Can you hear it? It’s the sound of money disappearing from my savings. It’s been going on for many months now. I haven’t been able to save as much as I used to, and I’ve had to dip into my savings more often than I have wanted.
I think the reason for this is twofold. First, I’ve probably been a little too aggressive with my investing strategy based on my income. Considering my fixed expenses, like rent, I probably can’t afford to send 12% of my gross income to my 401(k), plus $250 a month ($333 a month in 2005) to my Roth IRA, plus $800 a month or so into general long-term savings. I’m going to have to rethink that strategy.
The second fold of the aforementioned twofold reason is budgeting. I’m spending too much in general, and I’m going to cut back on some of my expenses. The car has been the largest change in the past year, and I don’t have much choice there. My rent is sky high and in May I might have to consider (gasp) finding a roommate.
I wonder if the market would be right in a few months to buy a duplex and rent out one side while living in the other. Unfortunately, that would require a lot of money up front that I just do not have.
Anyone who owns “things” should keep an inventory of all those “things.” I haven’t really updated my inventory in a while, and the beginning of the new year would be a good time to do so. The Insurance Information Institute has a website from where you can download free software to help in your recordkeeping.
Microsoft Money does a horrible job in managing a home inventory. I’ll try out the software offered by I.I.I. and post a review at some point. I like the ability to include photographs and receipts with each item.
ING Direct has increased the interest paid to its savings account customers to 2.35%. If you’re not keeping your emergency fund, or any money you’re not investing/gambling with here, you should think about opening an account. If you do want to open an account, I can offer you $25 for doing so through a referral program. You get $25 and I get $10 for each referral. Email me through the link on my sidebar (under Who is Flexo?) and let me know you’d like a referral email to get your $25.
Jennifer Mulrean over on MSN Money put together a nice article regarding results for a holiday shopping related survey. Here are some interesting tidbits:
* Most respondents are giving gifts to between six and ten people.
* 300 respondents (out of more than 2,000) are giving no gifts.
* A plurality (21%) of respondents are spending between $251 and $500 on gifts and 2.6% are spending more than $5,000.
* 12% said they went into debt for last year’s holiday shopping. The more debt they had, the longer it took to pay it off. Some are still paying it off.
* The most popular category of holiday gifts is clothing.
There are more within the article.