Friday, January 27, 2012

Free Blog on Financial Advice & Changes I'm Making in my Budget

  Whether you're single or in a relationship, the website I found today will be a great asset to you!  Go check it out!  I've already read almost every blog post on there and am considering doing the coaching....

  So, a friend and I were talking Monday night.  I was telling her about the funds I had saved for my Italy trip in April and she was giving me advice on how to save more money.

  It's confession time.  I LOVE to spend money.  I mean, I do save, that is one thing that I've always done.  I have a 401K, savings account and a CD but the money that I actually get, I LOVE to spend.  If I go into a store and see an amazing pair of earrings, I HAVE to get them because, who knows, they might be gone tomorrow....

  Yea, that's me.  One thing that my friend mentioned was making saving something to look forward to, just like (at this particular time) I look forward to finding that great pair of earrings (or piece of clothing, or makeup, etc).  For example, if I see some great earrings, I need to WAIT at least a day before purchasing, so I can really evaluate my desire for the earrings and weigh the cost of them against the things that I really want right now.  Then, when I decide against purchasing the earrings, I need to take that money I would have spent on them (whether $5 or $20) and put it into my savings account for what I really want.  This way, I can grow my account while stopping some frivolous spending.

  Of course, I don't plan to never ever buy an amazing pair of earrings again but it shouldn't be a habitual thing. 

  So, in a few steps, here is my new spending plan for my weekly pocket money.

  1- If there is anything that I definitely need that week, this is what my money goes toward first

  2- If there is any money left over after my needs are met, I can keep it with me for possible spending

  3- When (and it's not an 'if', it's a 'when') I see something I have to have, I will walk away from the item and give myself at least a day to think about the purchase. 

  4- After I am done thinking about whether the purchase is worth it or not, I will
      A. Make the purchase and NOT feel guilty
      B. Take the money that I would have spent on the purchase and place it into my savings for Italy

  How does that sound? I think it sounds like a fabulous plan.  Of course, actually sticking with it will be another story but life is all about learning.  So I'm definitely giving it a go. 

  Do you have any pocket money saving tips? Please share if you do!!


Thursday, January 12, 2012

Aaaagggghhhhh AirFare!!!!!

  A friend and I are planning a trip to Italy in April.  Well, technically, we aren't planning it since we are going with the tour group Contiki and they are handling all the planning (thank the Lord).  Anyway, our travel agent gave us the airfare prices thru Contiki yesterday and I almost flipped out.  It was over $1,000 for a round trip flight.  While I suppose in reality that isn't a lot, to my non-traveled, southern girl, save pennies brain, it was a HUMONGOUS amount. 

  I sent the information to my friend who was going with me and she promptly went to this site to compare tickets.  We were excited to see that they were around $150 cheaper on this site than thru the travel agency.  I was very happy.

  But this morning, I contacted our travel agent only to find out that we would be returning via Venice, Italy, not Rome.  When I began looking up flights from Venice to Atlanta, GA, it was like my head exploded!!!  One way was $1,618!!!!!!!!!!  Once I began adding up how much it would cost if we didn't use the travel agency and instead booked our own flights, it was OVER $2,000.  Which is more than the trip itself costs!!!

  To make a long story short, we are going to use the travel agencie's rates. 

  I guess the point I mean to make is this: 1 - If you are going somewhere either by yourself or via a travel agency, then you should DEFINITELY check out this site.
   2- But don't be surprised if the travel agency can get you a better deal!

  Of course, this is only for our trip.  On a different trip, this story could have turned out differently.

  More on my up-coming Italy trip (and the trials of the money it involves) will come later.....


Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Week Two - The Envelope Budget

  So, for the past several years I have implemented something I call "The Envelope Budget".  Here's how it works

1- I made my budget (all my expenses going out per month)

2- then I figured up how much I needed to save out each pay check in order to get those bills paid each month. 

3- When payday comes, I write a check to cash, get all that money and sort it into envelopes (each marked with the specefic bill, how much it is per month, and how much needs to be saved out per check to cover that bill.)

4-  Then, when the bill comes, I take the money back out of the envelope, go deposit it into my bank

5- then pay my bill. 

  My mom says that I am crazy for doing it this way (as in getting the money out and then a few days or weeks later going and putting it right back into the bank) but for me, it's much easier. 

  If I left that hunk of money sitting in my bank and carried my checkbook around with me (yes friends, I still use a checkbook) I would say, "WooHoo!! Look at all this moolah I have to play with!!!" and then I would spend it and when bill paying time came, I would be very very sad indeed.  Trust me, I've done it (on accident) before.  It was not pretty.

  That is my way of budgeting.  It works for me although it may be somewhat archaic. 

  Does anyone have any budgeting stratagies they use that may be weird to others? I'd like to hear them. 

  If you have any questions, don't mind asking.... =)


Friday, January 6, 2012

Revamped Budget - The First Week of 2012

    I officially set my 2012 budget on Saturday. 

  It's been an ok week.  I've taken my lunch three days (and ate out two days). 

  I haven’t used my credit card AT ALL this week (except I will be using it to purchase gas this afternoon because I earn points) which is a MAJOR accomplishment. 

  I used my weekly spending money wisely and have $4 left in my pocket =).

  I did forget to hold out my $25 for the money market account I am saving up to begin but that’s ok, I’ll be sure to hold it out next check.

  I was able to purchase two birthday gifts for a party I am attending tomorrow for $5.35 here.  It does look a little hillbillyish but it is very cool and has some great stuff at inexpensive prices.

  So, that is the highlights of my first week into my new budget. 

  It’s hard.  Every time I wipe the slate clean and begin again it’s hard.  I have gotten so used to pulling out a credit card and covering non-necessities that I have to begin rethinking what my necessities really are.

  So,  how is your budget for 2012 coming along?  I’d love to hear how your first week went.

$ara (get it, it’s a money symbol – yes, I know I’m crazy)