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Keeping track of my spending


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For the first time in twenty-seven years of working, ( at three different jobs, not at the same time). I have been able to keep a balance of over $1,000.00 in my checking account. Basically being laid off for a month due in part by lack of business where I work, due to this pandemic. It has made me more aware of my spending habits. By not spending money on things i don"t need, and putting towards, paying bill"s. Buying food, and clothing. Well, I have bought new cloths for a while, and as for food. mom and dad help me there. Although, I did buy groceries for myself during most of the lockdown. It"s been nice to have plenty of money, and not too spend it recklessly. Ie: Another synth, computer or TV. Also, having overdrawn my account a number of times of the years, can really wake a person up.

 

 

Paul

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When Leilani and I started this duo in 1985 we were short on cash, and had to finance start-up costs on credit cards. The first year was pretty rough while we established a reputation. We paid off that debt and haven't purchased any optional expense on credit since.

 

Ever since then we have made a point to live well below our means. We know the difference between want and need.

 

We aren't cheapskates but insist on living below our means.

 

Once you get out of the habit of recreational shopping, it seems a very foolish thing to do.

 

At least for us.

 

Insights and incites by Notes

Bob "Notes" Norton

Owner, Norton Music http://www.nortonmusic.com

Style and Fake disks for Band-in-a-Box

The Sophisticats http://www.s-cats.com >^. .^< >^. .^<

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For many years I used financial software to track my income/expenses. The last program I was using was Quicken for Mac. Then a while back they suddenly decided they were going to the subscription model and I decided it was an expense I didn't necessarily need. I started a spreadsheet with the fairly ubiquitous Excel program and it's grown into something I'm pretty proud of.
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I started tracking my "incidental" purchases in my mid 20's (78 now). Started by writing down EVERYTHING I spent ANY money on. That's right, even one cent (at the time) for parking in front of post office to get mail. At the time, I was married with a small child, not making a lot of money, and wondering where it all went. After the first month, I checked off everything that was needed, leaving just the "wanna buy" stuff, and discovered that my "wanna buy" was about equal to my car payment. What a shock! This was before the ready availability of national credit cards like Master Card; but there were store cards - and I was spending money there also for "wanna" stuff.

I immediately took all of my store cards (Belk, Montgomery Ward, Sears, Exxon, etc.) and took them out of the wallet and put them in the glove compartment of the car - deliberately leaving them in the car even when I went in one of the stores. After the sales person talked me into buying something, I'd open the wallet, apologize to the sales person for leaving my card in the car, and tell them I was going out to get the card. About 80% of the time I would not return to the store, having realized that it was a "wanna" instead of a need. So, I quit buying ANYTHING on credit for several years (this doesn't include if I had to trade vehicles). This went on several years, and then I really had a need for a credit purchase; only to find out I really had no credit because I had no credit history.

So, I spend a year or so buying stuff on what credit cards I had (the store ones), with one simple rule: Unless it is an emergency need, NEVER purchase anything on credit without paying off the balance at the end of the month (I'm not speaking of automobiles or home mortgage here). I've kept to that rule for close to 50 years now. I even pay off the stuff that hasn't been billed yet.

When I went in business, I also developed the habit of purchasing things for the business using credit card (or PayPal now) routinely to develop a good credit history. Just the same rule, with the occasional exception of purchasing something to be resold that might take a couple of months to pay off - I haven't had to do that for a long time. Also later developed the habit of never spending all that I had, but putting something in savings each month. The last vehicle I bought was self-financed. I simply paid myself the zero interest loan divided up every month for the next five years.

The year of the cancer treatments, I did have to spend more from savings than I was able to pay back, but whittling that down each month.

 

It took considerable effort and a bit of pain to start doing this, but it has become so much a habit over the years that it is now routine. I still keep track of where every dollar goes (on a spreadsheet now) whether it is business (required) or personal (not required).

 

Regardless of where you are at in finances at the moment, this plan works, but it is a long term thing.

Howard Grand|Hamm SK1-73|Kurz PC2|PC2X|PC3|PC3X|PC361; QSC K10's

HP DAW|Epi Les Paul & LP 5-str bass|iPad mini2

"Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen."

Jim

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Like others here, any purchase I make falls into one of two categories: "need" or "want." Being self-employed, I can give myself a raise at any time - I just work harder :) . That way I can always make sure I have enough to pay "need." But I hardly ever buy "want." The more things you have, the more things you need to maintain.

 

For example, I want a faster, more up-to-date computer. But my current computer runs everything I want to run, is reliable, and I know it well - so I don't need a new computer. However, at some point my current computer will limit what I can do to a greater degree than just lack of speed, and it will become something I need for my business.

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As self-employed I keep track of all business expenses and business car mileage. The object is to minimize my tax burden but deducting necessary expenses needed to run my business.

 

My sisters are above-board super honest CPAs so they let me know what is legal and what is not. It paid off. Leilani has been audited 3 times and came out smelling like a rose all 3 times.

 

But since I make my living indulging my bliss, there really isn't a lot that I want. I have a house, a mini-van for schlepping my gear, food in the fridge, gigging instruments and a spare for each (definitely a player, not a collector), and a best friend for a wife and musical partner. What more could I want?

 

Living a satisfied life is better than that endless quest for new stuff to fill the void.

 

Life is good.

 

Insights and incites

Bob "Notes" Norton

Owner, Norton Music http://www.nortonmusic.com

Style and Fake disks for Band-in-a-Box

The Sophisticats http://www.s-cats.com >^. .^< >^. .^<

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