Net Worth Update February 2011

Whoooo, doggie, January was an interesting month, money-wise.  Besides the wonderful fun with my car (and the multiple repair trips required), there was also some excitement with my student loans going on behind the scenes.  You see, while my graduate student stipend covers most of my class expenses, there are some that I need to pay out of pocket.  Rather than about the $1000 I had to pay last semester (which is still rather high, when my stipend is just barely over $1000 a month, but that’s another complaint), this semester I was informed that the amount I needed to pay was $4400 (aka, nearly as much as my entire spring semester stipend).  *Cue a mild heart attack*

Luckily for me, that turned out to be the result of a technical glitch (or something to that effect) in my university’s computer system; nobody actually expected me to come up with that much money, and a few emails got things straightened out.  (They still charged me nearly $800 on top of the portion of my tuition paid by my stipend, which is nearly a month’s income, but again, that’s more an issue with how the graduate student system itself works.)  So, good news, my tuition is not going to break the bank.

The not so good news is that I had already committed to a $7000+ student loan when I thought that my tuition was going to be much, much more expensive.  After the tuition was paid, they sent me the excess, though, which is a nice silver lining; I ended up putting much of that money into savings accounts and paying down my credit cards.  (Given that the loan (a) has an interest rate of 7.9% and (b) is subsidized, that is, I don’t owe any interest on it until I graduate, it seemed like a no-brainer to  use the money to help my current financial situation.)  All of this is to say that, as you look over my finances this month there are going to be more than a few changes:

Not too much to note, other than what I’ve already mentioned about the new student loan (the one listed under Fed Loan).  My investments inched their way higher (for the most part), my savings got a nice influx of money courtesy of my student loan, and my credit cards have been paid down (or paid off, which makes me happy).  The existence of the student loan itself does mean that I’ve added another (sizable) debt, of course, but it does give me more leeway to take care of my higher priority financial goals.

But wait, we’re not quite done yet.  I know this is about the time I let you go when we’re talking about my personal financial situation, but starting this month, I wanted to add a few more notes.  I thought to myself, what better way to keep motivated on several of my financially related resolutions than to keep a running tab of them in my net worth updates?  So, here’s where I stand toward fulfilling several of my goals:

I’m keeping track of my alternate income, which I have a goal of boosting to $1000 per month this year.  So far, I only brought in $25 last month, so I have quite a way to go, but everyone’s got to start somewhere, and it’s still nearly double what I made in December, so I am encouraged.  (I’m further encouraged by the fact that my income seemed to be ramping up as January went along; if it continues to increase like this, February should prove to be even more profitable.)

The other goal I’m tracking is to give ten percent of my income to charity.  I did a decent job this month (my monthly donations to the Yakezie Scholarship fund and my pledge of $500 to celebrate my 500th post added up to quite a bit of money), but since I’m counting my student loan as ‘income’, I’ve got a way to go to catch up in the coming months.  Still, setting a goal is the first step to achieving it, so I’m sure I’ll meet my donation goal before too long (to say nothing of all my other goals)!

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