Sunday, January 3, 2010

Annual Type A-ness

Type A-ness rhymes with another four letter "A" word.  We will leave it to your vivid imaginations todecide exactly WHICH word that might be.  January is our culture's annual rite of passage for organization, fitness, and other typical Type A-ness activities.  We're no exception.  We're absolutely filled with a fit of energy to put things in order.  Susun spent hours yesterday going through all of our mail--filing everything she could file and corraling various potential "runaways" with paper clips and rubber bands.  Susun calls rubber bands "life's little bungee cords."  I've always liked that description.  I makes me think of bank statements bungee jumping from tall desks.

One of the Big Keys to our Y2Ten lifestyle changes will be, as always, Financial Management.  Since we've been working at our day job we've become fairly complacent about our finances.  Afterall, we're getting a paycheck every two weeks.  We survived in our prior lifestyle by very strict and disciplined financial management.  We carefully tracked our expenditures and hardly ever spent more money than we had available.  We often went so far as to actually write down every penny we spent each day so we could track the cash outflow.  We took great pains to attempt to reduce or eliminate numerous Big Ticket items and annual expenses.

For example, property taxes are a major cash hit each year.  Back in our earlier days, we worked diligently to keep our taxes as low as possible.  When we sold our house back in 2006, our taxes were less than $300 a year!  Way less, as I recall, maybe as low as $240.  Savings like that really adds up and lessens the need for additional income to make ends meet.  The more attention  you pay to reducing outflow, the farther your inflow will go.  Volunteering in the Middle of Nowhere was also one of our strategies.  When you are in the Middle of Nowhere, you don't have anyplace to spend money.  Your opportunities to spend money are very limited--typically by the number of trips to town you take.  When it's a 100 mile round trip to a grocery store, it's a safe bet you will spend a LOT less on groceries than if the store is 5 minutes away.

What does all of this mean?  It means we are going to have to return to the "Good Ol' Days" of financial management.  We're going to have to once again begin to track our expenses much more carefully.  We did it very successfully for years and years but have fallen out of the habit since August 2007.  We will make an online spreadsheet today to begin this process.  Yeah, I know it's hopelessly Type A-ness stuff but it's really the only way to prepare for our upcoming lifestyle changes.  Like it or not, this kind of stuff actually works.  We'd much rather pay attention than pay too much.

No comments: