Thursday, May 31, 2012

Do you share laundry duty?

It's a similar question to "do you share finances" if you ask me.  There are actually a surprising number of analogies along these lines too.
  • Laundry is a chore that everyone has to perform (or to coerce someone else into performing.) So is balancing a "check book" or whatever method you use to make sure everything gets paid on time.  They both need to get done, and regularly.
  • If you don't get it done, it leaves you in a fairly unfortunate position which most of us would prefer to avoid.  Waking up with nothing clean to wear is a very similar feeling to waking up without enough money to pay the bills (or whatever rock bottom is).  This can lead us into all sorts of audacious behavior whether it be buying new socks on the way to work or taking out pay-day loans.
  • Left neglected, it piles up until it feels too overwhelming to tackle.  Honestly, the thing I love most about apartment living is that there are usually several washing machines available at the same time.  Talk about a time saver!  Too bad that the only clean up tool for your financial situation is patience and hard work.

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

June 2012 Budget

I'm super excited!  This is the first month of paying rent only for the new apartment!  Which means I'm finally spending a reasonable amount of money on housing!
Apartment:  25%!!!  This is down from almost a full 50% of my income because of my move!  I'm now sharing a two bedroom apartment with three people.  Without roommates this would never be possible.

Utilities:  I believe that I've over estimated the cost here.  Since I just moved and summer is quickly heating up, I'm not sure what to expect as we start to use the AC.  I typically like to budget for the largest month of the year and then use any excess to fill in gaps other places in my budget.

Monday, May 28, 2012

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Learning about personal finance

What I knew before I started reading blogs and immersing myself in the world of personal finance:
  • Pay off your credit card in full every month
  • Saving for retirement should start as early as possible
  • Spend less than you earn
  • Debt is bad.
What I've learned since:
  • The whole concept of an emergency fund
  • Living paycheck-to-paycheck isn't necessary
  • Idea of paying yourself first (automatic deposits to savings)
  • Tracking spending is eye opening
  • Not everyone has to work their whole lives until retirement (ie concept of financial independence and/or early retirement)
  • How to build a budget that works for me!
  • Stop Wasting Time!  Start working towards your goal now!
  • Have a buffer!
What I still need to learn:
  • Investing
  • Retirement accounts
  • Rental properties?
  • Monthly income streams
  • EVERYTHING related to personal finance post building an emergency fund!
While I don't think I was completely ignorant in the ways of personal finance, I most certainly was not on top of it!  I didn't think it was an issue until my paycheck had a few issues and the university was transferring money in and out of my account irregularly in order to "fix" the issues.  It took them four months to get it all straightened out and during that time I was a financial mess and worried.  Luckily this event spurred me to action, and I've been learning ever since. 

The reason I started this blog was to track my evolution through personal finance from basically zero until I reach financial independence.  I find the process of learning interesting: at one point you look at knowledge and say that it's too hard for you to ever understand, and later on you look at it and it seems like it couldn't be more obvious.  You can't teach from the perspective that it's obvious.  You must struggle through material to truly understand it.

So, dear readers, as I feel I've finally mastered budgeting, saving, and emergency funds, what exactly is my next step?

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Living Wage

I mentioned previously that I was inspired by by Emily at EvolvingPF who directed my attention to the concept of living wage. I've decided to do a comparison between their numbers and mine (for a single adult) to see how I was doing.
The living wage broken down into categories
Clearly it's a high cost of living area, but I believe that's supposed to be reflected in coming up with the living wage in the first place.  Here are a few things that stand out:

Housing:  Over 50% of any budget is a lot!  Honestly though, I don't know how you could find a one bedroom apartment for what they are suggest as housing cost, so I'm curious as to where they get their data, and if this includes utilities or just rent.  I suppose one way of doing it would be to live further away and commute, thus adding to transportation costs.

Monday, May 21, 2012

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Moving Update

I'm finally 100% moved in.  My last payment for the old apartment is complete!

It was nice that we had two full weeks of overlap in which to move everything.  I think that made it a lot less stressful.  We kept the loads small and manageable.  I think the biggest loads we brought over took us two elevator trips at most.  It helped that I was moving a short distance so this was possible.  We moved everything with our car.  We didn't have to rent a moving truck which kept our expenses to just the gas for the car.

We Sold Some Furniture which actually made moving a great success in our finances!

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Permission To Spend: Bike Edition

One of the things that I struggle with is allowing myself to spend money on things that I should probably buy.  I've finally decided to get a new bike and would like to share part of the thought process that goes along with this decision.  The back story is that my SO borrowed my bike to go get groceries.  (His is "too fancy" to leave locked up outside.)  The next time I got on my bike...well, this picture shows the result.
Like I said, I need a new bike.

Monday, May 14, 2012

Thursday, May 10, 2012

I don't like to buy things.

I don't think it's surprising that I'm fairly careful with my purchases.  I don't splurge on wants very often, although I can understand that it takes time to overcome emotional spending.  Instead, most of my every day purchases are food (good quality food, but still food from a grocery store such that I can make my own meals).  Frugality is a clear way of life for a number of people interested in personal finance.  However, sometimes things come up that can disagree with that frugal nature.  Right now I'm struggling to justify to myself that there are a couple of things that are really worth my time, money and attention.
  1. A new prescription for my glasses.  It's been about two years since I last went to the eye doctor.  I HATE going to the eye doctor even more than I hate moving.  I know a lot of people avoid the dentist with a similar level of dislike, but for me, it's the eye doctor.  I have a fear of things near my eyes and have passed out on more than one occasion when they do the glaucoma test (the pressure test where they blow air into your eye...).  I need to suck it up and schedule an appointment.
  2. A new bike

Monday, May 7, 2012

Weekly Check-Up 5/7/2012

The last couple of weeks have been overly hectic due to moving, presentations, and preparation for my PhD candidacy exams.  In addition, I've been fighting with the  mechanism for scheduling posts.  I think the problem is fixed, but we will see.  I hope to be on top of work soon, and will then return to posting regularly!
A special thanks to Ginna at My Pretty Pennies who created the Weekly Money Check-Up.
Picture from My Pretty Pennies 

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Actual Expenses: April 2012

Considering I wasn't planning on moving when I created my April budget, I think things went reasonably well.  I only took $80 out of savings to cover moving associated costs! The breakdown is shown below.
Apartment: I actually didn't have to cover a deposit since I'm moving in with my significant other (SO) and his roommate (2 bedroom place).  This is high because I will now pay my portion of rent at the end of the month, such that rent can be paid via one check on the first (I think it's fair that no one has to cover rent and then get paid back! Apparently people have different comfort levels with how "group purchases" should be dealt with. Who knew?).  So really, this is rent for both April and May.  This percentage will go down dramatically when everything gets straightened out over the next couple of months!