On Let’s Throw Some Money at Our Problems: February 2014 Check-In

I haven't done the checkin for a few months, but I am so excited for this month, because I did two awesome financial things: 1) paid off my car and 2) opened a Roth IRA! I decided to use my extra paycheck in January on the car and my tax refund for the Roth, so even though I still have a monthly rolling credit card balance, I'm going to just be proud of this progress and tackle the credit card next- I don't pay interest, it's just stressful to have to wait for my paycheck to pay off my balance every month. Car loan (1.99% APR): March 2012: $6000 (original) Dec 2013: $2600 Jan 2014: $486 Feb 2014: $0 yessssssss this was the first loan I'd ever had and even though it had really low interest it pissed me off. Emergency savings (goal $2000): Dec. 2013: $1801 Jan 2014: $1901 Feb 2014: $1902 (haha I love you 0.75% interest)

Posted on February 27, 2014 at 9:47 pm 0

On Here Is Your Open Thread

@andnowlights YES. And I even took Monday as a holiday, but the remaining four days have felt like eighty. Am I allowed to blame the weather? I'm blaming the weather, it has put me in an emotionally volatile place.

Posted on February 21, 2014 at 4:32 pm 0

On Let’s Throw Some Money at Our Problems: January 2014 Check-In

@EmilyAnomaly We all deserve vacations! Personal opinion of course, but I am a firm believer in the value of vacation. I spent a lot of time in my youth wanting to be able to travel someday, and then as a more adult-ish person have actually gotten to do relatively lot of it, and it really makes me happy (although of course I have to remind myself of this all the time when I am feeling poor-which realistically I am not, just not anywhere close to rich). But I think the Europeans are on to something- vacation has actual worth to quality of life. Croatia is one of my favorite places, but even going somewhere not too far and not too expensive can be a fantastic, life-changing experience. Good luck!

Posted on February 1, 2014 at 6:26 pm 0

On Why My Cat Has a Savings Account

@erinep shout out to UWCU! there are many many reasons I am sad not to live in Madison anymore, but weirdly giving up my credit union account (no good way to access the money where I am, and doubt that I will move back) was one of them. And I second all the people who say Capitol One 360 for multiple savings accounts- plus you can track your savings goals and they will give you encouragement!

Posted on November 13, 2013 at 3:20 pm 0

On Let's Throw Some Money at Our Problems: September 2013 Check-In

Uggghhhhh accountability. I mean no, it's really great. July Travel savings: $2802 So I didn't do the August check in, but I can happily report that for one hot second, there was a balance of $3500 in my South Africa travel savings account! I met my goal, and got to actually go to South Africa, was totally f-ing amazing, and so so so so worth it! Current balance in travel fund: $55. Hmm, where shall I go next? But...as previously mentioned, I've kind of been doing this rolling credit card thing, where I'm spending about a month into the future. I was really hoping that the vacation savings would negate that (because, I'd be spending money on vacation, which was saved for, but not at home!), but a combination of a deluge of unplanned expenses and probably some irresponsible spending has dashed that hope. So, currently Mint is telling me I have $3880 in cash assets, and owe $4050 on credit cards...I'm waiting on a paycheck and one more reimbursement from the friend I was traveling with, but I also have to pay the rent...I think it will be ok and I won't have to pay interest on the CCs, but this is way too close for comfort for me. So, I'm revealing my secret shame here, and hoping next month I'll be back in the black and building my emergency fund back up!

Posted on September 30, 2013 at 6:44 pm 0

On Let's Throw Some Money at Our Problems: July 2013 Check-In

I know every month I express my joy at these check-ins, but they are really just so great, and so helpful for me to see that even though it feels sooooo slow, I am really making progress. September South Africa Trip Savings Fund (goal: $3500) June: $2201 July: $2802 - My trip is is in September, so I think I'm going to be able to get there, although this has been an expensive summer- here's hoping the raise that was approved over a month ago finally gets approved at some point! Car loan: June: $3707 July: $3551 I have a dirty secret though- even though I paid off my standing credit card debt, I am still charging about a month into the future, so even though I pay it off in full every month and never pay interest, I don't really have cash on hand for my monthly expenses. I'm really not comfortable with this, and I think the guilt over this is why I haven't yet asked Mike for a note. I'm trying really hard, but things just keep coming up (i.e., paying for carpet replacement in my car this month, which is taking a big chunk of my emergency savings, and buying my plane ticket for christmas).

Posted on July 31, 2013 at 1:06 pm 0

On Banks Still Doing Bad Things

Well said indeed, Mike. So, what do we do? What congresspeople do we write to in protest? Where is Occupy when you need them?

Posted on July 31, 2013 at 12:34 pm 0

On My Last Weekend Trip: The Cost of a Spontaneous Trip to San Francisco

this all sounds amazing, and mostly I just wish that "Chile Pies (and Ice Cream)" existed in my kitchen right now.

Posted on July 29, 2013 at 6:16 pm 0

On A Married Couple Discuss Tipping And Also The Probability That It Will Lead to Their Divorce

@Mrs. Beeton You are great, and exactly right. The "Platonic Tip Ideal" is 20%, and people don't have to aspire to that if they don't want to, but it is right. Also, I love @Cerasi's point about the finer math of tipping and it being worth $52/year to feel like a good tipper. And while I know some rich people who tip very well, it definitely seems the people who are the most conscientious and generous are the ones who have worked shitty jobs and/or don't make very much money currently and so can empathize. I can't believe Alex thought the internet would support his side. Hooray for all the generous billfold tippers!

Posted on July 11, 2013 at 6:03 pm 0

On A Conversation with an American Expat About the Costs of Living Abroad

US citizens living abroad still owe taxes, but the first $87,000 of income is exempt (at least when I was doing it, I think they've raised the exemption since), so she is well under the limit and owes no U.S. taxes. I thought this was great and interesting, and also made me very sad because the whole thing about how " the current Government hates immigrants and try to dissuade us from staying here by making the visa process so expensive and difficult" is exactly the reason why I am now back in the U.S. instead of still living in beautiful Oxford.:( Because yes, there are so many unemployed UK citizens who were dying for that intestinal immunology postdoc. Oh, how I miss the 35 vacation days and quick and cheap weekend trips to France!

Posted on July 8, 2013 at 4:57 pm 0