What a great post over at Weakonomics – the seven types of saver. I love trying to categorise myself with things like these!
After reading all the descriptions, I have to say I’m a mix of two – the Bucket and the Sweeper. I keep nothing in my main account. That’s changed over the years – at one point I used to keep it quite flush, with a cushion of a few hundred dollars. Now I’m back to budgeting down to zero and everything is devoted to a purpose. I also like to keep various savings separate, although I still need to open up a couple more subaccounts.
There was a debate over on the MSN boards recently about this – whether it’s better to have actual differentiated accounts (and the possible fees that come with that) or simply shovel them all into one, keeping track of how much is allocated to each fund via a spreadsheet. Oddly enough, the battle kind of fell down gender lines, with the guys preferring to keep everything in one streamlined account and the women liking to separated them out. Luckily for me, my online savings accounts not only pay interest but have no fees and provide easy access through internet banking.
The Mr. Bucket: Mr. Bucket has more than two savings accounts and each one has a name. 12% goes to emergency fund, 8% to the house fund, 20% to honeymoon fund, etc… You have no fun with your money because each bucket is a never-ending pit.
The Sweeper: These are the people that keep a bare minimum in their checking accounts. Every penny above the minimum is “swept” into savings, paying down debt, retirement accounts, or something else. They probably use a credit card for most expenses, paying it off each month. Sweepers are aggressive savers.
I (and T for that matter) used to be a combination of the Magician and the In-n-out paycheck to paycheck types. And this was when we were both working and he was bringing in decent money! But I have to bear in mind he was paying off more debt then, as well as all the other expenses incurred by work – gas, tools, clothes, food, etc. It’s a little hard not to be bitter and think about how much money we wasted during that period! But live and let live.
I’m a CPA with a bit of Mr. Bucket and Sweeper. I enjoy saving for saving’s sake; I like just seeing the money in my account grow, and I compete with myself to see how much I can save each month.
Doesn’t mean I do smart things with my money, though…I make too many excuses for myself when I spend a lot or don’t save enough. I eventually just blow it on a vacation to Hawaii or a trip home to see my parents, whatever I decide I have to have. In the meantime, I don’t save enough for retirement or for really long term goals like buying a house. 🙁 I’m trying to change…
Definitely a sweeper.
I’ve given up on formally budgeting other than just fixed expenses.