Our ‘lab rat’ checks in on her finances

Marketplace Staff May 15, 2009

Our ‘lab rat’ checks in on her finances

Marketplace Staff May 15, 2009


Tess Vigeland: We’re checking in now with Gail George, our Marketplace Money lab rat, who’s agreed to track her spendings this month and tell us all about it. Hi, Gail.

Gail George: Hi, how are you, Tess?

Vigeland: I’m good. I suppose I shouldn’t be calling any human being a lab rat.

George: No, no that’s fine. I work with 30 of them every day.

Vigeland: So how did it go? I know last week you had a couple of unplanned-for expenses and that made things a little harder. Was it any easier this week?

George: No, I had more unplanned expenses this week.

Vigeland: Oh my.

George: I had two tires from my SUV. So yeah, I was debating whether I should make that a line item in the budget or whether I should just have car maintenance. So it’s good. It’s forcing me to think more creatively about how to get the budget working. But I didn’t get it on paper. I ended up going out of town. And gosh, I thought, “How do people do this when they have to plan this on a regular basis.”

Vigeland: Yeah, it is almost an extra job. Especially if you’re tracking every penny. That’s a lot to remember.

George: Yeah.

Vigeland: Well, so you’re in the home stretch, only one more week to go. Any big insights you’d like to share?

George: Always make sure you budget your public radio membership.

Vigeland: I like that one. Good one. Everybody needs to remember that one.

George: I thought that might work for you.

Yeah, make sure that you’ve got your emergency expenses. I think I’m going to try and go for four months of emergency expenses. I know, at its best, from listening to your show a lot, that four to six months, they really would like have saved. But I think in the beginning, if I could just go with four months.

Vigeland: Hey, if that’s going to make it so that you can actually do it and feel good about it, I think both Chris Farrell and I would agree with that.

George: Well, good.

Vigeland: Well, last week you agreed with our suggestion that you try to do some of this tracking on a computer instead of a pen and paper. Did that work for you?

George: It will work for me. It did not work this past week. I think I will get to it this week for sure.

Vigeland: Well alright, we’ll look forward to that. Gail George, nice to talk to you again.

George: Thank you so much, Tess.

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