One of the hardest things I’ve had to learn as an adult is Fiscal Responsibility. That is, managing my money. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve forgotten to pay the electric, the water, the cable…bounced a check (I should own stock in WAMU/Chase for all the checks I’ve bounced)…you name it–though I’ve gotten much better over the years. And there’s just no reason for it other than I’m a horrible money manager!!
I decided late last year, with the recession, the biggest favor I could do myself (and the kids) was get out of debt.
To that end I made the VERY difficult decision to pull a huge chunk of money out of my retirement account (but I had to wait until this Spring). Yes Yes I know! Penalties and fees and taxes oh my! But I talked it over with my finance dude and a) I’m young b) that means I’ve got at least another 20-30 years of working left in me and c) paying off not just credit cards but the car will free up enough money to allow me to put money back INTO savings and eventually funnel it to some sort of IRA fund. And also c) late payments are not just wrecking my credit and lowering my credit score, but making me pay higher home and car insurance rates, so e) with improved credit scores those insurance rates will go down.
Seeing as how I’ll soon have to add another driver *sob* (and a boy to boot) onto my car insurance (and then yet another in like 2011-12), I need all the help I can get. And eventually I’m going to have to invest in a second vehicle, but we have a while on that one. There’s also the new fence that’s desperately needed, some tree trimming which is God-Awful expensive, bathroom tile repairs that’ll probably set me back a couple grand or more, and new floors in the house–also a huge expense.
I’ve been doing this in chunks and I’ve got $100.00 left on one credit card and one last big payment on the car. By July the only real debt I’ll have is the mortgage and my student loans. It’s slow going but we’re getting there. I’m not so worried this year about those summer electric bills (w/two teens home all day) or the food bills (w/two teens and their friends in and out all day–and #1 son officially has the bottomless stomach of suck that can’t be filled. Ohhhhh 15 how I love you what a wonderful age *sigh*). There probably won’t be a birthday trip for the big 4-0, but I do see a new dryer in my future 😀
So, share your money saving tips with me!