debt debs

Personal Debt Wrangler – Had my money head in the sand – but no more!

What’s your daily money routine?

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By Created by Uwe Kils (iceberg) and User:Wiska Bodo (sky). [GFDL (http://www.gnu.org/copyleft/fdl.html) or CC-BY-SA-3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0/)], via Wikimedia Commons

By Created by Uwe Kils (iceberg) and User:Wiska Bodo (sky). (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0/)%5D, via Wikimedia Commons

Before our D-Day (debt acknowledgement day), I never logged into our bank account on line.  The only glimpse I saw of our money situation was the balance on the debit slip taken from the ATM.  Even that was falsely reported as it showed the amount of cash we had + overdraft available, making it seem we were ‘richer than we think‘.  No visibility on that little slip for: credit cards, line of credit, mortgages or car loans.   Talk about only showing the tip of the iceberg!

In fact, when I realized that I had to get involved and take responsibility for our financial situation, I would get a panic attack at the thought of even logging into our bank account and credit card accounts.  I shared this fear with my daughter and she suggested that I try to just log into the bank account every day at first.  Once I could do this without anxiety, I added credit cards to the repertoire.  Baby steps… it worked!

Now I go into withdrawals if I do not log into my bank account and MINT super regularly.  Talk about role reversal!!  Plus, if I have more than one week of activity to catch up on, it can take me a fair bit of time to process.

Here’s what I do on a daily basis, usually first thing in the morning (if I miss that, I do it that evening, most days!)

  1. I log into our bank and record the following in excel worksheets for (1) annual expenses by month  (2) monthly cash flow balance and projection (3) net worth:
    • automatic bill payments
    • income deposited
    • expenses that have been processed through my credit card overnight (we use a credit card with high cashback % for any and everything we can)
    • net worth – this net worth  is based on investments less liabilities, excluded property and non-investment assets.  See below in MINT where I record our full net worth.  It’s important to me to see my net worth fluctuations on a daily basis because if it goes down, it’s usually due to market fluctuations.  I’ve lost 10-15K in a 2-3 day period and felt like I was living through the stock market crash of 1929!   Actually this has happened on a number of occasions in the last two years.  It has always come back, sometimes taking up to a month, but knowing my propensity for the wanting to bury my head in the sand, I need to face the facts daily and not hide from bad news.  Doing this regularly takes the jitters out of me when the market takes a bit of a tumble.  Worst case is, I will pick up the phone and fire discuss with my broker, if I think I need to take action.
  2. I log into MINT and review the transactions posted, make sure they are classified correctly against my budget.  MINT  also tracks NET WORTH which is really accurate because it includes all the latest figures for both of us from all of our sources.  You can also record property and other assets – I have our house and vehicles here so my MINT net worth gives me the whole enchilada.  I record it daily in a separate worksheet of my excel file, complete with my graphs!  MINT has graphs too and I do look at them, but I also like that I have control over the look of the ones I created.
  3. Every 2 weeks when our mortgage is paid, I update a worksheet that I am forecasting and tracking actual figures for mortgage duration remaining.  This is a little game for me as I love to see those months fall off every two weeks.  Keep in mind I have 3 step mortgages, and my third one (the largest) is all consumer debt related.  This one started at 26 years amortization 2 years ago.  Currently it’s at under 16 years since I maximized prepayments each year.  I’ve also started double payments on this one recently so it falls by at least two months every month.

You may wonder why I use both an excel file and MINT.  I started out building my workbook long before I knew about MINT.  I had my process working for about 8 months before I added MINT to it.

MINT does not track CASHFLOW, therefore I still need my excel file for that.  Since I started doing my budget tracking in excel, I still keep that up.  It is a bit redundant with MINT, but I’m comfortable with it.  There’s nothing wrong with looking at the numbers twice when you are trying to stay on a budget.  This gives me every opportunity to spot issues.

MINT is good for aggregating transactions from different sources for tracking actual spending against budget and also NET WORTH.   That’s what I really like about it.  If you are managing your spending using cash (jars or envelopes), I’m not sure that MINT will offer big advantages.

BTW, I’m not plugging MINT, I’m just telling you what works for me.  (MINT does have it’s fair share of problems, just FYI).

Anyhoo, this is my daily routine that keeps me sane.   What would make you insane if you did not do it regularly?

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Author: debt debs

I am a fifty-something wife, mother and new grandmother, who admits to having their “head in the sand” about their financial situation until amassing $247,500 worth of consumer debt for a total debt of $393,500. We've paid $121K in 2 years with four more years to go. Join my journey at debtdebs.com sharing ideas and motivation to all those coping with poor money management and bad debt decisions.

16 thoughts on “What’s your daily money routine?

  1. I check my bank accounts every day, but I don’t check my credit cards, student loan, or mortgage everyday. Since I’m not using my credit cards, they dont’ change often. Everything only changes once/month when the payment and new interest are applied. So I only check them then.

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  2. You are disciplined! I don’t check any of my accounts on a daily basis. It’s probably a good idea regardless of your financial situation, just to make sure everything is correct and balancing out. I do check my credit card and bank balance on a weekly basis, and my student loans probably five times a month.

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    • Maybe I go overboard but I find if I don’t keep up with it then after a week I am nervous to do it. No reason to be except it must stem back from the days when I ignored money completely! Thanks for visiting 🙂

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  3. I’m obsessed with checking my accounts and tracking my money. It’s like a challenge for me. How can I make it grow more?

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  4. I don’t check my accounts daily, but definitely more regularly than I used to. I do know all about the anxiety to open them, though, I used to avoid my mailbox for the same reason!

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    • I’m glad you check them more often and I hope you don’t get anxiety anymore though with that or your mail.

      It’s definitely freeing that way to lose that anxiety.

      Now my anxiety just comes from my kids! Like yesterday when I had to play detective to track my daughter down somewhere in Florida. She was enroute from Miami to Tampa the night before (driving) but did not communicate to us that she arrived safely. No answer on email, FB, txt, phone call. So I went to check the details on her friend…. I had first name and address but no last name and no phone number. Eventually through my super sleuthing on the internet I figured out a last name and found the friend on FB. She had it linked to her phone and so answered right away with a pic of her and my lovely daughter. Whew! It seems you can’t teach them about money or safety, even though we try.

      The Irishman says I’m in the wrong business. Along with debT debS I’m gonna start a blog called SupEr SlEuth. Maybe I can find myself on the internet.

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  5. I don’t check my balance daily anymore (although I did when I was in hardcore debt payoff mode). Now I just check it weekly and keep a ledger of my purchases so that I have a pretty accurate picture of where we’re at.

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    • Well I think it makes sense that you don’t need to anymore. Good to know that when we become obsessive about it during debt payoff that we’re able to relax it later. At least I think I will be able to!!

      What about the fraud aspect? Do you need peace of mind that your accounts have not been compromised?

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  6. I check all my accounts daily (bank account, credit card, retirement account) and update my spreadsheets daily as well. It’s become a habit!

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  7. I check my bak account everyday and got out of the habit of using MINT…this month I saw an increase in my debt so maybe there is a correlation there! I might give it another try 🙂

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  8. Pingback: Top Ten List – What I Don’t Like About My Investments | debt debs

  9. Pingback: Worth It Wednesday – Can Marriage Survive a Debt Crisis? | debt debs

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