4/20/2009

Not your typical "Jars"

I went home for Easter and spent some time walking & talking with my mom. I was feeling very overwhelmed with money and needed to vent. Above and beyond all my other ins and outs in terms of cash flow I'm also the point of money flow for myself and my three other roomates. So I get three rent checks a month and three utilites checks a month. Rent comes on generally in the first week but our landlord doesn't always deposit the rent money on the first and utilies are spread out throughout the month. So I basically have these huge influxes of money coming in and out. And although the utilities come out very regularly (everything is on automatic withdrawls) it's not always the same date - so hard to plan for.

I told my mom that I have about $150/week for my variable expenses (groceries, some planned spending categories, restaurants, and personal items). I'm not comfortable carrying that much cash around in my pocket, and with so many roomates I don't want jars of money laying around. On top of that - i've been getting zinged with bank fees (that were not planned for).

So after all that - we came up with a plan. I called ING and opened another savings account with them, but one that has a debit card (which I am currently waiting to receive). Every pay period I will automatically 'pay myself first' and $300 goes into that account. This way, I can use this new account for all of my day to day, variable, ins and outs. I will write it down and track it so I know where the $$ is going.

This will resolve my almost nerotic (my boyfriend J would say 100% nerotic) behaviour of checing my banking information every day at least twice a day - doing math in my head trying to figure out how much money I have, how much is already allocated somewhere else (like rent or utilties) and how much is mine.

So. I have one 'magic jar' (any gail fans will know what i'm taking about) which will be a no-fee savings account with debit card access. I should be able to carve up my credit card and debit card for my primary accounts where I have huge in's and outs. I'm going to give it 4 weeks before I do that - just in case I missed something.

This is my new plan. I hope it works.
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