In pursuit of financial independence and personal fulfillment

The I Dream of FIRE money map

A while ago, I did a different take on the money map concept by making a visual representation of how much of my money went to each expense. Since then, several bloggers have jumped on the money map chain gang inspired by Apathy Ends, Budget on a Stick and The Luxe Strategist, so I thought I would also add a more conventional money map that shows how my money flows between accounts.

Behold, my treasure map

This is what our accounts look like.

Long-term savings

Our long-term savings goals are ones we contribute to individually, although I send money to my wife for the 529 rather than put it in directly. I could the 529 plan as a long-term savings bucket even though we’ve all but exhausted those accounts. One son is starting his senior year of college, while the other just began his freshman year but has scholarships that cover the bulk of the costs. However, we’ve been saving into those accounts for years, so they’re still part of that bucket in my mind.

Short- and mid-term savings

I put these together because they’re largely interchangeable. We could combine all of those things into one account, but I like the digital envelope system to organize my money.  Plus, we get better interest rates with Capital One 360 than leaving that money in our bank or credit union accounts (0.75% APY vs. 0.05% APY).

Could we get a better rate? Sure, but we opened the 360 accounts to get a sign-up bonus, and we may look to move around the investment property savings to take advantage of more of those offers in the future. But I don’t really want to move everything around constantly just to chase a few extra bucks.

The tuition fund holds the money I set aside for the next tuition payment (only one to go!) and the 529 holding account is money I’ve been setting aside to replenish the 529. It gets a better interest rate sitting in that account than actually sitting in the 529, but I move it through the 529 later to get the state tax break. Make sure you’re taking advantage of all your tax breaks for college!

As you can see, both my wife’s and my checking accounts are linked to all those savings buckets. We don’t contribute to them equally, but we both have access to all of our money.

The Scottrade account is one where I have a few individual stocks set up on a DRIP plan. I don’t add money to it, but the dividends just go right back into buying more shares.


We’ve looked at our bills and spending and decided it’s just easier to split it up so that the mortgage and utilities come out of her account while college, insurance, and lots of other expenses come out of mine via my credit cards. We periodically review those allocations and adjust where it makes sense. But it saves us from having to shuttle money back and forth a lot to cover half the cost of everything.

I used to have just one credit card, but then I had to apply for another one to cover the new furnace and air conditioner with a zero-percent loan. Now that we’re starting down the reward points road, I’ve got another card for that and will be getting several more.

Wrap up

There you have it. There are a lot of accounts, but most everything flows back through our main checking accounts to pay the bills. There’s nothing too exotic, and anything I can possibly run through a credit card I do. No sense in leaving cash back or rewards points on the table!

For more money maps from other bloggers, check out the money map chain gang below:

Anchors: Apathy Ends, Budget on a Stick
Link 1: The Luxe Strategist
Link 2: Adventure Rich
Link 3: Minafi
Link 4: OthalaFehu
Link 5: The Frugal Gene
Link 6: Working Optional
Link 7: Our Financial Path
Link 8: Atypical Life
Link 9: Eccentric Rich Uncle
Link 10: Cantankerous Life
Link 11:The Retirement Manifesto
Link 12: Debts to Riches
Link 13: Need2Save
Link 14: Money Metagame
Link 15: CYinnovations
Link 16: I Dream of FIRE
Link 17: Stupid Debt
Link 18: Spills Spot
Link 19: Making Your Money Matter
Link 20: Life Zemplified
Link 21: Trail to FI
Link 22: The Lady in the Black
Link 23: Smile & Conquer
Link 24: Her Money Moves
Link 25: Full Time Finance
Link 26: Abandoned Cubicle
Link 27: Freedom is Groovy
Link 28: Millennial Money Diaries
Link 29: All About Balance
Link 30: A Journey to FI
Link 31: Present Value Finance
Link 32: [HaltCatchFire]
Link 33:  Good Life. Better.


  1. Mrs. Adventure Rich

    Ooooh, Treasure Map, I like it!

  2. Ava

    I love how you separated this between your long and short savings. Very cool!

    • I Dream of FIRE

      It definitely helps me keep track of where my money is supposed to go! I struggle a bit with how to treat that mid-term area in terms of savings rate, though. Like when I save money for six months for an expense I know is coming, is that really saving? I don’t think so, because I know it’s going to be spent. So only the long-term stuff in my mind counts in savings rate. But pretty soon I’ll start saving to buy a car in cash in a few years, and how the heck do I treat that?

      I know, good problem to have. It’s all semantics. And the long-term saving is really just money I intend to spend in 20-30 years anyway.

  3. Cube

    Nice work! I’m inspired to create my own now. Wonder what I’ll find – probably a gushing leak towards dining out. ?

    • I Dream of FIRE

      Seriously. That’s definitely a weak spot for me. Although I do try not to get too hung up on it because we don’t have a bunch of other expensive hobbies or things in addition to that. That’s one of the nice things of doing the visual mapping of my spending like I did the first time around, vs. the money map where you just see the buckets you’re going between.

  4. Ms ZiYou

    Cool map, I might copy that idea and make me a money map!

    • I Dream of FIRE

      Let me know if you do and we’ll get you added to the chain!

      • Ms ZiYou

        Will do, will do 🙂

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