Money money money....it's a stress no matter how much or how little you have. Every month I try to do a budget, plan my spending and check my investments. I personally find this activity kind of fun but if you’re not like me and don’t enjoy making spending spreadsheets then let me convince you. Tracking your spending and saving towards a variety of goals is such a satisfying feeling. Once you take stock of your finances, you rid yourself of any guilt you may associate with spending money. You will feel liberated!
Use these 7 questions to guide yourself to guilt free money management:
1. What are my goals this week/month/year? This can be anything from getting a facial, going out for dinner, taking a vacation or buying a new pair of shoes. As a couple, this is a really fun exercise because you learn about your partner's hopes and dreams as well as create shared goals to work towards (Check back for a post on this coming up soon!)
2. How else can I get income? Keep your receipts and see what you can claim on insurance and taxes. I get 500.00 a year from my insurance to spend on RMT massage for example. I also consign high end clothing/shoes/handbags twice a year so I’m getting all my spring clothes organized and deciding what I can part with.
3. What are my long term goals? Go back to school? Pay off credit card or student loan? Retirement? A summer house? Save for children’s education?
4. What action should I take? Figure out how much each of my goals will cost and work backwards deciding where I can save and set a monthly goal to save towards.
5. Who should I talk to? Sit down with your bank to discuss your long and short term goals and find hidden fees. You may decide you should switch credit cards (I am doing this as a result of talking to my bank) or that a different account would work better for my needs.
Also a good idea to talk to your cable/Internet/phone provider to see what deals they have…I literally call once a year and say “I need to save some money, can you help me?” And they always do!
6. Where should I put my money? Daily Worth is a great, easy to understand source ideas about where to put your money. I highly recommend David Bach’s Smart Women Finish Rich book too. Be sure to get information from reliable websites, books and people. And remember that if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.