Friday, October 03, 2008

Number Crunching 129

Quicken Cash Flow = -19.97
STEF Total = 53.45

Quicken has been updated and matches my online account totals.

Some times, it feels like I can’t win. Maybe I should look at this as a successful detail: it must be working because Murphy has moved in! So how do I charge Murphy rent?

Everybody else turned off my automatic payments when I made the arrangements for the past dues of September. The lone exception was GMAC Mortgage. They never mentioned that their set-up meant I had to turn it off through the website, I assumed it was off, so imagine my alarm when I went home on the first and saw an email happily proclaiming that my October 1st payment had been applied to my account.

Call GMAC Mortgage and all they can tell me to do is A) turn it off and B) put a stop payment on it. Get through the website last night. But there’s no way online to put a stop payment. So I had to wait until 8:30 am on the 2nd and pay $25 so I don’t get slammed for $387 plus another $25 in overdraft fees.

Maybe I should recommend a reduction in the stop payment fee, $20 instead. The whole point was to avoid an overdraft after all, and financially they match.

But what really hurts was how soon it happened after I declared no more fees. Granted $25 compared to $382 is a significant reduction, but it still hurts and I should acknowledge that.

I also had to make a withdrawal from the STEF to pay for another tank of gasoline.

Plans for next week
  • Call AT&T about a cheaper phone plan
  • Avoid bank charges.
  • Avoid vending machine expenditures.
  • Brake check for car Saturday Oct. 11
  • Upgrade computer battery backup
  • Upload budget spreadsheet to Google Docs
  • Reduce bill spending to 63.39% of gross monthly income.
  • Apply to Wal-Mart
  • Finish Your Money or Your Life
  • Finish Internet project so to go live
  • Unsubscribe from Big Fish Games
  • Contact Atmos about budget billing
  • Analyze the stubborn mule comment
  • Call phone number on letter for my deferment form
  • File paperwork
  • Call Sonnier Chiropractic. for what Datapath needs
  • Need to add PayPal and Revolution Money Exchange accounts to Quicken and October spreadsheets

I know, I know, the goal is to leave money in the envelope and toss it to the wind, but I’m trying to work around the stubborn mule inside of me who throws a spending tantrum upon hearing can’t. – Number Crunching 125

Spending tantrum – maybe I should ask my mother if I was prone to throwing them when I was younger? Did I channel it all to finances or didn’t act out enough as a child. The first money memory Suze Orman’s exercises dug up were spending tantrums, followed by guilt because you know a tantrum is a stupid and inexcusable way to behave. I was told “no” and snatched whatever I wanted off the shelf in an act of defiance. But like a tantrum only hurts the kid beating the floor, my spending only hurt me.

Does this mean I’m a masochist after all?

Well, now that I have that particular quirk identified, I can nip the spending tantrums in the bud. Which leads back to Your Money or Your Life, because I have better things to do with my money acting out against an imaginary adversary. I left off the last review at the discovery that “money = life energy.” So now it is time to head into Step 2.

Step 2 A). Establish the actual costs in time and money required to maintain your job, and compute your real hourly wage.

The authors warn that most people use this equation to discover what they trade one hour of their life energy for: “Earn $440 a week, work 40 hours a week, so one hour is traded for $11.” (59) It’s not that simple. You have to add all the extra time spent supporting the job and subtract the money spent supporting the job. To show you, how the real equation goes, I’m using my real numbers:

Time and Money Spent on JobHours/WeekDollars/WeekDollars/Hour
Basic Job(no adjustments)40651.2016.28
Expensive toys+5-1.79
Job-related illness+1-84.36
Total adjustments+47.75-303.18
Job with adjustments87.75348.023.97

My real hourly wage is $3.97. Roughly every dollar spent equals 15 minutes of life energy.

Step 2 B). Keep track of every cent that comes into or goes out of your life.

The authors repeat that step over and over again. Record every cent in a daily log every day. Don’t take leeways, don’t round numbers, don’t judge your spending.

Granted, I have been doing this haphazardly off and on for the whole year. I fell off keeping the daily log back in February, but I save receipts until they go into Quicken. So it’s mostly my cash purchases I lose track of. I restarted keeping the daily money log last week, but for the rest of the steps I am going to use the numbers and categories established in September.

Read Free!
The BookWorm

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