Money Management International is sponsering a Financial Literacy Month Challenge as well as guest bloggers on their Blogging for Change website which highlights each days "step". You can enter the Challenge for a chance to win $500 - you know I did!
I'm a bit behind on the steps, so lets kick this baby into overdrive to catch up, shall we?
Step 1: Commit to Change. Done!
Step 2: Assess Your Finanical Situation. I scored 12 points on their quiz, which "reflects a good effort to manage your money effectively. The 30 step plan can help determine changes that can be made to improve your financial well-being."
Step 3: Clearing Out Financial Clutter. I will give myself a pat on the back for being pretty organized; I usually alway toss receipts (except for major household purchases), I print & save our utility bills for one year to compare costs. I'm hit-or-miss on saving credit card statements. Lately, I've just been reviewing them online.We have a big bag of bills I need to get around to shredding then burning in our fire pit. I need to add our paystubs to the pile now that we've received our tax return. The blog post for day 3 lists an interesting tip about carrying three different registers - one for cash, one for your bank/debit card, and one for credit cards. The author also mentions people who struggle with their finances may need to document their spending for longer than a month (ugh!)
Step 4: Set Yourself Up for Success. I would consider myself the Family CFO, meaning I track and pay the majority of our household bills. Again, I'm pretty organized with our paperwork. We're half & half on automated payments- I should probably work towards full automatic payments. I couldn't view the webcast at work though, unfortunately.
Step 5: Get Copies of Your Credit Report. Done - over 40 pages!
Step 6: Clean Up Your Credit Report. Easy-peasy since there were no errors from the three reporting agencies.
Step 7: Make Your Money Count. Using their Income Worksheet Form, I calculated a monthly take home of $2,553.24 (a bit more than my previous estimates due to knocking down my retirement contributions in the short term).
Step 8: Identify Your Starting Point. I calculated my net worth at $1,130.87. Woo-hoo! In the positive! I didn't have the information on the balances in my pension & IRAs so I just estimated some rough numbers based on my last year & a half of contributions. I did not factor in our joint savings because I haven't recently contributed anything to it (whomp whomp)
Step 9: Passing the Debt Test. I answered "yes" to four questions:
The guest blog posts lists "5 Great Reasons to Have Less Debt". They all sounds fabulous.
Step 10: Set Your Priorities. When filling out the worksheet they provided, I could almost place each priority in the "need" catagory, but I decided to be reasonable. The blog tells you to "market to yourself" what your priorities are instead of letting the mass media market to you which I think is a really interesting concept.
Step 11: Set financial goals. They use the acronym SMART:
That brings us up to date on our steps. Are you motivated to take the Challenge now? I'm actually kind of excited about it. I'm definitely a person motivated by challenges/experiences so this is right up my alley.