Friday, May 02, 2008

Number Crunching 122

April Budget Meeting

Quicken Cash Flow = -371.34

Reconciling Quicken with bank statements: I consider this reconciliation a rough draft until I will be able to verify it when I get home and can double check Quicken. I had issues with the checking account, no surprise. But I think it’s a case of something clearing this month from last month and I don’t have it on the Quicken printout with me.

Reconciling last month’s budget: Okay, this will take some time. I have to reconstruct the digital file from the printouts. And then when I go home make sure I only have ONE copy of the file on the harddrive.

Crap, this isn’t good. Problem categories:
  • Bank charges - *swearing of your choice here
  • STEF – spent everything I had saved. I so have to get that out of my hands.
  • Eating Out – I have no idea what happened here.
  • Phone – I know what happened here, first cellphone bill is always an oucher. I just didn’t budget well for that.
  • Computer – I think this was the toner cartridge, and it was a necessary purchase if I wanted to read printouts.
  • Grocery – I got possessed by Betty Crocker and cooked 5 meals. This probably would have been under budget if I had only cooked 2 or 3.
  • Medical – two different doctor visits, and my medication went up.
  • Insurance – they were a month slow on actually process my first payment, so I didn’t think I would be charged in April.
  • Entertainment – I bought a book and two CDs on the trip to Festival International that were unbudgeted.
  • Personal Care: Vitamins – I ran out and had to replace. Now I’m out again and will need to replace.
  • Auto fuel – Oh no real surprise there. I need to do my math better for how much I’m putting aside for that category.
  • Citifinancial – another late fee
  • Writing Expense – bought needed computer paper
  • Household – must have needed it, but I went over the budget.
  • Natural Gas bill – went over budget by a smidge.
Verdict: I can’t stay on budget, I can’t avoid the bank fees, I can’t save, I’m a total FUCKING FAILURE WITH MONEY!

*Deep breath I’m alright, I’m okay. No beating myself up. But the bank charges are coming because of the bill timing and my paycheck deposit schedule. And here’s more good news, I upped the amount in my FSA account, so pretty soon there will be less take home check. I think that takes effect in June so we can start using it in July. I have the economic stimulus check coming, but I ain’t counting on it until I see it plus I need to save it in case of a worse disaster.

Creating next month’s budget: Wow, May is really not looking pretty. I have to pay state taxes and I can’t put enough gasoline in the car with what I have to budget it to that category. And this is without considering the bank fees that I WILL get unless I do something drastic.

I guess after my earlier outburst, I should define “drastic.” Drastic means putting the reoccurring bills—especially the ones with due dates I can’t get changed—onto a credit card. Lord and Lady, I don’t want to go this route, but I have to do something to stem the flow of cash out until I can get some more income in.

By my calculations, a credit limit of $1200 to $1500 will cover the bills that are on autopay through my checking account. Then I pay off the card each time I get paid. I can get a credit card with rewards at my credit union, the percentage rate could be better, but I think the trade off is I will pay them off in a timely fashion, instead of getting stupid (as I have with every other credit card). It’s easy to see why I don’t like this step, regardless of what the personal finance gurus say about it.

There may be something else besides a credit card, though I can’t see what it is. I will find somebody to talk to about it at the credit union on Monday. Saturday is already planned. Friday too really, since Mom wants me home to help set up for Saturday. Credit union closed on Sunday.

This is always why I hate doing this money stuff. I never feel like I’m progressing and when I come up with a plan of action, I have to wait to implement it.

Determining how much cash to withdraw for the pay periods in next month: What’s left after bills = $331.77. Divided between savings, medical, gasoline, and state taxes; there is no blowing money.


DAMNIT! I have movies to watch! *Whimper* And I have to take my mother to a movie for Mother’s Day. 5 movies in May, budget $10 each because I won’t always be able to get the matinee showtime, then add $20 to take Mom out equals $70. *Blinks, blinks* All my shit better sell for big bucks at the garage sale tomorrow. I could squeeze a couple of movies out of the gasoline budget, and treat myself to one show when I get the stimulus check (safety release, I will save the rest if I can blow some of it).

Frell, May sucks.

Ensuring all automatic payments with through: I don’t know if Liberty Mutual went through, I need to check on that one when I get home.

Ensuring all automatic payments for the next month are set up: This will actually be a step if I get the credit card.

Review short-term saving goals:
  1. STEF = $2202.00 Current total = $10.00
  2. Dishwasher fund = $500.00 Current total = $0.00
  3. Reenacting Hobby Fund = $200.00 Current total = $0.00

Update NetWorth IQ statement:

That would look better if I didn’t start adding some outstanding bills to the debt column.

Update NCN Savings Chart:

Damn that just sucks. But I think I have a better plan. I’m going to start a Smarty Pig account and get the savings out of my hands.

Overview and plans: Okay, I have gone over the overview as we covered stuff. Now is the time to concentrate on the next action steps.

Financial Projects
  • Reconcile the Quicken accounts and bank statements.
  • Fix the interest on the January Loan in Quicken.
  • Check on the Liberty Mutual payment.
  • File paperwork in the binder and folders.
  • Put in payments from paycheck in the FSA Account in Quicken.
  • Clean out the inbox of other financial paperwork.
  • Talk to the credit union about the situation on Monday and sign up for a credit card unless they have a better idea. Credit limit of $1200 to $1500.
  • Sign up for an account at SmartyPig May 9th with next paycheck.
  • Cut out the bank charges!

Read Free!
The BookWorm

1 comment:

Cat said...

One real fast comment (I should be doing homework, but...) check with your credit union to see if they offer a personal line of credit- oftentimes you can get a better (and fixed, NOT adjustable) finance rate on this than the credit card companies will ever give you.

Love, Cat

P.S. Kiss Mustard for me!