(Originally posted 1/8/16)
As the moon wanes in its journey toward the sign of Capricorn, I suggest to you that it is time to get organized, perform a deep cleansing on our finances, and take a close look at our budget. Capricorn loves an organized household and this new moon's energy will help you achieve your goals. Of course, the fact that tax time is coming up means that this is the perfect time to get your paperwork together while you wait for those W-2s to come in.
You should have a filing cabinet. If you don't, I suggest you get one immediately and set up a regular filing schedule. (On your weekly planning and organization day). If you feel a filing cabinet is excessive, then just get a small file box. Assuming you have something, it's time to tear it up. Take out anything more than three years old (With the exception of your kids' stuff) and put it in a cardboard box. Write the date on it and stick it in the attic or basement. (In five years, burn it if you haven't opened it.)
As for the kids things, they should each have their own box in the attic. Anything more than three years old - report cards, awards, notes from teachers and doctors, medical records, etc. can go in this box. Save it for the coming of age.
Your Housekeeping Journal
If you don't have a housekeeping journal, it's time to make one. Don't worry, I have some handy templates to get you started that I'm posting up at http://www.kitchenwitchcorner.com/article:the-hearthkeeper-s-journal
If you do have one, it's time to update it. Make sure you have the current phone numbers of all your important services; doctors, lawyers, teachers, plumber, babysitters, etc. and update your checklists, your goals for the year, your bills & etc. and don't forget to add any new recipes you've discovered.
Banish The Debt
Do you have bills to pay off? Make a list of them in order from highest interest rate to lowest. Now write the minimum required payment next to each. Do the math to figure out how long it will pay off the bill making just the minimum payment- if the interest is too hard, forget about it and just divide your payment by the total to see how many months you have left, knowing that it's more than that, but do it the same for all of them. If you pay more than the minimum payment, divide that by the total as well. If any of your calculations equals 11 or less, you can pay it off this year, assuming you stay on track and don't charge anymore to that account. You may want to see if you can squeeze just a few more dollars into your payment to pay it off quicker, but if you can't, don't worry. Plan to apply this payment to the remaining debt account with the highest interest rate.
If you don't have a bill that's going to get paid off this year by just doing what you're doing, divide each account total by 12 to see how much your payment would have to be to pay off the bill in one year (knowing that it will be a bit more, due to interest). Are there any you can afford to pay if you only pay the minimum on everything else? If there's more than one, choose the one highest on the list (the one with the highest interest rate) and begin paying the higher payment this month.
All Paid Off?
Did you pay off any bills last year? Gather then up. Save a single copy (the last bill) and write the date it was paid off and put all of them in a file marked Debts Paid Off (or similar) and stick it in a filing cabinet, in case they rear their ugly heads again. I'd even make a phone call to verify that the debt is paid off and write the date of the call and the name of the person you talked to and if there's a confirmation number, that too. And then scan it, and save it on the cloud somewhere. Any other paperwork you have related to the bill, gather it up and toss it on the fire under the light of the first sliver moon, or save them for February, the month of cleansing.
Don't Forget to Save
Saving is hard, but it's necessary. There is a tendency to want to wait till one's debts are paid off to start saving but if we do this, saving will never happen and debts will never go away. It's a vicious circle. Anything you don't have saved for that you can't live without, you will have to borrow for, which will only make your debts grow bigger. So start saving now so you'll have to borrow less later, and keep working on your debt and savings, little by little, side by side.
It is slightly less painful if you have the money automatically withdrawn from your paycheck or your bank at regular intervals so you have to budget around it, instead of budgeting it in. I recommend saving 10% from every paycheck. If you earn $500 per week, that's $50. In 10 weeks, you will have a week's pay stashed away. In a year, you'll have more than a month's. If you can't hack 10% right now, do 5% with a plan to increase as your circumstances improve. If you can't get your boss to direct deposit, set up a savings account that automatically withdraws it from you checking account yourself. Learn to use your bank's website if you haven't yet, it's your best financial friend.
But this is just your emergency fund. You should also make a habit of saving up for large purchases, rather than putting them on a credit card. My bank lets me give my savings account a nickname, so when I look on the website I can see instantly what I'm saving for - right now it says AC. So any time I think maybe I'd rather spend that extra $10 on junk food or maybe I need to take money out of savings to buy something now that I could wait till next Friday for, I have to look at that savings account name and think "Which do I want more, air conditioning next August, or a pair of shoes right this minute?" Sometimes the shoes win. Sometimes life happens and shoes fall apart and a girl's still got to walk. But having a name on the account makes me put more thought into it, like maybe I can make another pair work for a little longer and squeeze some shoes out of next month's grocery budget instead. I do leave a bit of wiggle room in the grocery budget for this sort of thing and if it doesn't happen, the AC account gets a bonus. When I've got my AC, I'll probably change the account name to something even more glamorous, like "Gutters".
As you get in the habit of saving for large purchases, rather than putting them on a credit card, and keeping an emergency fund (rather than relying on a credit card), you'll see your debts gradually dwindle and you'll find a new freedom. It gets really exciting when you realize you've got multiple months of income saved up and you can roll some of it into something long term with some serious interest potential and you can actually start thinking about retiring before you die or sending your kids to college or (gasp) both! Since I haven't gotten to that place yet, I am going to stop talking about it now.
I recommend Financial Sorcery: Magickal Strategies for Creating Real and Lasting Wealth by Jason Miller
I have also read Practical Prosperity Magick: Crafting Success & Abundance by Ellen Dugan and I found it to be… meh. But I have that opinion of all of her books, so if you've liked her other books you might like this one better than I do.
More like this
Comments, questions, criticism?