I’ve lost touch with my money

Before I get in to today’s post, I just want to take a minute to say thank you to everyone that volunteered yesterday to help me out and provide an article for PDITF while I am gone participating in wedding shenanigans. I’ll be getting in touch with each of you over the next few days to discuss details. Thanks!

I’ve been a very naughty ninja lately. I’m breaking one of my most important PF rules: Manage your money. For the first time, in probably two years, I don’t have a handle on my financial situation. It’s a very odd/disturbing/uncomfortable feeling. Fortunately after, a few hours checking my bank accounts, doing a little quicken reconciling, and a sexy date with my TI-83, I should be back to normal.

I’m totally obsessed with knowing where my money is going, and when it is going there. This means if I have $5,000 in my checking account and $2,000 in charges on my credit card bill, I would immediately transfer $2,000 to my online savings account so that money can start earning a higher yield than my checking account.  This would leave $3,000 in my checking. I’d eventually send another $2,000 to my credit card, to pay that bill in full when it came due, which then leaves my checking with $1,000 for emergencies.

But instead of initiating bank transfers, I’m just trying to calculate/predict how much cash flow I will have by the end of the month. I know I have a redonkulous balance on my credit card (honeymoon, furniture, wedding stuff) and an even more redonkulous sum of money in my checking account (haven’t transferred money out in over a month). I know that my checking exceeds my credit card statement, but for the first times in recent years, I don’t know by how much. And even worse, I haven’t initiated a transfer of that excess in to my savings accounts.

Right now, I’m the perfect example of WHAT NOT TO DO when it comes to managing your money. Tomorrow, I’m buckling down and figuring all this mess out so I can ease the financial anxiety I’ve been feeling these last couple weeks.

Am I going to PF hell for letting my finances get away from me? Do even you BUDGET NAZIS get a little lazy sometimes? How do you keep your money moving, even when you don’t have the time to sit down and tell it where to go? What software/method do you use? Slap some sense in to me will ya?!

I know many of you will suggest establishing automatic payments, but auto payments are not my thing…they kind of freak me out.

17 thoughts on “I’ve lost touch with my money”

  1. It’s good to keep track of your money, but stressing out like this or keeping a really tight rein isn’t. Autopay and keep 1.5 months worth of expenses, or a clear thousand-dollar cushion, or any type of method that will give you peace of mind.

    Automate, like Ramit Sethi says, and you won’t have to worry about the day-to-day.

  2. Ugh- I realized this week that that’s EXACTLY what I’ve been up to.

    I signed into my bank account, and noticed something a little different… couldn’t quite put my finger on it…

    Finally figured it out. The bank had DROPPED my credit card interest rate by 5% (unheard of, actually), and had raised my credit limit by 2k.

    Good direction of movement, what the heck find of PF dork doesn’t notice that kind of change?!?!

    I hang my head in shame.

  3. Can’t help too much, but I agree about staying away from automatic payments. I don’t want anyone withdrawing money from my checking account except me. I get paid biweekly rather than semimonthly, and so I always have to juggle the dates I am paying bills.

    However, I also make a habit of transferring money from checking to my CC account as soon as I charge anything, so that balances on the card don’t accumulate.

  4. You know, if you were making 5% interest, I’d be right there with you and say “bad ninja”. Bur really, how much are you losing by waiting til the end of the month, 20 cents?

    Cut yourself some slack dude. Your have a major life change about to happen in just a few weeks. You need to put one of those “donate” buttons on your sidebar so I can send you a quarter.

    In all seriousness, it is unsettling when you’ve abandoned a routine that keeps you grounded. I’m glad you found your way again. Paying off debt is the easiest thing ever. You just transfer money to your lender, period. Saving is much harder. You actually have to think about how to make your money grow.

  5. Yes…This happens to me once every few months. I get too comfortable with my budgeting and saving skills, and then boom. I remember that I should still be tracking our spending and reconciling everything. I roll with a TI-83+ myself, a remnant from my high school nerd days. Nothing says budget time like a TI-83! 😉

  6. I’m going to kick your ninja behind if you don’t get your finances caught up pronto – especially right before the big day – HELLO? Do you want to go into this exciting time of your wedding and honeymoon with unorganized finances hanging over your head? NOT! So get crackin’, get caught up, then relax and enjoy yourself…..or we’ll all ninja punch you in the face:) ‘Nuff said.

  7. Don’t sweat it Ninja. It’s not as though getting married, going on a honeymoon, furnishing your apartment, etc., will be something you do on a regular basis. I have slacked off on occasion and nothing terrible happened. I think I used to live in fear that if I didn’t check my account balances multiple times a day (I’m not exaggerating-I used to do that back when our finances were a mess and I always worried something would come up and throw me completely off), something would go horribly wrong, but really, if you have a good system in place, nothing serious will go arye in a short period of time when your attention is, rightfully, elsewhere.

  8. I love auto-transfers, but you’v got to do what works for you.

    I haven’t gotten lazy about keeping track of things in rencent memory – but I was sure stressed out last week when I had no computer or internet access for a week. We were out camping – and for the most part I didn’t think about it (or tried not to) but when we gotout of the woods I was on my mom’s laptop for a few hours looking at spreadsheets/statements and writing posts.

    really looking forward to reading more about you and girl ninja merging your finances as Jordan and I are in the process of that now….but every so sinnfully b/c we’re not married yet.

  9. I get our bills auto-paid by our rewards credit cards, but I don’t auto-pay that balance and I don’t auto-transfer my money between bank accounts. I want that control.

    The biggest way I can get away with being lazy is…ING Checking. At least if you forget to move your money into savings, it will still be getting something in interest in the checking account.

    I’ve gotten to be a lazy budgeter since I started my blog, but it hasn’t hurt us much simply because ING is awesome. I keep $1000 in a brick and mortar bank in our area so we can deposit physical checks and have some emergency money on hand, but ING is our main bank.

    I still enter all our charges and cash withdrawals into our budget – just once a month instead of twice a week. I also still move money out of ING Checking and into either ING Savings or Smarty Pig, but if I’m a few days later than normal, it doesn’t really effect much. 🙂

  10. it happens to even the best of us, sometimes other things take priority, in your case, your wedding, so i definitely understand why you would have temporarily lost your way. but hey, you realized it and already have a plan to fix it so your all set. im with you in regards to autopay, id rather have the control and stay on top of my finances instead of just forgetting about it because its automated.
    Preferred Financial Services Blog

  11. Slacker Ninja? It certainly understandable with what your currently have going on, move, wedding, bike being stolen, etc but the key will be to get back on track. Which you have already admitted, so you’re on your way to recovery! 🙂

  12. Everyone goes a little lazy sometimes. Just wait until you have kids to occupy your time and thoughts. When this happens to me, I go on a spending freeze until I can give it the attention it requires. It’s never for more than a few days once I realize it.

  13. I don’t use auto-transfers/payments for all of my bills. Instead I have all of their due dates in Google calendar which sends me an email reminder to pay them one week before they are due. I also try to reconcile all of my accounts on Sunday and make whatever transfers are needed.

  14. I use the “spending” application on my Iphone to track expenses. Its worked out realy well becaue I always have my phone with me so I can track everything when I spend it.

    I’m looking for something though like quicken with iphone intergration so I can just import my expenses. Any suggestions?

  15. In marriage & kids, the aspects of life all are on a dial – turn up the work, turn down the pleasure reading. Turn up the exercise, turn down the video game playing. Turn up the kids, turn down…everything but work & exercise. Right now you’ve turned up the fiance/family & turned down the finance. All fine as long as you plan, which you’ve done. With a spouse moving in, you’ll find that your free time magically flies out the window (we spend lots of time just goofing around & having fun w/ each other), and maybe you’ll find that you can be more efficient in tracking your finances. Like I learned it’s unnecessary to log monthly investment gain/loss. Hell, I only do it quarterly now. Good luck with those dials!

  16. Quicken home and business for mac is freakin great… You can connect your bank account, credit cards, checking accounts, savings account etc. and just download all your transactions automatically. I make my budget on quicken and its automatically updated every time I make a transaction. Totally sweet…check it out if you haven’t already.

  17. It is good to have some help in handling your financial affairs at time where you might think you can not do it personally, but entrusting all would not be a perfect choice. money is something as worthy as your job that is why a little time is absolutely a big factor.If you do love your future then you need to love your money as well.

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