Friday, September 18, 2009

It occurred to me that I have written much about our "saving the difference" strategies.

We have a variety of savings things going on right now. We have a $50 automatic contribution to a brokerage account where our 6 month emergency fund is held as a CD. We make $100 deposits in to both of our daughter's 529s on a monthly basis. I have a $50 automatic check deduction that goes in to a small short term emergency savings account. I contribute 7% of my salary in varying splits of 401K and Roth 401K. My husband contributes a set 8% to a 401K. I also always attempt to put at least an extra $20-$50 back towards the principal on our 20 year mortgage. And finally, I made a 2 year commitment to contribute $110 of my pay check to an employee stock purchase plan. Until recently, we then set any extra income aside in to an account to buy a new car as we knew we were in great danger of our '98 Mountaineer dying. We saved just shy of 10K in 13 months.

Maybe that sounds like a lot to you. Maybe it doesn't. That's not the point. The point is that I have to FIND that money somehow by keeping our overhead operating cost as low as I possibly can. I'm learning to find by exhausting sales opportunities, coupons and discovering tax benefits.

The bad news here even to the extent of "knowing better," we financed a new car in August. We combined Cash for Clunkers, a Chrysler rebate and a friend in the business to get a 35K Town and Country for 22K. We'll also be able to claim the taxes on our 2009 return. It was a deal that given the available offers , a 10K down payment and a family that will hopefully grow to 5 within the next 2 years, we just couldn't refuse.

The GOOD news, is that we SCRAPED together a triple car payment in September! Even with all of the other savings commitments we've made, we were able to impact the bottom line of our loan tremendously by paying off three months with our first payment. So, game on! Our goal is to be back to debt free except for our mortgage by this time next year. We paid off our last 12 K car loan in 12 months, and I'll be darned if we don't do it again!

So, there is a method behind this grocery madness. I've got a debt to pay.

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