Monday, March 21, 2011

Penny Pinching

This isn't kid-related, so much, but maybe a good reminder to do some spring cleaning of your budget and finances.

I think we do a pretty good job of managing our finances, but we haven't done an in-depth budget and review credit reports since before Ellen was born and we were in that diapers-and-daycare-cost-how-much? phase. It was part of the nesting then, I guess, and now just part of some spring cleaning.

You can visit to get a free copy of your credit report (1 per year from each of 3 companies). You have to purchase your credit score if you need it, but at least you would know if there were any potential issues on your credit history.

Erik also used to be pretty dedicated to entering all of our banking and credit card information into Microsoft Money, but really, who has time for that anymore? I just signed up at Mint and it seems like a pretty neat thing. You enter all of your banking / credit card / loan / mortgage / investment accounts and it sucks in all the information and has some budgeting formulas it uses. I haven't played around with it much, but you might find you like it. It's as secure as any other online banking service.

Finally, I am manually going back through the last year of our credit card and bank statements to classify our purchases into categories. Tedious? Totally. But, I want to have as accurate a picture of our spending as I can. You smart financial people probably already know that you can get a year-end summary on your credit card website (we put almost everything on our credit card and pay it off each cycle), where they either classify it by store or category - very helpful.

So, that's the spring cleaning we have going on around here. The next (overwhelming) task is the yard - who is coming to help?

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