Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Number Crunching 104

Yesterday while I was tracking down insurance premiums, I ran across this blog: Getting Finances Done. Some days it feels like I've tried every financial plan under the sun and they all have one result: I forget about following them either out of anger or tiredness and ka-boom go the finances.

The more I read of sjpeer's system and ideas, the more I think I can do this. First off, he is using GTD principles. Overall, GTD is working for me (though I'm bad about emptying the InBasket) but I haven't applied the thought processes to money yet. I'm already trying to get to a zero-based budget and didn't even know it.

Suze Orman is good for getting to the roots of financial problems and the emotional ties. The Women in Red are good at making me not feel alone with financial goof-ups. But I think this is a system I can actually use instead of always being in the theoretical category over a budget.

First step is to set-up the zero-based budget and accounting.

Well, that took forever. But I have it. Retirement ends up at 10%, emergency savings at 2.5%, fun money at 0.4%, and everything else is 87.1%. BUT... everything else isn't as big as it should be. I took the garbage bill off the table. I'm ticked with them over 2007's service and I don't think it's my fault so they can damn well waiting for their money. I can buy some groceries and eat supper in Baton Rouge some days, can buy gasoline to get to work.

Not adding school money was deliberate. I have specific plans for it that will hopefully free money for other monthly purchases.
  1. Fully fund the STEF. The hard part will be making sure I don’t spend it because I have it available. What I eventually want to do is be able to start buying the 6-month CDs and create a ladder of out-of-reach-but-still-available emergency funds.
  2. Pay off what I owe my parents.
  3. Buy a dishwasher. Yes, there are smarter uses for the money, like decreasing my debt load or saving it, so just call it my “snap” purchase. I’ve been promising myself a dishwasher every year for going on nine years now and let the money fritter away and this year I just snapped.
  4. Pay garbage for the whole year. I’m still trying to back track what went wrong in 2007, but I think the safest way to make sure it doesn’t happen again with this company is to pay ahead. I have the same theory about the electric company, but I will wait to see if they reestablish levelizied billing and automatic payments onto my account before making it a plan.
  5. Whatever is left is allocated to long-term savings for a new laptop or a trip.

I have very simple goal for the month of January: get through it without letting the checking account go negative.

The second goal is to follow the principle of weekly review. Only with finances and the state I’m in now, I need to start with a daily review of everything I’ve spent. That way I keep Quicken updated and nothing broadsides me.

It has to work. I have other options, but getting a second job isn’t something I really want to do.

Projects: Change Deferred Compensation.
Get the house appraised.
Clean out the InBasket.
Find the rest of Waste Management invoices.
Review the home insurance policy.
See when I can expect school money to be in.
Set-up Ebay/ store.

Read Free!
The BookWorm

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