Mrs. ROB and I just returned from a wedding over the weekend. It was a great event with great friends. The bride and groom looked wonderful, really excellent food, etc. Of course during this little jaunt we both spent a bit of money, more than we would have like and this post isn’t about the perils of vacation or whatever it is. It is really about how these kinds of events get me a little off kilter.
First, let me say that I love to travel. I love it. I would rather travel than buy expensive furniture, clothes, etc. I can do without all of that material stuff except for travel. That is why I am striving for financial independence because I want to travel more. I want to be able to dictation my time. At the same time I love to travel I find vacations and jaunts to throw me off a bit. For example, when I am done with my travel my brain automatically switches back to work mode. It seems that I am almost trained to go to work and get back to being “normal.”
Last night when I came home and whenever I come home I have to put my clothes away, clean the house a little, and clean up some work items before I can go to bed. Mrs. ROB has no problem switching that side of her brain off. She went to bed (and she should have she has a much earlier day than I do on Mondays) right away. I needed to make sure that everything was, at least partly, set for the morning so that I can jump into things.
For me the routines of the day: wake-up, walk the dog, go to the gym, go to work, and others are comforting. When I was on sabbatical I had a really hard time keeping a set schedule. I don’t know what it is but I really enjoy the specifics of a routine.
Now how might this apply to personal finance? It doesn’t necessarily, but one of the things about this blog is that I am continuing to learn about what my financial quirks are. What do I do well? What do I need to improve upon? What do I not do well? One of the things I think I need to do is be a bit more routine about budgeting and/or spending my money.
I am a planner by nature, but I find myself doing financial mental gymnastics about my next paycheck or the next month or even the next year. I am actually stressing myself out, along with some other financial items in my life (another post for another time). And I think I need to take some of the financial stress out of my life by making things a bit more routine.
I track all of our spending on Mint.com. So I am well-aware of what we spend it on. However, I am not good about paying bills at the same time every month at the same time. What I mean is that I don’t have specific dates I pay our normal bills on. So I might pay it early one month or just at the deadline the next. I have never been late on a bill in my life, but I think if I had a bit more of a routine when I paid bills or whatever that might be that might help. I automatically have specific dates when I have certain things taken out of my checking account (e.g. student loan, mortgage, etc). But I want to go even further I want to automate the transfer of funds from my checking account to another account that I use exclusively for bills. Then each month I can just pay things at the same time.
I know that each month is different and I will get bills for medical items, but structure, for me, is a good thing. I like structure. I have a penchant for doing nothingness and that is dangerous. I don’t like it. I feel like I am inefficient and unproductive. I need to be efficient with my time and my money.
Part of my personal financial evolution is to learn to live more in the moment (that is why Mrs. ROB is a good counter-balance to me. She is the “free-spirit” in Dave Ramsey parlance), but I also need to feel productive. Over time I hope to redefine what it means to be efficient with my time. As of right now efficient means accomplishing a specific goal not just enjoying a game of golf or watching a game.
The same thing is true with my money I need it to be productive. Having a bit of routine when I pay the bills on time at the same time every month I think will take a little bit of the mental jumping jacks I play when it comes to our monthly bills. It might not alleviate everything, but it is at least a start. So October is the month I begin.