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Naked With Cash: Betsey S, March 2014

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Naked With Cash is an ongoing series at Consumerism Commentary in which readers share their households’ finances with other readers. These participants benefit from the accountability that comes from tracking their finances publicly and the feedback of the four expert Certified Financial Planners (CFPs).

For more information, read this introduction.

This year, we have four participants who will share their financial reports, exposing the results of their financial choices. Each participant is paired with one of our Certified Financial Planners. The experts will provide insight and guidance that will help our participants take their finances to the next level by the end of 2014. Learn about this year’s participants and experts.

Betsey works as a government analyst. She is single, and lives with two roommates in order to keep her living costs down. However, Betsey plans to save up for a down payment on a home. In the long-term, Betsey hopes to save enough for a comfortable retirement so that she can focus on her passion — brewing craft beers. (Read her update from last month.)

After reading Betsey’s comments, you can see video commentary from Sara Stanich, CFP. Sara Stanich appears courtesy of Stanich Group and Cultivating Wealth. This month, Betsey will share information about her short-term financial goals.

Betsey’s Net Worth Statement

Betsey’s Income Statement

Comments and analysis from Betsey S

Household expenses were high this month because we had to replace some broken furniture. I’m also looking forward to the end of the winter and our utility bills coming down a bit as our heating bills decrease. March was very busy at work and I grabbed lunch in the cafeteria (“restaurants”) more often than I would like. Getting back to bringing my lunch regularly is a goal for April.

The short (or maybe longer) term goal I’m saving for is a house down payment. I currently have $5,800 saved out of my goal of $12,000 for the year. I’m also saving any “extra” income in a separate savings account to use for traveling to several weddings I have been invited to this summer. Keeping the money separate helps me to remember it’s already been “earmarked” for a special purpose even if it hasn’t been spent yet so that I don’t spend it on something else.

Feedback from Sara Stanich, CFP

Sara takes a look at Betsey’s excess spending for the month, and talks about how it’s not the end of the world to go over — occasionally. She also looks at Betsey’s short-term savings goal and talks about how important it is to set SMART goals.

Feedback from Luke Landes

Having separate savings accounts earmarked for upcoming expenses is a technique I’ve been using for a long time. And it’s really helpful. In the rare occasionally I had to “borrow” from a savings account to pay an unrelated bill, I felt a pang of annoyance — enough to prevent me from “borrowing” from these funds on a whim.

Don’t worry too much about grabbing lunch in the cafeteria. If you can get back to bringing your lunch in, good, but it’s always a question of how you value your time. They say there are ways to make meal preparation simple and quick, like preparing everything for the week on a Sunday, but I’ve never implemented a system that works perfect for me. So cooking for myself, especially when I had a day job, was not something I wanted to spend too much time on.

As always, I’m looking forward to reading about your progress.

Updated June 22, 2016 and originally published April 25, 2014.

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About the author

Luke Landes is the founder of Consumerism Commentary. He has been blogging and writing for the internet since 1995 and has been building online communities since 1991. Find out more about Luke Landes and follow him on Twitter. View all articles by .

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