April 25th, 2012
Broke Gal in NYC, Part 7: Wrapping Things Up
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Welcome to the “Broke Gal in NYC” blog series! For the past seven months, we’ve followed Kate from the Broke Gal in NYC blog in her progress to pay down debt, make a career change and do it all in a financially savvy way!
It’s been a great seven months of blogging for Credit Karma and having Justine give me advice on my goals. It’s been full of challenges but overall has been a wonderful experience that has helped me mature not only fiscally, but also intellectually. To reflect on the past seven months, I’m sharing my highs, lows and future goals:
- Investing: I am really pleased that I started investing, since I know this is necessary for my long-term financial well-being. I hope to grow and diversify both my brokerage account and retirement savings in the next few years.
- Paying off credit card debt: This was a huge success for me; now I can put money I would be throwing away on interest towards my student loans, savings or investments.
- Feeling “in control”: The most important thing I learned was how to take control of my money and feel in control of my own financial destiny. So often people, especially women, act like financial success is something that just happens to a select lucky few, but that is absolutely not the case! Feeling in charge of my money has definitely been one of the most empowering experiences of my life.
- Work: I haven’t been able to make the career change of my dreams, but I did pick up a lot of extra freelance work in my current field. Since I’m between consulting clients, I’m looking into other ways to make money through services like Gigwalk, where I can do small tasks for a few dollars. I also hope to pick up more money freelance writing. I intend to put all of this extra money towards my student loans and savings.
- Saving: This time last year I had saved $3,000 and I had an ultimate goal of saving $10,000 within the next few years. Currently my savings have dropped to $4,500 from $5,600 because I used some of it to pay my taxes. I am going to refocus on saving even small amounts because it adds up over time. Currently I’m using ImpulseSave to reward myself with savings when I don’t splurge.
- Student loans: I still have a substantial chunk of student debt that I would like to get paid off. Thankfully all of my loans are low-interest federal loans, but with interest rates set to increase this July I am looking into consolidating to lock in a lower rate and pay off my debt faster. My goal is to be debt-free by age 35.
- Retirement: I would like to open an IRA within the next year and start saving for retirement. Since I am young, even ten dollars a month will grow substantially with compound interest and time. Plus, I can pull up to $10,000 out of my IRA to buy my first home if I do it before the age of 40.
- Saving for an apartment: Eventually I would like to stop renting and own an apartment, co-op or condo. I intend on using part of my future IRA for this but I also want to start a separate fund to save for a down payment on my eventual home.
Kate’s April numbers:
Debt: $36,500 in student loans
Monthly income: $1,800