Saturday, August 14, 2010

What I've Got

I mentioned somewhere that I plan on using this blog to figure out my finances.

Basically in everything I’ve read I can expect to earn anywhere from 30k – 50k a year with my degree. Money isn’t a huge deal to me, but if at all possible I’d like to push that number up a bit. It’s not that I can’t be happy with 30 grand (or 50 for that matter), but I want kids, and a house, and to potentially take cool vacations, and to work on my hobbies: metalsmithing, pottery, writing (thankfully this doesn’t use up so much money as it does time). So here’s what I figure. My parents always said, “save 20% of everything you earn, ever” for retirement stuff. Yah 23 is a little early to think about retiring, but I figure you can never start too early. So 80% of any paycheck has to go to Rent (mortgage?), Utilities, Food, Fun, in that order. Well actually it’ll be more like 70% because I take out an extra 10% and put it in a “Oh S***” fund for when things break.

Also I am lucky enough to have no debt from college. My parents rock and paid for the whole thing. I mean it helps that I managed to get instate tuition, and Colorado has a cool Stipend for colleges, meaning each semester my tuition was roughly $1000 less. And I got a few scholarships along the way. But still, the parents rock for paying it all.

So, here’s what I’ve got now.

1.) Checking: I can’t really do much with this, it’s always in flux. Basically my rent and food is paid for, so whatever I make from my job goes to savings or fun or other stuff. This number pretty much stays the same.

2.) Savings: The GF and I are trying to save up for a big road trip. I’ve budgeted it with a very liberal estimate of needing $1,000 each. I’m currently at 700. This trip may not happen now though because of the Ecuador trip next week, but I’m saving anyway.

3.) Credit Cards: Christ these things scare me to death. I pay them off every chance I get. In fact the only reason I have them is to build up my credit so that when I do eventually buy a house or have to buy a car or something, I can get the loan for it. As of right now, since my parents are kind enough to pay for my rent and food, I use these to pay for all of my food and just pay off the whole balance every billing cycle.

The problem with this is once I am off of my parent’s bill; I need to drastically change what I use them for. For instance, I’ve been told never to use a credit card for something you wont have in a month (I.E. no food or gas). But 90% of my spending is on food and gas so that becomes a moot point.

4.) CD: My life savings. It’s at around 3 grand. I started off putting money into this account from work checks back when I was a cook, I’ve managed to put just about 20% from every paycheck since then. I think it’s probably been more, when I can I put my whole check into it but sometimes I can’t.

5.) “Oh S***” Account: S*** happens, this account is to cope with that. Since I currently don’t have too much stuff to worry about, this account sits with $300 in it. I figure between that and my credit cards I can cover any really nasty event enough so that I have sufficient padding.

6.) ING Retirement account: Yes, I’ve started my retirement account. I know, I know I’m 23, I don’t need this now. That’s the whole point of it. Basically I’m only putting $20 a month into it now and when I can afford to (I.E. when I get a Big Boy job) I’ll put more away. But I figure this $20 a month is like future money for nephews or grandkids. Basically, saving money will never hurt me so there is no reason not to do it, especially when I can still get at it if I really need to.

My current financial goal is to bring that 3k to 4k by the end of the year. At my current job that is a bit more than 20%, but I think it’s entirely possible. The hard part is doing that while also wrangling up the last 300 for my road trip. I’m sure I’ll manage though.

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