End-of-September update

My goals are progressing quite nicely.  I have funded 65% of the amount I plan to have in my emergency fund.  I have picked a retirement fund to open, but first I have to save for the minimum opening amount.  Until I have enough to open the account, this money is in a high-interest savings account.  I started this one later than the e-fund, so I have only reached the 3% mark.  However, once I finish funding my e-fund, I will increase the percentage of my income that I will be saving for that retirement fund opening.  This should speed things up a bit.  I am keeping up with all distributions as planned using the spreadsheet I designed for my purposes.  I even made my first loan payments, which was a great feeling.


Magazines galore!

I have seen so many magazine offers lately that I had to share them with you. Feel free to click on the magazine’s name to check out that magazine’s homepage before responding to the free offer, if you wish.

Free magazine issue

Want a little luxury for free?  Get a no-committment issue of Robb Report Magazine here from Start Sampling.  (The offer was sponsored by Restaurant.com)  If you’re not yet signed up on Start Sampling’s website, I encourage you to join and get the September issue, with no need to cancel!

I’ve never read this magazine before, but I ordered the issue because it looked intriguing.  If it were a whole year, I admit, I wouldn’t have signed up for it because I wouldn’t want to waste the paper and energy getting unwanted issues of an unfamiliar magazine that I end up not liking.  Has anyone out there in Readerworld ever picked up an issue of this mag?

I won a free salad!

Thanks to Heather at Freebies 4 Mom, I have a few sweepstakes and contests that I enter online.  Today, I won one of them!  While (sadly) it wasn’t the $100,000 cash prize on the Better Homes & Gardens Play & Win Sweepstakes, I did win a coupon for a free Distinctively Dole salad!  This contest has over 15,000 winners (as reported by Freebies 4 Mom!), so try for your coupon today!

Click here and here to see what else I’ve won!

Student loan frustrations!

My student loans still have not been disbursed.  That doesn’t mean that my tuition isn’t due!  To delay having to pay tuition until I get my loans, I signed up for the payment plan, a way to pay in monthly installments with no interest charge.  (On the other hand, if you pay your tuition late and haven’t signed up for the payment plan, you are charged a percentage in late fees.)

Well, this seemed like a brilliant idea in August.  The August due date came and went, and I knew the loans would be coming “some time in September”–the words of someone who works in our financial aid department.  I assumed my loans would be disbursed by the September due date or soon after.  However, when I was checking my balance online one day, I noticed that my balance was significantly in the hole.  That is, I had bounced my checking account by several thousand dollars.

Nicht gut! I realized that I had signed up for direct debit when I signed up for the tuition payment plan.  Whoops!  I was able to remedy the situation that day, but the incident definitely made me anxious for my loans to arrive!!  I am calling financial aid on MONDAY!  🙂

September goals update

It’s been a while!  I’ve started the new school year, so I have been busy with five classes and two jobs!  I have a history of trying to do too much, but I have hope that this year will be different as I am planning more and more.  For starters, I am keeping up with my paycheck distributions! These distributions are tied to my main financial goals, including getting organized and starting to save money.

My first goal is growing my emergency fund.  I am trying to reach $1,500.  Once I reach that goal, I will likely change my percentages around, including increasing my retirement from 5% to 10%.

Another goal is to open a retirement account.  Neither of my part-time jobs offers retirement benefits (at least not until 1 year w/the company), so I will open an account on my own.  The account I have my eye on has a $3,000 minimum, so until I have that amount set aside, I will hold the money in a high-interest savings account.  Eventually increasing my retirement savings to 10% of my income will help me reach this goal more quickly.

Finally, another goal I have mentioned is to educate myself in personal finance.  To help accomplish this, I am taking an online personal finance class through my local community college.  There is actually a lot of work involved (the prof seems very Type A!), and we were warned that the class will be harder than a traditional face-to-face class.  Still, so far so good.  Our first assignment was to keep a spending journal for a week, categorizing expenses into needs and wants.

I will not be able to update daily (I can barely get my readings for classes done, after all!), but hopefully I can post something one or two times a week–a reflection on a PF lesson, perhaps, or a progress update on my goals.  Posting less frequently, however, is better than the almost month-long posting drought I’ve had lately!