A conversation from yesterday with a family member, the gist of which is reproduced from memory below:
C: You make it look easy.
C: No really you make it look easy.
C: You always seem to have money.
Me: (Poker face)
C: You've retired, you're working on your house, your kids are all in college or graduated .... you look like you're in control. You always seem to be able to provide the things that people need.
C: How do you do it?
Me: I never gave it any thought.
C: Well, I think you're really well organized. What's the secret?
Me: Ummm ..... I guess I have time now to think about what I'm doing ....
C: I can't seem to get organized.
Me: And spreadsheets. I have spreadsheets for everything.
And that, ladies and gents, is the golden nugget. Spreadsheets work for me. I can tell at a glance how much money is going in and out of the bank accounts, where it came from and why, and what it was spent on.
I know exactly how much money has been spent on college expenses and, to the day, exactly how much longer I am on the hook for those expenses. Looking at those numbers is sufficient motivation to encourage the kids to all get jobs for independence. Even Cat had a banner month at work in September and received a big paycheck this month. When I talk to the kids about money, I know that I'm coming off as an authority because I know exactly what is going on with my finances and I know that I don't want my kids up in my bank account any longer LOL
I use spreadsheets for savings, travel plans .... even housecleaning LOL I've found what works for me and I've stuck with it and spreadsheets have made a huge difference in my life.
It's nice that other people close to me are noticing. Perhaps I am acting as a passive motivator for them to get their lives in order. That makes me smile when I think of the chaos in which I have lived for decades. No one knew. Or maybe they did but just didn't say anything. Either way, as I deal with less and less stuff in my life, it is easier and easier to get rid of/organize the stuff that's left. It is easy now for me to plan expenses and project income/savings/spending. In that regard, my life has changed so much.
Now, if only I could do something about my weight. Is there a spreadsheet for that??