Make sure to stay organized

I hope everyone has had a good weekend, I spent a good part of mine searching for documents. I eventually found them right on my desk after shuffling them in with other papers.

One thing that has helped me a bit on my path is to stay organized. I remember when I was younger and I had a savings account how I would loose the statements. I would be in a panic much like I was this weekend. Frantically searching for the paper until after midnight.

What being organized to me means:

  • Have a “to file” box. Right when I walk in my door I have a box I put all my mail, receipts, paperwork, etc. It all ends up there. Once every few days I will go through this pile and sort it and one by one record and file away as needed. Although I do on occasion forget to place a receipt there and then I forget what I spent it on.
  • Have a spot for everything. I have an old UPS box that I keep all my old statement in, as soon as I reconcile my checkbook I place it in this box ASAP. To many times have I forgotten only to have the statement reprinted since I lost it. I also have a file cabinet for my business and I keep everything of important, from letters to permits and everything else you can imagine.
  • Don’t just leave “stuff” out. This is exactly what I did. When I did the article the other day for how much I’ve made thus far I left it on my desk and worked on a paper and it was mixed in with those paper. So when I went to search for it when I was doing book work I couldn’t find it.
  • Use a calendar or reminder system. I can not speak enough good words for Google Calendar. I have it setup to text me a few days in advanced and the morning of all appointments. Before I would use a paper, but it would get lost or torn.
  • Don’t carry your documents around loosely. I have someone I do work for that does this. Instead of having a nice spot to place it, they carry it around with them. When they go home, go out of state, etc. it’s there with them. As you can imagine they lost a few items. Before I got a clip board and a bag to carry around I would loose paper and lucky it wasn’t anything major, but the other person would loose receipts and the likes.

These are just a few of the numerous ways to help keep organized. I invite you to share your method? Is it the simple Shoe Box or do you have an elaborate file system?

2012 Money Goals, 1st Quarter Expenses

Expenses

As you can tell, March was expensive (Created in GnuCash)

  •  My Car – You should be able to tell that March was a bad month car wise. At the beginning of March a bad storm came to where I live at and it threw a plastic lid through my back windshield, and side window, and busted out another one. In addition I pay my insurance in 3-month increments and March was the month. In February you see a good month, less then half spent on my car, which is what I try to do.
  • Drinks/Snacks – This also include food along with when I go out to eat. Which I try to spend less then $60 on, but sometimes it doesn’t work that way since I’ll overspend.
  • Books – I am a college student and for the Spring 2012 term I bought all but one off of Amazon, but that was in December and a few didn’t ship until January.
  • Phones/Cellphones – Right now I pay around $50-$60 a month for my Prepaid Phone. In the past there was times I paid $70 and other times I would pay $20. But now it’s pretty predictable.
  • Other(s) – This is just a catch all for misc. items and to make the graph easier to read.

Budgeting

I used to be on a budget and part of it was savings. As you can tell from the last post, I haven’t been keeping up with that goal. Which the goals I had set are going to be the basis of my budget. I want to try to keep Drink/Snacks down to $60 along with trying to pay off my debt and increase my saving. But that will be a topic for another day.

2012 Money Goals, 1st Quarter Savings, Debt, & Income

Savings

  • Emergency Fund – As I said earlier I have yet to start back on saving in my Emergency Fund. It currently sits at five dollars.
  • Taxes – I just recently paid Estimated taxes to the tune of 450, with about another hundred still in the account. Only time will tell if this was enough.
  • Slush Fund – Need to set this up. By next quarter I hope to have an account established.
  • Place to live – here’s the really dumb part on my move. I have 3,750 but it’s mostly from Student Aid that I have managed not to spend.

Debt

  • Student Loans – The original loan was for $5,500. The current principal is  $5,299.77. Which mean $200 is paid off of the $750 goal. The only bad part is I have about $60 in interest that I have not paid yet.
  • Credit Card – I only have a $200 credit limit and my last bill was for $0 and currently I only have a $3 balance from Saturday. So on using it less I am making progress.

Income

  • My business which is Computer Repair and Programming seams to be on track. After doing the quarterly book work it’s at $4,505.67. Which my goal is $20,000. So it’s almost a quarter of what I expected. Yet the last two/three weeks have been slow and may explain why it’s not $5,000. But I can live with that.
  • Passive Income – Have yet to establish any, I have been reading blogs, books, and listening to shows on that topic. Lets see if I can get this going soon.

Noticeable Quarter Events

This quarter has been an interesting one. First time I’ve installed a security camera system, which was a good learning experience. Always wear dust masks when working with ceilings and walls. But onto some bad events. The beginning of March there was a bad storm which busted out three windows on my Ford Explorer. The repair bill was around $700 but my parents chipped in, which helped a lot. Had my parents not chipped in and with virtually no Emergency Fund this could have been much worst.

Now you may be asking me, where’s the expenses? I haven’t had much time to analyse my expenses yet but I can say more was spent on my Explorer then any other category. I will make a new post when I’ve done that.

And as always, feel free to comment below. I want to hear your comments and suggestions. If you like this post make sure to subscribe to the feed at the bottom of the site. Thanks and I hope to hear from you soon.

- Zack

Also, on a side note, today I’m 19. With the extra money from gifts I hope to not blow them. I would really like to pay off some debt and/or save but I need to at least make sure I don’t blow it on food and stuff I never use. Finally I am expecting a slight increase in one of my Subcontracting Job and I plan on using half of the excess to pay debt and the other half to fund savings. Which should amount to about $50 for each category per month.

Goals derailment, what if

Even though I set money goals earlier this week, if I wasn’t to meet them I wouldn’t get to upset. I even expect a few to not be achieved this year. All it would mean is to try harder. Case in point, on debt I have been trying to not use my credit card, well I used it today at Subway.

The point of goals isn’t to set in stone events that must happen. Rather it is what I would like to happen. One goal I made was to have $20,000 in gross income from my business and after doing my quarterly Sales Tax return I can say I’m on progress. I was at the $4,500 mark which isn’t half bad in my opinion. It means I must try to beat that the next three quarters, but more on that later on in April.

Some goals I set for myself as a person I end up rolling over into a new year. Take the goal  of loosing weight, which is also related to spending less on junk food. I have had this goal on my plate for a few years now. Yet I will stick to the goal for a few days then I go talk myself out of it. I will say I don’t have the time and/or energy to and will slowly stop.

This is one area I need to change. I should start to care about my goals and not push them off. I need to hold myself more accountable and reward myself for meeting goals. The Subway today was a reward for progress toward the weight loss goal. I went on several small walks, ate fewer snacks, and drank less Mountain Dew. This is a personal weakness, I used to carry cash and would spend it all on Mountain Dew, leading me to stop using cash. As part of starting Staying out of Debt I will start using cash again, slowly.

Time will only tell if changing how I view goals will help. I am only a human with weakness, but if I am successful I will come out stronger and less in debt. I would like to hear from you what you do to stay on track. Just leave a comment below.