When I first met my friend Sarah Natsumi Moore back in 2016, she was in the middle of a yearlong project called the 12 Experiments. Each month she chose a new experiment and spent the month trying it on for size; when we met I think she was in the middle of “A Month of Waking Up at 5 am” and it wasn’t going so well. I admired the project and Sarah’s gumption for turning her life into a series of experiments and I’ve been thinking about it ever since.
With the new year rolling around and the usual million and one things I want to do but never seem to get around to, I decided to do my own 12 experiments. That very same week, Sarah posted on facebook that she was rebooting the experiments for 2019, only this time, she was inviting friends and strangers alike to join in. I am not one to ask questions of aligning stars such as these, and I threw my name in the hat. Fast forward a few weeks, today is January 1st and I am starting my first experiment, A Month of Money a.k.a. Ballin on a Budget: 2019 Edition.
I’ve spent many years carefully honing and refining a tried-and-true approach toward personal finance. Thomas’ 7 Step Program For Financial Success is as follows:
Step 1. Imagine that your bank statement is a take-out box way in the back of the fridge. You don’t know what’s in there but it’s probably gross. See how long you can pretend it doesn’t exist.
Step 2. Toward the end of each month, check to see if you have enough money to cover next month’s rent. If not, panic.
Step 3. Try not to spend any money, ever, on anything.
Step 4. Splurge! You’ve earned it.
Step 5. Berate yourself for splurging.
Step 6. Bi-annually, call your bank and threaten to close your accounts unless your recent overdraft fees are waived.
Step 7. Endlessly brainstorm schemes to make more money. Consider selling your plasma.
For this experiment, I’m going to make the bold decision to table my 7 steps for the month of January and try out some new strategies. I think first I’ll dust off that old Mint.com account and come up with a budget (woof), and then wrap my head around saving up a 6-month emergency fund (yeesh). And just when I think I can’t have any more fun, I’m going to attempt to stick to that budget and see how much money I can save. Stay tuned!