Monday, August 11, 2008

Personal Finance

The first area I want to establish goals in is with spending money. It seems as though our lives can be divided down to two categories - time and money. I won't limit myself to these two categories, but it's a point made that our finances are a major element in our lives. The almighty dollar. Money is what makes the world go 'round, right? Maybe not, but sometimes it sure feels that way.

It's becoming more and more apparent that I need to establish and stick to (and monitor) my budget. It helps that I get paid once monthly (I work in a company with 7 employees and my boss hates doing payroll, so does it only once a month) therefore establishing a monthly budget should be fairly easy. Right?

Well, have I kept to it? No. I've found myself using my credit card more and more at the end of the month. Though, over the last few months I've become more and more aware of that and have taken small steps to curb that spending.

So as I think about goal setting in the financial area of my life, there are a few things I want to think about:
1.) Stoping the creation of debt.
2.) Paying down debt.
3.) Finding ways to spend less.
4.) Identifying things I spend money on that are not essentials.
5.) Identifying times that I am emotionaly-spending. (Like emotional eating.)
6.) Brainstorming ideas for combating emotional spending.
7.) Explore "paying down debt vs. establishing savings."
8.) Establish timeline/plan with clear dates for paying down debt and establishing savings.
9.) What am I saving for? (Goals to keep me focused and motivated, reminding me what I'm working towards.)
10.) Do I have a false sense of security? (Am I using my credit card as a safety net?)
11.) What is a realistic emergency savings goal? (How much per month?)
12.) What is a realistic monthly budget? (considering maintenance costs for vehicles, house, etc. that don't come up every month and usually take us by surprise.)
13.) Identifying buget busters. When/why do I have expenses that take me by surprise and how can I avoid this element of surprise in the future (and make room in the budget for them.)

I'm curious what other people would consider when sitting down to establish a budget or financial plan like this.

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