Saturday, January 12, 2008

On Tap For 2008: Weight of the World and Finances

What I had wanted to write in the first week of 2008, before the whole tooth ordeal, was that the first song to play on my I-tunes in 2008 was ‘We Will Rock You’ by Queen. I don’t know if that will mean anything to how the year’s gonna go for me. Hopefully I’m the one who rocks the year and not that I’m gonna get rocked ‘cuz it’s been a rough few years already. I’m looking forward to making the good times roll once again.

The first song to play on my I-Pod was ‘Weight of the World’ by Chantal Kreviazuk. It’s from the soundtrack for ‘How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days,’ quite a good soundtrack in my opinion. The soundtrack also has Keith Urban’s ‘Somebody Like You’ and Luce’s ‘Good Day.’ Anyways, ‘Weight’ is a better song about how I hope the year will go for me.

Alright, there’s a caution about the word ‘resolution,’ especially at this time of year. People seem to have the opinion that resolutions can never be kept past the 7th day. I do have goals. The past few years have been mainly about money.

One day back in 2006, I started to keep a record of the money that I spend. I don’t know why or how it came to me to do so, but I set out to do it.

To give a little context, if shopping is a female gene, then mine must be recessive. I tend to think that I shop more like the typical man: I go in, I see what I came for, I pay for it and I’m out. Or, I don’t see what I came for and I’m out. I haven’t been to a mall between Thanksgiving Day and January, you know, the big sales for Christmas time and after, since about 2000? In fact, I rarely go to the mall at all. I don’t like crowds, I don’t like parents who let their children run wild, I don’t like waiting in line.

I was driving past Best Buy this past season when they had that huge sale. The store wasn’t open yet and there were the people with their cars, camped outside, huge line. I saw the coverage of it on the news later that night and this lady said she was waiting there since the day before, she had so much fun last year she decided she’d do it again. Unbelievable waste of one’s time! I think she got some I-pods and a TV and a computer, I dunno. Waste of time. If it was for something I really really really needed and could only afford it with the sale, I’d still think twice about going to that sale. Those people need to have their heads checked. [I apologize if you were one of those people, I just, anyways…]

So, I’m not a spendaholic, basically. From an early age, Dad let us know that we would have to work for the things that we want and that sometimes, we just couldn’t afford it. Mom and Dad started our savings accounts early, showing us how to use it and things like that. When I started college, they left the decision to work during school up to me. They prefer that I not work so that I can focus on studies so I am very aware of their support and that many others are not so fortunate of circumstance. I have worked while in school, but not last year at least.

Perhaps I began on this finance journey in order to be a good steward of my parents’ hard-earned money. Dad gives me a small allowance each week. From that I tithe to my church, an accomplishment of ’07. I’ve tithed before, just not so consistently nor have I kept a record of it before. If I’m going out, Dad always asks if I have enough money and I say yes but he’ll give me more just in case ‘cuz, well, Dad worries about me and I love that he does. I’ve learned to just say, ‘I’m leaving!’ from the front door and go so he won’t give me more.

In 2006, when I began to track my spending, I decided to save a quarter a day. Last year, it was a dollar a day. Goals reached both years. This year’s goal is $1.50 a day. Doable. Since I’m not working right now, I’m using it to build up my savings; it remains saved and UNTOUCHED. What I hope to do eventually, when I work again, is to use a portion of the saved money for going crazy on Christmas presents and donations.

Anyways, this is turning out to be longer than I thought it would be. I’ve kept the record for about 21 months and now that I have a full regular year (Jan-Dec), I put all the numbers into a table for analysis. If you have questions about what I’m doing or want advice on how to start a budget or whatever, I’ll do my best for you. Well, if I keep to the adjustments I made from the 2007 numbers for 2008, I will have saved my parents [or myself when I get the job] about $800.

That’s the goal: better last year’s expenses.

That’s not all, there’s more on tap for 2008 coming up later. In no particular order, it’s just that I finished the adjustments yesterday so finances were on my heart readily.

Mahalo for reading in! Let me know what you think, especially if you think I’m wonderful, leave a comment for any of the journals past or to come. Mahalo!