Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Money, money, money, money.... MONEY!

I have become kind of obsessed with money. I am salaried so there isn't really anything I can do to increase my income because I don't get overtime and don't have the time or energy for another job. What I have come to realize is that I need a budget in order to "tell my money where to go, rather than wonder where it went" as Dave Ramsey says.

Right now, I am feeling pretty pumped up about setting up budgets, planning for the future, and figuring out ways to save money. Below I have gathered the places I turn to for inspiration when I want to think about or get high on budgeting.

Basic notes I have gathered from the people below:

  • Put 15% of your income into your retirement savings. I am at 6% right now, plan to bump up to 10% with my next raise and 15% after that. 
  • Spend less than you earn. This sounds obvious and yet, it's so difficult because the money in my account always "burns a hole in my pocket" when I have it. 
  • Focus on the bigger picture. Dave Ramsey says "Live like no one else, so later you can live like no one else." This idea gets me excited. I can kind of picture myself becoming the crazy lady who finds many ways to save money and does everything by hand. 
  • Without a budget, you don't really know how much money you have. In a budget, you are planning for bills you know will come, you can even save a little every month to prepare for bigger expenses (like oil changes every 3 months, if you save the amount over the 3 months instead of suddenly having that chunk expense you can be better prepared. Car insurance premiums are the same.)

Some things I am still figuring out:
  • What is the most effective way for me to prepare a budget, keep track of my budget, and stay on budget. I am planning to give You Need a Budget a try, however first I need to update my operating system on my laptop!
  • How to budget grocery shopping when I love good ingredients and good food, and the grocery store isn't in walking distance like it was in NYC. Man I miss that. 
  • Spending money on experiences rather than things. I don't buy much "things" anymore (thank you fully stocked kitchen, but I love to make things and so end up spending money on supplies. I would like to review these habits and focus on experiences, as well as spending on supplies to compliment the supplies I already have (i.e. buy a zipper in order to make a garment with fabric I already have, but not buy new fabric until I have used all the fabric I have and have a specific need for more.) I really like the idea of taking off multiple weeks of work in order to travel. Having a dog will somewhat limit where I can/am willing to go. I don't really want to leave him behind! I see a lot of road trips in my future :) 
  • A minimalist lifestyle works very well with being frugal and saving. Understanding that I don't actually want things that at first I think I might want because other people have or want them. I don't need more stuff, I could do with less stuff. I like the idea of living a more streamlined life which to me means developing a personal uniform (more on that later), preserving food, growing it myself, spending time at home, and getting organized. 

Keeping track
  • Mint, great for seeing where your money went, not great for planning ahead


Keeping Track

Things I want to learn more about:

  • Couponing, and if this is something I could get into
  • Making everything from scratch
  • Kettlebell workouts
  • Start up costs of chickens, and chicken care when on vacation
  • Ways to make money outside of work
  • Investing, for when I have extra income to invest (by my approximations it will be in 3-4 years)
  • Vacation, where I want to go on my big vacation in 2020 (as part of my 6 year plan)

I'm sure these lists will continue to grow, I will post again once I have done more exploring! I am also trying to figure out what I want this blog to be. Back to the NW for the future. I want to be here, I am very happy to be here (especially right now at the peak of summer produce!) I think documenting my house projects and attempts at frugality and minimalism. Likely some posts on the frustrations but hopefully more on the successes!

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