around a full-time career and other weddings, but I’ve been realizing that my finances (and this blog!) need to take on a new direction.

THE NEW FINANCIAL PLAN

Over the next few weeks, Mr. Budget and I need evolve our individual financial plans into our married financial plan.  So far, this has been significantly more difficult than I think it should be.  He from no financial plan to me who wants to know everything about everything.  Also, last year I started dabbling in in dividend growth investing as a passive income stream with some success!  It’s a direction I want to keep pursuing in my finances and I hope to talk a little more about my new financial goals and my dividend portfolio here.

EVOLVING BLOG

When I started this blog in early 2012, my tagline was “Financial Advice for the Millenial Generation”.  As a millenial who had learned to pay off debt early, build an emergency fund, and begin retirement savings in both a Roth and a 4o1(k), I thought I had a lot to share!  Plus I intended to write for my sisters, and then never really told them about this blog.  (They know now.)   In that process, I learned two things: (1) I don’t have as much to advice to give as I thought I did, (2) everything I want to share seems to have been discussed 10x over by other financial bloggers.  Consequently, I’d like to start blogging more intimately about how I’m personally managing and growing our newlywed finances and maybe link to or offer guest posts from the experts.  Is that lazy?  It sounds a little lazy… I’m still de-compressing from the wedding so there’s my excuse.

It’s been several months since my last post, so if anyone has been wondering what I’ve been up to or where my wedding photos are, send me a note!  Would love to hear what all of you have been up to as well.

xoxo,

G.B. (Girl on a Budget)