Escape from LA!

I’ve been in LA for over three years now.  It kind of blows my mind that I’ve been here this long.  I don’t hate LA, I’ve actually come to enjoy parts of LA quite a lot.  One of the things I don’t like though is the cost of living here.  One of the big reasons I’m still here, is that I haven’t been able to afford to move.  I haven’t been able to save as much as I’d like to have since I’ve been here.  Part of that is my own fault, spending money on things I don’t necessarily need and not prioritizing savings as well as I should.  But part of it, is that I just haven’t had a lot left over after paying rent and bills either.

In the end, this has contributed to a feeling of being trapped here in LA.  I don’t like that feeling.  So I’m making it a goal to do something about it.  The first step was to reexamine my budget and make some changes to prioritize savings more than I’ve done in the past.  The second thing I did was open an account on SmartyPig.  SmartyPig is essentially an online bank that offers savings accounts.  While I already have a savings account with my local credit union and with ING Direct, and could have easily just used that to build up a “moving fund,” SmartyPig has a little different focus.  It is a goal focused savings account.  You set up specific goals and the time line you want to complete them in.  What sets it apart from just your standard account is that it interacts in your social networks.  I’ve connected my goal to my Facebook account, so everytime I add money to my account, it’ll post something on my facebook wall.  I’ve also created a widget that I included on my blogs sidebar.  The widget shows the percentage of progress I’ve made towards my goal.  The other thing that is nice, is its easy for friends or family to contribute to that goal if they so choose.

The goal I created is this:

My goal is to save up $2500 by June 30, 2011.  This is based on what I estimate it would cost me to move back to Portland.  My lease is up at the end of July, so I’d like to have this fund in place by the time I’d need to put in 30 days notice.  I’d still need to get a job lined up, but just having this money set aside for this purpose will take a lot of pressure off of me.  I won’t feel as trapped here in LA.

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