Wednesday, October 04, 2006

Fixed expenses, or, how my checking account makes me un-crazy

So I'm up to three checking accounts now - one is my credit union account which has rent and general spending, one is my KeyBank account out of which all the bills are paid, and one is my Bank of America account which is pretty much just for presents and other infrequent items.

I've nudged down my fixed expenses a little - here's what I had before:

Netflix - $13
Phone bill - $57
Newspaper - $5
Lingo - $10
Student loan - $150
Credit card - $250
Electric bill - $75
Gas - $15
Roth IRA - $125
Total: $700

Here's what I have now:

Netflix - $11 (changed from 2 at a time, 4 per month to 1 at a time unlimited)
Phone bill - $57
Newspaper - $0 (paid $30 plus $15 tip for delivery through March 2007)
Lingo - $0 (cancelled Lingo)
Student loan - $150
Credit card - $250
Electric bill - $75
Gas - $35 (figured I should raise this allocation due to winter)
Roth IRA - $125
Total: $703
Amount actually deposited by employer: $715

Having set all this up so beautifully, though, I feel the need to tinker with it. My $1000 emergency fund makes me a little nervous, so I think for a while I'm going to pay the minimum on the (0%) credit card and send the extra money to savings. I don't want to change my direct deposit allocations yet AGAIN so I will transfer the money some other way. I have an extra $50 in there now (account opening minumum) and I'll have an extra $10 or so every month in case there are small overages.

Now I'm trying to convince myself that it will all be OK if I set things to automatically pay. Because every month, though I actually enjoy paying bills, I worry that I'll forget something. So I'm going to do it properly and set everything up automatic and all that. It will be splendid.

But this system has already paid off for me. Though I only had $950 deposited into my spending account this month, and immediately sent $695 off for rent, I felt calm and collected doing so, because I knew that all the bills would be taken care of out of the money in the other account - no fuss.


HC said...

I need to downgrade my Netflix subscription too. I don't watch my DVDs very quickly. But I have one film that I've just not gotten around to for months. I need to suck it up, watch it, send it back, and then downgrade right away.

And I'm really glad you found a payment system that works for you.

Amber said...

And I thought I was crazy having three savings accounts...

It seems to work for you so kudos. I think that's really the hard part, finding something that works. Once that hurdle is past the rest is cake.

Then Things said...

How is your gas bill so low?? I thought you were in the midwest? Here in chicago ours got up to over $200 a month in the winter time.

Kira said...

My gas bill is $15 or under in the summer, and has only once topped $125 in the winter.. Part of it has to do with our location (central Ohio) which doesn't actually get all that cold, part of it is the design of our apartment (small, square, only four windows, shares two walls with other units), and part of it is that our two computers generate enough heat that we often have the downstairs thermostat at maybe 67. ;)

I actually have at least five savings accounts - one attached to my spending checking, four with ING, and I think I have one at HSBC that I don't have any money in.