Money: What Works for You? Money management is very personal, but I think it can be helpful to read about how others make their money work for them, so that you can find what works best for you! Today Jenn shares with us how she handles her finances.
Not the Norm is a guest post from Jenn.
I started realizing I had a money problem when I graduated college with about 12k of debt, and for the record my parents paid for everything. I was living way beyond my means.
I am all for getting help from anyone who offers (within reason), so my parents have paid my car and credit cards off. I have a huge monthly payment to them, which I set, but I have the flexibility to pay whenever I want and not a set day. This helps a lot.
I tried the Dave Ramsey plan many times but never seemed to fully get into it. My unexpected son was born right after I graduated college and I had a life changing car crash right before that. I blame those 2 things for my “debt snowball to never start rolling” as Dave would put it. I do have my starter emergency fund in place since I always seem to break cars like it’s my job.
While I have learned to manage my money throughout my post college years, I don’t do it the way most people would.
I don’t use cash.
I know all the studies that say using cash makes you use less. I don’t have the time. I work 50-60 hours retail weekly and need to cut down on time whenever I can. And if I have cash, I use it and don’t even think about it.
I don’t budget out where ALL my money is going.
Every time I try I get frustrated and blow my budget somehow– and not like a $20 something, I go crazy! My miscellaneous section of my budget is probably unheard of for most people but it’s for whatever I want so I don’t feel so restricted. I could either go out to eat or a concert. I like the power to choose.
I use auto draft.
I also draft out college funds and emergency funds (its only $25 a month for each but I feel like it’s a start). If I never see the money it’s like I never had it in the first place. I have spaced everything out evenly between my two paychecks. This also keeps my miscellaneous budget in check because the bills are going to get paid on a certain date no matter what and I HAVE to have the money there to do it.
I buy Christmas year round.
I have exactly 12 people to get Christmas presents for, so I budget one a month. Everyone knows that retail during the holidays is crazy, so I hardly have time to breathe let alone shop. I have also found the best deals earlier in the year.
My husband is not a money person. He buys regularly buys WATER (which you can get for free!), and as much as I try, he doesn’t get it. I don’t let him deal with money issues, and he is ok with that. We are now 1 year away from being debt free and that feels so good to say that.
Do you have a money story? Click the contact tab at the top and share your story with us!
(Please Note: Not all stories will be published.)
Jenn Avalos is a 25 year old wife and mom to Tyler who is 2 ½. She lives in Northern VA and is a store manager at a busy outlet mall. She’s not a blogger, but likes to write.
You May Also Enjoy:
I can so relate to Jenn! If I had $100 in checking – and monitored it by looking at my balance after every debit card transaction (I don’t have any credit cards), it would last much longer than if I had $100 cash. I don’t think about my spending when it’s cash. I do include in my weekly paycheck regular expenses (gas and food) – I add “fun” and have $20 to spend on whatever I’d like – a movie or mochas or something cute from target. that fun money keeps me from thinking my budget is restricting.
The best tool I have though is a google documents spreadsheet that I got from a blogger – each page is a month at a glance calendar – and shows your month’s starting balance in the top left – and then in each day’s square, there are four blank lines so you can put in what you spent/what bill you paid – and then the column to the right is where you put -20 or whatever. The formulas in that calendar spreadsheet keep track of your expenses and you can look at the lower right corner of the screen at all times and see what balance you will have going forward into the new month.
That number alone helps me each month – instead of using an account-for-every-dollar-before-it’s-spent budget. I look forward to seeing how I can cut back on my spending to increase the amount left over at the end of the month! And likewise, I can see at a glance if I’m in trouble that month – if the balance after all bills are paid and spending cash is allotted shows a negative number. Then I know early on in the month where I need to make adjustments or get help if needed. (Long and probably confusing explanation. I can email the template if anyone is interested.)
That is a great idea Sunny! Why don’t you share the link here in the comments?
Great idea! Here’s the link. https://docs.google.com/spreadsheet/ccc?key=0AtGb0UA-HpgvdDUwbUZlM01pY190amI3Z2xkc09YT3c
If you’d rather see an excel spreadsheet, email me at sunnysblog [at] gmail c o m