Tag Archives: budget

Jake vs the calculator

Last night, I had a bitter showdown with a calculator.

After getting home, my wife and I talked about the frustrating fact that at the moment, we don’t have the lifestyle we want. It’s mostly that we’d both love for her to cut back work from full-time to part-time. We have this talk periodically, and it always boils down to a hesitation to give up the comfort of her full-time income. I don’t know why, but this time I decided I wouldn’t just let the talk end in despair… I grabbed the budget book, my laptop, pencil and trusty calculator, and settled in for a bitter battle. I was determined to see if the numbers do actually dictate our lives, or if we can wrestle back control of things.

Several hours into the night, the missus had gone to bed and the house was quiet except for the furious scribbling of the pencil and frenzied tapping on the calculator. Even Lexi, our little cavoodle puppy, was trying to sleep and wondering what her crazed dad was still doing downstairs. However, as I scraped down to the bottom of the budget, I found what we didn’t expect.

If the last six months of income and expenses are a good indicator (which I think they are), I may be onto something. The promised land of part-time work for Mrs. Jake might actually be achieveable! Based on my income plus my estimate of her part-time wage, it’s looking like we could still cover costs and still save some cash every fortnight. This seems crazy because we’ve always assumed that it would be too tight if she cut back on hours. However, it just took some effort to smash through the assumption that it would never work.

Because it was a busy morning, I didn’t get a chance to present my wife with the snazzy spreadsheets, graphs and calculations I churned out. I’m going to keep that little ace up my sleeve until tonight! This one almost deserves a Powerpoint presentation and a laser pointer. Can’t wait to see how she reacts to the news that [if we budget well] then she can work less and we’ll still save money.


How to write a simple budget

Would you believe you can predict your own financial destiny? Here’s how: first of all, you have an idea how much your next paycheck will be. Write that down on paper, and then write down exactly how you would want that money to be used. [Make a list of how much would be spent on what, until there’s no paycheck left.] Now here’s the magical part: when payday arrives, get your paper out, and do exactly what’s written on it. Bam! You just crafted a spending plan.

Want more detail? Here’s the best quick budget I’ve found so far.

So, if you can do that for your next paycheck, could you write a plan for your next 3 months? The next year? What kind of things would you like your money to do for you? How could you predict that and then make it happen? Wow, you’re turning into some kind of prophet! Amazing.

I’d love to know how this goes for you, so go ahead and leave some feedback!

The free gift you’ll receive today

Sitting on the bus after work, a podcast I listen to sparked an idea. Last Sunday I missed my usual planning time where I sit and strategically and organize the coming week, so I’ve sort of floated through my week aimlessly. Does it matter?

Every pay period, we each receive $________. Do you budget your paycheck? Yes. Every week, we each receive 1o,080 minutes. Do you budget your time?…

I really get the feeling that time is given to us and that we have a responsibility to steward it just like we are responsible with the money we receive. And just like you’ve got to put some pocket money in the budget, you’ve got to put some free time in the scheudule. The important thing is to be intentional.

How much TV have you watched this week? Feel free to leave a comment below 🙂

Your Flocks and Herds

This brilliant video must have been created by some very creative, tech-savvy, and BORED modern shepherds! It’s pretty funny and shows how well they know what their sheepdogs and sheep are capable of.

Yesterday, I came across this ancient Hebrew proverb:

Be diligent to know the state of your flocks,
And attend to your herds;
For riches are not forever,
Nor does a crown endure to all generations.
Proverbs 27:23-24

Thankfully, this doesn’t involve actually running out to the pasture and checking up on my sheep… it’s more like logging on to my internet banking and checking up on my budget!

This proverb was a pretty stern reminder for me to keep an eye on my household finances. My tendency is to get lazy, and for that I’ve been rewarded form of a late payment fee or other charge. It’s pretty easy to miss that kind of stuff. It’s also easy to spend a little extra here and there, and then suddenly you realize you’ve got about 20 less sheep than you thought you did. Oops! As mentioned in my free eBook, paying attention is huge factor in whether or not you will win with your money. Just today, I spoke with a self-made millionaire, and he can tell you exactly the state of his flocks on any given day. Riches are definitely not forever, but they do last longer if you’re diligent and pay attention to what you’re doing with them.

If it’s been a while since you’ve had a good look at your flocks and herds, go visit them. Pat them on the head, count them lovingly, etc, etc.  Ok– I’m off to check on my banking online and look over the budget!

I forgot to save money for Christmas this year!

Wander into your nearest department store at any time now and you’ll notice the unmistakable jingle of… the Christmas music. Sick of it yet? This little kid has a realization:

It’s that time again. Brace yourself for rampant advertizing! Personally, I didn’t save all year for Christmas like I did in 2008, and I’m kind of ruing that decision. Oh well! If you find yourself in the same boat, your best bet is to come up with a plan of attack. At least, you can decide how much you’ll spend overall, and limit your “damage”, unlike so many other shoppers headed for February credit-card shock. If you go in with a plan and stick to it, you’ll be fine.

Oh, and don’t leave all the shopping to the last minute… give yourself some time to find deals and you won’t get caught paying full price at the last minute for the sake of convenience! Happy hunting…

And next year–  I’ll be back to  steadily building that Christmas fund with every paycheck!