2013 The Year of the Budget

Every year it seems that my finances and overall financial situation remain mostly status quo, improving slightly but never fully under control. This is something I’ve struggled with for years and the worst part about is that there hasn’t been any real pressure to dramatically improve this. I would find that we’re making ends meet even if we’re not saving much but we’re doing alright.

This just getting by is a very insidious and its gotten a bit frustrating. The goal for this year is going to be really force the issue and the new house and new year are a great time for this to happen. There are a few things that we’ve already done in order to get this moving:

  • Constantly tracking our spending
  • More comprehensive budgets
  • A mindset adjustment
  • Investigating alternate income streams

Each one of these is really more than a post in their own right but I did want to go into a little detail about what we’ve done so far.

Constantly tracking our spending
I think that this is going to be the most challenging and most important item on this list because it is something that will need to happen almost in real time. When I first started this blog this tracking of our spending was something I tried to tackle unsuccessfully over the long term.

I found the biggest challenge was actually staying on top of keeping track of what was spent, some was cash some was debit and in the end there was always some kind of gap. I’ve been using Mint.com for the past year and it has really simplified tracking spending and even setting up goals. This tool is really something that along with budgeting has really let me really understand my spending.

The goal is to fully get our finances tracked and then readjust the spending to ensure we’re spending below our means.

Comprehensive Budgets
Again this is is a lesson learned from the past where I have budgeted somewhat successfully, the budgets this time around are more comprehensive including all of our spending in an effort to track it and know where things are going. Weekly I’ll be checking against actual spending. The first month will be a test then we’ll adjust.

Mindset Adjustment
This is similar to the tracking of our spending – we, well at least I need to adjust my mindset a bit in order to really set this as a priority. Our financial health is a topic that is always important and at the back of the mind but it isn’t something that is always first and I think that this is what needs to happen. Always making sure that we track where the money goes rather than deferring it to later. Weekly going through everything and tracking it. Initially i think this will be almost as hard as the tracking but once the habits are formed it will become easier.

Investigating alternative income streams
Both my wife and I have full time jobs and we’re mostly happy with them but its a very active form of income and really takes up a lot of time. We haven’t really explored alternate income streams be the active or passive and during 2013 we will start to explore this in earnest.

I’m sick and tired of just getting by and seeing the debt just sit there without any real progress forward. Its time to get mad about it and really change something. This year will be the year of the budget.

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