MONEY!

July had the Enviromom One Can A Month challenge, but that’s over now. Sure, it’s still going on and always will, but it’s not the weekly special focus anymore. So what’s next you might ask?

M O N E Y

Ohdear, this is gonna get me spam comments galore to blindly hit ‘delete all’ on I think. Thank goodness for spam filters. But despite that, August’s theme, and maybe September too, is going to be money.

You see, I’m more than a little clueless about the stuff. Numbers appear in my bank account. They also show up in my credit card statement. Not enough in one despite the increase my new job gave me, and too many in the other. I rarely handle physical money – everything here takes debit. Numbers come, numbers go, and I feel like I have very little control over them, and they have very little meaning to me. Savings? Hah. When I found out that I was pregnant I suddenly saved and saved knowing my income would drop for a while and that babies are expensive (and of course, I have to say, I couldn’t rely on the supplier of the Y chromosome to supply much $), but that was gone within the year of mat leave. Unless you count what Dad and Janice invested for me after I finished my undergrad, which was lovely and much appreciated. It’s a start on my savings, but … not exactly something to solely rely on.

Five things happened recently that brought all of this into focus. Joe posted asking about money-saving tips. Motherhood Uncensored posted about Blog Through the Recession (times are tough even in blogging circles it seems … check out her post for interest’s sake, consider the ego boost it gives us bloggers to see pagevisits if nothing else. Consider, if you read blogs on RSS feed, clicking through so your visit is ‘seen’?). Chris pointed me towards a great site: Smart Cookies. I have to actually *gasp* record spending, keep receipts, keep records, reconcile the visa card, and other fun financial stuff at work, and I have to take a few courses about how to do that (which is good, considering that I’m a BIOLOGIST and they don’t teach us zip about money). Mom hassled me (a little, it’s okay Mom) about pension stuff.

Pen-what?

Ohyeah. That. At some point I’d like to retire.

So I even have a plan. By that I mean for how I’m going to tackle my ignorance. Hopefully part of that will involve a savings plan of some sort.

So keep your eyes on this page, single mommies, friends, family, random strangers. Say hi and share your tips and thoughts!

The first stage of my plan is to get a handle on what exactly I’m spending my hard-earned numbers on. After all, I can do this for work and it’s more complicated there. There I have to keep track of what is ordered, by whom, how much it is supposed to cost, how much it really cost, what arrived and when, order number, packing slip number, invoice number. Then I have to keep packing slips and invoices, match them, and find them on the visa bill! My own money I’m only accountable to myself, not various granting agencies and a university. So I’m recording how much I spend every day, broken up by category, like groceries, eating out, entertainment, laundry, alcohol, clothes, etc. After five days I’m already in shock about the money I’ve spent eating out – lattes, treats, sandwiches, sushi, smoothies. After one week of ‘awareness’ I’ll start to see what I can do to cut down without sacrificing my sanity. I deserve some treats.

Second stage I’m also starting. Educate myself. I’ve looked into the pension plan at work, something I was supposed to have started contributing to aaaaages ago. My initial reaction was, “HOW MUCH A MONTH? I can’t afford that?” Insert whining about single parenting, the cost of daycare, and so on. So I did a quick balance … how much comes in reliably every month, how much reliably goes out. There’s absolutely no excuse fathomable. The form is filled out, and with my other benefits package forms, I just have to photocopy my proof of age tomorrow, and send it all off.

There’s more too. That’s right, more stages! More self-improvement! But as I said … keep your eyes peeled. And in the meantime, a question: How much do you spend a week on lattes and other fancy coffees?

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3 responses to “MONEY!

  1. Even though I have a hubby to provided stability, we have been able to have me go school because we are very very diligent about our spending. You’ve realized how much you save by bringing you lunch, ditto with the coffees. Quickbook or MSN Money are great for tracking and setting up personal budgets. The best thing to do is figure out needs (rent, grocery , daycare etc) then figure out wants (coffee’s dinner out). Also open a high interest saving account (ING, PC banking) set up an automatic transfer so that $100 is put into the account EVERY pay check

  2. I’ve put off the 401K thing much too long because I do have a small pension building through my work. It won’t be enough, though, so I’ve got to get on it. But invest now? Bleh.

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