So as I’m sure everyone has heard or read, the Federal Reserve Board again cut rates in an attempt to stop the current economic downslide. From what I’ve read, it sounds like a number of analysts believe that we are officially in a recession.
I haven’t decided if this means I will be making drastic changes. Of course, I have already noticed the increased price in groceries, so it might mean adjusting my grocery budget or simply working to buy less food.
I’m a little concerned about what’s going to happen to my rent come September when my lease is up. I should really consider picking up a roommate, even if it’s just an intern who comes for the summer.
I’m going to continue to funnel money into my ING Direct accounts. The interest rates aren’t excellent, but they’re better than I’m getting at Bank of America, and I like their security and their customer service.
I’m going to work on slowly funding all of my budget categories. Even if I can only drop in $5 a month, that’s better than nothing.
After the slight success I’m seeing from cleaning out my closets and listing items on eBay, I’m going to continue that plan. It’s kind of a dual benefit situation – I clean out my closets and declutter my life a bit, and I get a bit of cash in return. I’m selling things that I’m not using and therefore are worthless to me. Because of that, I’m delighted to get a few dollars back for it. Sure, it might be “worth” more than what I end up selling it for, but as many people have said, an item is only worth what someone is willing to pay for it.
I have a family vacation planned for the summer, but my only expense there is transportation and incidentals once we arrive (I may try to convince my parents to let me buy them dinner one night, though) and immediately following that is a friend’s wedding. Other than that, I don’t have any travel planned until Christmas, so no expenses to be cut there. I do have a few items of clothing that I really do need to replace, but I know exactly what I want/need (size, color, brand), so I will just watch for sales and find them when I find them. I may also decide to do more shopping online. Yes, I pay for shipping that way, but I save on gas, and more importantly, I save on impulse purchases.
I will continue to contribute to my TSP each paycheck (I become eligible for the match in June, which will be a nice bump to that account), and I plan to start funding my Roth IRA for 2008 in the coming months. I have a Roth with Vanguard, and I want to buy a new fund, which requires a minimum $3000 initial purchase, so I’m waiting a bit until I’m actually ready to put that chunk of money into an investment.
Other than that, I just plan to ride this thing out. I’m not in a position to buy a house, and the falling interest rate does hinder my plans to save for a down payment, but not by all that much. Only a few hundred dollars a year, really, and while that would be nice to have, it’s not the end of the world that I have to save a little bit longer.
To summarize, I would say that my plans for this recession are to simply dig in my heels and hold on and maybe try to make a little progress in the face of the storm.
Megan is a 30-something government employee in the Washington, DC area. She got interested in Personal Finance when she got out of college and realized that her paycheck wasn’t going to go as far as she had hoped. Since starting this blog, she has managed to buy a house and make a solid start on her retirement goals, and hopes to help others do the same. Here is her story:
In 2007, I was a gainfully employed 20-something with no debt but not a lot of knowledge about personal finance. It was a co-worker’s comment about Roth IRAs that sent me to the internet, searching for information. It was then that I realized that I really didn’t know a whole lot about personal finance and that my current financial situation was due a lot to inherent frugal tendencies, generous family members, a fear of debt, and good luck. While that was working for me, clearly I needed a better plan.
While I had no debt, I was also pretty much living paycheck to paycheck and not worrying about going over budget (I say this as if I had a real budget) because I had an emergency fund set aside to cover any overages.
Except that’s not what an emergency fund is for.
So I did a lot of research, read a lot of blogs, and decided that I needed a plan. I needed to budget. I needed to know what I was spending my money on. I needed to prepare for the future.
I decided to create a blog not only to make myself accountable to others but also to share the knowledge that I gained along the way. I’ve learned so much from my fellow bloggers, and I hope that my readers can find something useful in what I have to share as well.