Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Saying Goodbye and Trying Something New

As much as it pains me, I think it's time to admit to myself that the Not-A-Budget Treasure Map Atlas and Captain's Log isn't going to work out. Cue heaving sigh of sadness at the death of a brilliant and super fun idea.

It's complicated and I don't have the time or the energy (or, apparently, the creativity) to figure out how it works. But I'm sure that it would work if you put your mind to making it work. If you can make it work for you let me know. I will link to you like crazy and point other potential Not-A-Budget Treasure Map makers your way. Hell, I would probably even follow your instructions.

And yes, I did take pictures while I was making my Book and yes they will be posted. Why? Because it's pretty and I want to share it.

So for this paycheck I have decided to try something new. It still technically falls under the Not-A-Budget umbrella of money management techniques, but it's a little 110% more straight forward in how you use it (read: there is only a minimal amount of time involved in making it/making it work). I'm calling it my 3 Column Not-A-Budget Worksheet.

{Painfully Clear} Instructions on how to Make Your Very Own 3 Column Not-A-Budget Worksheet:

  1. Take a piece of paper and fold it into thirds. Or just draw three lines on it. However you choose to go about this step the goal is to end up with 3 Columns on your paper (DUH).
  2. At the top, write down the current amount of money in your bank account. (In the interest of full disclosure I'm going to tell you that I do not have $800 laying around doing nothing in my checking account. I wish I had that much Ahem. It's close.)
  3. At the top of each column write a heading, there are 3 headings total (again - DUH). You can put them in whichever order you want, I put mine in the order in the picture: Need, Want, and then Shouldn't.
  4. In each column you should list things that fall under that category.
    • In the Need column you should include anything that is a reoccurring payment, like rent and any charitable donations you make. Real Life Example: I sponsor a child through World Vision, so I have to plan for that donation every month.
    • In the Want column, write down everything that you like to spend money on but could live without if you really, really had too. Real Life Example: Booze and fast women.
    • In the Shouldn't column, write down the things that you spend your money on and then get home and think "What the hell was I thinking?" or the stuff you just know is a money suck for you. Real Life Example: I need to stop feeling like I have to bring home something from everywhere I visit other than pictures and memories. Not only am I wasting money but I'm also making clutter for myself when I get home. Totally lame.
  5. You might want to make yourself more than one.
    • I made a general one where I listed LOTS of Needs, Wants, and Shouldn'ts. When I got paid I sat down and made another 3 Column Not-A-Budget Worksheet that was specific to the next 2 weeks of my life (like how I should come home with nothing but really awesome memories from this weekend at the lake with Armini and his family).
    • The great thing about having the general 3 Column Not-A-Budget Worksheet was that I could reference it to see what bills were going to be due so that I wasn't taken by surprise (I have a unique talent of forgetting to give people money).
  6. Use the worksheet to cross off bills or money that you owe people as you pay the bill/person you owe money too, write down how much something is going to cost you to see if you can work it into your spending that month. I've been using this system for this paycheck and all I have to say is so far so good.
    • Full disclosure time again: really I've only been using the worksheet for 2 days but somehow I have managed to spend no more than $22 in that time frame which is really good for me.
  7. OH! And don't forget to put saving on your sheet somewhere. Everyone needs an Emergency Fund. Think of it as paying yourself (which means that you can put it in the Need column).
So there. A newer, simpler, streamlined approach to not hemorrhaging money out of my bank account. I think next paycheck I will make mine on some pretty paper, or take the time to decorate it. Just because it's not a Book doesn't mean it can't be pretty.

Oh, and also, I found this post by the Communicatrix (Colleen Wainwright) about her struggles with money (nice to know I'm not alone in the world) and how, maybe - just maybe - the problem should be approached with compassion rather than an iron clad spend no money attitude.


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Taryn said...

I am sorry you have to abandon the map idea. But this one seems a bit more straight forward. Good luck!

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