Pick a Day, Choose a Time and Prepare a Place

Managing money obligations, spending, and financial decisions take time. It’s kind of like a second or third job. You could call it bookkeeping; I call it – working on your money. I tell clients that if they don’t work on their money, someone else will, and later they will wonder where their money went and what happened to it. I tell them to pick a day, choose a time, and prepare a place, keep reading.

Below are some tips to help you when working on your money. I believe that we all do some type of bookkeeping currently but maybe not in this manner. I hope that the tips will help you consistently work on your money.  

Pick A Day of the Week to Work on Your Money

First things first, pick a day of the week when you will work on your money. It could be Sunday or Saturday morning unless you have young kids because they are probably waking you up. It could be Monday or Thursday. Whatever is good and convenient for you, pick a day and stick to it. This is the day that you will be working on your money.

And although the day should be convenient for you, if it stops being convenient after a while and stops working for you for whatever reason, change it. One of the things that I know about working on your money is that you set the parameters. It’s your day, and it’s your money.

Working your money is all about you.

Say the same day.

Choose a Convenient Time to Work on Your Money

After you pick a day, it’s time to choose a time. Again, this time should be convenient for you. Be specific with your time, 8am until 9am. And if you are not a morning person, don’t pick mornings. Whatever time you decide, this is the time that you will work on your money, planning your spending, paying bills, and reviewing financial goals.  

Say the same time. 

Prepare a Place to Consistently Work on Your Money

Picking a day and choosing a time is probably the easy part but preparing a place is where it starts to get somewhat tricky. Now it’s time to prepare a place to work on your money. The site should be comfortable with few distractions.

For example, I love music, and if I had music playing while trying to focus on something, I would not be able to because I would be distracted a lot.

Anyway, you will need a table or desk to spread out and work on your money. You also need to prepare the place with everything you need to work on your money; pen, pencil, marker, paper, spreadsheet, calendar, computer, and anything else you need. 

You should have and keep everything you need at the place so you can consistently sit down on the appointed day and time and be undistracted, plan your spending, pay bills and work on your money.

This will help you develop a regular schedule for working on your money; you must stick to it and be consistent. Consistency in your money management practices is one of the GoldenRules. Another is pick, choose, prepare. Getting started will be time-consuming, but it will become easier once it’s set up to meet your needs and you get into the habit of working on your money. If you did nothing in the beginning but just sit there on the picked day and chosen time and at the place you prepared, sit there anyway. Even if just for 5 minutes and once you consistently do this for a while, it will become a good habit and easier.

Say, the same place.

After you Pick a Place, Choose a Time, and Prepare a Place

After picking a day, choosing a time, and preparing a place, you are ready to start working on your money. You track spending, pay bills, and record expenses when working on your money. You are also reconciling your spending plan with your actual spending, determining what went wrong, planning for major purchases, saving, investing, and more. All the fun stuff it takes to manage money well and what I believe we all should do more of.    

Now say, the same day, time, and place.

Managing money obligations, spending, and financial decisions take time. Work on your money on the day you pick, at the time you choose, and at the place that you prepare. Sit down, plan your spending, pay bills, manage money, and reach financial goals. Get into the habit. Doing this will help you manage your money. Picking a day, choosing a time, and preparing a place seem like simple things, but they can help you get into the habit of working your money. And you know what they say, habit is what keeps you going. What keeps you going? Comment below. I would love to hear from you. 

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Tips to Organize Your Financial Life

For someone with a history and pattern of financial chaos, the first step toward better money management could be to just organize your financial life. Organizing your financial life requires a clear picture of where you are and where you want to go with your money. I believe you must know where your money is going, and where it’s being spent, to manage it effectively. Knowing where your money is going is one of my GoldenRules of financial management. Additionally, you must know where you are in terms of income, and debt. You will also need some SMART financial goals to lead the way to a better financial future. To help you accomplish this task, set up a system to track your expenses, income, and pay bills. 

Getting organized can be overwhelming and can stop the best of us even before we start. To help you get organized, use the organization tips below.

Tip #1. Get Organized by Setting Up a Tracking System

Set up a system to track expenses appropriately for your needs. The system could be as simple as a piece of paper and pencil or a spreadsheet on your personal computer. Before you do anything with your money, you must know where you are spending it and where it’s going. Again, this is a GoldenRule to managing money better.

In this case, knowing is more than half of the battle. I believe knowing allows you to see your spending and adjust it to help you meet your financial goals and not overspend. It’s a must for managing money effectively. You must know where your money is going before you can manage it effectively. 

Tip #2. Track Your Spending

If you have not already done so, start documenting your spending. Use that paper and pencil or spreadsheet and document, document, document. Once a week or even every day. Once a week will be less time-consuming, but from experience, it’s easy to forget some days, and daily, at least when starting, maybe the better way. However, tracking your spending will get easier the more you do it because you are creating a good habit.

Tip #3. Set Up a Consistent Place to Work Your Money

Whatever way you decide to track spending, you need a place to do that. Therefore, set a place where you will weekly or daily record your expenses, pay bills, and compare financial goals to reality. I call this “working your money”. Working your money is one of my GoldenRules to manage money better.

I believe in working your money. Please know that working your money takes time, it’s a job. However, you must work your money because if you don’t, someone else will, and you will be wondering where your money went and how you spent it on that.

Also, when working your money, compare your spending plan with your actual expenses. Comparing will help you stay focused on your system and organize your financial life. And be consistent. Pick a day and time to work your money, Sunday after church, Monday after work, Saturday morning, unless you have kids because they will be up before you. 

Tip #4. Don’t Make Your System Too Complicated (KISS)

In setting up your system, it is helpful to be as thorough as necessary for your needs but not too complicated to where you get bogged down, bored, and do not continue with it. The key is to have a system that is not intimidating to you. One of the goals of the process, besides organizing your financial life, should be to help you learn to manage your finances. As a money nerd, it’s hard to keep it simple sometimes, but try to use the KISS principle, for Keep It Simple Sweetie.

Tip #5. Organize Your Financial Life by Using a Spending Plan

If you are an over spender and cannot stick to your spending plan, perhaps setting up two bank accounts can help. Set up one account that you would use to pay bills and another discretionary account for discretionary expenses. The amount is based on your spending plan and used for discretionary expenses only. Using a spending plan is another GoldenRule.

Be aware that setting up a system that works well for you may take some trial and error. It is important to be patient and to make a commitment to working your money. Sometimes a perceived problem in the plan could be reluctance on your part and turn into a great opportunity. 

Final Thoughts on Organizing Your Financial Life

There are huge benefits to organizing your financial life. Ultimately organizing your financial life will help you make better financial decisions. Additionally, I believe that organizing helps you to be a better steward of your money. Additionally, the plan can help you develop a healthy relationship with money. You will start to see money as a tool to help you achieve financial goals. How do you organize your financial life? Comment below, I would love to hear form you..

What are Spending Plan Tools?

worker with tools

Most people are just not motivated by creating or using a spending plan. Research has shown that 20 – 30 percent of the U.S. population does not use a spending plan. According to a Debt.com survey of over 1000 people, almost a third did not use a spending plan because they felt they did not have enough income. They may have felt like they did not have enough income to use a spending plan, but it’s a good practice to use one anyway, and the spending plan tools below can help you create and manage your spending plan.

What are Spending Plan Tools?

A spending plan tool is simply anything that helps you manage your spending plan. They help you stick to your spending plan and accomplish your goals. Sticking to your spending plan is increasingly important given today’s economic situation.

Additionally, having the right tools is essential when tracking expenses and monitoring income. Luckily, you don’t have to break the bank by buying expensive software or anything like that. From old-school methods to the latest financial applications, there are many tools out there. Below are a few of my favorites.

One of the Oldest is the Envelope System

In the envelope system, you develop your spending plan, cash your check, and distribute your paycheck funds or the funds you created the spending plan for into different envelopes. Next, label envelopes with all your spending categories and put the money into the envelopes. Then you spend the money out of the envelopes for your different spending categories. This method is really good for sticking to your spending plan because when a category or an envelope is empty – it’s empty and there is no more spending in that category unless you make some adjustments to another category.

Spending plans are living and breathing, they change, but an empty envelope is not necessarily a reason to change the spending plan. Perhaps you need to adjust a spending category and spend less in it so you can spend more in another. 

The Spending Plan Calendar as a Spending Plan Tool

This one is my favorites. I am in the process of creating my 2023 spending plan calendars. If you are interested in purchasing one, let me know.

The spending plan calendar is a calendar you use to track your income and expenses by date. To use this tool, pick a day and time during the week. Once a week, and during that time, track your income and expenses in the calendar. The goal is to get into the habit of doing this. I call this working your money. 

Due dates go on the calendar and serve as weekly or monthly reminders to make payments and help to avoid being late. Sharing with your family ensures the family understands the financial priorities of the household. It will also help you feel more in control of your financial life.

Many times, when there are money problems, money going out is the problem, not the money coming in.

There are other tools such as spreadsheets and financial applications you can use to track income and expense categories. Use whatever works best for you. I suggest that you try one or two until you find one that works and helps you start reaching financial goals

Not everyone relishes the idea of proactively managing money and maintaining a spending plan. However, creating a spending plan and sticking to it are key steps toward reaching financial goals large and small. Spending plan tools can help you manage your money better.

Methods and Tips to Help You Track Expenses

There is no short answer to the best method for tracking your expenditures question. The best approach is one you feel comfortable enough to stick to every day and follow through on. Follow the tips and methods below to help you track expenses. 

Track Expenses with Pencil and Paper

If you prefer a tech-free solution for tracking your expenses, write down every penny you spend and where you spent it in a notebook. Simply use one page and note the category next to each expenditure. This may be the method to use if you are new to creating spending plans. This approach can tell you immediately where your money is going and immediately make you aware of your spending.

Using an App or Software to Track Expenses

A modern and perhaps more convenient way to track expenses is in a spreadsheet or a web-based financial app. With online apps or software, you can create colorful graphs and charts to illustrate your spending habits. Both methods allow you to quickly and easily enter your expenditures into a spending category daily.

Work Together as a Couple

If you are in a relationship and have combined finances, you will both need to track your expenses. It’s a good idea to choose an online app or another expense-tracking method that can sync your spending with your spouse’s spending so that you don’t blow your budget.

Smartphone apps for couples allow you to track spending on the go. This can prevent the two of you from spending in the same category at the same time and will give you a sense of how much you have left in a spending category so that you can stick to your spending plan.

Keep Tracking spending Even When You Overspend

When tracking your expenses reveals that you overspent in a few categories, it can be tempting to get frustrated, stop tracking expenses, and start again the following month. However, it’s important to continue to track expenses throughout the month so you can identify what you need to change and by how much.

Once you get into the habit of tracking expenses, it will get easier and take less and less time to complete if you adopt an expense-tracking approach that works best for you and are consistent. Consistency in tracking your expenses will help you to be able to save more, spend less, and make the necessary changes to build wealth and reach your financial goals.

Final Thoughts on Tracking Expenses

At the end of each month, review the expenses you tracked and compare what you spent to what you planned according to your spending plan. If you overspent, look for ways to cut spending and if you spent too little, allocate more to your saving goals or debt repayment.

In either case, you’ll want to use what you learn from tracking expenses to make changes to the spending plan for the next month which will put you in a better financial position.

I dare you to track spending for a month or so. I mean really write down or in some other way, track every penny you spend and where you spend it. Once you do this, you will see places where you can spend less and save more. And you will see where you can change your behavior with money. Contact me if I can help you.

Three Thoughts on Spending Plans

person holding red heart shaped lollipops
Three Thoughts on Spending Plans

I have made just about every mistake that you can make with money. I share three thoughts on spending plans to help others avoid some of the pitfalls that come from not knowing how to and mismanaging money.  

Spending plans may not be sexy but they will take you places if you follow them and do them well. 

I believe that the spending plan is one thing that can help many manage money better. My goal is to share my practical experiences and what I have learned with others.

Three thoughts on spending plans and managing money.

The Emergency Fund is Good to Have

I never had an emergency fund while I was making all the mistakes I was making.

I never knew that maybe, possibly, I should have a fund set aside for emergencies. Such a novel idea to me back then. I went into debt paying for car repairs and other emergencies many, many, many times.  

Therefore, my message to you is to be encouraged and know that you can and will do better. You did not get into your financial situation overnight; it was a process and it’s going to be a process getting you to a better financial position. So, an emergency fund is not a do-or-die item, you can still do better without one, I did, but it sure does help.  

However, do not let the fact that you do not have an emergency fund stop you from moving forward with your spending plan and managing your money better. 

Tracking Your Spending is Important

I believe that tracking your spending is one of the most powerful things you can do when managing money and expenses.

It provides you with a lot of information that can help you win with money. It sets you up for success with spending category numbers that are better than anything else you could come up with on your own.

A spending plan is just an estimate of how you are going to spend your money over a given time period.

Make great estimates and make great spending plans you can stick to.

My Last Thought is Consistency

To manage money effectively, you should strive to be consistent in your management of it.  To effectively manage your money, you have to know where it is going, and you can’t do this without consistently tracking and keeping track of where your money is going.  Pick a day, a time, and a place to work your money and consistently work your money during those times. 

Get into the habit of it!     

There you have it. Three thoughts on spending plans. Again, spending plans aren’t very sexy, but they will take you places. Share this with people that you think may benefit. Comment below and let us know how it’s going.

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