Tuesday, January 4, 2011

January's 1/12, beginning

When we lived in North Carolina, I had our finances down to an art form. I had automatic transfers, payments, and any other form of e-banking set up that I could have, and most months I never even touched our accounts. Money was put aside into our savings, the mortgage was paid on time, and I never woke up in a panic wondering, "Did I pay the electric bill?!" Oh how the mighty have fallen.

Whatever pathetic excuse I want to offer up as to why I fell out of this habit, when it comes down to it I just got lazy. But I'm herby rectifying this situation for 2011! First things first:

1. Gather up all our bills and see who needs to be paid when. Make monthly budget accordingly. Just because I'd like to pay the phone bill at the end of the month because it fits in nicely with our pay schedules doesn't mean that's when it's due.

2. Set up automatic payments through the bank to pay everyone. Yeah, online bill pay is great, but when I forget to visit each specific company's website, it doesn’t do me any favors. Plus auto-bill pay is free through our bank.

3. Start setting aside a savings again. Even if all we can manage is $100 a month, I'd rather have it pulled from the everyday account than just sit in there "hoping" we don't use it. Because we see how well that's worked (HINT: it hasn't!).

4. Consider opening an account at a local bank. Our bank is an online military bank. For the most part we've never hit any snags with this (they even reimburse ATM fees from other banks). The only problem we have time and again is when someone gifts us with cash. We can't deposit it via the online deposit system and most of the time we try to save cash for splurge expenses. We've tried the old envelope under the mattress trick for this issue, but having easy access to it hasn't kept our hands out of the cookie jar. With an account at a local bank we can deposit any paper money and either leave it there, or write ourselves a check to our primary savings account. Plus it’d be nice to have a place to deposit all those rolls of coins we have.

So there we have it. The beginnings of my first 1/12 resolution. Now I just have to take this plan from paper (er, web?) and put it into action! How about you guys? Anyone have some financially savvy tips they want to share? Are we the only ones with a budget resolution this year?

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