Friday Finances – The End

Well that was a quick jump from the “middle” to the end…

Action Plan Progress:

  • DONE – 66/66 days of tracking our daily spending
  • DONE – 3/3 TED Talks about personal finance watched
  • DONE – Created a Pinterest inspiration board
  • DONE – 2/2 books read on personal finance
  • DONE – Determined best investment tool to save money (Vanguard)
  • DONE – Analyzed online budgeting tools (we plan on using a spending plan)
  • 5/10 weekly posts on Fridays about my progress

Grade: B

Incentive: We have a meeting scheduled with a financial planner next week. Even though The Little Book of Common Sense Investing has convinced me we don’t need a financial planner for investing we still have some tax related questions that I am excited to get answered!

Lessons Learned: I missed a lot of posts, but I was still able to meet the other items on my action plan. You’ve got to focus on the wins. This habit has given us the wonderful opportunity of getting feedback from friends and family about the tools they use to keep their family budget. We’ve had some fantastic conversations about what works and what doesn’t.

Clayton and I are going to keep up with the tracking until we are settled after our move. Once we get into a new routine we’ll set up our new spending plan.

Our sabbatical year will be here before you know it. If you have any inspiring memes/pictures/charts that keep you motivated to make good financial decisions please share them in the comments!

Book Breakdowns: A Twofer

The title of Bogle’s book struck me as I was reviewing The Essential Warren Buffet Reading List. Judging this book by its cover worked out really well!

The Little Book of Common Sense Investing opens with Buffet’s “Gotrocks Family” parable which sets the tone for the entire book. Investing carries inherent risk, but the average investor exacerbates the problem by trying to beat the market. Bogle asserts that index funds let the market work for you.

The facts, figures, and math are easy to follow and lend credibility to the argument rather than bogging it down. I especially like the “Don’t Take My Word For It” sections that show how other top financial minds are interpreting the data and investing.

I’ve always been intimidated by the stock market, and even though I have investments I haven’t felt comfortable with my portfolio decisions. I am not sure if this is my confirmation bias, but I love that this book made me feel comfortable with a set it and forget it strategy.

It’s a fantastic book that will make you feel empowered to start investing. I would highly recommend it to anyone!

Judging this book by it’s cover did not work out so well…

This book reads like a blog, because Brooke is a blogger. Each chapter is a day in the month and has a series of challenges at the end. I read it straight through even though it is intended to be read one day/chapter at a time. Each section isn’t applicable to everyone so you can certainly skip around and focus on the parts that will help you the most.

It is nice to have a lot of helpful advice all in one book with logical categorization. If nothing else I was turned on to Amazon’s Subscribe & Save so that’s a plus. The fact that she gives advice in areas that she admits to not being an expert in (like recommending homeopathy in the name of saving money) made me to give this book a lower grade.

It’s good for anyone just starting their financial journey. However, a lot of the information can be found on her Creative Savings blog.

If you’re still interested after my lukewarm review, the first person to request it in the comments will get my copy of 31 Days to Radically Reduce Your Expenses: Less Stress. More Savings.!

Friday Finances – The Middle(ish)

One way to improve your financial outlook is to find a new job that offers a higher salary. That has been my primary focus, and I started my new job this week. Things have finally started to settle down, but I am woefully behind on my weekly posts. The good news is even though I haven’t been posting we have been sticking to the plan, so lets look at the stats.

Action Plan Progress:

  • DONE – 3/3 TED Talks about personal finance watched
  • DONE – Created a Pinterest inspiration board
  • 51/66 days of tracking our daily spending
  • 1/2 books read on personal finance
  • 3/10 weekly posts on Fridays about my progress
  • Analyze online budgeting tools
  • Determine best investment tools to save money with

Grade: C

Lessons Learned: Not great, but we have stuck with the daily habit and that is the ultimate goal. It has been enlightening to see where we are spending all of our money. After the first month Clayton thought it was important to add a Travel category to our tracking sheet.

We have yet to analyze our spending, but at the end of the 66 days we will have two months of data to review. From there we will decide between a monthly budget or a spending plan.

Do you have any experience with a spending plan? Please share your thoughts in the comments!

Friday Finances – The Start

3 years ago Clayton and I formulated a 10 year plan. Our ultimate goal is to save enough money to take a year sabbatical and travel the world.

The first phase of our plan was to pay off all of our unsecured debt. It seemed easier to manage our finances when we had clear goals of what debt we wanted to pay off, when. I’d like to validate our current budget to maximize our savings.

Habit: Track spending every day for 66 days

Start Date: Wednesday, 03/01/2017

Projected End Date: Saturday, 05/06/2017

Action Plan:

  • Read 2 books on personal finance
  • Watch 3 TED Talks about personal finance
  • Analyze online budgeting tools
  • Determine best investment tools to save money with
  • Create a Pinterest inspiration board
  • Post weekly on Fridays about my progress

Incentive: Meet with a financial planner. I know it doesn’t sound fun, but it really excites me!

Lofty Goal: Being healthy (financial health is a type of health!)

After we have built this habit we will know where we are spending our money. We have a budget but have never validated that we are adhering to our spending limits. I want to make sure we are saving as much as we can to reach our goal!

What tools do you use to stay on budget? Please share your tips and tricks in the comments!