Achieving financial Zen

Just a few years ago our finances were a mess. When myself and Mrs. Financial Underdog combined our lives, we didn't quite combine our finances. Each of us came into marriage with some debt, some credit cards, some savings, and even some investments. Unfortunately, when combined, all of these accounts created a mess! It was extremely hard to keep track of our money and it started to cause some serious problems. But through some hard work and few simple moves, we've managed to achieve financial peace and bring financial Zen to our money situation!

Both of us had checking accounts where our paychecks went. Both of us paid some bills - cell phones, and other personal expenses. We've even started a mutual checking account where would deposit money for rent and utilities. We'd also share some expenses and would transfer money between out accounts on a regular basis to make things "fair". Both of us had credit cards we'd used and paid separately. If there was any money left over after bills and debt repayment, we'd transfer it into separate savings accounts - but more often than not there was nothing left over. Some bills would be "mine", some would be "hers" and some would be "ours". On top of it, I had student loans which needed to be paid separately.

To give you a basic idea of what our financial situation looked like, please see attached sketch. And while it looks like the works of a marginally talented 3-year old, let me assure you - it was all me:

As you see, it was a complete mess and confusion. There was nothing Zen about this situation.

Problems and issues

Complete lack of clarity. While on the surface we were getting by just fine, this financial picture was a complete mess. At any point in time, we wouldn't be sure exactly much money exactly we currently had.  Between multiple accounts and multiple credit cards, we would never know for certain what the balance on them was because it would require checking online statements several times and comparing them.

Honey, can we afford to buy {something}?

I have no idea; give me two days to figure it out!

Late fees and penalties. Because we weren't clear on our finances, it was very easy to lose track of all the payments and bills. Let's face it, if you're not sure what your balances are and when they're due because you have so many - some of them will be paid late. This would cost us a considerable amount of money in late fees and interest charges. Money down the toilet!

In addition, multiple checking accounts meant that we were paying multiple monthly fees. Unacceptable!

Stress and uneasiness.  Because of how messy our finances were, I personally felt the never-ending stress about money. It felt like we were always putting out financial fires. Oh no, another visa bill is overdue! Let's transfer some money there! Oh wait, rent is coming up - let's transfer money here!

Even if we had enough money coming in, it always felt like every day was an emergency. How can you be in peace with your finances in this situation? It's impossible. We needed some financial Zen!


See how we solved this problem completely by visiting the full version of this story http://moneyramblings.com/financial-zen/

Also, let’s chat on twitter: http://twitter.com/MoneyRamblings

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About the Author

As somebody who grew up in a poor family, I lacked common knowledge about money from day one. If you can think of one dumb thing to do with your money - I did it. No paid college education for me. No inheritance, no financial help from my parents.

I may be a financial underdog, but through building good personal finance habits and educating myself about how money works, I hope one day to achieve financial independence for myself and my family.

Yes, I do believe an average person can enjoy a wealthy lifestyle as a result of smart decisions. Given enough time and proper education, anybody can change their financial future for the better. This can happen even if you start very late into the game - but your financial habits have to change.

If you'd like to know more about my struggles and wins with money, feel free to visit my website http://www.MoneyRamblings.com where I ramble about everyday money issues.

Contact me by email or connect on Twitter 




The views expressed are strictly those of the author and not necessarily those of Castanet. Castanet does not warrant the contents.

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