Saving Money

Personal Finance Interview with Paul Stamatiou of PaulStamatiou.com

Name: Paul Stamatiou

Age: 20
Type: Young Professional
Networth Range: $40k – $50k
Profession: Student, Blogger, Developer
Websites: paulstamatiou.com


Current Financial Strategy: Spending as wisely as possible.

 

Best Financial Tip: This is the Internet age, go paperless and you won’t have pesky credit card statements cluttering up your workspace.

Worst Financial Move Ever: Not buying renter’s insurance.

Financially, I need help with: Growing my wealth. Currently I have everything in a checking account. I probably need help in where to look to begin saving up – savings account on my debit card, stock market, etc etc.

What personal finance tools do you currently use to track and manage your money?

At the moment I utilize Bank of America’s online account to see where I spend my money and find out how soon I’ll have to call up the parents for reinforcements. I have a Bank of America debit card and a Georgia Tech Alumni Association credit card, but I rarely use that one. I also keep track of online payments with my PayPal account which is tied to a PayPal credit card as well as my Bank of America debit card.

What are the problems in your personal finance tools?

I find logging into Bank of America’s site to be a sizable inconvenience and the way my finances are laid out isn’t the most intuitive. I also have to keep track of 2 sites, BoA and PayPal, which breaks up my workflow considerably. Basically, I don’t know how much I have and how much I owe since I have money in various places. I also can’t get the “bigger picture” about my spending habits. I know I go to Subway often for lunch, but it’d be nice to know that I spent $150 on Subway in January or what have you.

How would your ideal personal finance tool work?

My ideal finance tool would consolidate all of my accounts giving me the same information as those accounts in one easy to access place. It would also probably be smart about different types of finances and let me categorize purchases as “tech”, “food”, “car” or something similarly that would let me get a quick grasp on my financial situation. That way, I wouldn’t have to go through the list of all my purchases and decipher what each one was for. It might be interesting if this hypothetical finance tool could learn my habits and offer me deals or tips for saving money. For example, if it noticed I buy gas for my Mustang every 2 days it could show me a special gas card with discounts for frequent purchasers.

I would also like to see a tool that I could set to my lifestyle. For example, I could tell it to warn me when my balance nears a user-defined limit, which could be an expected expense for that month such as a computer.

What more do you want to know about your personal finances?

Knowing how my finances relate to the “average” college student or person in my situation, would be a great resource. I would be able to get a good idea of whether or not I’m spending too much money in certain areas. I might be able to see that I’m spending 20% more on eating out than I should, etcetera.

How much do you think you currently spend on eating out?

I’m usually on campus for a good chunk of the day and find a bite to eat there or as I mentioned above, I’ll drive to a nearby Subway. I usually buy a lunch meal each day of the work week so that’s around 20 or so meals at ~$8 which comes out to at least $160 per month. Then I generally eat out on the weekends once a month with friends so that’s an additional $20. The rest of my money spent on food goes to weekly
grocery shopping.

How often do you want to know about your personal finances?

At the moment I check my Bank of America account once per week or so, but that is due to the annoying login process. I usually end up receiving “Balance Low” emails from them since I don’t login often enough to get an idea of how much money I have left.