Monday, April 2, 2012

Frugal Challenge: IRA Challenge

First, a wrap up of my last frugal challenge: The Gas Challenge.  I'm pleased to report that for the Month of March, I bought gas March 5th, and managed to stretch that tank to March 26th!  I actually bought gas again on the 22nd when I was down to 1/4 tank (I don't like running out of gas), but I didn't use up that 1/4 tank until the 26th.  Sadly, I didn't make it all the way to April 1 like I had hoped, but that was an awfully lofty goal in the first place.  I'm still pretty proud of myself.

Obviously, I'm going to continue to try to walk/bike as much as I can to avoid overspending on gas.  It's a lifestyle change!

Next up: The IRA Challenge.  I can make contributions to my 2011 Roth IRA until April 17th, which I've been doing all along.  With a Roth IRA, you can contribute up to $5000 per year, and no more.  I'd like to get to $5000, obviously, but I'm $1700 away from doing that.  I have two paychecks before that, so I can take what would have gone into regular savings and direct it to the IRA, but that's still nowhere near the $1700.

The way I see it, I have a few options:

  1. Put off paying off my credit cards and put that money into the IRA.  I only owe something like $100 on one, and I usually pay ahead of time to avoid fees, but I do like having that 0 or negative balance...
  2. Redirect all money that was going into my regular savings account into the IRA.
  3. Find some way to make extra money--I'm already working extra hours and don't know what else I could really do, but it's always an option.
  4. Move money from my existing savings accounts into the IRA.
  5. Some combination of the above.
  6. Something I' haven't thought of yet.
I have a pretty healthy balance in my regular savings account so I wouldn't be dead broke if I siphoned off a bit, but I really hate to do that and I'm still rebuilding from that stupid car repair.  Also, with making less money, I don't know how long it would take me to replenish my emergency savings.  It seems kind of stupid to have a robust retirement account that I can't touch if my emergency savings are decimated.

Any suggestions?  Anything I haven't thought of yet?  It's not the end of the world if I don't hit that $5000 mark, but it would feel pretty good too, especially since I just started this IRA and I'm about six years behind...

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