Five Cent Nickel recently asked bloggers to post about their biggest financial vices. I wasn’t sure what this might be off the top of my head. A year ago, I would have said it was books or purchases from Lush. But since putting myself on a budget, I’ve been very good about not spending much on either of those things.
Looking at my budget, I’d say that my biggest financial vice falls into the general category of “food.” I don’t eat out much, but when I do hit up a restaurant with a friend, we typically go all out, with wine and appetizers and dessert. I’m also a sucker for fancy groceries. I try not to go into Whole Foods too often, but when I do, I find myself drawn to all sorts of things. Sure, I’m buying things that are healthy and that will get consumed, but they are a drain on my budget. I’m thinking that I should actually split my grocery budget category – most of the money for typical groceries, with maybe an extra $30 set aside for “splurge” purchases. Maybe that would keep me in line!
Abundant Life Spending Spree – $51,200
I’ve been watching Planet Green a lot lately, and have become fascinated with alternative energy sources. I love that Ed Begley Jr. has a stationary bike that he rides in order to generate enough electricity to power his toaster before breakfast. Ok, maybe that’s a little weird, but at the same time, I bet I’d be more inclined to workout if I was not only doing something good for my health but also generating electricity and doing something good for my wallet.
Anyway, for today’s spending spree purchase, we must first pretend that I own a house. I know nothing about this house except that it is a house and not an apartment. And then, I would use the $51,200 to buy a solar panel system – the best I can get for that amount of money. Going off the grid, even just partially, seems very appealing.
Megan is a 40-something government employee in the Washington, DC area. She got interested in Personal Finance when she got out of college and realized that her paycheck wasn’t going to go as far as she had hoped. Since starting this blog, she has managed to buy a house and make a solid start on her retirement goals, and hopes to help others do the same. Here is her story:
In 2007, I was a gainfully employed 20-something with no debt but not a lot of knowledge about personal finance. It was a co-worker’s comment about Roth IRAs that sent me to the internet, searching for information. It was then that I realized that I really didn’t know a whole lot about personal finance and that my current financial situation was due a lot to inherent frugal tendencies, generous family members, a fear of debt, and good luck. While that was working for me, clearly I needed a better plan.
While I had no debt, I was also pretty much living paycheck to paycheck and not worrying about going over budget (I say this as if I had a real budget) because I had an emergency fund set aside to cover any overages.
Except that’s not what an emergency fund is for.
So I did a lot of research, read a lot of blogs, and decided that I needed a plan. I needed to budget. I needed to know what I was spending my money on. I needed to prepare for the future.
I decided to create a blog not only to make myself accountable to others but also to share the knowledge that I gained along the way. I’ve learned so much from my fellow bloggers, and I hope that my readers can find something useful in what I have to share as well.