Just when you thought the resolutions posts were beginning to die down … here I am, with more talk about change! Yep, everyone is still freshly committed to those resolutions for the year and were all faced with the challenge of how we will, in fact, live our best lives in 2018. While some of these resolutions are actually bogus, self evaluation and improvement is, and always will be, a good thing.
Where to start …. I had a running list on my phone about hopes for the next year, which all seem great, but come January 10, I still didn’t know where to begin because there were so many things that could be changed. I talked about some more of the fun stuff in my New Years post and some of them I have actually addressed and implemented for change (i.e. working out and taking my vitamins was real simple it turns out and vacation planning is more of a luxury than a chore), but I didn’t talk about the tough stuff in that post, like the planning for the future stuff. So I sat down to figure it out for myself, or at least give it an effort by thinking about the big things that mattered to me.
I wrote down a few more questions I needed to answer, like: What am I doing for myself this year? What am I doing for my community? How am I going to continue improving my health conditions? What worked last year? What is still unresolved?
But I want to focus on this one today: Where do I want this blog to go in 2018? I love being able to share so much of my personal life on here and my medical journey. It has lifted an enormous weight off me being able to fully own my health conditions and to stop apologizing for those ‘shortcomings’. But as many of you know, there are so many other facets to my life and I would love the opportunity to expand on some of those with you. I really enjoy talking about current news and legal issues pertaining to health, but also to my life in general, as a 27 year old attorney living in a big city with an interest in things like the environment, technology and as of recent, investing. I know this seems out of the scope of what is usually talked about on here, and while my health makes it feel impossible to actually ever have control of my finances, budgeting and investing in general are both high on my list to become better versed in this year.
Who’s ready to talk about finances?!
Budgets. The excuse that I just graduated and am just starting off my career is no longer cute nor true. This May, I will have been out of law school 3 years. I cannot believe that as I type it. It is time to really start determining what I need to do to better save. I am not saving for anything in particular like a house or a car, but more for a good opportunity. If something presents itself, I want to be able to do as I please. I compiled a running list: salary after taxes, rent, medical expenses, and loans were the big numbers. With what remains, I wanted to answer the following questions:
- What expenses can be cut?
- What portion can I put towards investing?
- What should I realistically spend on gifts and events?
- How much can I put towards travel?
- What’s left, and how should it be allocated?
This is where I decided a budget app could be a good start so that I can live my most financially responsible life in 2018. I have always been able to manage my checking account and save where needed, but my needs have changed, and I need to allocate differently. I wish I could say I made a breakthrough or was able to endorse a specific app or product, but that isn’t the case. What I will share are the few decisions I have made after my research and also what I did find so you can sort through yourself and also make the best decision for your situation!
When it comes to budgeting, there are a ton of applications out that can help you manage your accounts, however, so many of them cost money. I am okay with that when I know I will use the product, but right now, I’m still a little weary. There are a ton of articles breaking down the best apps for specific reasons, which give a breakdown much better than I could, so I just listed by price.
- You Need a Budget (free 34 day trial, $50/yr)
- Mvelopes (free 30 day trial, $4/mo. For basic package)
- Money Dance ($50 yr)
- Count About ($10/yr for basic, $40/yr for premium)
- Good Budget ($15 for 3 months, $24 for 6 months)
- Pocket Guard (free)
- Personal Capital (free)
- Mint (free)
As of today … I downloaded Mint. Mostly because it is one of the highest reviewed and it is free. I am not sure whether a budgeting app is what I need or if I need to do more financial planning, so I am giving this one at least two months before I make a next move. It wasn’t the most exciting thing I have done and was also a little depressing seeing how much I spend on food (Whole Foods is literally across the street), but I needed these hard numbers in order to motivate myself to change anything.
In the future … if I actually stick to these budgets, I will likely switch to a more manual based app that allows me to control what I am budgeting for, as some of my budget needs are more specific than the general population. Apps like Home Budget are pretty comprehensive and allow more control of the budgeting guidelines.
Investments. Budgeting and investing go somewhat hand in hand. When I discovered these budgeting apps, I quickly fell into the deep novice investing hole as well. Now that I am up for air, here is what I found:
I am starting with Acorns. This investment app works with your bank account to utilize your excess change from a transaction and allocate it towards investments. So say you spend $11.30 at lunch, Acorns rounds up to the nearest dollar and puts that .70 cents towards investments, from what I understand. Once you get to $5, it will start investing. There are some downfalls regarding cost, it charges $1 a month and once you are over $5,000, it charges .25% of your account balance. Also, it can take up to a week to get your funds paid out, but that’s what you can expect with an app like this. It seems to be a decent starter app for novice investors like me. Other apps like Robinhood are better suited for those who are well versed in investing, aka those who know what investments actually are, unlike myself, but aren’t quite comfortable enough to start trading on their own. Another new year’s resolution.
I’ll check back in with you guys in a few months if you’re interested and let you know how any and all of this goes. If you have any suggestions let me know! If not, plan to hear more about some career stuff, some finance stuff, some creative stuff, some more Crohn’s and Thyroid stuff, some exciting guest posts, and as always FOOD STUFF.