Yesterday, I was able to take a big leap towards that objective. I attended a great accounting and finance workshop that will help me better understand Profit and Loss statements and budgeting. These will help greatly in my work, but the instructor also taught us several items that can carry over into my personal finances.
At work, I've been responsible for line items since around 2005-2006. At work I have a spreadsheet and I help build a yearly budget and create estimates using sales reports.
But, personally, I haven't really delved into proper financial practices. I've always felt funny that I was much better at keeping books and a budget at work and sucked at it at home. I guess I felt like I did enough of it at work and my personal finances would take care of themselves. Uh, yeah, bad idea.
I currently have a car loan, a credit card balance, and a student loan. These three pieces can help me build a healthy credit history, or cause a cataclysm. The choice is mine and depends on how much thought and time I can dedicate to planning.
I started fiddling with budgeting sometime last fall, and have been keeping a biweekly and monthly tally in Excel since late November. It's been working great record-wise, but I need to step up my game in allocating moneys to debt reduction and building up emergency and savings accounts.
I came to the realization yesterday that if I make a three to four year plan, I can probably assure myself to be 85% debt free in that time. I say 85% instead of 100% because I have a very large education loan that lingers over me much like a dark, water-logged cloud.
I'm optimistic after a very long time. I have the gumption and the plan, and am following the baby steps.
My main task this week is to develop a list of literature I should look up at my local library, based off of titles our instructor rattled off yesterday:
- The Richest Man in Babylon
- Budgeting and Finance
- Rich Dad Poor Dad
- Dave Ramsey's Total Money Makeover
- The Psychology of Achievement
- Accounting for Dummies, Budgeting for Dummies, Bookkeeping for Dummies
Wish me luck!