I have a confession to make: I don’t budget. I know what you’re thinking. How can a personal finance blogger not budget? It’s a little embarrassing and something I’ve avoided far too long.
This past weekend, I lamented to my fiance about money (we haven’t combined our finances yet). I explained I was feeling frustrated with some high bills lately, some of which were unexpected. I was starting to realize that I didn’t have quite as much disposable income as I thought I did. Sometimes someone would cash a check from a while ago that I forgot about and it would lower my checking account balance when I wasn’t prepared for that. I also used to never carry a credit card balance, but I’ve been so busy lately that I haven’t been giving it enough attention, and I’ve had a little balance that I haven’t been able to kick.
My sweet fiance sighed and told me it was time to make a budget, especially since this is how he wants to do things once we get married. He showed me his budget system — an extremely detailed Excel spreadsheet that overwhelmed me.
He sat down with me and had me list all of my monthly bills and income. He is currently working on creating a very similar Excel budget for me, and I’m going to start using it on Oct. 1.
I’m nervous that it is going to make me feel too restricted, but I know it’s a wise move to force myself to be truly accountable for my spending and figure out how much money I really have to work with each month. It will help keep me out of credit card debt and make it easier for me to save money. And I’ll have some time to get it down pat on my own, so by the time we do combine our finances, I’ll feel like a good financial partner. I guess it’s actually kind of exciting!
If you’re looking to get your finances together, or you just want some good reading, checkout the roundup below of some of my favorite posts from the personal finance blogosphere from the past week. Enjoy!
1. The Smarter Wallet presents a post perfect for me. It has tips on how to budget wisely; it also reassures readers that you can build in room for treats.
2. Don’t be hasty! The Digerati Life explains what important things you should consider before you cancel your credit cards.
3. Sometimes when identity theft happens, criminals use the information to open new accounts in your name. Dough Roller lists seven ways you can prevent new account fraud from happening to you.
4. When someone doesn’t have good enough credit to get a loan, they can get a co-signer to make it happen. But is it wise for the co-signer? Good Financial Cents discusses whether co-signing a loan is a good idea.
5. There’s no rule that says you have to have a traditional credit card. PT Money offers many alternatives to credit cards for college students, such as prepaid cards, gift cards and secured credit cards.
6. Making major impulse purchases is a sure way to credit card debt. The Wisdom Journal features a guest post that offers readers 10 things to think about before making a large purchase.
7. Money Ning helps readers understand when it makes sense to dispute something on your credit report and how to do so.
8. Master Your Card discusses a new study that reveals that there might actually be a “debt” gene that predisposes people to overspending.
9. Enemy of Debt explains how your financial decisions greatly impact your family and recalls how shedding his debt was the best thing he ever did for his marriage.
10. Dinks Finance provides a refresher on the importance of good credit and why it’s wise to regularly review your credit report.