Thursday, October 4, 2007

Setting Up a Household Budget

In order for me to set up a budget I need to know how much I make and how much I spend. Right now. . . . I still have NO idea. Because I have no idea, I just keep striving to make more money. I truly have a black hole that I just pour all this money into, and, in the end, I still never really know if I've made enough, spent too much, or broke even.

Being self employed and taking care of both work and home finances has proven very difficult for me. After I lost my storefront to a flood, my routine changed, I moved out of my office and into my home. What worked at the storefront doesn't work at my home office. I don't have a secretary who performed a portion of the procedures for each payable and receivable. I don't have a consistent system at all.

Worse, while I used to invoice the client and purchase the product with their payment, I now pay whatever I can and hope there is money enough to order the product. Again, its those damn automatic payments! Rather than paying the bills when I have the money, they are automatically removing the money from my account.

I'm committed to building my emergency fund. I've set an initial goal of $1000. I feel terrified not having money to access in case of an emergency.

I do have $80,000 in a 401K fund, and, I've borrowed against it three times since losing my store. Once I borrowed $40,000 for the renovations on our condo (which was supposed to be my new office space), $50,000 to buy my husband five years of employment when he began working under a political appointee who makes his life (and mine) fairly miserable (a strange thing the state does for their employees, he can now retire 5 years earlier and there's no penalty from taking it from your 401k account), and the last loan was to make sure our home didn't go into foreclosure when our house payment exceeded $4000 per month - and we were 3 months behind.

I know its a horrible financial decision to borrow from this account, but, it was an emergency, I hadn't planned on losing my business and I had already gutted the condo. Many, many expenses from the business drained our financial resources completely. Yes, I had insurance, but it took me three years to collect. My insurance company was Hastings Mutual, and, since I can't say anything nice about them, I won't say anything at all.

In talking with my husband about finances it's pretty obvious that he and I have a different philosophy about how to save money. Its proven to be quite frustrating and our learning curve together is enormous. I'm certain this is part of the reason that he and I don't pay attention. Working on our financial picture together is painful. I do hope it gets easier because I'm getting too old for this. I need this to be the last time that we're going to be this out of touch financially.

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