I know I am late. I had actually written this early and life seemed to run away from me.

Finances. I think that is a word that brings both dread and elation. If only there was a way to make my bank account grow without losing out on buying everything I want. Notice I said what I want, not necessarily what I need.

This is the time of year where most people start looking ahead and planning for vacations, the next year’s holidays and birthdays, taxes. Those are heavy on the mind. For me, taxes mean I get to clean up the last year’s ooopses and try to get a head start on how to not make the same mistakes again. And again. I have now for 15 years been unable to adequately manage my finances. I have tried almost everything. Software, multiple accounts, multiple banks, the envelope system, cash only, paying off the credit card each payday ( that only works like the first two times). I have even used the dreaded payday loan cash places. I realized a year into their services that I was starting to spend more paying to use my money than I was getting money to use. That took a few months of weaning myself off of the instantaneous cash flow.

Sadly I have also been one of the dreaded check floaters. Cash a check in this bank, write a check to cover the check I just wrote. That one caught up to me really quick, and I have had more fees in the last year than I think in the previous years.

Now I have come to the age-old question; how many checking accounts, credit cards and banks do I really need? Well if I want to spend more time worrying over which bill comes out of which account, more than one. That does take up a lot of time, memory (for account numbers, banking hours, passwords…) and stress over accidentally bouncing transactions because I used the card from the wrong account, again. Not good.

So to answer my question: I will be using one this year. I will not sucker into the temptation that other banks offer. (The ones where they give you money for your business. In the long run, too stressful.) I will work on buying what I need and saving for what I want. Not being greedy and envious for what those around me have.

Another word to go with finances is budget. Budget, that in and of itself is not a fun word. It sets limits and rules that I tend to see as suggestions, good ideas I have yet to follow. Right now my budget is easy, pay all the bills what little is left; spend. Though sometimes I tend to spend, and try to pay bills with what little is left.

I won’t go into the school loans. I don’t have time or energy as I have borrowed more than I feel my degree is worth. Fifteen years later I am still wishing I had listened to my grandpa and not opened a credit card application.

Questions for readers:
How many accounts do you have?
How do you do your accounting?
Have you been caught in the trap of loans and credits?
Do you have any words of wisdom?
Do you budget? And if so, do you follow it?