April 18, 2008

Planning Vacations and Long Days Off

Posted in planning, templates at 3:06 pm by kimsan23

Long Days off are like personal holidays. Most people would take their short days off on Saturdays and Sundays. Some companies require people to work 6 days a week, giving the person time to himself for only 1 day in a week. Nevertheless, these are days that I make sure I catch up on sleep/rest as well as do something other than work. Since I started tracking my expenses in January of this year, I’ve been able to allot amounts for weekend expenses like movies, eating out and other minor activities. My only regret is not being able to track the longer days off like three-day weekends and my latest Holy Week vacation.

It’s odd because I just discovered that while I set a budget for weekends and short vacations, I end up wondering where some of my money goes after the activity is done — I don’t track it as well as I should, nor do I plan (money-wise) in advance.

So today, while I was tweaking with my monthly tracker, I decided to make a vacation expense planner as well. Still on MS Excel. I’m gonna test run it for my Batangas trip next weekend and my Bolinao and India trips in May. Hope fully it helps me draft a really detailed and organized expense report.

What will be in my vacation money tracker?

1. Trip saver – something that will document the actual amount of money I have set aside for the trip before the trip starts. This way, I can set up a monthly savings plan for both minor and major trips.

2. Budget planner for the trip.

3. Actual expense report (to be filled as I go about having a good time)

One of my friends asked me how I track the small expenses. My answer to that is simple. I don’t need a receipt for every little thing but I write non-receipt items down on a little post-it note in my wallet. Yes, you can call me OC but it does work for me really well.

Tracking expenses shows you how much you spend and invest in activities, it also serves as a wake-up call. Whenever you see your miscellaneous spending habit — you’ll be surprised. I was definitely surprised when I saw where my wiggle room fund went every month! It was insane. It was in seeing this that I was able to really watch what I spend on and curb my impulse-buying habit.

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April 15, 2008

Stopping At Step Two

Posted in 4 Steps to Financial Freedom, templates at 11:40 am by kimsan23

I was reading posts on my thread today in Pinoyexchange.Com and one of the posters mentioned something about the will to earn being the primary driver of most people who have succeeded in becoming millionaires.  That post made me realize that to become rich, to get what we aspire, we must follow certain steps.  No one can get rich overnight unless you bought a lotto ticket, got lucky and won! And even that involves it’s own mysterious process as well.

Let me define what I call The 4 Steps to Financial Freedom

STEP 1: ASPIRE (for your financial goal)

Dream about owning your own home, being debt free and having enough money and assets that will work for you through  means like investments and deposits.  Make a plan that you feel will get you to your financial goal.

STEP 2: ACHIEVE (your goal by implementing your plan)

Implement your plans!  Look for the resources you need to grow the existing money that you have.  Make the money work for you.  Implement the plans that will predict gains and losses as well as cite avenues on how you can make your money grow.

STEP 3: ACQUIRE (money into your savings)

Don’t forget to save a fraction of any extra income you may earn.  Many people stop at step two– then they start spending (I used to do that a lot)!  Reserve a portion of your earning to be acquired into your bank account or time deposit.

STEP 4: ALLOCATE (to investment as well as primary and secondary expenses)

After you have set aside money for savings, assess where the rest of your earnings will go.  Prioritize primary expenses and if you have resources left, move on to your secondary expenses.  Practice responsible and practical spending.  Make investments that you feel will help you grow your money.

Less than a year ago, I always stopped at Step 2.  Problem with me was that I didn’t see the importance of saving a lot because all I did was rely on the fact that I get paid every month not to mention my monumental expenses.  I had a savings account but hardly made time to really analyze it’s potential for growth.  Ever since I transferred to a new job, I turned over a new leaf and started tracking my expenses.  It has been easier for me to budget my regular earnings as well as any extra income I earn.

*If you wish to see my money tracker file, just comment here and I will be more than happy to e-mail it to you.*

January 16, 2008

Financial Monitoring Template

Posted in templates tagged at 2:10 pm by kimsan23

I finally got around to creating a template to record my finances.  The challenge is not listing down the normal or everyday expenses, it’s listing the incidentals.  More often than not, incidental expenses are what make saving-up really hard.

LIST TIPS:

1. List how much you are saving.  This should come first, not last.  Of course, you need to have an idea prior to making the list of how much you will be able to put away.  Make sure you make that bank deposit within 3 days of receiving your pay check.  If you don’t, you’ll end up spending it.

2. Make an entry for emergency expenses.  Emergency expenses are not incidentals.  This fund should pay for emergencies like trips to the ER, medicine and hospital bills.

3. List all usual or normal expenses.  Make sure to follow the budget plan!

4. List ALL of the incidentals.  After listing them, see what you can possibly cut-down on to minimize your expenses.  This list includes your weekend and party fund.  You are not required to spend this money!  If you don’t spend it, good for you!  Add it to your savings or emergency fund.

Now, aside from keeping a monthly record TRY to keep a daily one.  I do.  It’s some work but it really helps you track those finances!

If you want to have a copy of my money tracker file, just leave me a message here and I’ll e-mail it to you.