Sunday, July 26, 2015

weekly round up X2

This week was a big spend week because I have some awesome travel opportunities coming up. I am super excited to announce that I will be visiting Singapore, Vietnam, Hong Kong, and Tokyo in August! As you can probably imagine the airline tickets are not cheap but I am attaching my weekly spend below!

As you can see there are some big prices in travel and those my airline tickets. The bottom travel cost also goes into my ticketing as it was a small fee for one of the tickets. Home improvement and uncategorized are actually apartment application fees that I will hopefully get back but am unsure. I hate shopping for a new place to live but it is something I must do unless I want to live at home.

I am actually pretty happy with this update as I really only did what I absolutely wanted and I don't think I "wasted" money on my typical random purchases. This is a definite improvement from the months before. Also, my net worth is increasing which makes me happy as well : )

Last week I didn't have my budget update like I promised so I will give a quick look for you now. The last update would have included:

$1,968 for my rental mortgages
$135 Cable/Internet
$2 Book on Kindle

This totaled out to $2,106 but only $137 of that were costs that I really don't bring me in profit monthly. I mean technically, the rents for the houses those mortgages cover easily covered my expenses this week! How cool is that? I think I am going to start thinking of my current expenses in that light, is my side gig making me enough money to cover this. Obviously I can't include all expenses but I am thinking of starting with the bills have currently which are:

Cell Phone
Auto Insurance (every 6 months)

I will keep you updated as I go and let you know how I do at the end of next month.

Questions for you -
Would you live at home if your job had you traveling a lot?
Does your side gig cover any of your current living expenses?

Saturday, July 25, 2015

confession time

Starting to write this blog has been a big deal for me because I have been very hesitant about it for a long time. I was thinking about an article I read discussing how sometimes we just emulate people who have a life we think we would like. The hope I think is that if we do this we can obtain the same life. It isn't that simple though. In actuality I think its much harder. For the majority of my life I have always wanted to have money and do what I want. In all honesty though I have gotten to a point where I am not sure what I want. Some days I am very committed to riding my bike everywhere and maybe even signing up for some local races and trying to be a local legend. Other days I want to be the CEO of a company or something like that. I just don't know. Here are the things that I do know:

  1. I want flexibility - Based on my interested today, not tomorrow mind set, I think I need to have freedom to change my mind and just be available to play outside if its nice out.
  2. I want good cash flow - I really, really like nice things and traveling. Fortunately now with work I get to travel but I don't really get to choose where I go and it can be stressful. This is pretty much the kicker for me. It is important for to me to have a nice house and be close to my family. I also like having cool stuff but change my mind constantly.

Anyways, because of the things listed above I am trying to think about what direction I will be taking this blog in. Right now I am leaning more towards taking into financing my own version of what I consider the high life for. I will still be figuring out what exactly that is as well!

SO...What am I getting at? Well, I do not think this is going to a be the finance guru awesomeness blog that I had initially intended. Instead I think its going to be a mixture of my adventures traveling the world, mixed with trying new things, cool vehicles, and whatever else relates to me trying to enjoy life. No worries though, I will be saving and keeping track of my spending and posting a budget of some sort. Just because I want to live a certain way doesn't mean I will be kicking finance straight out the door.

Ok, thats enough for today. lol. How is everyone else doing!?

Saturday, July 18, 2015

top ways to mind your spending

I remember growing up my parents would always emphasize good manners and how you should treat people with kindness and respect. Today as I was looking at my Mint account I realized that I need to take a similar approach to spending. This is what I was looking at earlier:

Do you see what I see? That black line is my net income and currently its negative!! This is not just bad, its horrible. I can't believe how obvious it is based on this chart that I haven't been respecting my money and am just spending myself into the red. Its also one of the reasons I started this blog. I am working to get this stuff together and I want to give some tips on how to mind your spending. Here are the top 3 ways I will be minding my spending:
  1. Downgrade your living arrangement.
    • I know this seems super simple to some people but recently it just occurred to me that I really don't use any of the amenities I convinced myself I would use when I got my apartment. Quite honestly, I was just lazy and didn't want to deal with moving at all. Due to this laziness though I am spending at least $350 per month more than I should. That is crazy!!!
  2. Cash is king.
    • This one may be different for different people but I find I spend less when I am spending with either my debit card or cash. Cash is the favorite for me though because it can limit those spur of the moment purchases. Again, this may be just me, but how many times have you gone to the mall for one thing and bought other stuff because well hey!, credit card man! This is a silly way to spend money in my mind because my goals are to get out of the rat race and live a life on completely my own agenda. Anyways, cash for me is king. Also, I would try to get rid of all accounts with a card on file, like Amazon, or iTunes. Those things can be killer!
  3. Curb but don't cut the entertainment
    • Ok, this is a tough one because we all want to save but we also want to have a good time.   I love having fun and going to happy hour with friends. There is a limit though. I don't need to be at happy hour every day or even every week. One or two per month is fine. Its a similar thing with dining out. My main reason to dine out is because I love good food and I can't cook good food. To be fair though this is something I can limit as well and I can start cooking at home and not being lazy. Some other things that get me are TV and movies at the theatre. Some movies are just so much better on the big screen and I feel like I need to see them there. I do need to ditch cable though and don't need to be at the theatre 2-3x a week.
So those are the only 3 things I have for now. I am sure you probably have tips of your own as there are loads of ways to save money but these are my big 3 currently. I have actually done the math and by cutting this things I am hoping to increase my savings per month by almost $1000 bucks. That's ridiculous!

I want to hear from you!!!
What ways do you cut cost without sacrificing fun? Are you consistent?

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

savings now vs. savings goals

Sooo, I believe I may have an elephant in the closet here: SAVINGS. I don't really like the whole 401k, Roth IRA concept because I want access, I need access to that money. In the grand and important scheme of things though, these tools are necessary and actually rather efficient. Mostly, I believe my need to touch all of my money comes from a constant desperation to do what I want when I want which to be completely honest fluctuates minute by minute. This probably frustrates my friends and parents more than I know.

Ahhh but I am completely off subject. Today I want to talk about my current savings vs. what I think my savings should be. So, this is an artistic of the current savings:

As you can see, I am saving, its just not at quite the level I would need to retire in 3, 5, 7, or even 9 years. More than likely based on some spreadsheets I found over at Budgets Are Sexy, I will not be retiring for another 10-15 years which is semi depressing. Alas, there is hope though! Please see the below revised savings plan I proposed to myself earlier this morning.

This drastic increase from the current 16% which has only really been going on for 3-4 months to 30% is something I think I can do. How!? Well, I am glad you asked, you see I did have a truck payment until earlier this year and I also had some other "expenses" that I was paying for. See gym, excessive coffees, lunches, etc.. I have decided that I am going to continue with the truck payment as a savings mechanism and deposit that amount into my brokerage account monthly along with my gym membership fees. My membership to a gym really doesn't make sense when I considered how much and for how long I travel. So BOOM!, there we go, easy financial improvements in 10 minutes. Actually not really because the gym makes you actually come in to cancel which is slightly annoying and inconvenient. But, anyways, I will be updating you monthly with savings rate updates. I am still trying to decide if I actually want to put savings balances or not. What do you think? I do want to mention that I am setting this up as automated savings so that the money never gets into my bank account which has a hole in it for my spending.

Answer the questions kids!
What is your current savings rate? How long did it take for you to get there? Do you also write out budget/savings/financial plans while at work in your notepad?

Monday, July 13, 2015

money spending fool

Ok, so I am making this whole money thing harder than it is, at least mentally. Currently the goals are to stay on budget (ehhh, not happening) and pay off debt (this is happening!). I decided that every Monday I am going to give an update on the last 7 days spending. This works for me because it gives a recap of what I did the week before and I can self evaluate while sharing with you how well or poorly I am doing. Accountability helps all people succeed, right!? I certainly hope so! Here it goes, according to my Mint profile I did the following over the last 7 days:

As you can see there is significant spend across the board. Much higher than what I had promised myself in the budget post earlier last week. To my defense though, after reading several very good articles on budgeting and money management I decided it was best to take money out of investments and pay down all of my debt which I still have about $3k remaining.  I am also trying to save above my "safety net" described in the lazy man's budget referenced in this post.

Now onto the details of where my money is exactly going. Financial was 67% debt repayment for credit cards, and 33% mortgage for my rental houses. Regarding Food & Dining, the majority went towards eating/going out with a third going to groceries, most of which was for an upcoming trip. Finally, other consisted of gas for my truck, a new mouse for my computer, and a meal that will end up being reimbursed through work.

Overall for the last 7 days of spending I give myself a D. I need to be much better on this stuff and stop spending as much as I am or else I will just keep generating these credit card debt mountains which I am ultimately trying to eliminate. So, how can I improve? Stop eating out everyday, limit my coffee purchases, and completely track spend. I did not include the cash Starbucks  and other purchases which probably amounts to another $50. The biggest thing is that I definitely need to be under $500 a week spending in order to pay those important living bills like rent and electricity!

These next 7 days will be better, I promise!

Comment and answer my questions or give advice!
What did your spend look like the last 7 days? Are you meeting your goals?

Monday, July 6, 2015

that budget life

Well, since my last post I sort of went on a spending spree. Great job, right? WRONG! Here is the budget layout that I am thinking of. I actually read about a lazy persons guide to budgeting and think I am going to do something similar. My worst enemy appears to be credit cards and emotional spending. If I see it and want it (note: not need), I will buy it. Most the time this ends up giving me buyers remorse and I regret my decision horribly. What is even worse is that often times I will order things online and then sell or return them. This is bad because I automatically lose out on the shipping costs. I cannot stress how many times I have done this and how silly it is. Anyways, so my lazy mans budget is going to go as follows:

  1. $100 cash withdrawn every Sunday or Monday - this will be my spending money for the week.
  2. Credit cards may only be used for bills, nothing else
SO you are probably thinking that according to the lazy mans budget I should be doing the following:
  1. Automate savings
  2. Emergency fund buffer
  3. Spend the rest
Ok, so I get the above but because I suck so bad with credit cards I wanted to add to it and only spend $400 bucks per month on non essentials. Savings is already automated with 401k and 10% of my take home deducted each check. At least I am saving! The emergency fund buffer is something I am working on. My overall goal is to be living on one pay check and my rental income monthly. This will be significantly easier once I find a cheaper place to live. I will keep you updated as I go through this process on how well I am actually sticking to my budget. Eventually I would like to get a spreadsheet showing my budget but I just haven't been able to do that yet. It is on the agenda for a later post :)

What does your budget look like? 
Do you prefer cash in pocket or credit cards?
How many months is your emergency fund going to cover?

Wednesday, July 1, 2015

finance 911

So, I guess I should introduce myself to kick off this whole blogging thing. My name is Jeff and I am on the cusp of being 30. Currently I am in my own declared state of finance 911. I want to cure my financial problems (is that possible? YES, duh!). One solution I have read was to journal purchases and I have read so many blogs I thought I would start one myself. I think I may be way behind on the blogging curve though. The upside is I have a macbook so that gives me at least plus 100 likes or whatever blogs get.

Why am I in financial 911? Well, its very easy, my cash outflows are greater than my cash inflows. Obviously this is a huge problem and I need to figure out how to solve it. That shouldn't be to hard right? Spend less Jeff is probably what you are thinking, and spend less is what I will do. Here is my plan of attack and I assure you its something we have all seen:

1) Eliminate credit card debt. I would cease use of my mileage card but the miles are good to have in my line of work.

2) Sell my truck. Currently I drive a truck that really doesn't make sense. I don't haul anything or off road. Its just a truck because I like trucks but I like financial freedom more!

3) Set a budget. Now, this one should be interesting. I think I am going to have to do the envelope system or something because I suck with budget and as long as I have my card I will spend. Seems like we may have found a contributing culprit to my problem. No more credit card! Guess I will have to eliminate the card till I train myself to be more disciplined lol.

4) Cheaper housing. I pay way more than I want to for my apartment and the lease is up in August I believe. Once I get out I am debating on moving home or to a cheaper but still nice apartment complex. Maybe get a house? I am not sure but I do know I need to get into cheaper housing.

Thats my plan for now. In the coming days I will share the budget I have come up with and more about me regarding financial goals and where I stand financially at this point. I hope you tag along for the ride!

Ponder this!
Does anyone operate strictly on cash?

What kind of vehicle do you recommend I purchase? What do you drive?