HAPPY NEW YEAR 2014!!!! ^_^
Yeah, the first post of the year and I’m gonna talk about money $$ and creating a more peaceful life in 2014:)
Two weeks ago, I’ve mentioned in point number 3 of my previous post here, that I needed to “continue on with my daily excel file, tracking expenses and re-adjusting along the way“.
I’ve started out this habit of tracking my cash flow since 2010. Some of you would think that it’s a bit too much and a hassle to monitor every penny that goes out on a daily basis. It might not work for everyone, but it somehow worked for me and it has given me the psychological assurance that I’m gonna do just fine in the financial department. This habit gives me a peace of mind. At any given day, whenever I want to know the price of that plane ticket I bought in 2011 or the cost of a gathering I had in 2012, I would simply refer back to my elaborate excel file and found the information I need.
In the past, I would use the file to monitor my student loan payment and to check if I’m on track with my then-goal ‘pay off loan by Dec 2011’. Now that I’ve achieved that particular financial goal, I mainly use it as a practical tool to see if I’ve achieved my emergency fund goal, to foresee any other expenses necessary to do whatever I want and how I can re-allocate budget and focus on saving for those specific goals, ex: to take CELTA course last November, to travel to 2-3 new places last year, to save up for my future property purchase (slowly). It’s for (again) my peace of mind. I know where my hard-earned $ goes and for what purpose. I can pay all my bills on time and know the exact amount of any upcoming planned expenses by just looking at my file. Nowadays, I don’t really make a fuss over my expenses down to every cent anymore (which is better for my peace of mind) and just go by the monthly budget. As long as I’m more or less within the budget I set, I’m grateful.
The template of my monthly excel worksheet looks something like the screen capture below. I would diligently input my daily expenses, re-allocate certain amount to another category along the way and include some expected future expenses or bonuses (in good times). Monitoring cash on hand, in the bank and in other financial institutions (including insurance and CPF) by using this detail excel file helps me to pay attention on how I spend my money, to keep myself away from sudden splurge on useless stuff and to eventually develop a better relationship with money. I’ve read countless books, blogs and websites on personal finance and here are my personal favorites: getrichslowly, dailyworth, and moneysmart.
These past few years, being mindful with my own thought and perception on money has helped me gain better money-life balance and more freedom (not financial freedom yet, but at least I’m mostly free from the stress of not having enough $$ whenever I need them), ultimately living life on my own terms. I also realized early on that for anyone, man or woman, it’s important to be financially savvy, to know how to manage our own money (at different stage of our life) and to start cultivating good money habits (as young as possible). It will reduce all the worries and headache for this moment and in the future. When we don’t have to worry about money, we can focus more on other important things in life, like: our relationship, health and well-being, family and friends, self-improvement, etc.
As I read through these 2 articles, from a male’s perspective: ‘a Perfect Life Balance? It’s about Time, not Money’ and female’s perspective here: ‘A Money-Savvy Daughter Looks Back on the Finance Lessons That Stuck With Her’, I’m pretty sure that I’m right on track in my own financial journey. Hopefully, I could have this peace of mind everyday without being haunted by any significant money worries.
Ultimately, I want to have just enough $ for my peace of mind and have a simple peaceful life with plenty of time to cultivate other aspects of my life: relationships, body and soul, hobbies, health and well-being; and go on adventures once in a while:)
How about you? What’s your idea of a good money-life balance?
*who spent the new year with a swollen cheek after wisdom tooth surgery, extracted 3 at one go *bad idea*