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Personal Finance Interview with Derek Punsalan of 5thirtyone.com

Name: Derek Punsalan
Age: 24
Networth Range: $50K-$100K
Profession: Freelancer / Front-end Lead
Websites: Derek Punsalan…is, 5thirtyone.com

 


Current Financial Strategy:

 

At this very moment, I call my financial strategy practical, others call it frugality. My goal is to own four walls & roof that I can call all my own.

Best Financial Tip:

Limit your spending options by keeping your wallet free of any options to spend.
Carry multiple CC’s? Carry one. Limit most of your daily transactions to cash. When you see money physically disappear from your pockets, you’ll get that frugal feeling I’m talking about.


Worst Financial Move Ever:

 

Going to college without conducting any background homework on the long-term ass-kicking payments would have. Your monthlies might be small, but they’re like a permanent ball & chain strapped to your ankle.

Financially, I need help with:

Spreading extra income into high-yield, low risk investment options. Is that even possible? I’ve been eyeing this exotic, I mean, I really want that house of mine.


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

 

There are three money related tasks that I do daily. If money is withdrawn or deposited, my routine always includes the following: 1) a small note in my pocket Moleskine – an explanation to myself justifying the expenditure, 2) I combine any receipts from the day in my left back pocket – to be filed away in a folder at home, and c) I enter all transactions into Cha-Ching remembering to tag each appropriately. Cha-Ching is fantastic because I can create “Smart Folders” which present a birds-eye view of my spending habits.

What are the problems in your personal finance tools?

Maintaining clear organization of my receipts / proofs of purchase(s). Until a few days ago, I was stashing receipts randomly into envelopes. Although these envelopes were categorizes by month, it was difficult to locate specific transactions on a whim. I started using an accordion type file manager which seems to have improved the receipt whore in me. While re-filing my receipts into a new organizer, I de-cluttered my collection eliminating miscellaneous receipts from lunches and dinners. I’ve read about people recommending that receipts be scanned and archived as PDFs. Sounds great but it would just take way too much damn time.

How would your ideal personal finance tool work?

I’m content with my current habit of making notes to myself about a transaction, keeping receipts, and being diligent enough to update Cha-Ching. I guess I should confess I have this sick addiction to inputing numbers into applications. I once moved all my data for a single billing cycle from an old app to Cha-Ching. However, rather than doing the normal export / import deal, I inputed each transaction by hand! Oh yeah, that was good times.

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

I would like to see near real-time data from individuals in my age group or industry to see how my spending relates. I’m talking pie charts, graphs, pictures, the works. Am I spending too much on food? Is my habit of purchasing hardware on the excessive side? How do I compare to everyone else in the same shoes as myself?

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

Think? Thanks to Cha-Ching, I know. I’m a little over the $450 avg. mark per month eating out.

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

I update my spending & deposits on a daily basis so knowing about my personal finances is a routine activity just like brushing my teeth, eating, and sleeping.

What is in my wallet?

  • An 8GB iPod Nano (yes, my wallet is an Incase Nano wallet)
  • debit card
  • credit card
  • drivers license
  • $10 cash

Most of my little “savings” cards numbers are written on a little sticker stuck to the back of my license.