Since I wrote this, a few things have changed. I have a car loan now (I hid my down payment from Mint because lol), a third credit card (the Chase Sapphire), and an account in Schwab’s Intelligent Portfolios, which is an automatic investment account similar to Wealthfront or Betterment. I went on vacation, and Mint still doesn’t handle this very well, but my approach was to allocate the amount I usually send to my Emergency Fund into a budget item called Vacation. For about 4 months I strategically booked flights, hotels, and other vacation expenses such that they would remain inside this temporary budget. It’s not ideal, but it worked okay for me.
I also have a goal, inspired by this post where a couple in NYC saved $100,000 in 6 years. It’s aggressive, but I’m going to try and do it in 5. Based on how much I have saved right now, I need to put away roughly 20% of my post-tax income per month, and this is in addition to that car payment and my obscene San Francisco rent. But I think I can do it. I am splitting my savings between a brokerage account I handle myself (aka index funds), the Intelligent Portfolios account, and cash in my “high yield” savings account. $100,000 might not sound like much at SF prices, but that’s a 20% (or more!) down payment in most of the country. I don’t want to have to rely on winning the startup lottery.
Despite these changes, though, the strategies remain the same. Split out budgets so you know exactly how much spending money you have. Don’t spend more than you make, if you can help it. That type of thing. I hope that this post continues to help people who are trying to sort out their finances without anybody to ask for help.