Saturday, November 22, 2014

Financial house of order

As social workers, our finances are generally one of the biggest things we worry about.

Because, let's face it...a lot of us tend to live paycheck to paycheck, especially in high cost of living areas. Even if you're not a social worker, most fields these days unfortunately do not allow for much disposable income, so we can all benefit from savings tips.

I am planning to sign up for a FSA for child care and camp costs,  and a HSA for health related expenses. I've been tracking closely what I've spent out of pocket this past year so I know exactly how much to set aside come January

I also decided to enroll in a yearly 1% retirement plan increase earlier this month.  We had a recent visit from our retirement plan people who advised doing this each year and especially with any raise.  I was fortunate enough to receive a 5% raise in Septemeber, so even though it doesn't look like it amounts to much, it does add up eventually.  Right now I save 11% of my income into retirement.  The professionals say that we should set aside at least 10% and up to 20% to be able to retire comfortably.

That's obviously my goal by upping what I increase yearly or with each pay raise.

Today I also decided to sign up for automatic withdrawals for my student loan payment. This will help reduce my current interest rate and I already have this set up for other bills to help me save a little on things like car and life insurance.
(Oh, and speaking of life insurance....if you don't have this I advise you to sign up this year. I hear frequently of people who can't afford a funeral and other needs because they didn't want to pay what they probably spend in Starbucks each month. So do think about it. Especially if you have kids, a house, and other major expenses).

My other goal this year is to reduce what I lay out each week on groceries and Target because I feel like I go to both out of habit and not because we actually need anything.  I may even consider only making coffee at home too because when I do the math in my head, takeout really adds up each month.

I'm also going to try to use up more of what we have on hand already and do at least one weekend a month of no shopping at all.....

What are you planning to help keep your financial house in order this year? 

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