Budget and Time management help.

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Aug 8, 2005
We aren't doing that great a job with our budgeting. DF was good at it when we both worked for other people, but now that he works for himself it's become a big issue. We're not in trouble... but I want to avoid anything in the future. Can my accountant help me with his or are their separate financial planning resources/ firms that I should use? And do you have any suggestions if so?

Also, DF has time management issues. I'm good at it myself... but I can't translate it well to him. He's self employed so this is becoming a big deal. I see these time management guru's on TV... but how do I find one IRL? I am hoping for a time management tutor type service.

Can you help us?


Jan 2, 2006
when I worked at home i found that i did my best work from 6am -noon. anything after that had to be mindless.

I needed to shower and get dressed as if i were going to the lab, or else I stayed in "saturday morning mode". caffeine helped.

i found that mondays off was the best routine for me.

TV off. computer was a reward for getting goals done - do this batch of soap, take a break, do that batch of soap, take a break.

I had to unplug the phone as well, and tell friends that i was WORKING and couldn''t chat now. friends were the worst for time interruptors. they couldn''t understand that i was no longer in housewife mode. "I can''t talk now, can we talk at 6 tonight?"

thursdays, when i loaded the vehicle for the craft fair/historical reenactment. i didn''t talk to anyone. i tended to get testy while loading.

friday. saturdays and sundays I was gone to the civil war reenactment, rendezvous, or whatever.


May 7, 2004
Hi Gypsy,

I have some thoughts that you might find helpful and I share them in that spirit.

I''m sure that you realize that being self-employed can easily turn into a feast-or-famine scenario. So, I''ve learned from past experiences and from my friends and colleagues, that it''s extremely important to have some sense of whether the revenues are regular or cyclical or seasonal. If monies don''t come in regularly, it may help to have a "base line" amount that you must hold in reserve each month for living expenses, debt service, work expenses, etc. That amount is not discretionary income. I''m sure you know that self-employment and income taxes must be accounted for and held back so that next April won''t result in a financial surprise. Bottom line: $1 in revenue does not equal $1 in spendable income.

Once you''ve established what general amount of gross income you may expect to receive per month, subtracted the amount for taxes, paid your must-pay bills, etc., then any excess is discretionary money that you can either spend freely or allocate between retirement funds, savings, short-term spending and long-term spending goals.

I''m sure that you are aware that self-employed people can take advantage of generous retirement plans like SEP-IRAs, etc. Amounts contributed to these plans (that you set up yourself with a financial institution or mutual fund company) reduce your taxable income and people without an employer-sponsored plan should not ignore this important aspect of their finances. In fact, plans for the self-employed may allow for higher annual contributions than an employer''s 401(k) plan depending on your income.

Being self-employed gives you somewhat more flexibility in managing your finances, but it requires discipline. I suggest that the more "organized" partner may have to do more of the bookkeeping-type work so that year-end doesn''t result in unpleasant surprises. Receipts for expenses, tax deposits and other "housekeeping" matters have to be dealt with. Short of consulting with a CPA or a financial planner, I believe that you should have some general understanding of how self-employed people handle taxes and finances. Finding a good book on the subject may get you started in the right direction and alert you to issues relevant to your and your fiance''s businesses.

I remember that you are an attorney so perhaps you already have a great deal of knowledge about these matters.

As for time management--I wish I had more information on that myself!
But keeping track of your own finances will definitely require a bit of time investment.

I hope this helped.


May 23, 2006
My DH is rather lacking in time management skills but is getting better. Suggest that your husband writes down a schedule of what he wants to get done by what time during the day so that he has a goal to work toward. That has helped both DH and I in managing our time, although we don''t work from home.

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