I've been spending a lot of time lately thinking about money. Blech!
Luckily, I've found some blogs that really make money seem a little more... fun?
In September, my roommate of 5 years and I divorced. Don't worry, it was amicable - and we're still going on TRB together next month! Obviously, having a roommate means splitting costs - rent, utilities, entertainment, and other whatnots. For the first time ever, I'm living on my own (well, with a dog, but she doesn't help with bills or chores). This means that I have to cover it all on my own!
One milestone that I have hit - as of this month - is that for the first time since I graduated from college, I am not in debt to my parents! In fact, they now owe me payments towards my undergrad student loans.
Anyhow, now enters serious budget review!
I started tracking all of my expenses a few years ago, but never really did anything with it. I use Google Docs because I can access my tracking sheet from anywhere. And, while there are a lot of free spreadsheets available online, I made my own because I wanted my spreadsheet to be exactly the way I wanted it. I also used Mint.com for a while, took some time away, and have since gone back to it. Many improvements have been made to the site!
I have also started reading some blogs regularly. I've already mentioned my friend Sox, who is currently in the middle of No Spend December. I may be trying out something similar in February - but we'll see if I can stick to it! Through Sox, I discovered Budgets Are Sexy. There are lots of great tips, as well as links to other personal blogs - so if you don't find that you connect with this one, there are plenty of others to link to.
This past year, I also began tracking my charitable giving through It's Deductible, an online tracker through TurboTax. While I typically end up paying the AMT, and my itemization doesn't really help me out any, I think I'm getting close to the point in my life where itemization will help! So, getting into the habit of tracking tax deductible expenses now will make it second nature later. One thing that I like about It's Deductible is that I can access it whenever I make a donation - so at tax time, I won't forget something from early in the year. Another plus is that you can import it directly into TurboTax (desktop or online versions).
Enough rambling about money - Coming next will be my new years resolutions - I'm categorizing them this year!