Is Your Budget Doing More Harm Than Good?

Do you stress over your money?

Is your spouse under the impression that you are constantly fighting over money?

Are you constantly fighting over money?

Have you completely eliminated your quality of life?

Do you spend hours each week analyzing where your money has gone?

A total budget can have a negative effect on the other parts of your life. If your spouse isn’t 100% on board, maybe he/she needs some “blow money” that doesn’t need to be tracked.¬† If you aren’t spending enough time with your children because you are tracking expenses and adjusting your budget every day, you need to automate something, or at least loosen your standards.¬† Maybe tracking every penny isn’t the right method of budgeting for you.

Don’t let the perfect budget destroy the rest of your life. If money is still a fight, you’re going to need to compromise on something, now, or you’ll end up compromising with the help of a divorce attorney.

Don’t forget, you are living now, not in the future.¬†¬† Plan for the future, but live in the present.¬† There is a balance there, somewhere. Find it, or you and your loved ones won’t be happy.

Update:  This post has been included in the Money Hacks Carnival.


Don’t Screw Future-You

A conversation between me and my temporally displaced self.
Future Me: Excuse me, Jason?
Me: Yes?
Me: May I ask what that was for?
FMe: Of course.
Me: What was that for, jerk?
FMe: That was payback for all of the hell you have put me through.
Me: What?!? ¬†I’ve never even met you, before.
FMe: Of course you have. ¬†I am future-you, and I’m sick of getting screwed by past-me, that is, you.
Me: Huh?
FMe: Listen close. ¬†You’re not ¬†the sharpest brick in the box and I don’t want to explain this twice.
Me: ???
FMe: A long time ago, when you first met our wife, you were dumb.
Me: I don’t appreciate….
FMe: Shut up. ¬†I was dumb then, too. ¬†Remember? ¬†You…err…we bought a new truck, built an addition on our…err…your…err…whomever’s house, got married in the same year. ¬†On top of many other expensive decisions. ¬†Do your recall?
Me: Yes, I do.  So what?
FMe: If that wasn’t enough, you and your smoking-hot bride are still shopping like you’re rich. You drive a new car. ¬†Your kids wear new clothes. ¬†You’ve got a house full of new furniture. ¬†How did you pay for all of that?
Me: Naturally, I charged it.  Zero payments, zero interest for a year!  Pretty smart, huh?
FMe: What happens in a year?
Me: I don’t know. ¬†I’ve got a full year to figure that out.
FMe: ¬†I’ll tell you what happens! ¬†Future-you, that’s me, gets screwed! ¬†¬†Your raise didn’t come through. ¬†You had a baby. The truck broke down. ¬†Your wife took maternity leave. ¬†A roommate moved out. ¬†You took a loss in the stock market. ¬†You didn’t plan! ¬†You had no savings to cover any of those problems because you were too busy servicing debt to pay for your current life.
Me: How was I to know?
FMe: ¬†Life happens! ¬†You never know what is coming next. ¬†You need to plan and save for what might happen. ¬†Otherwise, you’ll just accumulate more debt to be serviced by yours-truly. ¬†That is not acceptable.
Me:  So?  What are you going to do about it?
Me: Really?  Again?
FMe: ¬†I’m struggling to pay your debt. Your son starts college next year, but you’ve left me completely unable to help. ¬†Your daughter wants to get married in a couple of years, but the Father-of-the-Bride can’t afford a tux. ¬†My wife, your beatiful bride, wants a vacation that I can’t afford. ¬†¬†You’ve screwed me, dude.
Me: I’m sorry. ¬†What can I do to fix it?
FMe: Buy me dinner, first.
Me: Huh?!?!?
FMe: Stop the excess spending. Spend less than you make, for a change.  No credit.
Me: None?
FMe: None. ¬†Nada. ¬†Zip. ¬†Zilch. ¬†Only spend what you can afford. Budget. ¬†Pay off those nasty bills. ¬†Don’t leave me hanging.
Me: So, what you’re saying is that, if I don’t have the money, I shouldn’t buy it?
FMe: Exactly. ¬†That’s the path to wealth, freedom, and financial independence.¬† Live in the real world.
Me: Gee, thanks, Future-Me!  Now I know.
FMe: And knowing is half the battle.

What would your future-you have to say to you?

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The Library vs Amazon

A few weeks ago, I discovered the queue at my public library’s website.¬† The process is simple: Select your books, wait a few days, then pick them up. They are available from any library in the county, delivered to my local library. That’s awesome. Much more convenient-and cheaper-than Amazon.

So I moved a couple of pages of my Amazon wish-list into the library’s queue.

I must not have been thinking, because two days later, I got an email telling me that 19 books were ready to be picked up and 10 more were in transit.facepalm

In this county, each checkout is good for 21 days. For items that don’t have a waiting list, you can reserve 3 times. That’s 12 weeks for 29 books. Hopefully, I’m up to the challenge.¬†¬† Please keep in mind, I’m a father of three, two of whom are in diapers, and I’m married, and I have a full time job.

I have frugally blown every second of spare time for months.

Update: This was another post written in advance. When all of the books came in, I suspended my request list. Little did I realize, the suspension cancels itself after 30 days. That was 30 more books. Whee!

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Answer: How Much Term Life Insurance Do I Need to Buy?

From a question posted here:

Thank you for all your help in my previous question. After meeting with the agent, I’ve decided on term life insurance over whole life. But I am still not sure how much term life I should buy. Should I buy as much as I could afford or some specific amount?

My answer(edited a bit):

That question is far too open-ended.

Are you married?  If yes, are you the primary breadwinner?  Do you have children?  Investments?  Savings?

Here’s my situation:

I am married, with three children.  I have the primary income.

We have a mortgage, a car payment, and some consumer debt.

I added up all of the debt as my base level of term life insurance.  My family will not be burdened with debt if anything happens to me.

To the base level, I added 5 years of my net income.¬† Without changing a thing, my family will be supported exactly as is for 5 years if I die.¬†¬† They won’t, however, have the same level of expenses, due to the base level of insurance paying off all debt.¬†¬† All of my living expenses also evaporate.¬† For example, there will be one car sold, one less mouth to feed and body to dress, etc.

I figure with the lower expenses and no debt, my insurance will support my family for 10 to 15 years if my wife manages the money right.   If she continues to work, it should last almost forever.

How do you figure the “right” amount of life insurance?[caption id="" align="alignright" width="196" caption=" "] [/caption]

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