Monday, January 5, 2009

How Much Money Do You Have?

I've met more than one person over the years who never updates their checkbook. Why should they? The bank sends them a statement each month.

I'm often operating too close to the line to take this kind of approach. And I can't stand surprises of the "Oh - I have no more money" sort. I keep track of everything and I can tell you where I'm at financially at any given time.

But my husband and I split the financial responsibilities. He's in charge of some things, I'm in charge of others, which means that for either of us to get the full picture we have to sit down and compare notes.

I hate these meetings. For one thing, money just makes me tense. For another, my husband likes to keep figures in his head. I want them down on paper. When he starts rattling off numbers, my eyes glaze over and he starts sounding like one of the adults in a Charlie Brown movie.

It's worth it to know where we stand, though. We've been checking in a bit more frequently lately since the whole global economic brou-ha-ha, but we keep coming to the same conclusion; we're fine for now. Our stock investments are way down, but we won't need them for a few years. We'd like to sell some real estate, but there's no guarantee that we can. It doesn't hurt that I've been on this frugality kick - our costs have stayed the same even as prices have risen. Our small town is a good place to hunker down during a recession. Everything we need is right here.

I like to keep reminding myself that my frugality has a purpose. It's not to pinch pennies for the sake of being cheap. It's to spend less on unimportant things so I can spend more when it really counts. Knowing what I actually have to spend is the first step.

So my question to you today is do you know how much money you have? When's the last time you checked in on your investments, bank accounts and so on to see what's actually there? Tax time is coming up, too - do you know what you're missing?

1 comment:

L Harris said...

I usually know where we are. Sometimes I'll let it go for a couple days and it will catch me off guard, but for the most part, using our receipts, I keep a close eye on it.