Unraveling Money – My Exploration of Personal Finance and Productivity

July 3, 2009

Some positive facts to balance out all the negative (debt)

Filed under: Debt, Saving — unravelingmoney @ 12:44 pm

I had a hard time sleeping last night, and I think it’s a mixture of some relationship stuff I’m going through (as in, I don’t have one anymore) and a result of listing out all my debts like that.

So – I want to celebrate the GOOD things that I have now:

Health – I am healthy

Family – I have a wonderful family that I love very much

Friends – I have some great friends – I love them too

Job – I have a job still, and it’s pretty stable. I got an interview for another job recently, and although I don’t think I’ll be taking it anymore, it’s nice to know that my skills are in demand. My boss told me I was the smartest person he’d ever worked with (he wasn’t joking that time)

Financial –

401k – current value is about $6,500

Traditional IRA – current value is about $1,800

High-interest savings – I have about $2,500 towards my emergency fund, and about $1,000 worth of other savings

So – it’s not ALL bad. This is the hard part – pushing through all the debt and getting my emergency fund up to at least 3 months.

I’ve been applying for part-time work (advice of Ramit Sethi in I Will Teach You To Be Rich and Dave Ramsey’s Total Money Makeover) – I need to spend a certain period of time focusing all my energy towards earning extra money to pay off debt and save. So – positive outlook! That’s my mantra for today.

June 9, 2009

How to really save money

Filed under: Saving — unravelingmoney @ 5:20 pm

Tips for saving money abound. There are a thousand-and-one ways to save on utilities, entertainment, and just about everything else.

Unfortunately – saving money is kind of like weight loss. No one wants to confront the truth that EVERYONE actually knows – the only way to really save money is to…not spend it in the first place. Similarly, the only way to lose weight is to not gain it in the first place – by limiting the amount of calories you take in and increasing your calorie output by exercising more. There are no real secrets to saving. All you need to do is slow down spending and start actually putting your money in an interest-bearing account. Simple stuff, when you get down to it – but it’s definitely not easy.

Spending used to be such a carefree activity for me. I could throw my credit card down at any minute and buy pretty much everything I wanted, and since my income was relatively so much higher than my tastes (I tend to like a lot of cheap things rather than one very expensive thing), I never saw the repercussions.

Now I’m working on getting used to the fact that I don’t have the ability to go out and buy whatever I want, even when it seems like I’m buying “necessities”. It’s about reexamining what those necessities really are – for example, I bring lunch or snacks with me much more often now when I go out and I try to eat dinner at home every night rather than just assuming I can go out to eat. I stay away from drugstores because I have a tendency to buy a bunch of stuff there – from body care products to hairties – I always come away with a bunch of stuff that apparently, I can live without.

At this very moment I’m sitting in one of the most beautiful places on earth – Southeastern Alaska – looking out at an inlet and over to some mountains. I’m so lucky that my family lives here so that I can travel for cheap and stay for free – but this really reminds me why I’m doing this entire get-in-control-of-finances project in the first place.

I think it’s extremely important to have some kind of inspiration. Whether it is something personal or something for your family – it’s good to really examine why you want to be in control of your money and your financial life.

Saving money is an integral part of that puzzle – but like weight loss, it’s incredibly simple and at the same time, incredibly difficult.

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