When I landed my first big girl job, I panicked. Taking over responsibility for my health and car insurance payments seemed more daunting at the time than finishing hundreds of hours of physics research. I had budgeted my time and money before, but needed more support and clearly outlined goals. I needed to invest money in envelopes or time in finding a web-based service.
My first instinct was to go back to Mint. I had first adopted this service two years ago after researching quite a few budgeting and business apps for my first freelancing article. Though the Mint app was free, its interface was anything but intuitive. To this day, I couldn't tell you how to set a budget or savings goals on that website. After a few months of bill reminders and weekly spending reports, I abandoned that account.
Instead of revamping my Mint account, I started googling. Several articles later, I stumbled across LearnVest. The web-based service was still in Beta testing, but the interface was clean and the budget center easy to navigate. In 20 minutes, I had set a budget, marked financial goals and enrolled in a budgeting boot camp.
I spent several hours surfing their Knowledge Center section. Reading stories from others in their 20s, 30s and even 40s who were starting from scratch has been a powerful motivator. The daily e-mails about articles and service updates keeps me engaged and reminds me that my money and debt exist. It also reminds me that I am not alone.
Since then, LearnVest has introduced an app that miniaturizes most of the services available on the website including the articles. Using a combination of the app and online services and the envelope system, I reached my first savings goal last month. At the same time, we have built up a vacation fund by saving loose change and using a rewards-based credit card for all grocery (6%) and gas (3%) purchases.
Even though money is tight, a modest beach weekend is on the horizon with plans to travel to points further afield this summer. None of it would be possible without a budget and a plan.
Today's title is from Bo Burnham's "New Math." Full disclaimer: I did not receive compensation for this review.