Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Financial Planning

My current obsession is a resurgence of a past obsession, which is financial planning. I love spread sheets, tables, graphs, projections and the like. Budgets about our current income, future income, savings projections and different way to save. I tried the envelope system for about a week, but that didn't work out so well. I hated taking out large sums of money and having it laying around the house or taking it around with me. And so much of my expenses are in the way of automatic payments and direct debits that it didn't really help keep what I was spending in perspective. Then I tried to use a spreadsheet and keep track of the money on my own. You can imagine how that went...a lot of lost transactions and no real tracking. So my new fun toy is mint.com, which has been working out pretty well so far. I thought I was a lot better at not spending on little things, like train tickets, a couple of things off Amazon, a Starbucks coffee every once in a while, but I'm not. That said, I don't really count my snoogle purchase as frivilous now that my hips are all wonky when I wake up in the morning.

Another site that I want to try out is SmartyPig.com, but I think I need to have an actual income before I can start saving for specific reasons. Right now, I'm just trying to be frugal enough to not have to take out more money than necessary in loans. The arrival of Z has made both Liam and I a bit more conscious about what we spend. We never really had a budget, money left our accounts for savings, mortgage, phones, and other expenses, but we didn't track how we spent. Now the importance of planning for the future is that more evident. It's also tricky when I'm the only one draining the family coffers and putting us into debt. Have I mentioned before that I hate debt, even "good debt" like student loans? I hate it with a vengeance. I hate that I'm not able to save any money right now and can't wait to be able to do so in 2 years and even better possibly next summer. I keep saying that once I'm making some money it will be a lot easier to save and we'll be able to do so much more, but I realize just how hard it is to live like you make less than you do. With two incomes coming in spending two incomes is much easier. I think living the way we do now is something we will have to work on once I'm not draining the bank.

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