Progress Report

A quick entry to provide an update on my current financial standing.

Monthly budget
In August, I moved to a new apartment. Luckily, it was a zero fee apartment. However, I’m paying $145 more a month in rent. My new found powers of frugality kicked in and I was able to find ways to offset the increase.

Firstly, my previous landlord suddenly changed our living terms and started charging a ridiculous $50 a month fee for electricity. After calculating monthly electricity and gas for my current apartment, I found that I’m only paying $36 a month total, so that’s a monthly savings of $14.

Second. My monthly charge for basic internet had crept up to $33 a month after my cable company had realized I was not being charged the monthly fee for wireless routing services. I purchased a modem (used on ebay for $25 with free shipping) and router (used on craigslist for $5). The sweetheart who works at my companies IT department hooked me up with a free Ethernet cable. So now, I’m paying $14 flat, no taxes or fees for basic internet, for a monthly savings of $19.

Lastly, my new neighborhood is heavily populated by Asians and features a great Chinese supermarket 2 blocks from my home. I’m not sure how they keep their prices so low – I think it may have to do with keeping labor costs really low – who knows, but it’s helping me to save $100 a month.

So that’s a net savings of $133 a month, offset by an increase of $145, and we have a net increase in monthly living expenses of $12. Not bad considering the perks of my new apartment. It’s a larger space, with a better layout. The bathroom and kitchen are separate from the main living space so it feels like a 1 bedroom. Also, I’m no longer living in a basement apartment so I don’t feel like I’m living in a bomb shelter anymore. I have laundry in the basement and it’s cheaper than the laundromat.

The only bummer is that my commute is longer by 10 minutes. Biking takes an additional 15 minutes. It’s not a lot, but when considering biking to work everyday, that’s an additional 2.5 hours of biking a week! I was hoping to continue commuting to work by bike for most of the week through November, but I’ve had to limit it to once a week and will cut off biking by end of October. Next year, if I plan to continue biking to work, I plan to invest in a lighter, quicker, newer modeled bike – bought used of course!

Savings
Savings $20k – CHECK!
Retirement savings $10k – CHECK!
Total savings over $30k!

I’m hoping to have $40k saved by year end. It’s a bit of a stretch. I have 2 more paychecks to save. Hoping to start a new job next month and receive a severance paycheck. Also, holidays sales will bring in additional income in November and December. I think $35k may be a more realistic goals.

Debt
So in March of 2016, I was credit card debt free. Moving in August changed that a bit. I had to hire movers and purchased a few goodies to treat myself. Overall I was really good and spent alittle over $400! I sold a couple of household items I didn’t think I would need anymore including a sofa and heater, and used the income to offset hiring movers and buying new furnishings (all of which I purchased used on craigslist). I even made myself a coffee table for $76, and a TV stand for $60! I should post about that one day.

Also, I have a new roommate with me. My cat who my parents were caring for temporarily has moved in with me. I love having her by my side at home but preparing for her arrival led to additional expenses. Not to mention, I will be incurring an additional $30 a month feeding her. Haven’t found a way to offset this expense yet…

So as credit card debt goes, little things kept piling up and now I have about $2.4k on my card. I’m not incurring any interest charges as the card is 0% interest. I’ve been paying it off bit by bit every month but there’s no rush. I’m currently focused on dumping as much as I can into my savings. When the card starts incurring interest again next year, I’ll pay it off in full. Should be easy to do.

The only other debt item remaining is my school loan. I ran into some GREAT news on the internet however. The Public Service Loan Forgiveness (PSLF) Program allows certain individuals to have the balance of their school loan forgiven after 120 qualifying months. Lucky for me, I work for a non profit and plan to stay in the field so I qualify for the program. Woo hoo! I am still waiting to confirm my enrollment, but I estimate that I can reduce my total cost by 50% by continuing to make minimum payments and having the loan forgiven. This would allow me to continue dumping as much money as I can into my savings. Double woo hoo!

Here’s some more information about the program for those interested:
https://studentaid.ed.gov/sa/repay-loans/forgiveness-cancellation/public-service
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Public_Service_Loan_Forgiveness_(PSLF)

Goals
The last item up for review. Earlier this year, I set a goal to reach $10k in sales for my business. I’ve earned $2,300 so far this year, but the busiest time of the year is coming up – Christmas! I expect to have $10k of inventory ready to sell. Keeping fingers crossed!

 

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