Thinking more about my finances

I’ve been thinking more about my finances lately and how much I’ve been in a comfort zone with regard to them.  My husband and I form a dual income family with no kids, so it’s quite easy for us to continue making our ends meet.  But, we both feel like we could be doing more.  We’ve also both been frustrated with work lately.  Not that we don’t enjoy our jobs, we just value our time a lot and have a lot of things we’d like to accomplish.  We’ve already started discussing the possibilities of retiring early, but in order to do that and maintain certain lifestyle expectations, we’re going to have to move out of our financial comfort zone and start pushing ourselves to do even more with our money.

There are two ways that this can be accomplished:

  1. Spend less – We can tighten our budget belts and start saving more of our money.  This would mean reducing our current living standard a bit, which would be difficult.  Not that we live lavishly, but dialing back would mean giving up a few of the things we’ve grown accustomed to.  I’m definitely going to be taking a look at where this is going to be possible.  But, I don’t want to sacrifice the quality of certain things that we currently enjoy.  Just isn’t worth it in the long run.
  2. Earn more – I think we’ll definitely have to explore this as a possibility a bit more.  To be quite accurate, we want to figure out how to increase our income without major increases in time.  Any additional income has to come from somewhere and will inevitably take some time investment.  But, it would be nice to set up things that take as little time as possible, since more time is one of the things we want to move towards and not away from.

I’ve realized it’s been a long time since I actually examined where our money had been spent.  I used to enter everything into our accounting program but now my husband does this job.  He works on it at home and work and emails the files back and forth.  It’s a great system for him, but it puts it largely out of my control since I don’t know where the files are saved on his computer and I don’t know what is the most current one.  So, I told L that I wanted to be able to access the info more regularly again and he’s agreed that he’ll save it at the end of each month in the same spot and share the folder where it’s kept.  That way I’ll know where to find it and when the file will have been last updated.  I even have a program on my computer that will monitor network folders and let me know when they have been changed automatically, so he doesn’t even have to remember to tell me when he’s updated something.

The fact that I enrolled in a course this fall is another thing I’m doing to improve our future financial outlook.  I’m taking this particular course for work.  It didn’t have to be this course, but education is encouraged and paid for, so long as it is somehow related to the business.  Since my program is about general management, it relates to almost any business.  So, I’m getting free courses that will help me be a better employee where I’m currently at, but will also be an asset if I ever need to get a different job.  Further education and contribution to the company is one of the things that is considered when our wages are reviewed, so taking courses also might improve my earnings.  I’ve also been thinking about ways in which I can be more efficient at my current job, so that I get my boring monotonous tasks done more quickly and have more time for more innovative and interesting things (this is a bit difficult since data verification and stuffing envelopes are the two big time sinks that I find boring and there’s only so much time you can shave off those tasks).

Part of what’s inspired me to start looking more closely at this is a bunch of personal finance blogs that I’ve been reading lately.  I’ve been very inspired by people who put all their financial figures and stuff out there for the world to see.  I think it’s very brave and it helps to de-mystify and break a lot of the taboos that surround money.  I might blog more about our financial journey, but since I’m only one half of my particular equation, I want to clear it with L before I start releasing any more detailed information.

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