Photo Credit: GotCredit via Compfight cc

Photo Credit: GotCredit via Compfight cc

 

It’s crazy looking at the calendar and seeing November across the top of the month. Where the heck did my entire year go? Stores are already geared up for Christmas and I’m already hearing about black Friday sales. A lot has already happened this year and I’m pretty ready for it to wind down. It’s certainly a good time to remember what goals I had for this year and see if I’ve been able to reach them or what I can do to reach them.

And……….I just maxed out my 401k for the first time ever!!!!!!! This was my major goals for this year and I did it with time to spare. It’s such an amazing feeling to know I was able to do this! Of course I’ve always wanted to but never even got close until now. Things like high cost of living and a smaller salary unfortunately got in the way. It’s been one of my goals since I started learning more about personal finance and I finally got there!!!!!

Better yet…my husband is on track to do the same this year too!!!!! He didn’t start his 401k plan until midway through the year but we’ve ramped up his contributions and it’ll get there before 2016. That would be his first time maxing out too!

With that said and done…I think I can go celebrate and be lazy for the rest of the year. But oh wait…it’s holidays time and it’s when money gets sucked out of my purse like no other. I guess I still have some work to do before 2016.

YTD goals completed

  • Continue to raise our net worth
  • Contribute continuously to investments (even if stock market keeps swinging)
  • Do a full kitchen renovation
  • Pay extra on mortgage ever single month (automatic so we don’t even notice)
  • Max out my 401k

 

I’m feeling pretty accomplished!!!! After years of practicing frugality and adding on different methods to save and automate mula, it’s all paying off and it’s so easy!!!! It amazes me too since so much has happened this year that definitely we spent more mula on than normal. We had a lovely trip to the grand canyon earlier this year. Four weddings total this year with 2 being out of town weddings where I was in the bridal party. It’s a sure way to spend money when you are in a bridal party. I just found out that my best friend and her husband will be coming to LA to spend Christmas with us!!!

Now I need to figure out how first of all not overspend during the holidays, and secondly splurge a bit when my friend is here but at the same time not go full on crazy! I’ve already started Christmas shopping months ago and have bought gifts that were on sale/clearance that I thought would be good for people. That definitely gives me more time to shop around and get good deals instead of mad rushing last minute! Now as for the holiday festivities, I’ll have to figure out a good mix of frugal/fancy things to do. I have to admit that my mind already did jump to getting a 6 foot live tree….but then shut it down after realizing how wasteful that is (money and earth wise). Perhaps a small potted plant?

Either way my work isn’t done yet for this year! Some big accomplishments already but always more I can do!

 

How has your year been going and have you accomplished any goals you’ve set for yourself already?

 


Photo Credit: bill.sarris via Compfight cc

Photo Credit: bill.sarris via Compfight cc

How many times have you seen this phrase and utterly ignored it? I tend to honestly. Every time I use a gift card at a store I don’t check to make sure I get back the right gift card. When I use cash though I make sure to count out what I get back to make sure I get the proper amount. With gift cards though i glance at it and think that it’s the same card I gave my cashier. Learning the hard way about not checking that at all times!

I’ve had a lovely few weeks going back and forth with Home Depot trying to get back the money lost on a gift card that was switched out when checked out. Technically it was my father who this happened to, but I’ve had to deal with it since he told me that it happened at a Home Depot in LA. He had used a gift card to check out and then was given back one that had a zero balance. The situation has been quite confusing indeed because he thought it had happened in my area. Unfortunately he forgot that he went to another Home Depot with that same gift card afterwards where he lives and that’s where it got switched! Only that store can help since they can double check security cameras to verify his story.

Form the day forth…I will always check my gift cards every single time I use them to make sure I get the right one back!

Feels like a card but it’s money

A lot of people I know tend to think of gift cards as free money that they don’t need to account for. It hurts to hand over a $20 but when it comes to a gift card it feels like a credit card. No visible consequences of paying for something thus the same mental thinking. That’s money though on those cards and if you lose it then well it’s gone. I admit I sometimes forget to use them because I don’t always carry them around too. It’s already been paid for so then I’m using extra money instead.

Double-check that card

I highly suspect that my father was a victim of a scam unfortunately. The gift card he had would’ve had a balance of about $150 on it. Turns out we were able to look up the card history through Home Depot’s systems and the card was cleaned out weeks later across the country. He had no reason to believe anything but good of the person helping him that day and it’s the first time he’s encountered this before. It’s been a big hassle and we haven’t been able to get the money back yet. Fingers crossed that we will but already a lot of time has gone into this.

Don’t let it out of your sight

Another thing I’ll be sure to do now is to watch the cashier if I hand over a gift card. Usually they stand right in front of you and you can see everything. If I ever use a self-checkout though sometimes the cashier walks off to a separate station. A bit harder to track but I’ll be extra careful to check it as soon as I get it back.

 

Gift cards are so simple to use that it’s easy to not think much about it when paying with them. It’s a form of money though so I should definitely be more careful about it.

How do you treat your gift cards?


Photo Credit: Lost Star via Compfight cc

Photo Credit: Lost Star via Compfight cc

It’s been quite a busy year for me with two major weddings I’m in. Let’s say money has been flying out the door pretty much and my time has been pretty limited. Whoosh. Gone in less than a second! It’s about time I got back to blogging and what better day than today?

Happy be a millionaire day!

I’m not a millionaire but it’s one of my goals to be one some day! Each day I slowly and steadily work towards that goal and I get a tiny bit closer as time passes. About two years ago I made a few goals for myself to get to my bigger goal. Time to check in and see how I’ve been doing!

Contribute to my retirement accounts
I was aiming for 15% but I have surpassed that for sure!!! This year I’m definitely going to hit the maximum for my 401k. I’m not sure I can hit any other retirement accounts but that’s already a much better retirement rate than before!

Buy a house
When I first wrote this I was saving up intensely for the downpayment for a house. A few months after this my husband and I found the right place and luckily our bid was accepted! We paid down a 20% down payment and since then have been steadily chipping away at our principal with extra payments every single month. If we keep going at the rate we’re at currently we would be able to pay off this house in about 22 years! That is if we don’t have children but since we plan to that will put a kink into our plans for sure. Either way we’re building up our equity slowly and that contributes a lot to our net worth.

Invest
I finally opened up an account with Betterment and have contributed 10% of our income to it every single month. It’s adding up pretty quickly and the time invested return is at 12% right now! It’ll be a while til it’s viable passive income but I finally started it up!

Save like crazy
We have a pretty nicely padded emergency fund especially since owning a house brings on more emergencies than renting. Our savings rate is higher than our aimed goal of 10% also!!!! Yes, we could be saving more, but we also are trying to live life well now rather than just later.

And so…on my way to becoming a millionaire!!!!

What about you? Do you have dreams of becoming a millionaire?


Photo Credit: scottwills via Compfight cc

Photo Credit: scottwills via Compfight cc

Half the year is almost over and I haven’t put anything into my 401k retirement yet! How is that possible even? For the full-time job I started last year there is a 6 month waiting period and then I’m eligible on the first day of the quarter. July 1st is the day I can finally start contributing to my 401k with a 3% match! It feels a bit weird to be excited about that but I guess to each their own.

Now the biggest question is if I can max out my 401k this year with only 6 months to contribute! For the first 6 months out of the year I’ve been enjoying a larger paycheck than normal because of the lack of 401k. Having the entire year to contribute to the max limit is definitely something I can do, but with only half a year is it even possible? Well of course anything is possible but it’ll be a hard change and my income flow will be much lower. My husband just started a new job a month ago and he won’t be eligible for 401k until three months are left in the year. I think that I can definitely max out my 401k but I doubt he can with only three months for him. I’m going for it for sure! I’ll miss the extra chunk of disposable income but it’ll go a long way towards my future.

Benefits of a 401k
There are a few really good reasons why I’m doing this. First of all my employer matches 3% so I at least have to contribute 3% to get that! Free money yeah! There isn’t any vesting period but I do have to wait until the end of the year for them to put in the 3%. Secondly I need the tax benefits! California living is pricey and has a very high income tax. If I max out then that’s $17,500 that I don’t need to pay taxes on! Lastly, the most important reason, is that this all goes toward my retirement! Have to watch out for myself because I don’t intend to keep working until I’m 95!

Why max it out?
I really don’t have to max out my 401k but since I’m still young then the more money I put in now means the less I need to put in later. Work harder now and have more fun later! Haha. With compound interest working on my side then making a little sacrifice now will pay off in spades later.

 

I have one more month of enjoying a lot of disposable income and then there will be a sharp drop in that. I better enjoy that while it lasts! I’m going to go for it and max out my 401k this year!

Are you going to max out your 401k this year?


Photo Credit: Geomangio via Compfight cc

Photo Credit: Geomangio via Compfight cc

I love it when I reach a goal and I feel great that I made it there! Then it’s onto my next goal to see what else I can accomplish! In terms of financial goals I just hit the amount I wanted to have for emergency savings and it feels great! I have a good number of short term and longer terms goals that I’m trying to hit one by one but now I can cross one off my list. I’m going to carry the momentum forward and continue saving to reach other goals!

It wasn’t that I didn’t have an emergency fund before but I wanted to beef it up and make it a nice fat emergency fund. Last year after buying a house I realized that I needed to have a bigger emergency fund in case anything went wrong. Fingers crossed of course and knock on wood that everything always goes smoothly. With house renovations and a few house fixes under my belt already after only a few months I know that things aren’t always smooth sailing. I have a lot more to consider when it comes to money and possibly a lot more to pay for when it comes to my house!

This is a good time to re-evaluate my goals and see how well I’m doing. Plus what else should I save for now since my money isn’t going into an emergency fund anymore?

Continue to save
Well the saving technically never stops but what I’m saving for changes. Emergency fund is now nice and fat so I can turn to other things like a honeymoon fund and a new kitchen. Technically for the honeymoon we’ve already paid for a portion of it but we still need to pay for the cruise and save some fun money. Our kitchen is also the original from more than fifty years ago and could use a total renovation. New appliances, cabinets, counters and possibly even some restructuring! That’s definitely something we can’t just drop money on right away and need to save up for.

Investments
I’m continuing to slowly put away 10% every month but if I have extra savings I could potentially put more into investments. Since I’m at the very beginning of starting this it could really help ramp it up and become a viable side income faster!

Extra mortgage payments
Not a fun option at all because this is such a long term goal and seeing the light at the end of this tunnel will take time. Every dollar extra we put towards the mortgage definitely helps us in the end and especially in the first few years since it chips away at the principal and the interest can’t pile up as much. Might as well put a little extra before we have kids to help us in the future.

Extra car payments
I really don’t have too much motivation since our loan is at 0%, but if we do pay this off early that’s a lot of extra freed up money that we can put towards something else! It is also a much smaller amount than the mortgage. If paid off early the only debt we would have is the mortgage.

Myself
Oh yes I do believe in rewarding myself a little when I’ve worked hard to reach a goal. Whether it be a nicer dinner than usual or allowing myself an impulse buy I’m for the indulgement. To be able to reach my financial goals I’ve been pretty frugal and budget friendly. Allowing myself to do something a bit out of the ordinary is something I look forward to after hitting a goal.

 

Were you able to hit any of your goals lately?