Cost cuts and budget updates

One thing I did over the weekend was to re-reun my financial modeling software (this is software I developed over a period of 10 years that projects every single financial transaction I will make into the future based on a given starting point, and that I use in place of things like Quicken) which is something I haven’t done in quite some time. There were some adjustments that needed to be made.

1. I wanted to add more to my retirement accounts.
2. I wanted to increase the amount of money I donate to charity.

I’ve been pretty bad at the latter this year. As it stands, I donate about 2.5% of my income to charity. I’m trying to get that up to 5%. As far as retirement goes, I’d cut back on how much I was putting into retirement in order to pay some big bills. Now that the big bills have been paid, I’m upping my contribution to $400/paycheck ($200/week). This is still a few thousand dollars short of the maximum allowed for tax deductions, but I’m getting there.

I put together a budget for charitable donations for the rest of this calendar year. Next year I’m looking to increase the amounts and within 2 or 3 years, I hope to be at my 5% mark. Some of the bigger ticket charitable donations this year:

  • Isaac Asimov Memorial Lecture: $500
  • UC Riverside Annual Fund: $350
  • AOPA Air Safety Foundation: $200
  • WETA President’s Circle Membership (my local PBS): $150

There are a number of smaller ticket items and it looks as though I have a little left over so if anyone has suggestions for good causes, let me know and I will look into them.

Finally, I need to do a little cost cutting. I started today by cancelling my NetFlix subscription. NetFlix is a great service, but I find that I hardly use it anymore. (The movies I have out now I’ve had for a couple of months.) The $240/year that I will save on NetFlix, for instance, completely covers the AOPA Air Safety Foundation donation.

There is more cost-cutting to be done, but I’ve got to take a closer look at my model to see where I can do it.