Estimating 2010 Paid Time Off

I have a fairly decent Paid Time Off (PTO) deal. My employer gives me four weeks off every year, including 8 holidays (6 calendar, 2 floating). If I don't use all my time then I'm allowed to transfer up to 15 days to the following year. Early on I recognized this benefit and made a point to carry over at least a week when I first started. Now I carry over the full 3 weeks and have been doing so for the past few years.

Why am I telling you all this? Because in my head, it pays to be as thoughtful about your PTO as your cash. Time, as they say, is money. Those three weeks I carry over not only could come in handy if I need a big chunk of time off, but also as a bit of a financial cushion should I get laid off (which could come in handy, as severance at my company is minimal).

Keeping an eye on my PTO is even more important since I'm in a long-distance relationship. For our situation, since I have more time off than he does, I'll go visit him more often this year. This allows him to bank his PTO and use money saved from travel costs to put towards debt and/or emergency savings. Below is quickie calendar I came up with to help visualize my PTO time, and for us to use to coordinate our visits.

*Please note that the PTO days left in 2010 does not reflect the 3 weeks I have that will get carried over into 2011.

So this is what I've drafted so far, which leaves me 5 days to play around with if I get sick, an emergency,etc. However since I already have 3 weeks that I'll be carrying over, these 5 days must be taken before the end of the year or be forfeited.

I realize that as a single person with no children or other dependents, hoarding PTO time is easier for me to do than others. Even so, I believe that if at all possible, like with having a cushion of emergency cash, we should all have at least a day or two of PTO to be flexible with.

Comments are up!

Don't you all rush in at once!

Comments Drama

Since I'd been living under a rock for the past month of so, I didn't realize that Haloscan has moved to the ECHO platform, which means no commenting ability until I get the comments upgraded. I'm in the process of doing that now, so please pardon the dust.

In the meantime, if you need to reach me, velvetjones3000 at gmail is where you can find me. :)

2010 Goals

Short version of my 2009 goals: Done.

Taking a gander to the status bars on the right you'll see the new goals for 2010. Read on to get a little detail on them in order of importance.

2010 Health Care Deductible Fund—$2,000
Do I even have to tell you how out-of-pocket health care costs have gotten? My employer went from a copy to a deductible model so that means I have to spend $2,500 before the insurance company will chip in 80% of all other costs. I know there are a lot more craptastic plans than this, and still I'm unhappy about it. But whatever. $500 will be taken directly from my paycheck via FSA, the rest will be raise in cash.

2010 Travel Fund—$4,000
While I'll be using flier miles for trips to see the BF this year, there are still costs like taxis and trains to the airport and fees for using your miles (eye roll). Then there's a family member's wedding in the Fall, a possible trip to my ancestral home to see family, and a visit to see my BFF.

2010 Clothes Fund—$1,000
The $500 I allotted last year was woefully insufficient. I'm hoping doubling that amount and being more thoughtful about what pieces I buy will produce better results.

2010-2011 Move Fund—$10,000
This amount should be able to get me in an apartment, get utilities hooked up, and a few bits of furniture.

Car Fund—$25,000
This what I believe it will cost me to get a new, no-frills hybrid, including taxes, title, registration, insurance, license, etc. At least I hope so. I know I'll be able to get to $20k this year. If it turns out I need to buy a car at the end of the year, then that's what I'll have to work with and I'll have to adjust my plans for what type of car I buy. If it turns that I don't have to move until mid-2011 or even later in the year or 2012, then I can get the rest of that total. This is kind of a moving target, but I believe it's important to start saving for a car because I am going to need one sooner or later. Better save now while I have the ability.

2010 Charity—$800
The places getting my money this year are Rolling Dog Ranch Animal Sanctuary, The Innocence Project, and NPR.

I didn't list my retirement savings as a goal because that's just something I do. I'll be maxing out my Roth IRA...again, however I've drastically reduced my 401k contribution from $10k to $2k. This allows me to have more cash in my pocket but still get the company match.