11 December 2005

FtG -- Fighting the Guilt of Going the Right Direction

One of my New Year's Resolutions (which I do at Celtic New Year rather than Gregorian New Year) was to get my financial house in order. I was finally going to face all the ugliness head on, and do the research to get the right answers. The fruits of that research are going to be forthcoming in future FtG blogs. But anyway.... One of the commandments of pretty much every financial self-helper out there is to pay yourself first. OK, fine. Set that up so that a reasonable amount out of each check was going into the old 401(k). Waited. Waited. Waited some more... and then suddenly, got a paycheck where double my requested donation was taken out! Oi! So I call. I yell. They promise to put that money back into my next paycheck. Next paycheck rolls around, money isn't there. I call. I yell. Turns out what they'd decided to do, based on the legal penalties to them for doing anything else, was double-dip outta the one check, to cover their butts for taking so long to set my account up. Now, we live in the Bay Area of CA, where housing prices are steep. I have one paycheck to pay our bills, then the next covers the housepayment, with basically spit leftover. So what the gyrations of the payroll folks has done, is leave me paying the housepayment out of a short check, two checks in a row. I had to do all kinds of finance gymnastics to make this work. And I am fighting nearly overwhelming guilt and shame, like I'm some kind of financial deadbeat. I am having to fight every instinct I have to keep from going in and changing my 401(k) allocation. But paying yourself first is what matters, right? I think it's also more depressing than it'd be otherwise, because everyone around me is indulging in the pre-Christmas mercantilist orgy, and I do feel a tad left out. So I'm having to be creative about Christmas gifts. That's a good thing, right? So I'm paying myself first. And that's a good thing too. And I'm rearranging my bills more comfortably, and that's also a good thing. So whence this cringe?


At 12/13/2005 08:30:00 AM, Anonymous Mom2 said...

Go Laureen. I am making most of my Christmas gifts. making them with Love, isn't that's what the season about. talking about over payment, my car insurance just did same thing. was suppose to be only $10 more a month for adding on trailer got my first bill today it's $85 more so guess it's my turn to yell.

At 12/28/2005 09:00:00 PM, Anonymous Dana Nourie said...

The fact you are conscious of all this says heaps to me.

I cut way back this year, managed to spend less in some areas, so that after xmas spending, I'd gone over my budget only by $100.00. Watching this, in the form of a spreadsheet, made me realize how hideously I've overspent each month and Dec always sent me over the edge, leaving me scratching my head and wondering, what the hell happened.

Taking stock is new for me, and it's been quite an eye opener. But there is something very freeing about it, and I finally feel like I'm in the driver's seat.

Thanks for the book, btw! It's been very good, but I page ahead now and then and see stuff about 401K's and IRA's and I just cringe. I'll be ready by the time I get to those pages, and I'm assuming it will be written with the handholding I've experienced so far.

What's been going on with your paycheck is just insane. I've not had one problem paycheck with them. I don't get it.



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