It's been a while since I've staged an Op, but after checking my bank account, TODAY IS THE DAY.
It's not even the third week of the month and I'm broke. I still have two and a half weeks to get through until payday. I'm banking on getting my tax return in pretty quick, but I'm still waiting on my W-2s. This is beyond frustrating. It's unnerving. How did I spend so much in so little time?
Looking up my statement and manually adding things up, I spent 330.59 on clothes and crap. I had a few other little expenses that probably added up to a couple hundred. But c'mon! The problem is multipronged here.
1. I would estimate that 2/3 of my paycheck goes to bills. This leaves me with little to play with throughout the month.
2. I don't have good insight on where my money is going. The bank gives me a really shitty website with about 2 months worth of data. I've tried http://mint.com but it is mostly worthless because I can only track things after-the-fact. It doesn't stop me from spending that month.
3. My "balance" is also worthless. It's not a balance if I have obligations to meet for the month. That money is already committed! But it's not protected. I know that I have three (YES, THREE) student loan payments toward the middle and end of the month. I do not factor this into my balance until I've already spent most of my money and then I realize I'm broke.
4. I don't make enough money for what I spend. This has been a problem since I started working full time. I make good money, not great money. But particularly for my debt situation, I don't make enough money. I'm paying minimum payments because I can't afford more than that. Even with the minimum payments, I'm still falling behind every month. I don't buy extravagances, but I need things like new clothes. On average, I'd say most of my clothes are between 3 - 4 years old. Some are as old as 10 years. I don't buy new things often. Apparently, I can't buy them at all if I want to make it through the month.
5. I get hit with way too many fees. Some ATM fees end up being $5. $3 for the charge, and $2.50 for some other service charge. FUCK YOU, BANK.
6. My debt is recurring debt. I've made some progress with the consolidating of two cards last year. But I also picked up another card and promptly maxed that out, proving that I need to make at
least $5,000 more per year to not go into credit.
All this leads me to a few conclusions.
1. I need a new bank. Last year, I signed up for Simple (http://simple.com). This year I finally got the beta invite. I have been using it for the last week or so and I love it. It solves the problem
of "balance" by having you make "goals." It then subtracts your goals from your balance and tells you what you have left to spend. Brilliant.
2. I need to get rid of debt. With each payment I get rid of, that's more I have left to spend each month. If I had only bills (no credit payments), I would be coasting each month living large. This
is the mecca of personal finance.
3. I need to make more money. No way around it. I need to keep advancing, getting raises and good bonuses. But I think I also need to supplement my income. I need a scheme. I know this won't be easy.
This is apparent from the failed "Operation: Heist" wherein I attempted to find legitimate ways to make a quick buck online. I need to keep researching this, because people are doing it. I need to
know how and figure out a way to dip into this market.
I have a plan though.
1. When my tax return comes in, direct that to Simple. This will fill my account with a decent amount of cash to begin the transition
2. When my February paycheck comes in, pay off my line of credit on my bank. This will free me from the bank
3. When my bonus comes in, leave it in my account. We'll keep it there as a safety measure
4. Redirect my direct deposit to Simple
5. Redirect my bill pay direct withdrawls to Simple
5b. Chase Freedom
5d. Debt consolidation
5e. Student loans (I, II, and III)
5m. Cell service
5n. Websites that store my purchase information will need to be updated
5o. Look into paying rent online
6. During the month of February, I won't touch my bank account
6a. After everything has settled down on it, I will do a money transfer to Simple
6b. I will then begin a payoff plan
This is primarily for the visibility. I'm tired of not having visibility on my finances. Simple fixes this.
I will need to leave a couple hundred in my bank account because Simple doesn't do checks. The other option is to transfer that to my credit union checking account.
The only question I have lingering is what do I want to pay off with my bonus/tax return? My Chase card is maxed and I wanted to pay that off right away, because it is 0% APR for the next year or so.
Using their credit with no interest was my plan. My credit union card is annoying though and I'm not making any progress on it. I could try to knock that one out. I could go halfsies. And a third
choice is to pay off my furniture account and pay only a little on one of those cards.
I dunno, we'll cross that bridge when we come to it.
And later I will need to figure out how to revive Operation: Heist to supplement Operation: Moneybags.