On Budgeting: Seriously Though, Get Real Already

Since working out my budget and reviewing my expenses a little more carefully and writing about it here, I’ve had some more insights and thoughts on this whole business of creating and sticking to a sound budget.

For one thing, I’ve realized there’s a real danger to budgeting if it’s not done properly.

“What is this danger?” you ask, “Tell me, for I would love for an excuse not to build a budget”.

Well not so fast.  The only real danger in building a budget is in building it improperly, dusting off your hands and walking away feeling accomplished.  Since posting the other day about my monthly average costs and budget plan, etc. I realized that although I reviewed a few months’ expenses and found where my automatic costs were, I neglected to review the entire year and forgot about some things that are billed annually.

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On Budgeting: Now Let’s Get Real

In my last post, I yammered on about budgeting, and keeping it simple.  I mentioned how apps like Mint can be a huge help, and they can.  But I’ve been taking a closer look over the last few days, and I think there’s a little more to the story, at least for me.

The biggest spending category (both planned and real) on my Mint budget is called “Miscellaneous” ($700).  Not so descriptive.  In my mind, it’s things like gas and groceries and beer – anything that fell outside the other categories of Storage ($280), Mobile Phone ($120), Internet ($55) and Life Insurance ($40).  But after looking a little more closely, it’s possible I am just hiding a bunch of other irresponsible purchases in there too.  Is it possible my budget had become too simplified and thus was heightening the detachment I have from purchases, especially those made with credit and debit cards or worse, are automatically debited from our accounts?

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On Budgeting: Keep it Simple, Stupid

I had set budgets forever.  It’s super easy to write everything down and to put limits on where I’m going to spend my money in the future, and to see how much I will save.  But I’ve almost never been able to entirely do it, to actually put it into practice, in real life.  So what is it about budgets?  On all scales, organizational or individual, small or large, we

Now I’m at a point where my spending and budgeting goals are clear, which Apps like Mint make pretty easy these days.  I am trying to limit spending while still earning a good income and put as much as I can – up to $5,000 per month should be possible – towards debt (in order of descending interest rate until all is eliminated), investments (RRSPs*, index funds and ETFs, real estate, etc.) and finally charity and innovation.

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The Beginning of the End (of Work)

Welcome.  Do you want to retire early?  Me too.  In fact, I plan to.

I’m currently 32.25 years old and plan to retire from my regular work and current job sometime before I turn 34.  This blog is essentially an ongoing reminder to myself of this goal, as well as a place to record my learnings along the way and to hold myself accountable to it  Also, as a byproduct of this, I hope that others will find their way here and learn some of this wisdom along with me.

You see, we’ve been sold “Freedom 55” as a goal (literally, this is the name of a large financial advising firm).  “Wow, to retire at 55; wouldn’t that be nice,” we might think.  Yes, it very well might be.  As long as that is when you would like to retire.  You see, you can actually retire whenever you want (ok maybe not in the past and maybe not today or tomorrow, but quite often earlier than 55).  And it’s not actually retiring in the sense that we know it these days that I am talking about here (that is, putting our feet up and waiting for the light to swallow us whole). ‘Retiring’ is simply the option to ‘work’, as little or as much as we want.

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