January 10, 2011

A little more than a week into my resolutions and it’s already a struggle. I continue to do just fine gathering receipts and putting all the information into a Word document. So far I haven’t missed anything, so that’s pretty positive. I’m no longer focusing too much on how I’m spending my money (that has more or less gone by the wayside); the hard part remains figuring out how to really track it all.

Last update I explained how I looked up several budget and spending trackers online. Since then, they’ve pretty much been sitting on my hard drive collecting digital dust. Every other day or so I take them off the shelf, blow off the cobwebs and ponder how to put them to good use. After an oh-so-brief moment, I figure I’ll be better served mulling it over a bit longer, and set them back carefully where I got them. Oh, the lies our brains tell us.

See, I figure the larger-perspective, bigger-picture goal of my year is going to be overcoming procrastination more than anything else.

In the interest of actually accomplishing something however, I’ve finally broken past the “I’ll just update the blog once there’s something worth posting” block in my mind. It may not make for compelling content, but I’m not really that compelling of a person.

Generally speaking, January’s resolution isn’t really going that badly. I’m keeping receipts and recording my spending. I’m just not organizing it in a way that’ll allow for any good analysis. I still really want to create my own Excel workbook, because that’s the only way I can group everything the way I like it. This is just fine, as long as it happens.

I’m also still checking out some pre-made software solutions, the forefront of these being Mint.com. This appears to be a free, online budgeting tool that tracks your spending for you by connecting to your online accounts, sort of like Quicken. I know, I know… I said I didn’t like Quicken, and I don’t; mainly due to not being able to connect to a couple of my accounts and the awkwardness of manually submitting data. I also don’t entirely trust the “online” part of the deal. I’m going to do a bit more research into it first.

One thing I have noticed is that I spend a lot more on bills during the first half of the month than I had thought. I tried setting everything up where rent is paid with the first check of the month and miscellaneous bills are paid with the second check. Things apparently have gotten a bit out of whack and I need to realign all of that. So, you know… there’s that.

More frequent updates to come, I swear.

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