Thursday, September 8, 2011

No money, Mo' Problems

Today I have a day off from work - it's a day in lieu as I worked the local show holiday last month. It comes at a timely moment following a few things that are pissing me off at work lately coming to a head yesterday. I tweeted about it but won't bore you with the details here. Let's just say that if I continue to be "spoken to" about bathroom breaks I'm looking for a new job!

I had nothing planned for today so decided to do one of the two things that have been on my mind lately: sort out our finances.

I've never done a household budget before. Some of you may be amazed to hear this, but I've never really seen the need. Oh, I've watched money experts on the TV talking about how important it is, and read countless blogs about how essential it is to know where your money is going, but let's face it - I'm a fundamentally lazy person, and have never been that great with money.

Despite this, I am in charge of household finances. We have numerous discussions about how I hate this role but have agreed that I'm the best of two bad choices - unfortunately the other half is worse than me with dollars and cents. When I was single, it was so much easier - I had few expenses and used a shoebox method of bill payment. When I got a bill, it went in the shoebox. When I remember to pay it, I wrote "paid" on it and back into the shoebox it went. It wasn't sophisticated, but it worked.

This simple method combined with no mortgage or rates and a smaller grocery bill meant that I could save quite a bit of money. I also lived at home for a while, and with no rent expenses (thanks mum & dad!) I was able to save over $10,000 in a year. And then I blew it all on international travel - I know, what an idiot (I REGRET NOTHING!!!).

Flash forward six years and I'm engaged, got a mortgage I get stressed thinking about and all those lovely household bills that come in ominous window envelopes. I'm pleased to say I just finished doing a budget using a combination of my bank's online budget calculator and Open Office suite (a pox on you and your registration key Microsoft!)

So now I'm going to have a little relax on the couch in front of Dr Phil. And after lunch I might consider tackling some spring cleaning.

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