How To Get Your Finances In Order

Humans have not evolved to handle modern currency for two reasons:

1. The paper that currency is based on has zero inherent value. When you are gambling at a casino you tend to make bets you would not have made with paper money because you don’t have a strong attachment to decorative pieces of clay. But as we get older, the attachment we have to paper money lessens and we get desensitized to its value. Spending money becomes easier. Price tags would have more meaning if it listed how many hours of labor it would take you to buy it. That iPod now costs 13 hours of labor the HDTV is 2 weeks of labor. That $7 slice of cheesecake took you 15 minutes of labor. You may buy these things anyway but its real value is clear because you know exactly how much of your time and energy it takes to obtain it.

2. There are too many streams of income and expenditures to keep track off. We are not designed to make daily purchases, pay bills, deal with emergencies, spoil ourselves, and then be able to have a balanced budget each month. If you were to ask people how much they spend on food, a necessity, each month, they can only give you an estimate which I guarantee is a lot less than they actually spend. Humans need extra help to keep track of multiple streams of data.

I’m sure you know someone whose life is consumed by huge credit card debt. It’s even possible that they are much bigger debt than you even though your living situations aren’t that different. Why are some people just bad with money and others are not? The answer lies in a person’s belief system. Some people believe in things that make going into serious debt an inevitability.

“I know I’m spending more than I make now, but I will be making more money soon.”
This is counting your chickens before they hatch. Unfortunately, there is absolutely no guarantee that you will be making more money in a year or two. There is no way to predict if you will even have a job. In case you do make more money a year from now, this belief ensures you keep increasing your spending anyway, preventing you from having the extra cash you planned on using to pay off debt obligations. Spending money you don’t yet have is an assumption that keeps you in perpetual debt.

“I know I’m in credit card debt, but these are things I need and they are making me happy.”
There is not a documented case of human fulfillment coming from items manufactured in China. Fact is, other than a quick rush when purchasing something new, your mind quickly gets accustomed to the new possession and your happiness level remains constant. And now you have this consumer good that you need to maintain until you throw it in storage. The ability to increase the amount of happiness you can generate only comes with committed changes on how you view the world and yourself.

I know many girls who own very expensive handbags, and when I ask them why they bought these bags they usually make a reference to the quality and not the image the brand represents. But those expensive handbags are not handmade and come off the same factory lines as those that cost significantly less. And then I have the friends who insists on buying luxury automobiles because living without soothing German engineering would be uncomfortable. Now I don’t know if they are telling me the truth and they are really buying these things for the status, but I do know that the idea of turning these needs into wants is a basic marketing principle that drives the sale of these products. If you can afford these items without going into debt then great, but otherwise you should resort to the free alternative of fantasizing about the objects instead.

“I want other people to know that I am very successful.”
This stems from insecurity. You are concerned that you are less worthy as a person because someone else is displaying material possessions — probably bought on credit — that is worth much more than yours. So you catch up so this person by going into debt. Problem with this strategy is not that there is no end — there will always be someone who has more than you. So your life is a pattern of trying to keep up, going into more debt, but never really getting there. You sit at home, with all your stuff, still upset and wondering if you can pay more than the minimum payment on your credit card statements. Most advertising put out by marketing agencies aim to make you feel insecure and inadequate, and this is financial death for those that are already insecure. Unless you are on top of the latest rotating style, it’s assumed, you are a loser and the girl with the latest pair of boots will show her disgust with dirty looks.

I once read a question on some Dear Abby column by someone who asked how she can get her girlfriends to stop picking expensive restaurants for girls night out without having to tell them she is broke. But your friends should have no problem knowing you can’t afford something and if they do maybe it’s time to get friends who don’t judge you or make as much as you do. (I’m not saying to go hang out in the ghetto but having friends that are poor will save you an incredible amount of money.) By not caring what other people think, you immediately start living a more simple life that allows you to focus on things that make you happy instead of things that other people approve of. There is nothing wrong with not having enough money.

Having correct beliefs makes it very easy stay on top of your finances because you do the right things without having to consciously think about it, in a way that fits your own unique situation. I don’t read finance sites or lists of 1,000 ways to save money, but I’m able to put save a large percentage of my income each month because I have internalized the right beliefs.

One of my most important beliefs is knowing that demand increases to fill supply. If a friend buys you a chocolate chip cookie, you are going to eat it even though you may have not been craving for a chocolate chip cookie. If your coworker brings a cake to the office, that cake will be gone even though no one was really hungry. If you just get a bonus at work, you will spend it on things you wouldn’t have bought otherwise. If you buy an extra large bottle of cologne, you will use it more often than if you bought a small bottle. If you have $100 in your pocket, two days later you will wonder where it went. If you happen upon a stash of hot porn, you will masturbate more than usual, maybe into the early dawn hours if you got a lot of sleep the night before. If your mind knows that something is there, it will find a reason to use or consume it. When people complain to me about their inability to lose weight, I simply tell them not to buy food. You can’t eat what you don’t buy, and a midnight snack craving loses its punch when you know you have to get in the car to find some Doritos instead of reaching your meaty paws in the cupboard.

Places like Costco and Sam’s Club exist because people think they are saving money when they buy things in bulk. They see the cost-per-unit price and then toss the extra large jar of mayonnaise into the cart. Without even thinking about it, they will now consume more mayonnaise because their mind knows there is a lot of it. If you look around your house right now, you have a lot of consumables that are just sitting there, inching towards their expiration dates. What this really represents is cash not earning interest. That cash is in the hands of the companies instead. There is little reason to buy more than one week’s worth of food or goods unless there is a natural disaster coming. I only buy what I need, don’t tie up my cash in things that just sit there, and don’t let anything go to waste. This ends up saving me much more money in the long run.

We are tricked into believing that buying the largest size possible makes economic sense. Flyers will advertise how much you are saving by purchasing the warehouse sized packaging of hypoallergenic ass wipes. But are they selling thousands of ass wipes because they are trying to help you save money, or because it benefits them? Companies don’t want you to save money — they want you to spend and contribute to their profits. Sizes are getting larger because it benefits corporations. If they didn’t make more money on quantity, the larger sizes would not exist. At the grocery store there is now a gigantic jar of spaghetti sauce that is so big it has a built-in ergodynamic handle. You will buy these and consume more or throw away a large amount, and then go back and buy more again because you think you’re saving money.

How about if I buy in bulk something that I use a set amount of every week? For me this applies to my Tuna Helper habit. I consume two boxes a week, no more or less, so you think I’d load up on this “food” during 2-for-1 specials. I don’t. The point of a sale should be for you to spend less. But what happens is you load up on the sale item so your weekly spending never goes down. In the short-run it may cost me a couple bucks, but in the long-run I save because I strengthen the belief to only buying what I need, cutting spending in almost everything else. Don’t turn your house into a warehouse.

The opposite of this principle also holds true: if you constrict supply, demand will lower. If at the beginning of the month you commit to saving a large amount of money and enter it into the budget, and you can see how little you have left to spend on everything else, you have no choice but to constrain your spending for that month. But if you wait until the end of month to save what is left over, you will find there is nothing left over to save.

A tool that reinforces all these correct beliefs is having a monthly budget where you monitor every dollar you spend. I believe that if people simply knew where their money was going, they would be a lot more careful with it. It’s just too hard to understand how much you are spending with credit cards and check cards until you have to manually enter your spending into a spreadsheet and see your monthly balance go down. This act tells your brain that this money you earned no longer exists.

I recently gave my budget spreadsheet to a friend. Like me he set up a line for going out, and estimated that he spends maybe $400 a month in bars and restaurant. Three weeks into December, he was already at $500. Then when he went out to the club, he spent half of the amount that he normally spends because that $500 expenditure was something he couldn’t ignore. He saved $30 that night only because he knows how much he spends when he goes out. Every dollar counts. In the long run it adds up to amounts you would leap at if you saw laying on the street.

When you use a budget, your finances become an obsession because they are in your face almost every day. Every transaction, from ATM withdrawals to buying a coffee at 7-11 with your check card, gets logged.

Budget.xls spreadsheet (Right click > Save as)
How To Maintain The Budget Spreadsheet

Step 1: Put in your paycheck income and other guaranteed income. If you are a freelancer, you may want to add lines to account from different sources of spending and income. Or you can create a new worksheet in the same spreadsheet and link those values to the main budget.

Step 2: Enter all known bill payment expenses (rent, gym fees, car payment, etc.). For other expenditures like going out and food, make an estimate. You will be changing that number as the months go on.

Step 3: Play with you expenditure numbers until you balance goes to zero. If this seems impossible to you, then you are not living within your means, and having a budget will probably help you most. Hint: cut back on leisure spending.

Step 4: Take note of how much money will always be in your checking account (your cushion). On the first of every month when all bills are paid, that is the value you should have in your account. My cushion is a low $200 because I don’t like tying up too much cash. But when my first paycheck doesn’t come until the second week of the month, I temporary bring in money from my savings account to cover those early expenses. The more you monitor your account activity online, the less you can leave your cushion since you are always aware of your balance and catch surprises before they overdraft your account.

Step 5: Keep track of every dollar that moves in and out of your main account (usually your checking account). If you mostly use your check card for transactions, save all receipts and pile them on one side of your desk. After you enter them every few days, move them to the other side. I don’t recommend forgoing receipts and using online banking to log spending because you will forget whether you entered items or not. Make sure you don’t miss transactions that have no receipt, like buying something from the internet or getting a lap dance at the strip club. If you mostly take out ATM withdrawals, I recommend categorizing what you can and then putting the rest in Leisure > Stuff. For instance say you take out $100 one day then spend $40 on groceries and $50 on going out. When you go home, put -$40 for groceries, -$50 for going out, and -$10 for Stuff. Or just put the whole $100 into Stuff and not worry about categorizing. Using mostly cash makes it a pain to itemize your spending unless you always get receipts.

Important: You are only keeping track of money that moves into and out of your main account. If you charge something on your credit card, it does not get reflected in the budget until you pay that bill. For instance if you charge something in late January but don’t pay the bill until February, you enter the expense in February. If you purchase an electronic gadget with a rebate, you have to enter the full cost of the item in your budget and enter the rebate separately when it comes months later.

I like to itemize my credit card bills by putting the individual items into their own category. For instance if I get a $20 credit card bill with $10 from internet hosting and $10 from Netflix, I enter two separate $10 charges in my budget and send out a $20 check. My budget does not record the fact that I just sent out a check to a credit card company. If you have a credit card balance you are paying and it is from old spending, I would just use a separate Credit Card line.

Savings is negative in the budget because it is coming out of your main account. Bringing savings money into your main account will be reflected as a positive amount. If at the end of the month you are running a deficit, you need to draw money in from somewhere. If you are running a surplus, put it into a savings account. Since you are not the federal government, you need to maintain a balanced budget every month. If you run a deficit from high spending, and you don’t have savings money to make up for it, you need an immediate reality check. Your way of living is unsustainable and will catch up to you sooner than later. It will just take one accident or layoff to send you into deep financial crisis. Plus the recent change in bankruptcy laws make it harder to wipe away unsecured debt.

The nice thing about the monthly budget if you receive a paycheck is the two months a year when you get three paychecks. Since you will not account for this third paycheck when setting up your budget, these checks are like the bonuses you wish your company would give out. Put it directly into your savings account or credit card debt, or do something fun for yourself. These two extra paychecks have gone to my travel fund for the past two years.

I first started using the budget spreadsheet after I spent $320 at French Connection in winter 2002. I felt incredibly guilty because I didn’t have that money to spare. After sacrificing on clothing and Starbucks, I started making $200 monthly payments to my debt. Then I squeezed myself even more each month until I was able to make consistent payments in the $400 range. Fourteen months later I made my final payment and was debt free. My income since then has doubled but my costs of living have actually decreased, so all that extra money is gravy. I consider credit card debt to be a form of mental slavery, and even though I have much less possessions than my peers (I don’t even own a bed), I depend on myself to generate my happiness instead of products made by companies that view me as nothing more than a FICO score. I still have the French Connection clothing that sent me over the edge, including the $120 pair of corduroy pants that I have worn about six times.

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  • Lucy

    This is the first post of yours that I have found inspiring. Really nicely done.

  • Maria

    I also want to commend you on a very helpful post. Thanks!

  • Steve Lurkel

    This is helpful. Nice work, Roosh.

  • mil0

    TL:DR

    NEED SIMPLIFIED VERSION FOR THOSE OF US WHO DON’T HAVE JOBS AND LEECH OFF PARENTS PLZ.

  • Guns N’ Rosenthal

    Good job. Some funny lines in there to boot.

  • http://www.webequick2holla.blogspot.com Virgle Kent

    you should get with Brunch Bird and be her financial advisor.

  • Unkle Dirty

    Quicken (computer program) will track all of your expenses and income for you. It’s a little expensive and takes some time to set up, but it’s worth it.

  • Eric

    this was a really good post. I took a different approach to putting together a budget:

    I took my monthly income and subtracted out all of the monthly expenses I have to pay:
    income – rent – utilities – cell phone – credit card payment = leftover

    then I took my leftover and cut it into 4. From that, I subtracted all of my weekly expenses:
    leftover/4 – groceries – gas = disposable

    that disposable is my weekly spending allowance on everything else (bars, clothes, etc.). It makes it easier to determine if I’m spending within my means.

  • Stephen

    I did the same thing Roosh. Making an Excel Sheet and keeping track of where things go, really helped getting to the monetary goals I wanted.

    Kudos.

  • imthepresident

    ?I know I’m spending more than I make now, but I will be making more money soon.?

    Ha! This is the truth.

  • Mandy

    Did you take psychology classes in college, or are your powers of observation just that good?

    This post was great. “I consider credit card debt to be a form of mental slavery.” Amen!

    It all just boils down to whether you think in the short-term or the long-run. Intuitively, long-run thinkers are better savers.

  • Matt

    I have wanted to set up a spreadsheet like this for some time, now I will just use yours, thanks.

  • entropy

    To me it’s funny that we spend so much time in elementary/middle/high school learning about math, English, history, science, etc. but we never learn the basics of living. Personal finances, health (no, not just gym class), and relationships are all more important topics that you need to learn to be successful in this world.

  • Anonymous

    While I like this post, DCB’s advice will nickle and dime people into lower middle class (if such actually exists anymore). Saving $30 here, $200 there, will not even keep up with inflation. In 10 years, you’ll still be schlepping it. Personally, it’s strange that “many people” don’t already do this. “Success”, according to this formula, should include maximizing Roth or traditional IRA, 401(k) or 403(b), investments, tax shelters (incorporating and taking “ordinary and necessary business losses” for things like vacations), income deferred vehicles (amortizing debt), having tactical (two month of saved money for expenses) and strategic (six month’s worth of savings for expenses) bank accounts, and real estate (if you have kids, 529′s). Lastly, for those of us already trained, credit cards are actually a better form of negotiable instrument since payments can be tracked, cancelled, challenged and so forth.

  • NerdGirl

    Wow, I do the same anal retentive budget-keeping and really try to preach the benefit of it to others. I, too, observe the philsophy that if you know how much disposable income you have available (and spending more than that will cause you to dip below your savings goal for the month) you won’t spend it. Very few people realize this! I monitor both of my bank accounts almost daily. I always know how much I have to spend in a month. However, I believe my budget template is scarier than yours because I have an annual savings goal and I’ve written a macro that at the end of each month adjusts how much I need to save for each remaining month of the year in order to still reach that goal. Helpful for when you save a good deal more (or less) than you’d budgeted in any given month. If I’m doing really good with the saving as the year progresses, I’ll up my annual goal and watch all the numbers update. It’s thrilling. To a money nerd like myself, anyway.

  • Tampa

    “The point is, ladies and gentlemen, that: Greed, for lack of a better word, is good. Greed is right; greed works. Greed clarifies, cuts through, and captures the essence of the evolutionary spirit. Greed, in all of its forms, greed for life, for money, for love, knowledge ? has marked the upward surge of mankind and greed, you mark my words ? will save not only Teldar Paper but that other malfunctioning corporation called the USA.”

  • Tampa

    That consistent appetite to out do the joneses is what has made America the economic powerhouse that it is.

    Without total materialism this country wouldn’t be the great economic power that we are. Although savings is a postive from a personal economic standpoint it is a negative from the global economic standpoint. Money was ment to be spent. Dollars pulled from the economic spectrum and not used to generater further income or to be splurged on some depreciating item serve no purpose.

    Never forget that America’s rock bottom marginal propensity to save is what has made it the beacon of the world.

    Spend Spend Spend baby.

  • Roissy

    the dilemma: spend it when you can enjoy it and risk a benighted retirement and teaching your kids the value of paying their own way through college, or save now and later spend lavishly on your kids who will hate you anyway and on yourself when your body is least able to accommodate the life full of experiences your wad will buy and when hot young women won’t give a shit if you’re a walking fashion plate.

    choose wisely.

  • Roissy

    “One of my most important beliefs is knowing that demand increases to fill supply.”

    psychologically, yes. economically, no. what you are talking about here are free consumables. this does not accurately reflect supply-demand dynamics. if your friend gives you a free chocolate chip cookie you may eat it even though you would not have gone out of your way to buy one for yourself, but the actual consumer demand (you) has not increased one iota. if your friend suddenly decides to charge for the cookie and you then decide to pay for it, then there is a measurable increase in demand for the cookie. this is why you can’t say there is an increase in demand for dog-eared used books just because passers-by scoop up a bunch of them from a cardboard box that are being given away for free by the neighbor who is moving.

    in the case of bulk products, the consumer may use more per giant-sized jar of mayo but since the cost per unit is lower the cost-benefit is a wash. EXCEPT for perishables, which tend to screw individual consumers who aren’t feeding large families or restaurant patrons because the expiration date of a small jar of mayo is the same as a tub of mayo if they are bought on the same day.

  • http://citysparkle.blogspot.com Asian Mistress

    Credit card debt IS mental slavery…ugh.

    I’ll get there slowly…I will have to re-read what you said…

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  • Gunslingergregi

    Roissy what about all these divorced guys coming over and working oversees starting a new life. 57 year olds 62 year olds doesn’t matter. My friend was 57 and was sure as heck enjoying the money he was now making each month. Lot of guys starting over from scratch or worse. Much better I think to have it by the time you are older then to never have had it. These guys are working 7 days 12 hours a day by the way. Of course you can save for a year when your making good money invest it then play video games till your older and you will have money lol

  • Gunslingergregi

    I think Nerdgirl has the plan in place though. Umm ever thought of a business partnership (not a marriage) Just saving one person’s paycheck and living on the other, no kids, and when we are done or one of us doesn’t make money, split the money saved 50/50 (rented apartment) (each has there own leased car at 220 a month payment at 2 percent lease option to buy) do a 5 year plan and both have new cars (5 years old) at the end. Maybe 65k each in cash. Take that hand it to merril Lynch and forget about it for a while.

  • Gunslingergregi

    Income per Month Income Per Year YEARS Starting Money Average Interest Total
    468 5,616 YEAR 1 65,000 0.08 70,200
    505 6,065 YEAR 2 0.08 75,816
    546 6,551 YEAR 3 0.08 81,881
    590 7,075 YEAR 4 0.08 88,432
    637 7,641 YEAR 5 0.08 95,506
    688 8,252 YEAR 6 0.08 103,147
    743 8,912 YEAR 7 0.08 111,399
    802 9,625 YEAR 8 0.08 120,310
    866 10,395 YEAR 9 0.08 129,935
    936 11,226 YEAR 10 0.08 140,330
    1,010 12,125 YEAR 11 0.08 151,557
    1,091 13,094 YEAR 12 0.08 163,681
    1,179 14,142 YEAR 13 0.08 176,776
    1,273 15,273 YEAR 14 0.08 190,918
    1,375 16,495 YEAR 15 0.08 206,191
    1,485 17,815 YEAR 16 0.08 222,686
    1,603 19,240 YEAR 17 0.08 240,501
    1,732 20,779 YEAR 18 0.08 259,741
    1,870 22,442 YEAR 19 0.08 280,521
    2,020 24,237 YEAR 20 0.08 302,962
    Income per Month Income Per Year YEARS Starting Money Average Interest Total
    468 5,616 YEAR 1 65,000 0.08 70,200
    505 6,065 YEAR 2 0.08 75,816
    546 6,551 YEAR 3 0.08 81,881
    590 7,075 YEAR 4 0.08 88,432
    637 7,641 YEAR 5 0.08 95,506
    688 8,252 YEAR 6 0.08 103,147
    743 8,912 YEAR 7 0.08 111,399
    802 9,625 YEAR 8 0.08 120,310
    866 10,395 YEAR 9 0.08 129,935
    936 11,226 YEAR 10 0.08 140,330
    1,010 12,125 YEAR 11 0.08 151,557
    1,091 13,094 YEAR 12 0.08 163,681
    1,179 14,142 YEAR 13 0.08 176,776
    1,273 15,273 YEAR 14 0.08 190,918
    1,375 16,495 YEAR 15 0.08 206,191
    1,485 17,815 YEAR 16 0.08 222,686
    1,603 19,240 YEAR 17 0.08 240,501
    1,732 20,779 YEAR 18 0.08 259,741
    1,870 22,442 YEAR 19 0.08 280,521
    2,020 24,237 YEAR 20 0.08 302,962
    Income per Month Income Per Year YEARS Starting Money Average Interest Total
    468 5,616 YEAR 1 65,000 0.08 70,200
    505 6,065 YEAR 2 0.08 75,816
    546 6,551 YEAR 3 0.08 81,881
    590 7,075 YEAR 4 0.08 88,432
    637 7,641 YEAR 5 0.08 95,506
    688 8,252 YEAR 6 0.08 103,147
    743 8,912 YEAR 7 0.08 111,399
    802 9,625 YEAR 8 0.08 120,310
    866 10,395 YEAR 9 0.08 129,935
    936 11,226 YEAR 10 0.08 140,330
    1,010 12,125 YEAR 11 0.08 151,557
    1,091 13,094 YEAR 12 0.08 163,681
    1,179 14,142 YEAR 13 0.08 176,776
    1,273 15,273 YEAR 14 0.08 190,918
    1,375 16,495 YEAR 15 0.08 206,191
    1,485 17,815 YEAR 16 0.08 222,686
    1,603 19,240 YEAR 17 0.08 240,501
    1,732 20,779 YEAR 18 0.08 259,741
    1,870 22,442 YEAR 19 0.08 280,521
    2,020 24,237 YEAR 20 0.08 302,962

  • Jewcano

    I’m young, debt-free and make money hand over fist. Of course, I buy my clothes in far more plebeian places than the French Connection. Reinforce your stereotypes here, silly Gentiles.

  • Roissy

    “My friend was 57 and was sure as heck enjoying the money he was now making each month.”

    it depends on your definition of enjoying. i know of a few guys in their 50s who, divorced and freewheeling, absconded with their retirement savings to thailand or the philippines and shacked up with local cuties half or even 2/3 their ages. these guys started small businesses doing things they always wanted to do, like selling antiques or running deep sea fishing excursions, but their real happiness flowed from the re-ignited passion for their young lovers. you don’t need much money to live like a king in many parts of the world. why more older american guys with fat, nagging wives or ingrate adult children or coldhearted exes don’t explore this option is beyond me. i guess the gravitational pull of the familiar keeps most people firmly secured to their miserable chains.

    leaving that aside, it’s futile to think saving your money now to spend it ostentatiously and generously in retirement will lure younger women into an older man’s orbit. the kind of obscene money that attracts a young hottie enough to overlook a 55 year old’s jowly, wizened face is out of reach for most men no matter how diligently they follow their savings & investment strategies. he’d be better off spending his money as he makes it, enjoying his vibrant youth and rendevouz with quality ass, and settling stoically for jerking off once a year to holodeck porn in a japanese nursing home.

  • http://www.dccookie.blogspot.com DC_Cookie

    I have a post saved in draft entitled “if I were single, I’d want to date Roosh.” You have now given me reason to post it…

  • http://rinaface.blogspot.com Irina

    can i marry you?

  • nabeel

    I do the same spreadsheet thing with my money… except that I don’t have a full time job. I’m living from fellowship to fellowship, and that basically forced me to track my expenditures and my inconsistent income.

    your spreadsheet is more thorough than mine, I’ll start using yours in tandem with mine and see which one I’m more comfortable with :)

  • nabeel

    OH one more thing… if you drink lots of juice and soda, give it up. Learn to appreciate water. That way you cut down your daily calorie counts by about 400-800, and you save up to 100 bucks a month on that stuff (if not more). Two birds in one stone.

  • Gunslingergregi

    “you don’t need much money to live like a king in many parts of the world”

    Yea I wasn’t talking about saving money to buy a million dollar house and a yacht in Ft. Lauderdal where nothing is going on lol Yea then it might be harder.

  • Gunslingergregi

    I’m talking about in 4 years when I’m 35

  • G

    Your reference to the paychecks needs a little more explanation.

    What I think you are saying is: if you get paid every two weeks, some months you will get three paychecks. Consider those paychecks to be bonuses.

    My situation is different- I am salaried at a full time job. We have 24 pay periods- twice a month. In our case, there is never a “third paycheck”.

    Excellent post.

    Once you have your cash flow managed, and begin investing, Excel starts to lose charm. If you have options to track , with a number of vesting schedules, I would not want to debug the equations that calculate current value and when that is realizable.

    Other situations when Excel is out of scope would be multiple savings accounts, or an IRA, a brokerage, plus inherited shares, DRIP shares, tax implications of charitible giving.

    There are two primary vendors for personal cash and asset management – Quicken by Intuit and Money by Microsoft. A large variety of open source products exist (GNUCash is the one I remember reading about), but competing with closed source products will get more and more difficult . For instance, electronically transferring transactions is the biggest time savings that Quicken and Money offer (for the primary cash account). Newer versions of Quicken allow only a binary file to be transferred from big banks (as opposed to the old human readable text file); this binary file, and the transferring protocol ensure that duplicate transactions are not recorded. However, I believe EULAs cover the bank, and Intuit / Microsoft so that one would have to convince banks and financial institutions to offer a third format to avoid duplicates.

  • http://sentfrommydelldesktop.blogspot.com Alejandra

    I agree…great post.

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  • wrytexan

    I agree with most of your ideas except the part about not stocking up on tuna helper. Oh yeah – and Starbucks if for fucking idiots.

  • http://www.citizenjake.com Jake

    Thanks for this spreadsheet. One of my new year’s goals was to get a better handle on my personal finances and this spreadsheet is just about perfect for what I’m aiming for. It’s amazing but it really does help you control spending when you can see how small (and often unnecessary) purchases affect the overall bottom line. Thanks again for posting this.

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  • NoNeed2Worry

    If you are going to take your money overseas where it is worth 10x the value then you don’t need all that other bullshit 401k, tax shelters etc etc.

  • http://theeisolution.com Jeremy G. Preston

    Fantastic… and also very awesome to see so many others that think being 75 with not anything to show for it is NOT where they want to be.

    I am a financial coach and author in the US and just wish more people would hear my voice!

  • Bret

    you shop at French Connection?

    WHAT A FAG!!

  • http://www.raulfelix.com Raul Felix

    One really simple strategy I use that has worked for me more than anything, like you mentioned, is constricting the amount I spend in advance. As I get my pay check, I put a pretty good percentage away in saving tagged for my future financial goals. Whatever I have left is my spending money. That’s it. If its gone, its gone. Even though I have a bit of money saved up, I keep myself “artifically poor” by not having anymore than $500 in my bank account. I see that number and it keeps me nervous and watch my spending.