Time is Money in Regulation Rematch

Kricket is a weekly Club 75 Blogger as she documents her journey through the CPA Exam. She has been a member of Another71.com's Club 75 since May 2009.

For the past several weeks we have been looking at Time and Billing software at work. That task has efficiently sucked up a boat load of time.

Last week I wished that I was as obsessive about time as I am about my finances. I have charts and spreadsheets to keep track of every penny.

I learned my money management skills while going through Dave Ramsey’s Financial Peace University. With my ex-husband who liked to drink a lot, and my husband’s ex-wife, who liked to shop a lot, we really needed some help. So I signed up and got it done.

It didn’t take long to pay off all of the credit cards, the house and dear husband’s truck. We have one car payment and my student loans left. But with exam fees and review courses to pay for, I haven’t been able to debt snowball those last two debts that keep me from saying I’m finally debt free. I know that in time we will get them too.

I thought if I could apply Dave’s budgeting techniques to my time, because time is money, then I could get through this test once and for all. So I created a massive spreadsheet, as I am prone to do, and accounted for every minute of every day for one week.

Sleep was allocated 49 hours, work got 40 hours, preparing meals and eating got 21 hours and so on until I had no time left. Monday morning I got up early and got started. Things went very smoothly until Monday night. By 9:00pm I was exhausted, but I still had things I wanted to do.

Tuesday was rough but I got through just about everything. By Wednesday I was ready to throw in the towel. Thursday I didn’t stick to the time budget at all. It was chaos.

I sat down and looked at the time budget and realized that I had committed the cardinal sin of budgeting, I didn’t budget any blow time. I had created this strict, micro-managed time budget and didn’t allow myself time to enjoy life and my family.

The quickest way to blow a financial budget is to forget to budget money to blow. You have to have something that you can do whatever you want to with. So I’ve completely redone the time budget to allow myself some much needed breaks throughout the evening.

I still have 49 hours budgeted to sleep and 40 hours budgeted to work. Those can’t change. Now I have 30 minutes budgeted on Thursday night to watch The Big Bang Theory, 2 hours Saturday evening set aside to watch Battlestar Galactica (what can I say, I’m a geek) and time throughout the week to do whatever I want to do. Some of my breaks are 30 minutes and some are an hour or so, but it’s time that I can do nothing if I want.

Since Roger CPA Review has short lectures, the longest is about 50 minutes or so, it was easy to plug them into the time budget and get started. I should be through watching lectures by Sunday evening and still have some semblance of sanity left. Then I work homework problems over and over again.

I know that my personal financial habits are engrained in me after months of forcing myself to check the bank balance every night, reconcile the check book every night, make menus for every meal and plan the menu from the weekly grocery story ads.

I have to make the time budget part of my daily routine just like reconciling the checkbook. This won’t happen overnight, but then we didn’t pay off $35,000 in debt overnight either. We worked at it.

I’m through watching lectures tonight and doing what I need to do so I can spend some time with my husband and son. My rematch with REG is just 23 days away and I’m on target to meet my goals. My hotel room is booked for the Sunday before the exam. I will spend 3 days away from everyone and all of life’s distractions to do nothing but study!

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