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Posts Tagged ‘finances’

I made a lot of money last year; I spent quite a bit of money, too. Around December I made a calculation of my finances to date:

  • A lot – quite a bit = not very much left over.

With this number in my head, I made a firm commitment to take stock of my finances and gain control of my expenditures. So the first thing I did was open a Mint account.

And I realized something almost immediately: I was spending a lot on self aggrandizement. Mint kindly pointed out to me that…

  • I like my expensive meals out (because Taco Bell just doesn’t cut it any more)
  • I like my Apple and related geeky electronic stuff
  • I like my outdoor gear
  • I really like food in general

Really, I should say we, because Denette and I both drink from the same fountain. But I’ll save that POV for her post. Anyway, I’ve been liking these things too much. Especially the expensive meals and the geeky electronic stuff.

As I started getting control of the expenditures a really interesting thing happened: most of the money I’ve started saving is, of course, going into the savings, but a larger percentage than I’ve ever spent before is going to causes Denette and I support, like One, the Sierra Club, Greenpeace, and St. Jude’s. I had been using it to buy things I wanted, but now that my spending  habits were explicitly displayed for me, I knew that I could be giving a much larger portion of it to someone who actually needed it

Even more significantly, I’ve started volunteering again with groups and organizations who strive to make a difference, such as ECOSLO. Which is, quite simply, the most satisfying way of doing good. I feel again as if I am the change, instead of just a supporter of change. Doing pwns donating.

Oh, and it totally puts the self-aggrandizement in its place.

Which feels really, really good.

Which feels like my childhood, when I devoted a significant amount of my time to the community and learned much of what I know now but seemed to have forgotten a little over the years. Back then it was not about money; it was only about helping.

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I had an astute friend ask me to track expenses on the projects we’re doing. With the economy at the forefront of everyone’s minds, I think that’s a great idea. We can demonstrate in very real terms how much it costs (or saves!) to do the sustainable thing.

I’ve placed the tracker on the TV Episodes page. It’s pretty rough right now, but I’ll refine it as time goes on. One of the things I can already think of is how to demonstrate savings as well. For instance, we haven’t used our electric dryer for three weeks. I’m sure that’s saved us some substantial pocket change.

Let me know if you can think of anything else we should be tracking—financially or otherwise.

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