Saturday, September 27, 2014

Haaaaaaaaave you met Dwija?

Of course you have! Isn't she just the bee's knees? I'm not sure what that means, but it sounds cute and cheerful and that makes me think of Dwija. I haven't met her in person yet, but I feel like I know her. I went to her SIL's wedding before she was her SIL but that totally counts, right? Practically part of the family.
(random pictures to follow just for fun)

Jingly bracelets from Grandma and Grandpa are the best!

Anyway… she just wrote an excellent post about budgeting and tracking your purchases. I wanted to point you towards it because we have just recently been going through a similar experience: tracking every purchase and really paying attention to where our money goes. (No, we don't do the cash envelope thing but it still works.) It started after Sean got a new job and we went from a paycheck every two weeks to once a month. We needed to totally change the way we paid our bills so we thought it was the perfect time to make a real study of our budget. My experience has been exactly like Dwija's. It's been so freeing to know where our money is being spent, so liberating to know that we do actually have money to spend on certain items if we plan it right. It's heartening to see that money left over at the end of the paycheck increase every month because we controlled our spending. Being faced with the reality of writing it down, really does make you think about making a purchase which is a good thing in todays' world of one- click shopping.
A grandma knows what little girls like! Cupcake is loving her new Birthday Purse.

It also makes you remember what you've already spent at the beginning of the month. Some of us (cough, cough, me) have a tendency to forget about the beginning of the month when we come all the way to the end of the month. Thirty days is a LONG time, y'all! ;)

I feel like we are more on top of our budget than we have ever been. We've never been more aware of our actual financial situation… and you know what, it's not nearly as scary as we thought it was. (OK, maybe I'm choosing to ignore COLLEGE looming on the horizon… let me stay in my happy place a little longer.) So while it's only been about 6 months for us since we started doing this tracking thing, I wholeheartedly recommend that you try it. It won't take you a year to see results although tracking for a year will show you changes in your habits, I imagine. I plan to keep it up.

Go read Dwija's post if you want the low-down on how she did it. Now, me, I'm still a paper and pencil kind of girl when it comes to most stuff so I created a couple of Word documents to print out and use in a three ring binder. (I love, love, LOVE this ledger for keeping track of my back account stuff.) My dream some day is to get to hold Dwija's precious baby and munch on his cheeks while she shows me how to use Excel. Wouldn't that be fun? I think so. Using paper might seem very old fashioned, but I'll have you know that I did recently make the switch to these erasable pens. They really work and don't leave any little eraser bits behind. How very modern of me, I know! ;)
* Silly reference in the title, I'm sorry. I've started watching How I Met Your Mother while I exercise. My only excuse… 2 episodes = 45 minutes on the treadmill!