As some of my posts in the past have hinted at (America’s Cheapest Family Gets You Right on the Money by Steve Economides, Annette Economides, and the review for that book as well as The Future is Here), I’ve been a bit financially obsessed. I want to pay off my credit card, pay off the loan to my grandmother, and start saving more money. In order to achieve these goals, I’ve been budgeting.
I started my budget project last August. First, I read the Economides book (that I checked out from the library), and made notes on the advice they gave which I felt fit my lifestyle (and TGF’s). Then I developed and budget list, based on the examples they gave in the book, and for the month of September, I kept track our money. Then, I edited the budget sheets to better fit our reality.
PAUSE. I should probably clarify that last sentence. In America’s Cheapest Family, they suggest you sort of mentally make your bank account into a lot of little accounts (if I am remembering it correctly). Like you have $200 in an account for groceries, but it’s really just in you bank account; then, when you spend money on groceries, you subtract it from the “Groceries” account. I suppose it is a lot like the envelope system that some people use, but without the envelopes of cash floating around. ANYWAY, they had A TON of categories to put money away in, like Emergency, Medical, Clothes, etc. that just didn’t work for me and TGF. As much as we’d like to put away a little something each month for an emergency or medical bills that may come up, we just can’t do that right now. Ok, back to the show.
So, I kept this up through mid-November. Editing the budget lists, keeping track of our spending. Finally, I got a little fed up with the whole thing.
I remember when Mint.com
came out, I was intrigued and horrified by it. I just didn’t feel comfortable giving a website that much access to all my financial institutions. But that was years ago. I haven’t heard of anything happening with them, and now that I use it, I see that no one could really do anything immediate with what I give the site. So, I set up an account. It’s been great. I get to see where my money is going and how long it will take me to pay off my debt at the rate I’m going. My only qualm is that it duplicates EVERY FREAKIN’ THING that happens on my checking account. I spend $5 at the gas station, it’s on there three separate times. I have to go in and “exclude” those extra debits. It only takes a second, but it just seems like something they could fix.
Sorry for long wordy post. I’m still working out the whole budgeting thing, and TGF and I are still living pretty much hand-to-mouth, but I’ll try to keep you all informed of my journey so that maybe my mistakes and successes can help you budget too!