Friday, February 4, 2011

February 2011 Update

Happy February! I hope everyone is having a wonderful 2011 so far and making progress on paying off debt. And if not? Well ... there's always tomorrow to get back on track.

Things with me are going fairly well. I met with my financial planner a few weeks ago and opened a Roth IRA to supplement my 401(k). I had to make a deposit to open the account (of course), and will start the monthly contributions in mid-March.

Not counting the retirement funds, though, I have about $5,000. While it's not too shabby, it could be -- and should be -- higher. I've been dipping into my checking account cushion more than I'd like. This makes me nervous; I'm afraid of lapsing into old habits. For example, I'd been using a credit card (responsibly) to take advantage of an offer for extra rewards points. I paid the full balance at the end of the month, like I was supposed to, but the whole time I had a balance, I felt ill at ease. I've got to get over that. I've got to heal my relationship with money. Right now it has way too much power. I think about it constantly. For a long time I allowed the debt to control my life, influence my well-being. I equated my self-worth to my net worth. Now I'm doing the same thing with my savings.

I recently completed my federal and state tax returns and will mail them later this month. It was my first time itemizing. I'd obsessed about that for months, but it wasn't as bad as I'd made it out in my head. Thankfully, everything was straightforward. Anyway, I'm due a decent refund, so I'll have that to look forward to in a month or two. (Apparently it takes longer to process returns for those who claim the first-time home buyer credit.) I still need new mattresses, and there are a few other things I'd like to purchase. Also, there are a few trips in my future: a friend's wedding in Massachusetts this September, and a vacation for me in May 2012 (details to be announced later). And I'm thinking about a quick overnight trip to Richmond in April. I want to hit the museum and do a little window-shopping in Carytown. It's time I start doing some fun things.

So that's where we are this month.

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