Wednesday, February 29, 2012

2012 Savings Goals - February Report

(1) Max out 401k(s) - $6123 (18%)(goal is $34,000)
(2) Max out IRA(s) - $0 (0%)(goal is $10,000)
(3) Add to e/r fund - $ 1600 (16%)(goal is $10,000)
(4) Pay down mortgage - $830 (17%)(goal is $5,000)
(5) House projects - $0 (0%) (goal is $5,000)
(6)  Trading account fund - $0 (0%(goal is $5,000)

Total - $8,553 (12%)

And, since we just finalized our 2012 savings plan, it should be no surprise that we are approximately $3,800 behind.  We are really going to have to work hard to meet, or come close, this year's ambitious goals.


I've updated our numbers.  The up market has boosted our net worth to $1,048,677.  Also, you may notice that we have $2000 on the credit card.  Mr. Sam is taking a class and we paid for it via plastic rather than take money out of savings.  Should be paid off prior to incurring interest.

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

2012 Savings Plan

I continue to work on the details of our 2012 Spending Plan.  At present, I've completed all the details regarding expenses associated with bills, mortgage, taxes, insurance, utilities, investment property expenses, etc.  I have also worked on budgeting for annual expenses like vacation, travel, holiday, charitable expenses.  I am still working on the numbers for categories such as groceries, eating out and entertainment which has never been an area where we really have tried to maintain a budget.  I expect that we will continue our normal procedures of paying known expenses, moving money to savings and then spending the rest rather than trying to come up with budgets for these day to day, week to week spending categories.

We have, however, settled on our 2012 Savings Plan, which is good considering we are almost two (2) months into the year.  So with out further ado, here we go:

(1)  Max out 401ks - $34,000 ($17,000 for each)
(2)  Max out IRAs - $10,000 ($5,000 for each)
(3)  Add to our emergency fund - $10,000
(4)  Principal prepayment for mortgage - $5,000
(5)  House project fund - $5,000
(6)  Trading account fund - $5,000

Total:                             $69,000

Last year our savings goal was $63,000 and we saved $60,060.  This year's goal pushes us to save $9000 more than we saved last year.  It is going to be a challenge and since we really are starting late (although I left the automatic transfer to savings on from last year) we likely are already behind.

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Quick & Easy (& Yummy) Breakfast At Home

In my ongoing effort to eat more meals at home, Mr. Sam bought me these Morningstar veggie sausage, egg and cheese biscuits .  I am delighted to report they are a super yummy and quick (50 seconds in the microwave) breakfast.

Calorie wise these biscuits are reasonable as well - 270 calories.  Compare to similar products like Jimmy Dean at 490 calories and McDonalds at 570 calories.

If you've never tried veggie sausage, Mr. Sam, who is a huge meat eater, reports that he very much enjoyed these Morningstar breakfast biscuits.  He also likes the Boca brand Italian "sausages."

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Making Progress - 401k

Today, on my lunch hour, I spent a few minutes adjusting my with-holdings upward in order to max out my 401k ($17,000 cap in 2012).

Great to cross that one off my list.

Eating My Way Through Big Bucks

Mr. Sam and I eat opposite diets, I'm eat a vegetarian diet (with fish and seafood, but is low on actual vegetables) and Mr. Sam eats a more Atkins type diet based on animal proteins.  As a result, we don't often eat the same meal and in our household, at dinner time, its really every person for themselves.  A typical dinner at our house is as follows.  Mr. Sam will eat meat off the grill and I'll have a bowl of cold cereal.  We also don't normally eat at the same time as I normally arrive home after him and cooking after a long day of the office is not my activity of choice.

When it comes to breakfast, I'll have quick oatmeal at the office or a glass of juice at home.

My big meal is normally at lunch time.  But since I don't like to cook and I hate to grocery shop I noticed that the amount I spend on ordering in lunch became unsustainable last year.  Ordering or going out for lunch was costing me about $250 a month, or a quarter of my allowance monies.  As a result, I am determined to change my ways in 2012.  My plan going forward is to limit my eating out or ordering in to once a week.  For my career, its important that I go out for lunch with my co-workers and or other contacts in my field.  But, once a week should be enough.

The rest of the week my plan is to eat frozen dinner type meals, I'm a fan of Lean Cuisine and some of the steamer bags of mixed veggies and sauce.  I'd prefer to eat home made soups and deluxe sandwich creations, i.e. apple, brie and walnut on a fresh baguette, but I need to start small and not over-reach in my goal setting.  I'm almost positive that I can manage bringing a few frozen dinners to the office so I'm going to commit to that plan.  Perhaps, eventually I'll manage a home made meal for lunch.

Monday, February 13, 2012

I'm Stuck and I Need to Get Unstuck

Six weeks into the new year and I have not finished our annual spending plan for 2012 and we have not finalized our savings plan.

What the heck has happened to me?  I have gotten sucked into preparation land.  I had good intentions, I was going to really study and work our annual plan rather than just relying on our numbers from the prior year.  And, I started off right, I spent several hours working on our 2012 annual spending plan.  But then I got bogged down and stuck when I couldn't easily pull up the data I needed.

Am I using preparation to avoid getting started?  Possibly, my plan, in theory, was to commit to an extra high savings number this year.  If I never finish our spending plan I don't have to commit to keeping my spending under control, I don't have to commit to discipline, I don't have to commit to tough choices.

Today is February 12th, I am committing to having our annual spending plan done and our 2012 savings goals set up by February 19th.