Sunday, August 31, 2008

Where does the money go?

Realizing DH and I were headed for financial trouble, the first place I turned was the bookstore where I stumbled accross Daivd Bach's Smart Couples Finish Rich. It seemed like the perfect place to start- covering the financial basics from how to talk to your spouse about money, how to save money every day, 401K and Roth IRA breakdowns, and for the more advanced couples, stock market options.

Perhaps the most important thing I took away was his Where Does the Money Go inventory. It breaks down all of your income sources, expense sources, and all of the other places you could spend money (and if you are really good at spending money you can add as many extra rows as you need). At the end of every month I go through our bank statement and our main credit card bill (the only 2 ways we spend money) and inventory every expense and income.

I was pleasently surprised to see that despite DH and I both commuting 50ish miles a day and living in an area of the country with the highest gas prices, we were only spending about $330 a month on gas. (Kudos to us for carpooling and using the truck sparingly).

I was horrified to see that I was spend about $130 a month on books, $200+ a month at Target for who knows what, almost $400 a month on eating out, and $100 a month on new toys for the dogs.

At the end of the spreadsheet it sums up all of your income minus all of your expenses (plus a 10% Murphy's law expense) and you can see for yourself if you spend more than you make. This was a huge wake up call for DH and I. We always knew we were living on the edge, but seeing the numbers was a huge reality check.

Needless to say, DH and I have identified several areas where we can cut back and start saving. If I can figure out how to post a graph to this blog, I'll add one showing how much money we save each month.

Friday, August 29, 2008

Labor Weekend

In honor of Labor Day, I'm making it a labor weekend. As a homeowner of a run down shelter some people call a house there are more than enough tasks to go around. Here's my to do list:

  • Clean the windows, inside and out
  • Wash the screens
  • Wash the walls of doggie footprints and slobber
  • Finish painting the kitchen cabinet doors and hang them
  • Cement the posts for the back fence (DH's task)
  • Steam clean the living room rugs
  • Sweep for cobwebs on outside of the house
  • WD-40 the doors to the bedrooms and the squeaky drawer in the kitchen that wake DH every morning. :)
  • Drain the water heater (if I can figure out how)
  • Create my own list of monthly/yearly home maintenance
I've got a lot to do so I better get busy!

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Planning Ahead

The company is still under FDIC control with no end insight. To prepare for the worst I'm creating a to do list to sharpen my job marketablity. Here's what I have so far:

  • Update my resume and pick the idea layout
  • Start a notebook to keep track of past and current accomplishments
  • Save e-mails and company newsletters that reference my accomplishments
  • Make sure I have copies of all my reviews
  • Prepare answers to basic interview questions with specific examples from above sources
  • Take advantage of any networking oppertunities
  • Strengthen bond with existing management team
  • Look into continued education classes in Project Managemet, Adobe Creative Suite, Dreamweaver
Other suggestions?

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Desperately Seeking...

A Wii Fit. In an effort to cut back expenses, I canceled my gym membership. I wisely decided that the $35 a month could be better spent getting a Wii Fit (and maybe starting a vacation fund). Only one problem, I can't find one any where! Any suggestions?

Monday, August 25, 2008


DH decided he wants to go to Vegas next month. Hmm, wife's job is on the rocks, her company will be sold any day now, she might get laid off, she doesn't have any vacation time because all her benefits dissolved in the financial ruin formerly known as a bank, we have 3 dogs to put in boarding, and we don't have a vacation fund so we'd be dipping into what little savings we have. If you like to gamble, this sounds like a great idea!

Seriously DH and I paid for our honeymoon on a credit card, not the smartest decision we ever made and we're still paying for it. As much as I need a vacation, Vegas doesn't seem like the best plan. Now if only I can convince DH.

Sunday, August 24, 2008


I am addicted to the Olympics. They fulfil my deep rooted competitive drive and I can do it all from the safety of my couch.

Here are a few financial lessons from the Olympics like how much is a medal really worth, how much athletes are paid, and what the Olympics can teach you about money management.

Uncertainty Begins

I actually felt some what prepared when I got a call from my boss late Friday night. Our company was owned by a bank suffering heavily with the mortgage crisis and a call on Friday night meant only one thing- the bank was taken over by the FDIC.

The good news was that as a highly profitable asset of the bank and with 1% self ownership we were a surviving asset to be sold to a company that would keep us up and running. The bad news was we were in for a rough ride- pay check delays, heath care uncertainty, and the unspoken fear of layoffs.

The first thing I did after hanging up with my boss was check the local classifieds. I knew the company needed me but I was going to have a back up plan. I also saw this as an opportunity to assess what I really wanted in a job. I was starting to get that disgruntled employee attitude and a change (whether a new company or new management) might be exactly what I needed.

That’s when bad news #2 hit me, I live in an area where good jobs are impossible to find. It’s a good thing DH and I started saving because if I lose my job, it is going to take a while to find a new one.

Good news #2- I realized my life long dream is to work at Google.

Saturday, August 23, 2008

How it started

4 months ago DH and I came to the startling realization that we spend significantly more than we make. We’ve been lucky over the past year with timely promotions, wedding gifts, and economic stimulus checks keeping us afloat in the sea of bills, but the giving well was running dry and we had to make significant changes.

It was a timely realization with the weight of making monthly mortgage payments and credit card payments on a belated honeymoon starting to pile up and the lack of an emergency fund becoming an added burden. Working for a bank caught in the thick of the mortgage crisis, was the kick in the butt we needed to start making changes. We started putting money aside in an ING savings account, I started reading financial blogs, and applied the Latte Factor to our regular purchases. For the first time since our move to CA over 2 years ago, we spent less than we made and were able to put money aside!

Tuesday, August 19, 2008


This blog is about my life as a mid 20 something struggling with the financial burden of homeownership, credit card debit, and career uncertainty.

The frustrations of everyday life as a responsible adult have distracted me from appreciating the life that I have and the life that I want to live. I hope that blogging will give me the insight to reevaluate my life and keep it on track with the support from other readers going through similar disillusionment.