Thursday, August 16, 2012

Oral surgery update

Had my consultation for my wisdom tooth extraction this morning.  Not a fun morning.  In typical doctor's office fashion I spent over half an hour just sitting in the waiting room.  I had the first appointment of the day so I'm really not sure why I had to wait so long and I have a suspicion that doctors are now purposefully scheduling their appointments early to make sure none of their precious time is wasted.  By the time I get into the exam room I'm already annoyed.

The assistant tells me that I have to watch a standard video about wisdom teeth and the surgery that is involved to extract them.  The video is specifically catering towards teenagers and their parents and is full of doom and gloom warnings against waiting till past the age of 25 to extract wisdom teeth.  If you keep your teeth you are at risk for all sorts of HUGE health problems... even if they don't emerge, even if they don't hurt, even if they don't come in sideways.  If you wait till you are an adult to have them removed your surgery will be more complicated, risky, painful... the entire seven minute video was basically telling me that I am an idiot with a death wish for keeping my wisdom tooth till the ripe age of 32.  Now I'm really annoyed, shouldn't they have a different video for those of us who did not know we should have undergone a major surgery on a non-problem when we were 18?!

Anyways, part of the consultation was talking about the insurance and payment.  They are going to run an estimate with my insurance company and I have to pay in full my portion on the day of the surgery.  They asked if I would be using anesthesia since some insurance companies don't cover it... um, heck yes I am!  There is not a chance that I would let someone near my mouth to cut out a part of my bone if I was awake, would anyone?  I'm hopeful that my insurance (which is pretty good) will be covering the majority of the surgery including anesthesia but we'll see in a week when I receive the quote.  

The only good thing about this situation is that I actually have the money set aside in my emergency fund to cover whatever costs come up.  I'm so thankful that I've really started getting a handle on my finances and I don't have to worry about pushing off a needed procedure or going further into debt to get it taken care of!

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Minty fresh

I feel like kicking myself for not checking out sooner!  Multiple bloggers I read have mentioned it but it wasn’t until last week that I finally checked it out.  I spent this past weekend adding all my info to the site and setting up a budget.  I am already totally sold that this is the method of cash flow management for me!

Why I think this method will work for me:
I love that I can see all of my financial data on one screen.  Now I won’t have to log into every single account to check balances, due dates, etc.  I am already almost 100% online banking/ cashless and this is a great tool to manage all of my online accounts in one place. 

I love the budget tool.  I have tried doing cash only and separating out my little stacks of cash into different funds based on a budget but it always ends in failure.   I find it way too easy to spend cash and generally find that the more cash I have on hand the more likely I am to give in to all of the smaller temptations (like junk food).   Since almost all of my transactions and expenditures are either made online or via card, it’s going to be super easy to sort my expenses into the budget categories and allot extra income towards my goals!  Plus, I think with all of my data in one place it will be a lot harder for me to “hide” bad spending from myself…  yes, I admit that I sometimes “forget” that I’ve spent money I shouldn’t have during the month.  At least now I’ll be able to get a much clearer picture of where all my money is really going.

Why this method would not work for some other people I know (thinking about my mom and S here):
They don’t do any online banking, bill pay, etc.  To use this method you have to maintain an online account for anything you want to automatically track and include on  In my mother’s case, she just hates computers and prefers to do everything the old fashioned way: paper, paper, paper.  I really have no tolerance for paper clutter and can’t understand how she can keep thousands of pieces of paper in order to make sense of her finances.  In S’s case, he doesn’t trust the safety of online accounts.  Obviously, keeping your information safe when doing anything online is extremely important.  I’m pretty diligent when it comes to account information, passwords, etc. but I can see where online banking could be disastrous for someone not following basic online safety tips:  

Even though it’s just a financial management tool and won’t increase the amount of money I have coming in or the amount I can pay towards debt, I’m hopeful that by using this tool I can get a much better understanding of my finances, spending habits, and goals.  I’m excited to see if using this tool will have a big impact on how I handle money.

Friday, August 3, 2012

Am I doing this right??

I've been wondering lately if I'm going about financial planning the "best" way (and yes, I know best for some may not be best for me).  Even though I've been successfully paying off my debt and squirreling away some savings, I have this feeling like I'm not quite going about financial planning and management in a very efficient way.  So far I've been using one pretty simple spreadsheet to track incoming and outgoing funds which I set up to mimic a balanced check-book, another spreadsheet lays out the budget, and lastly a "quarterly" report spreadsheet where I log where I'm at at the end of each quarter.  None of the spreadsheets are complicated and so far they've done pretty well at giving me an idea of where I'm at on any given day.  

But these simple spreadsheets have some pretty major limitations which have lately been frustrating me to no end.  I feel like my financial life is a little too complicated lately for my spreadsheets to handle plus it takes for-ev-er for me to enter all the information and adjust all the figures.  I just don't have time to spend hours every week tracking money now that I'm working so many side jobs and, honestly, I'm just tired of constantly thinking of money and making tweeks to these spreadsheets.  It's great that I've made so much progress but I've got other aspects of my life to live outside of excel!

So why is my financial life so complicated?  Here's why:

I've got my main paycheck from my 9-5 job coming in every other week.  The way S and I have split our household costs has him owing me a check so that comes in at the beginning of the month. I currently sell my work on etsy and at two different galleries so I have funds coming in randomly from that, not to mention all the outgoing funds to run the etsy shop and buy supplies.  I am sewing side jobs pretty steadily now so have small amounts trickling in from that too.  And every once in a while I have a business expense from the 9-5 that has to get paid out of pocket then reimbursed.  Plus all the regular bills and the big ticket items that I can plan for in advance.

It seems like every time I set up a monthly budget it gets blown out of whack in the first week by some unknown expenses coming up or unexpected additional funds coming in.  And each time one of these unknowns comes up I have to go back to my spreadsheets and adjust everything, I spend so much time looking at these darn spreadsheets that I feel like I'm becoming obsessed.  Surely there has to be some better way to handle this mess so that I can successfully pay off my debt and save without spending all of my spare time thinking about money!

I've seen that a couple other debt bloggers use to track and manage their cash flow so I'm going to check that out this weekend.... any other suggestions for handling money are welcome!  I need something simple, where I can track ALL incoming and outgoing easily, and doesn't take too long to manage. 

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

I want, I want, I want

Do you ever have days that you find your self wanting stuff, whether it's new clothes or snack food or some other non-essential thing?  I've come a long way in recognizing which things I need and which things I just want but every once in a while I still have days where I wake up on the wrong side of the bed when it comes to saying no to myself!  Today is soooo one of those days.  I WANT everything today!  

I knew it was going to be a day full of inner-fighting since my first thought upon getting up was stopping by Dunkin' Donuts on my way to work to get a breakfast sandwich.  I grudgingly forced myself to make breakfast at home.  Then when I was getting ready for work I started thinking about how nice it would be to have some new clothes for work.  On the drive to work, my thoughts turned to buying some new music to liven up the drive.  Walking into work led me right past a half-dozen coffee shops.  Looking out my window at work I see all the shops that line the main street.  I just can't escape wanting things today.  

So here I am sitting at my desk on my lunch break, writing about how much I want and wondering why some days it's just harder to ignore the endless list of wants.  Fortunately I've saved up a couple tricks to combat the day that my power to say no would be tested.  I've got a free pizza slice coupon so I can go out to lunch without spending.  And for this evening, I've got a nice long grocery list so I can go spend some money after work.  Hopefully these two things will satisfy my urge to give in to my wants.... 

What do you do when you are having trouble saying no to yourself?