Tag Archives: Budgeting

Master Plan Challenge: Prequel

I read once that everyone is a villain in someone else’s story, and I’m pretty inclined to agree with it. As such, every great villain has a master plan, something that is, more often than not, foiled by some meddling kids.

I hope that’s not a prophecy or something.

At any rate, I have a master plan. It’s not at all practical; it doesn’t even have a deadline. But it is a plan–a very general outline of one, anyway–and it comes in three parts:

  1. To replace my car sometime before I become completely unable to drive it. It’s a standard and, although I love the hell out of this car  and would buy another just like it but newer when I ran this one into the ground, it’s becoming less and less feasible for me.
  2. To have some sort of financial security blanket in place.
  3. To have the funds necessary for professional services and attention to “the book” should I ever finish it.

The Master Plan of master plans is to eventually move–that’s the man behind the curtain, so to speak. That’s the big picture. It’s not at all practical, and yet, I really want to experience life outside of Mississippi. I seek an alternative cultural environment.

So there it is.

The challenge, of course, is that I live pretty much paycheck to paycheck. I do have a few things going for me:

  1. I currently have a little over half my mortgage payment put into savings, where I make the payment at the first of the month from the savings. This covers my payment and part of my annual tax/insurance increase. (Thanks, Mississippi!)
  2. I also have over 1/12 of my car insurance put into a separate account, from which I pay my liability insurance annually. Between the savings account that holds my house payment and the account that holds my car insurance payment, I usually have enough for changes in escrow. (Usually.)

Those two things are taken care of. Yay.

3.  Other than a small interest-free balance of my cell phone, which I’ll be paying off                with my tax refunds when they come in, I have no other debt. For this I’m very, very              grateful. Sadly, the rest of the tax refund will be put toward already-scheduled                        medical  and dental expenses.

My goals for the next two months are to find ways to save or make extra money. While I’ve drawn up a rudimentary budget, I’m not as concerned with my spending so much as I want to track it and to see how my estimates stack against actual spending.

I imagine this will be much like my decluttering efforts–I’ll take off the easy things first, and work in layers.

May will be the beginning of this adventure.

Here goes everything.

Priorities and Success in Baby Steps

My cat has decided I am spending too much time attached to the computer.

She often stares at me like so:

jitterbug

She is judgmental, this cat. She has a PhD in Judgmentalism.

A couple of months ago, I set a few goals:

 Get a financial plan in place.

Get some sort of chore management program in place.

Go out once a weekend, and preferably not for just groceries.

So far, I’m doing pretty well. I’m still tinkering with the financial plan, but I started tracking assets and debts, and am glad to say that I’m definitely moving in the right direction. I’ve set a chore management plan, and still tinkering with it as well.  As for the going out, I’m rating about 50%.

One of my biggest challenges, financially speaking, is attempting to save for so many things at once with a finite amount of income. When I say I love my car, I mean I LOVE my car. Unfortunately, she’s 12 years old and, like ice cream especially in my house, won’t be around for ever. I want to have an emergency fund of $5000. I want to pay off my house. I want to save for retirement. I’d like to buy something fun once in a while or go on vacation some time before I shake off this mortal coil.

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