Managing Money on a Commission, Part 2

Last week, I introduced the "Managing Money on a Commission" series. It chronicles my personal fight to learn how to manage money when money isn't consistent. I've been looking at several personal finance websites, like The Simple Dollar, and applying their strategies to my situation.

I've always been a person that gets into something really fast, then dabbles in it for a little bit, then leaves it alone.

It's becoming increasingly obvious that this whole "money management" thing isn't one of them. This is something that I'm really going to have to work at daily, making smarter financial choices. For example, for lunch, I normally eat what we call "a bag of garbage": A sack full of multiple fast food items, none of which are good for you neither financially nor health-wise. $4-6 a day adds up at the end of the week, especially when you count the  breakfasts and dinners that I also have to purchase.

So I've decided to curtail that, by preparing large dinners at home using my not-insignificant cooking skill. (I used to watch Mom a lot in the kitchen and she taught me some stuff.) The leftovers from the previous night can be used for lunch. Sounds simple, right? What really boggles my mind is that I never really thought about doing this before.

I also opened a high-interest savings account with ING Direct. The interest rate of my savings account at my bank is only 0.25%, while ING Direct hovers at about 1.10%. I know those numbers seem small (and they are), but 1.10% is over 4 times more than my conventional savings account. Another reason why I opened the ING account is that it's online. When you do your banking with an online institution, you don't have access to your funds as easily as you would if they were just sitting over at the local credit union. That means that I can essentially steal from myself and create an emergency fund with money that I can't easily fritter away on non-essentials. My goal is to have $1,000 in that account by the time tax season rolls around.

My main plan is to create an emergency fund to fall back on, as well as pay off the rest of my credit cards (two down, one to go!). After I get those accounts zeroed out, I can start saving in earnest.

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