Saturday, May 10, 2008

Economic Stimulus Here I Come

I received $600 from the IRS this week, and I plan to spend every penny of it.
For nearly a year, I have scrimped and saved to meet my financial goals. 

Yes, I do budget a bit of fun into my life each month. I also allow an occasional purchase. (I have made two since January - a shirt from a thrift store that cost less than $20 and a chair from a used furniture store that cost less than $100.)

Nevertheless, I have dutifully delayed gratification on numerous fronts. No more, at least with this stack of cash. So here is how I plan to spend my stimulus money at locally-owned businesses:
  1. Buy a compost bin - I want to turn the mound of leaves and my vegetable scraps into fertile soil. I could probably save money by building one, but I rent my house and want the bin to be mobile when I move.
  2. Buy a new battery for my laptop - My current one has been kaput for months. (I will place an order with the independently owned Mac shop, not the one at the Mall.)
  3. Repair my broken TV - I dropped it off at a shop a few weeks ago. Hopefully it will be fixed soon.
  4. Have fun with my friends next weekend when we get together in Baltimore. (The airplane ticket has already been purchased.)
These are the rewards I am giving myself for diligently sticking to my budget and meeting my debt/savings goals so far. 

They may cost more than $600. We'll see. If anything, the battery purchase can be delayed.

But I feel the need to grab the carrot and take a bite at least once in a while. Is that really so bad?

Thursday, May 1, 2008

Up go the savings

May is going to be a glorious month. 

Today, I can happily report that my emergency fund has reached $4,000. By the time the month ends, I will reach the magic mark of $5,000 - the halfway point to my goal. Woo hoo!

The frugal me is developing biceps of steel. 

Oh how my life has changed in a year.

While I had stopped using my credit card last January, I continued to shop regularly for $100 pair of shoes. I was no longer adding to my credit card debt, but I wasn't really paying it off either.

Today, I can say that I have purchased only clothing item this year -- a $16 shirt from a second-hand store. My credit card debt is gone. And my savings are sky rocketing.

Today, I feel unstoppable!