I’ll be your Money Honey!

Ok, so not exactly like the lady to the right, but you can be your own money honey (unless you’re a guy – that might just be a lil weird) with the following tools and tips from me, because who doesn’t love having money?

Figuring out money stuff can be really confusing, especially when you have just started making it. I myself was really bad with it up until about 3 months ago, not ever knowing how much I was spending until I got my bills and statements at the end of the month, and never consciously saving anything. I didn’t really worry because I didn’t have to – I had a monthly income, didn’t pay rent or anything related (yay for living off the ‘rents!), and all my money was pretty much expendable.

But ever since I seriously decided to move to NYC (and found my 2nd job, after 4 months of job hunting and my savings practically down to $0), I began planning to save up for the move, picking a figure that seemed high enough and sticking to it. (I’ve already got just over 70% of my goal saved up, woo! 😉 ) And that was the beginning of my interest in personal finance.

I suppose my point is that money can seem really confusing, even if all you have is 1 source of income a month, a savings account and 1 credit card and no debt, much less when your company is awesome and gives you benefits like health insurance and retirement plans. So the NY Times wrote an article on deciphering what all those corporate benefits mean in this handy little article, so I encourage you to read it, now. I’m bookmarking it for when I get that awesome job with a ton of benefits in NYC 😉 (One thing that surprised me was that for most 401(K) plans, the company only matches up to 3% of your income if that’s what you contribute. In Hong Kong the Mandatory Provident Fund is 5%, which is kind of like the 401(K).)

Also, if you’re a beginner when it comes to personal finance, I highly recommend reading Smart Women Finish Rich (even if you’re not a woman, I swear) by David Bach. It’s super easy to understand, and reading it made me excited to save money and, well, be rich! (Although I’m saving way more than recommended at the moment b/c of the NYC fund, but once I’ve moved I’m taking that book’s advice!)

Fabulously Broke’s budget spreadsheet

Another thing that’s really helped me in terms of budgeting and all that is tracking my daily expenses, which I did for the month of April before I even began budgeting. This is good to give you an idea of how much you actually spend (and on what) per month, and also to get into the habit of tracking every last penny. I used April’s expenses as a guide to how much I should be budgeting for each different category, then I downloaded Fabulously Broke‘s expenses spreadsheet, which also has room for budgets for different categories, such as transportation, food, entertainment, phone bills, etc. Spreadsheets are super helpful, and now you can get FB’s “dynamic” spreadsheet here, for $15, or get the less cool one (the one I use) for free here. (Obviously, I tweaked everything to suit my needs, as I’m not in any debt and really only track my main bank account + my credit card, as I use those more than the savings account I have for my NY Fund. I also changed the colours, but that was just for fun. 😉 )

Now you have no excuse to be absolutely broke, or not know where every penny of your money is. 😉

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4 Responses

  1. Nice Site layout for your blog. I am looking forward to reading more from you.

    Tom Humes

  2. Ugh. I TOTALLY need to get better at this money stuff!!

  3. If you need another good money blog, Trent (on my blogroll, or at thesimpledollar.com) is AMAZING! He is super down-to-earth, just talks about things in a really easy-to-understand way, and he has been really really helpful for me!

    OK, end blog pimping! lol

  4. I’m anal retentive about my money. I budget and track every dollar I spend. My friends tease me about being cheap but few of them have school debt (which isn’t outrageous) but it’s still there. I can handle my bills now and make sure I don’t purchase anything I can’t afford 🙂 it’s tough.

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