HomeBudgetingWhere is my money!

Where is my money!

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 a long freaking time, I don’t have a handle on my financial situation. It’s a very odd/disturbing/uncomfortable feeling….but kind of freeing too. I just need to set aside a few hours to check my bank accounts, do a little Mint reconciling, and spend some time with my TI-83. Then I should be back to normal.

Typically, 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 $2,000 to my credit card, to pay that bill in full when it came due, which leaves me with my reserve $1,000 for emergencies.

But I’ve been a bad boy, and haven’t initiated any bank transfers lately. I know I have a redonkulous balance on my credit card (travel, travel, and more travel) and an even more redonkulous sum of money in my checking account (approaching $10,000 I think). I know that my checking exceeds my credit card statement, but I don’t know by how much.

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 freak me out.

My favorite nail yesterday (be warned vegetarians):

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  1. I must admit that there are also lazy days. I feel too lazy to write. I feel too lazy to do the house chores. I feel too lazy to wake up early, attend to the kids as they prepare to go to school, and drive them to school. All I wanted to do is lie down and sleep. But when I think about the bills we need to pay, the interest that will be incurred, and the services that will be cut off when I stop working, I get motivated to go back to work.

  2. I get lazy too. I have a direct debit in place for the minimum payment on my credit card each month (as a fail safe in case I forget). I definitely go through lazy spells, but then soon go full circle!

  3. I get lazy too. I have a direct debit in place for the minimum payment on my credit card each month (as a fail safe in case I forget). I definitely go through lazy spells, but then soon go full circle.

  4. Honestly, I don’t stress too much about money sitting in checking rather than savings. It barely earns a pittance anyway with these interest rates. Keeping a good buffer keeps me from stressing out and I’ve never overdrawn an account.

    I was rather obsessive while taking grad school classes, and then I dropped the ball over the summer when I had an internship and was making more money. I didn’t record every little cash expense (of which there were many, mostly food) for about 3 months in Mint. And then I went and put them all in over a receipt binge last week. The way Mint works with drawing down ATM withdrawals (starting from an odd point in time), I have no clue if I’m missing a hundred bucks in cash transactions or not. But as long as mint tells me that my net income each month is still positive… I think I’m OK.

  5. I was lazy through the entire summer. Didn’t track one single thing spent, when I had been religiously tracking everything through a spreadsheet for the previous four years!! The result? Overspending, carrying (a very small) balance on my credit card during that time. I have no idea why – maybe it was just because I was having such a fantastic summer – I didn’t want to face reality. Anyway, October 1st I started back to tracking every cent, and I feel way more in control and happy again. Although it was freeing not to track everything for a while, Feeling under the pinch of the dollar was twice the burden!!

  6. I get this way too, although I’m not a big money mover in these days of low interest rates. Mine has more to do with recording my receipts into my spreadsheet, seeing where I’m at with my savings, plotting ways to pay mortgage off even earlier, etc. This happens maybe 1-2x per year that I’m not completely obsessed about it. I just figure my inner spaz is taking a hiatus. But coming back to it when I’m ready, it feels awesome!

    I’m not a fan of auto payments either, I’m a bit of a control freak and I like to do it myself.

  7. I think your previous system was a bit crazy so I don’t think it’s a bad thing you stopped. You do still know that your checking balance exceeds your credit card balance. I don’t like to look at balances, though – I reference our budget.

    And no, I don’t get lazy about our finances. I also don’t have expectations that exceed my abilities. We use a combination of Mint for tracking and budgeting and Excel for managing transfers in and out of our short-term targeted savings accounts.

  8. Lazy is OK if you:

    – take care of the big numbers,
    – have some margin for error
    – check in once in a blue moon (not never)
    – post hilarious pictures on your other site (I emailed and tweeted that all over the place)

  9. I did get a little lax in my budget a month back but it was driving me crazy tracking every last cent. I decided to not track interest received from my money market checking account and just be happy and surprised when I am way above what I need to be. Other than that I still look almost daily at my accounts which I feel is a fairly healthy obsession for now.

  10. But you ARE still the example of what TO DO. Here’s why. You dont’ know the details, but you do know that what’s in your checking is greater than what your credit card balances are. So you’re still making more than you’re spending. So you actually sitll are an example of what to do. 🙂 You’re just freaking out a little because you’ve slipped just a little bit!

  11. Why doesn’t Girl Ninja do some of it? It’s her money/future too, why doesn’t she play a more active roll is the day-to-day activities, particularly when you are busy and away? Shouldn’t she know how to handle these tasks if, god forbid, something were to happen to you?

    • She knows how to do it and can access whenever the heck she wants. She just doesn’t really want to. And I can’t blame her. I’m happy to take on this role since 99% of the year I’m super in to it. We’re all squared away should something happen to me.

  12. I don’t really think that’s lazy. I think that’s one of the perks of creeping toward financial freedom — you DON’T have to be so hands-on and obsessive. That’s where I’m at sorta.

    Still, I’ve noticed that as I’ve gotten in a better position financially, it has been harder to be “good” with budgeting.

  13. With interest rates so low, you are talking about literally pennies. Don’t be too hard on yourself for pennies.

  14. Oh man I am so NOT a budget-nazi yet but working on it! My husband and I have been utterly strapped for cash as even living paycheck-to-paycheck for us wasn’t enough while he was unemployed. I picked up freelance work like crazy to bridge some gaps and now…he is gainfully employed, my FT salary has grown and the freelance relationships I’ve built have continued to grow and grow as well…OH GOD IT IS RAINING MONEY I AM JUST ROLLING IN MONEY! …not really but that’s absolutely what it feels like and it feels so GOOD to just PAY ALL THE BILLS and BUY ALL THE STUFF right now and still have SO MUCH MONEY in my account and then before I know it WE GET PAID, AGAIN! At some point I know I’ll have to rein it in and now get “nazi” about it all so we can work on some of our looming big-kid problems like eliminating debt and getting some sweet tattoos…

  15. Ha! This is my life right now. Between school and work and commuting (I hate commuting!) I am wiped out by the time the weekend comes around and have no energy to compile spreadsheets etc

  16. Sometimes, being constantly “on” when it comes to finances can lend itself to burnout. It is clear that you are making more than you spend, so it’s not a huge deal if you take some time off from being so diligent. I think it’s probably just the change in behavior that feels so odd for you.

  17. I have a spreadsheet within good docs where I update my finances once a week. I understand what it is like to be extremely busy and not have time to keep track of your finances, but it can really take some effort to catch up afterwards. I have set aside an hour a week just to make sure I keep up with my spreadsheet. The best way to do this is to just toss receipts and statement into one folder and go back to that folder when necessary. With the new age of technology we seem to forget that there’s always a possibility we can have internet issues so keeping a paper copy of everything is a great idea. I always make sure to put a little money aside for JUST fun.

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