I've started reading The 250 Personal Finance Questions Everyone Should Ask by Peter Sanders and am going to remark occasionally on what I'm taking out of it.
In order to handle your personal finances, you are required to be aware of your finances, commit yourself and take control. Obviously, I am aware of the need to take control, as I've set up the this blog to help motivate myself. Commitment may be a problem for me as my record of starting and completing things isn't the best, which is another reason I've set up this blog. If it's keeping me accountable, I'll be able to stick with things. As previously posted, I've started taking control of my finances by setting up Microsoft Money 2006 Deluxe which gives me the awareness of my finances which leads to giving me the control to handle everything.
One thing not mentioned in this chapter was responsibility. As the only one bringing in an income in my family and as the main person who handles the finances, I need to make sure that everything is taken care of in terms of providing for my family.
I've never had a budget; never wanted a budget. Probably because it would mean I have to be accountable to something, and as someone who likes the latest and greatest gadgets, I know some of my purchases would be hard to justify! While setting up my budget, the main direction I'll be heading in will be to first take my bills, and figure out what my obligations are. Next, I'll be able to figure out the daily necessities, discretionary purchases, and finally my surplus savings. With that as a starting point, I can figure out where I can add or subtract where needed, and as needed as life changes.
Savings... Where do I start? Well, as someone who always likes to buy new toys, I really haven't had much in the way of savings. Leading by to my comment able being responsible, I'm going to need to start by building up an emergency fund. I do have a little bit of a long term savings provided through a 401k. In terms of short term savings, I guess our shoebox Disneyworld fund counts.
This chapter has been the least useful for me so far. Most of my current accounts are already held at a big bank and I'm for the most part happy. I've had accounts there for nearly 15 years, so why change now? When I get to the point of building up a savings, I may shop around for the best rates, however rates aren't everything. You need to be happy with the service as well.
(to be continued)