Andy’s face is much better and I have a few Q&A questions for you. Here we go!
Q1. What’s a good way to keep track of my spending?
A. Mint.com is my favorite website. They do all the tracking for you and categorize all your spending. You can always do paper and pencil, also. Whatever you think you’ll actually stick with. It’s just like a diet, you want to pick what you are going yo stick with and is manageable.
Q2. I read all the time about how I should “splurge” on myself. Is this actually sound advice?
A. If you plan for it. For example, if you splurge, curb your spending appropriately. Otherwise we could all claim to be overworked and under appreciated and spend tons of money on spas and dinners out. Be a smart consumer and don’t got crazy too often. The corresponding metaphor is for chocolate cake and a diet.
Q3. How many banks did you get mortgage quotes from?
A. Two. Which is actually 1 less thank most people recommend. We went to the bank we both have an account with and the lender recommended by our realtor. We should have done a third, but, my God, that process is exhausting.
Q4. I’ve been tempted to try envelope budgeting; taking out money in cash for each budget area and keeping them in separate envelopes, but then I would have almost no money in my bank account collecting interest. What are your thoughts on this method? How do you track spending on a day to day basis?
A. I actually really like this method of budgeting, but I can see your concern about accruing interest. I would use the envelope method for budgets you know you have a hard time sticking to, like eating out or groceries or entertainment. Your rent, utilities, insurance, and other fixed expenses can stay in your account until you actually have to pay your bills, so they should be accruing interest. But this is all assuming you’re getting a great rate for your checking account. If it’s .25% or less, then don’t stress, you’re better off trying to find a way to transfer money to an online savings account where you can earn at least 1% or more.
Be sure to submit your question for next week here!