Thoughts on the Real Life

Savings Goals: Laptops vs White Boards

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We all know what this is. You’re probably sitting at one right now. And it’s made all of our lives better. Right? The computer.

I do the majority of my financial stuff on a laptop connected to the internet. I use online banking to transfer money and check account balances. I use Google Docs to hold my budget, savings goals and deadlines, a list of regular bill amounts and due dates, and other financial information. It’s convenient, really. To pick up a small device and be able to access all of that information in a few minutes and make any changes necessary and then be on my merry way.

But I started getting frustrated a couple of weeks ago. I have an excel document that holds all of my savings goals for the next couple of years and then I have it outlined (basically) how I will reach those goals. It’s in detail for the year 2010 and in general for the following years. But for some reason looking at those on a screen was just not satisfying me–plus, there were a lot of “little” things I wanted to buy with cash that I didn’t put on there because they didn’t seem important enough.

And for the life of me I couldn’t get the spreadsheet to look just the way I wanted it to. Computers can only do so much, you know.

So what did I do? I pulled out the white board. I’m pretty sure I just THINK better when I have to hand-write instead of type.

Once I found a dry-erase marker I was at it. I could put things wherever I wanted, however I wanted and it was so easy to change. I know spreadsheets aren’t hard to change, but I think I was just beginning to feel limited by my small screen. I wanted to see everything for the next few months in one glance as far as it came to making purchases I am saving for. There were items, dollar amounts, dates and current totals listed and everything seemed to be sooo much more organized.

I feel so much more free now. I don’t know about you but there’s nothing like getting things in order that takes any stress that I had completely off. Call me old-fashioned but this white board method just soooo worked for me. Who knows, maybe it won’t last but a couple of days but being able to see all of it right there and being able to change it in my own handwriting whenever I wanted to brought me a sense of control that I didn’t have when I was putting them all on the spreadsheet.

Maybe I’m crazy but what I’m trying to say is just do what works for you.

There are countless gurus out there who will tell you, “This is the way you do this” and “This is the way you organize your finances (or your life for that matter).” But none of that really matters if it doesn’t work. Find what works for you and then do it! It will save you time, money and energy.

Computers work for me–most of the time. But for savings goals I’d rather have it on the computer AND on my handwritten white board where I can, literally, touch it. 😉

What about you? Do you prefer computers or hand-written boards or pieces of paper when organizing? Do you have any efficient non-conventional methods of planning you can share with the rest of us?

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