A common refrain among my friends is “I don’t know how you manage to do everything you do.” Apparently, my life appears busy to a lot of people. From my point of view, I’m a pretty lazy person.
Where does my time go? Well, I work, obviously. I also run and am often training for a race. I also try to lift weights and cross-train to stay in shape. I sing in a local choir. I like to crochet gifts for friends. I blog, obviously. I also read a lot, both blogs and books. I play kickball. I try to keep up on a few tv shows. And I also try to be social outside of those activities.
It doesn’t seem like a lot, but it does make me feel busy. And it’s easy for things to fall by the wayside. (Mostly things like dusting. I hate dusting.) As of late, I’ve fallen behind on a lot of my blog reading. My poor Google Reader is packed! Part of this is due to the transportation issues in D.C. over the past week and a half and the fact that it’s taking me significantly longer to get to and from work. I’m going to try to use July to catch up on my blog reading and posting – I usually have about a week’s worth of posts in reserve, and I’ve used every single one!
Thankfully, I have finally gotten my financial life to the point where it sort of runs itself. I log expenses into YNAB about once a week or so, but I’ve gotten good at eyeballing my budget. I am so used to only having a certain amount to spend on groceries or dining out or whatever that I almost automatically stay within that budget. That doesn’t mean that I’m perfect, but it’s been a long time since there were surprise overages. When I go over, I know I’m doing it, but I also know where I can move money to make things work.
That’s not a place I ever thought I would get to. I couldn’t imagine how people made budgets and stuck with them for so long. It seemed like so much work. And maybe it was in the beginning. But all those wise people were right. It does become almost second nature. That doesn’t mean I’m giving up on my budget – not at all. Even if it is almost automatic, it’s good to always have those guidelines to keep my spending in check. But it’s one less thing to stress about, and that’s amazing.
Megan is a 30-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.