Giving plan

This week, I've been checking all my online finance stuff, since I will have intermittent access. While I was doing my bill pay and such, I set up my donation checks. This sounds silly, but I am super excited about finally being able to donate.

I'll be supporting 4 "charities", which are Modest Needs, AVDA, American Cancer Society, and some friends of mine who are doing volunteer work in Kenya (check the links on bottom left). They're not all local like I had originally intended, but I am happy (obviously) with my choices. I chose Modest Needs because I like what they do - giving small grants to people when they need it. I am a cancer survivor and was helped by the ACS scholarship fund, so I will be donating specifically to the Fund in FL. AVDA works with local victims of domestic abuse - something that I am fortunate not to have personal experience with - and they could use all the help they can get. I met my friends online and I promised that I would donate to their efforts.

I have set up monthly payments to each of the charities (1 per week). Foe every month that I have an extra paycheck, I will prob donate to NPR.

What about everyone else?



Blog Hiatus/Intermittent Posting

FYI - I am preparing to start my new job this Monday, so posting will be very light (i.e. nonexistent). Also, until I get my internet hooked up at home (I have been mooching at work), I won't be able to post. Please bookmark my site and check back often. I'm going to try to set up my RSS feed, but we'll see.

Toodles, Clink


To pay off the credit card, car payment, or neither...

I have a dilemma and I'd like some feedback/suggestions as to what to do about it.

Here's the situation:

I have ~$7500 in debt to the credit mofos at 0% interest.
I am about to have $7500 on a car loan at ~10% interest.

Currently, I am saving my credit mofo money in a temporary EFund, but when the due date is up, I'll pay off the entire card. However, I question paying off the credit mofos when they're at 0% when I could be paying off the car loan at 10%.

What I'm wondering is if I should:

(1) Put the car loan (not signed off yet) onto a 0% credit card and keep switching to a new card (or even just a low interest card) until it's paid off?
- The benefit for this is at least three-fold. I would have the title to the car in hand, I wouldn't be paying any interest, and I wouldn't have to worry about loan paperwork. The downfall is obviously more credit card debt and the potential for not finding a 0% card(s) at any time in the future.


(2) Get a car loan at 10% and pay it off with the CC EFund money (I will still be building up my reg EFund)?
- The benefit is that I wouldn't have to worry about finding a 0% interest rate card and I could prepay the loan off. The downfall is that I would be paying 10% interest, it would take longer to pay off the debt, and I wouldn't have that extra money in hand (or a temp EFund) should I need it.

(3) My brain just went kaput because I had another possibility that I can't remember.

I am leaning towards option 1, but I am not so sure. What would y'all do?



Debt vs Savings

This is a somewhat continuation of a discussion going on in this post's comment section.

There has been some serious debate around the pf blogosphere regarding the subject of savings versus paying down debt (I talked about it before). On one hand, people suggest paying down the debt if the interest is higher than what you can gain with investments/savings or if it makes you feel better; on the other hand, people suggest building up savings for an emergency, for the long term, or for your comfort level. In the end, though, what it almost always comes down to is the comfort level of the individual. No one rule can fit everyone's situation or comfort level.

Let's look at this in example form. If a person has a family that is dependent on their income or if they are in a situation where job losses are common (major manufacturing comes to mind), they are going to want to have an EFund that will tide them over for the time that they are without income. But, if the person has no dependents or is in a stable career (say, like govt or military), they may not need a large EFund.

Looking at my situation, right now, my goal is to build up an EFund. I absolutely want to pay down the credit mofos, but I need the security of the EFund, given the potential volatility of my new job. So, I am going to focus on that. Additionally, looking beyond just the EFund, I want to maximize my 401K contributions (and poss. Roth IRA) while I am making a good salary so that it'll make up for a time in the future when I might be making less money (school or low paying job in new career).

I'm planning on automating my EFund savings into a 5% savings account. I already pay the minimums to the credit mofos at 0%. Any extra money (quite a bit, actually) gets put into a separate Credit Card EFund, where it can earn some interest. Essentially what I'm doing is saving the payments to earn interest of the money and creating a temporary EFund that I can access should I need to.



31 Days to Fix Your Finances

Trent over at the Simple Dollar ran a 31 day series in which he writes how to examine every aspect of your financial life. It wrapped up a few weeks ago, but I thought it was worthwhile to post. Plus, it's a reminder for me.

Here's the wrap-up.



Revamping the budget

Here are some things I'm thinking about WRT the budget:

(While these are in no particular order, the more pertinent stuff is on top.)

1. 10% giving - I may bump this down to 5% depending on what I want to do with the rest of the budget, but we'll see.

2. Full 401k investment - I think my new/old company matches up to 5 or 6%, so I'll contribute that.

3. Fully fund Roth IRA - I also want to move it to a better place. It's with Merrill Lynch because that's where I opened it when I was 18(!), but I haven't been so happy with it's performance.

4. 5-10% fun money - I tend not to enjoy my money, but with me working my tukus off as much as I will in my new job, I will need to. I promised my gf that either I would budget for fun stuff or she gets control of it. Not sure if this will include vacation money or if that will be separate. Knowing me and my cheap ass spending habits, I'll just combine these.

5. E-Fund - (AKA Fuck you fund) This will be very impt to me, esp with my history at the job. I stayed there far too long the first time because I didn't have an e-fund. So, I am going to figure out how much I need for 3-6 months and bust my ass to fill it. Even if I don't need it for a potential "Fuck You," it will be good to have when I either go for my PhD or for a new job.

6. Pay off the credit mofos! - I am so happy that I will have the money for this.

7. Increase my non retirement investments - I own a few stocks and I may increase my holdings. I also think some sort of Index fund would be a good idea, too.

8. Save for a down payment on a house - This is a low priority for me as we are not expecting to be in any one place for long enough to reap the benefits, but it would be nice to have some saved up for when we are ready.

9. My gf gets some money each month (long story) - we have to figure out where to put it - stocks, retirement, student loan payments, etc.

10. Prepay the car payment - the loan will be at 10%, so this is important to me.

11. Start the student loan payments - this is only nec if I want to get the debt monkey completely off my back. This is not a big priority.

12. Save for tuition payments - now that the tuition benefit is gone and I don't want to take loans, I'll need to save for tuition.

13. Insurance payments - I am considering paying for COBRA instead of taking the insurance offered. I'll look at the plans.

As you can see, there are a lot of things I would like to do with my money. Tentatively, my take home pay will double (I guesstimated with Paycheck City.), so I'll have an extra 1500+ per month. But, there is still a limit.

First thing I need to do is prioritize and take it from there. Any suggestions?


87th Carnival of Personal Finance

It's up over at 2million. He's (I'm assuming) got a great Carni'val parade theme going on.

I entered my Get oodles of money, but work for a company you don't like post.