Sunday, February 26, 2006

Anyone else in the blogging world seen the improvements that PNC Bank made in their online banking section of their website? It looks nice! Yesterday it took me over an hour to enter all the details for the accounts with which I want to pay my bill through electronic check.

All this designing of the schematics of our banking 'system' has gotten me wondering. Is it really important to have a savings account for EACH item you want to save for? What about checking accounts? Should one just have a single checking account, and mentally keep expenses categorized? What about running a ledger alongside a checking account register? What I mean is divying out X percentage of income to 'fixed expenses' and Y percentage out to 'living expenses'. Or, has it been proven more effective to have separate checking accounts for various types of expenses?

Since we have pretty much separated ourselves from ING Direct (I hate that company, they don't make it difficult to access your money because they want to encourage you to 'save your money') and USAA (they're not reliable, I found a critical error the other day where they had taken someone else's checking account and linked it to mine), we're just about set on doing our finances this way:

---: 60% Expenses
---: 10% Spending Money
---: 20% Emergency Fund
---: 10% Planned Savings

Right now there is NO WAY we can drop below the 60% mark on our expenses. I'd say that even 60% is a bit uncomfortable. It's my fault, really. I went without income for so long, it's pathetic. My wife was off work for a little while (to separate herself from my lazy, unemployed butt), so that put us further behind. Still, it wasn't her fault. Anyway, we're in serious catch-up mode right now, and it's even more stressful with a baby on the way. The great challenge for me is to support us for 3 months (that is her dream, would allow her to spend a lot of time with the baby) on a 'factory salary'......or about $8-9 per hour. Riiiiggghhhhtttt. Oh well, it's all in good fun :)

Wednesday, February 22, 2006

Well, away we sliiiiddddeeeeeeee.... just a couple of weeks ago my wife and I were motivated to watch the Dave Ramsey "Financial Peace University" series on DVD. We purchased this kit for $299 and I do not recommend that others purchase it.

You can buy the Financial Peace book on Amazon, used. In fact, I say skip the book and just get a hold of the DVD series. I think that Dave spends a bit too much of his energy hyping his presentations, he should consider adding more substance. More examples. Less of the "You....MUST.....Do.....". More of the "Try this formula when setting up your budget" or "I recommend using XYZ type bank services to help you meet your financial goals".

I find it very difficult to work on managing my debt and finances, when I am not bringing in any money to help me accomplish those goals. Our bills are laying all over the place. We let our "envelope system" (highly recommend by Dave Ramsey, and I must say that it is a bit bulky, but with discipline is an excellent method of managing cash) slide, and now I need to figure out what we spent on this and that, and what days we made those transactions, then record those transactions. Word of the wise: no matter what budgeting system you're using, STICK TO IT! Sticking to a budgeting system requires motivation and organization (I think that organization needs to come first), but not even the most elaborate money management system in the world is effective without a sticking-to-it'ness.

My goal is to find a job, or some form of employment. My wife is due with our first child this May 2006 and I NEED INCOME!!!! After I land a job, I'll feel more equipped (duh!) to take care of other areas of my life.

Wednesday, February 15, 2006

After following the posts of MANY blogs related to getting rid of debt, and more importantly, learning about how to manage MY OWN finances, a new blog has been born :-) Disclaimer: Anything written in this blog is based purely on opinion (personal experiences) and referenced links (blogs). Another undisputable fact is that I like to ramble. Just ask my wife :-)