Thursday, May 7, 2009

Get Your Finances In Line In 2009: April Recap

April was a decent month for us, but not spectacular. Especially when I view it in light of March, which was a FANTASTIC month financially. Nevertheless, we're still making headway.

We completed our vacation fund (which is good, because that's only 3 weeks away!) and raised the level of our FFEF a bit. The way the checks lined up this month was not ideal for our savings account, so this month will probably be better than April. Also, now that we're done saving for our vacation, we can put that extra into our FFEF or the savings for my hubby's car!

My husband's review is also coming up and it would be great if he got a raise, but in this economy I'm not really expecting one.

We are still running behind on #7 and #8. I don't know why I feel like it will take SO much time to set those things up as I'm sure it really won't, but....anyway, it's on the list, so we WILL get to it. Hopefully sooner rather than later.

Ok, here are the updates for the month of April - not necessarily in order:

Goal #1: Save up and pay CASH for our 5-day vacation to *SURPRISE* in June! :) ---- 100% completed ----

Goal #2: Fully fund our 6 month emergency fund and put into a money market account to be left UNTOUCHED unless there is an actual emergency. ---- 32.3% completed ----

Goal #3: Save for my husband to get a new (that means "used") car.

Goal #4: Raise retirement contributions to 12% (with a 4% match).

Goal #5: Open a money market account for each of our children.

Goal #6: Begin paying extra principal on our mortgage.

Goal #7: Establish a will and testament. (I know - shame on us for not having one yet!)

Goal #8: Get disability insurance for both my husband and me.

I'd also like to share - and I may have done this before - how we "do" savings, so in case any of you are struggling here perhaps this will help you out....

My husband works two jobs. His FedEx paycheck is direct-deposited every Friday (after about 40% of it goes directly toward health insurance). The other 60% goes into our checking and is a nice buffer in between the times his other check arrives - which is every other Tuesday. That check is also direct-deposited, but a set amount goes into our savings account automatically so we never even see it. (Until, of course, I write this monthly post!) The rest goes into our checking.

At the end of each month, if we have extra money left over in our checking account, most of that also goes into our savings. (I keep a small buffer zone there for the small just-in-case incidents.)

If you're just starting out with this concept of saving, I'd encourage you to try automatic directing of your money. Ten percent is the standard of what most people will tell you to save regularly. But if that sounds like too much, start with 5%. If you can't do 5%, start with 2%.


And when you or your spouse gets a raise, consider adding whatever the difference is in your paycheck to what's automatically rerouted to your savings account. It's a great way to never even notice a difference!

How do you operate your savings account(s)?

What ways have you found to be effective for your family and your budget?

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