Back to Reality

My tech stuff has slowed down to a crawl as I'm trying to straighten out several messes I've gotten myself into over the past few years. I'm now working with an accountant in the U.S. to get my expat taxes in order (including my failed S-corp dot-com startup called Avedia), working out my credit card debt and a past-due school-loan. This all adds up to about $8,000 in cash we need to come up with right now. Not fun.

Basically, since I came here to Spain, I've been ignoring most financial stuff. I used to use Microsoft Money pretty religiously to manage my finances (it's a great MS product by the way, I'll give credit where it's due) but when I came here to Spain, I just stopped using it and winged it. It took me a lot longer than most people to realize the boom was over, so I didn't stop spending my savings until it was too late. There are a lot of excuses, but in general I think I just liked the idea of being in another world, so I slacked.

So this weekend, the bubble I've been living in for the past few years finally popped. First, the Euro has made it quite clear how much I'm earning and spending so there's no excuse there anymore (pesetas was a nightmare). Secondly, having gotten to sections of my todo list that I've been avoiding literally for years I had to sit down and figure out how much money we have and are going to have to pay off my debits in the U.S. so that means looking at the monthly budget, etc. No more winging it.

MS Money, by the way, is great because of its calendar feature which I haven't seen anywhere else. It's incredibly easy to manage expenses over time because you can see at certain dates exactly how much money you're going to have and can adjust payments accordingly. When you're as close to zero as we are right now this is important (remember, I was out of work for 7 months earlier this year).

I haven't been as mercenary about money as I need to be lately. I really need to look at the opportunities around me to make money and see what I can come up with. OSS is all well and good, but if I've got big bills and little savings, that's not the way I need to be spending my time.

Back to life... back to reality. In some ways, it's a relief.


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