Sunday, August 16, 2009

Money money money!

Dear Suze Orman,

You have ruined all my fun. My savings account thanks you.


So, since being the money nazi to all my friends for the past few months and doing well with my money was time to take my relationship with financial savvy to the next level. Time to pour over my last 3 statements and add up exactly where my money's been going in June, July, and August.

If you would like to be thoroughly depressed, start here. Despite becoming increasingly better at saving and getting ahead financially, this was still a revealing process. I see now where my money is going and where I need to reevaluate and cut back.

Oh cut backs, no one likes those. But learn now, benefit later - right? For me this starts with eating in. Blah, I know. Eating out with friends is more fun and doesn't require doing any dishes - but there's heck to pay on my budget when it gets out of hand. That's category #1 in the new cutback plan. Thankfully, I have great friends and so, I'm teaming up with some of them to make eating in equally fun and social. Cooking for friends is more fun & still less expensive than eating out...especially when they take turns and cook for you.

Depending on how long you've been reading my blog you may already know that I've been on a finance kick since the New Year. I decided 2009 was my year to dominate the world of personal finance. 5 books and a few budget cuts later I'm debt free and saving hard. BUT in the name of being a life-long-learner I am signing on to take Dave Ramsey's 'Financial Peace University' class at my church next month.

Dave Ramsey is one of the few guru's I haven't explored yet. I hear however, he's quite the extremist. The cut-up-those-credit-cards-and-live-in-cash types. Hmm, we shall see. On that note, one of the best things I've done for myself in 2009 is use my credit card. Now before you let your imagination run away with you, listen up. I have never paid interest on a credit card, ever. I pay it off. I use my credit card and then I pay it off weekly online. Why? Because I'm all for getting something for nothing. My credit card points have earned me all sorts of rewards and it hasn't cost me a cent.

My disclaimer is this, until you've gotten yourself under control financially - don't try this at home. Plenty of people have used credit with the best of intentions and gotten themselves in trouble. If this is your struggle than my game plan is not for you. However, if you're good on a budget and can tell yourself no, it's a great way to get some freebies.

I've studied my money, money, money this weekend and now it's back to the grind.



Ebony Jewel said...

I *wish* I was 100% out of debt. Just made a comment to my best friend last night that I wonder if I'll ever be debt free. I doubt it...I have student loans, a mortgage, a brand new car, and a few credit cards. I've tried to be smart with my money, but I deserve to splurge every now and again! I am doing better about wasting $$ goin out to eat. Yes it can be fun, but so can cooking at home, which is something I'm not FOND of doing, but can do very well! :)

Priscilla said...

Becca, we really like Dave Ramsey. Using cash only for things (other than the bills we pay online) we have found over $500 of excess spending a month! Give it a whirl and you will be amazed! Good luck!

Becca Christensen said...

Hey ladies, thanks for the comments/feedback!

EJ - debt is such a bummer isn't it? I'm so glad to be out from under mine, even though I hope to buy a condo in the next 2-3 months. So I'll be back in some then. I think a morgage is justifiable debt though, esp at 23! You def deserve to have some fun and enjoy yourself...if you haven't read it already buy Suze Orman's 'The Money Book for the Young, Fabulous and Broke' - it's lifechanging AND she understands wanting room to splurge!

PE - I'm wicked excited to start FPU with Dave Ramsey. I've had a great year and a half financially and I really want to learn some practical ways to do better AND investment tips. Our church runs FPU like a small group bible study, which is beast as well. Starting Sept 24th! : ]