Monday, August 5, 2013

Happiness Project: Money

Yikes, summer is nearly over! I dawdled, but I finally finished my Happiness Project goal of reviewing all of my finances.  I've been meaning to set up budgeting on and I'm loving it. It let's me set budget items for all of our expenditures (including monthly date nights and individual discretionary spending). It took me an evening to get it all set up, but the learning curve is minimal and I love seeing exactly where the money goes each month. It brings me peace of mind which is so important to my overall happiness.  I also set up a few investments so that I can track them with Mint, which is great because I mostly ignored them before. They are long term investments (like my Roth IRA) but I do at least look at them more than once a year now. Mint also encourages you set goals for paying off debt, increasing emergency savings, and putting money away for travel (honeymoon fund!).  It's nice to know that money will be there when we want it.

Secondly, I reduced AT&T cell phone bill by adding the "Fan Number" for my work.  Penn State had one as well, so I recommend asking your cell phone carrier about it.  It can't hurt and it might save a few bucks a month.  We save enough to offset our roadside assistance.  I also finally set up autopay through my bank to mail my rent check for me every month - my last bill that wasn't on autopay - and met with my insurance agent to review my policy.  Each of these took a bit of time, but I'm glad they are done, I've been putting them off for much longer than the inconvenience warranted.  It's given me a huge boost to have this taken care of and I'm feeling inspired for my next goal!

For the rest of August and September, I'll be focusing on clearing out physical and mental clutter. While I'm not a hoarder, I do have a problem with saving things for a special occasion, holding on to supplies I bought for projects that were never finished, and letting work projects languish as I focus on new and exciting projects. So for the next two months, I'm focusing on identifying all that clutter and using it up or throwing it out! First up, the bag of Penn State pasta I was given at graduation two and a half years ago - it made a frighteningly colored, but tasty Greek-influenced pasta salad.

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