Author Topic: How to get started?  (Read 6605 times)

Greywynd

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How to get started?
« on: January 09, 2013, 09:42:59 AM »
Been reading the forum for a while, and working my way through the blog.

Love the idea of frugality and badassity, and in some ways have already adopted some of the ideas.

After a down turn in the manufacturing sector a few years ago, I ended up self employed in the heavy equipment field, and have some of my own equipment. I'm doing okay, but feel I could do better in some ways. Of course it's not like having a job where I know I'll be making xxx dollars a week or month, so that makes things interesting in some ways.

I've also recently become a single dad, as she and I parted ways. I'm hoping to use this as an opportunity to revise my financial habits, and get started on getting out of debt, and into positive savings instead!!

I'm in a very complex situation financially, and would love some advice on where and how to start looking at everything, and starting to set a game plan into place! 

James

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Re: How to get started?
« Reply #1 on: January 09, 2013, 10:00:56 AM »
Start by making a list of everything you spend money on.  Collecting data and getting a good picture is key to figuring out a plan.  At the same time, just stop spending.  You don't need the plan perfectly in place to know you shouldn't go out to eat tonight, you shouldn't buy that gadget you were planning to get, you don't need the cable since you know you will switch to something else.  Cut back ruthlessly, you can always add things back in as you come up with your plan for the future.  That is what I mostly regret, I thought I shouldn't go too fast.  Instead I milked some bad habits because "I don't want to go too fast" and I wish I had that money back.

Glad you posted, if you post more of your spending habits we can be more specific.  :)

mushroom

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Re: How to get started?
« Reply #2 on: January 09, 2013, 10:01:42 AM »
First place to start is by figuring out where you are now. You can write it down on a piece of paper or get fancy with Excel, but the point is to have it all in one place. Collect all of your assets and liabilities, sources of income, and monthly expenses. Sign up for Mint if you haven't already to easily track how you're spending your money. Look at all of your recent ATM withdrawals and credit card purchases. Keep track of where every penny is going.

Once you have that info, you can then think about what your long-term goals are and how best to adjust your current financial situation to align with those goals.

Greywynd

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Re: How to get started?
« Reply #3 on: January 09, 2013, 01:18:20 PM »
Well, I've started doing some of that already. I'll try to sit down tonight and figure out the monthly household expenses, and toss them up here.

Of course being self employed, there's some overlap stuff, but as a friend says, "It's easier to save a dollar than to make a dollar!"

The new separation has also made it easy to change things, right now I might make 2 trips to town a week, versus the 4-5 that would have been common before. Trying to see if I can plan better, and reduce that even farther. I'm also new at doing the grocery shopping, and have started watching sales flyers and ads for savings on stuff I use, and skipping the rest.

Less time in town, and changing my eating habits have also almost eliminated eating out, the only exceptions have been a couple of social outings. Fortunately they were both business oriented, so I can at least deduct some of that through the business.

No satellite or cable here, hasn't been for years. Unfortunately our only option for internet at home with junior living here is DSL, and we have to have the landline in place for that. I can't cut out my cell due to business requirements, but I try to review it every month or two to trim what I can, and take as much advantage of the package I do have.

Utilities, the primary one is electricity, and there, I've started air drying some of the laundry on racks, and hope to get better setup for that. Heat I primarily do with a woodstove, and it's all free wood, or from jobsites, but I do have the time and labour invested in processing it. I'm actually researching right now on a new furnace as the old oil one has finally lived it's life, as much as I hate to spend the $$, I do require a backup heat source for the cold nights and when I do have to be away.

Vehicle spending is an area I really need to look at. With the work I do, I do require a bigger pickup truck. I'll expand further in another post later!

MafiaPrincess

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Re: How to get started?
« Reply #4 on: January 09, 2013, 07:27:20 PM »
Start by making a list of everything you spend money on.  Collecting data and getting a good picture is key to figuring out a plan.  At the same time, just stop spending.  You don't need the plan perfectly in place to know you shouldn't go out to eat tonight, you shouldn't buy that gadget you were planning to get, you don't need the cable since you know you will switch to something else.  Cut back ruthlessly, you can always add things back in as you come up with your plan for the future.  That is what I mostly regret, I thought I shouldn't go too fast.  Instead I milked some bad habits because "I don't want to go too fast" and I wish I had that money back.

Glad you posted, if you post more of your spending habits we can be more specific.  :)

Nice to see some of the advice I've given in RL (I sent GW here) reiterated ;)

I keep telling him no you do not need xyz, so stop spending!  And have also helped him eat more at home.  He remarked to me just a few days ago that by eating way less fast food he's noticed a difference in savings :)