it’s been a hot minute since the new year started and you may, like me, have started and restarted some new years resolutions or goals.
but now it’s tax time and for selfcare’s sake… it’s time we put ourselves first by taking care of our finances.
Here’s a few pretty simple but serious steps you should be taking if you want to get a handle on all things moohlah.
let’s dive right in!
1. understand your spending
One thing I’ve learnt in my financial journey (esp since divorce), is that you need to know where your money is going before you can redirect it. It seems obvious I know, but how many of us have ever (I mean really ever) done this?
Going through every debit, tap charge, credit charge, subscriptions, cash-outs and automatic payments will give you an understanding of not just where your hard earned cash is going, but also what you’re doing right (and what you could be doing better). This will also help you to create a wider vision of how to plan a better more financially stable future.
As difficult and time consuming as it may be, try doing this for the last 3-4 months to really see any patterns of spending or quarterly bills that you may have missed (avoid months where you are on vacation or during major holidays like Christmas as it’s not a true representation of your spending).
*pro tip* keep a list of mis-spending habits so that you can get really clear on where you’re losing your hard earned money
2. create a budget
The next tip is to make a budget. This prob sounds more daunting then going through your spending, but it’s uber important. Obviously you’ll need to stay within your monthly incoming income so first step first, let’s start by ensuring you include all your basic expenses. Things like:
💕 Rent or Mortgage
💕 Electricity, Heat, Water, Gas, etc
💕 Phone, TV, Wifi
💕 Groceries & pet food
💕 All types of insurance (life, car, home, health)
💕 Personal items like shampoo, toilet paper, toothpaste, etc
Take a quick look at where your money was going (step 1) to ensure you don’t miss anything that you need or use in your budget.
*pro tip* despite what the financial gurus say about finding a place for every cent, I prefer to have an end of the month balance of 5-10$ in my account. it helps me feel the positive vibes of always having more than enough
I’m sure you’ve heard the age-old saying pay yourself first (tho the percentage of people who actually do this is surprisingly small)… So let’s cut the shit and make sure you put something away towards a savings plan and investing *every paycheck*. Even if you have debt to pay, this step is just as important (maybe even more so).
I have found the easiest way to do this is to automatically have a certain amount taken out on pay day into separate accounts (I have 4 accounts for savings and 2 different accounts for investments *more on these accounts in bonus #6).
I don’t care how much you put away every pay check, and I honestly don’t think the amount matters. The most important thing is that you put something into these account every paycheck! Trust me even 10$ a week will start to add up!
*pro tip* putting this into a seperate account and a totally different bank can help you from dipping into it for other expenses
4. add love to your budget
Add love to your budget… what the fuck does that mean?
Listen… I’ll admit that living within your means it uber uber important, but I hate (yes hate) feeling deprived and unable to have fun. So while making a budget to stay within your incoming income is practical and non-negotiable, in my opinion it’s also important to make sure you include items and experiences that makes you happy (and life worth living)!
💕 lunches or coffee’s out with a friend
💕 day trips or long weekends away
💕 wine, chocolate, flowers, etc
💕 sales on things you weren’t expecting
💕 self care days at the spa, a sports games or theatre, etc
In my opinion, there are two ways to accomplish this step, it’s up to you to find what works best for you.
One way is to include the above example items into you budget monthly, for instance, I include 60$ every pay check for coffee. That’s every check without fail (cause who can live without coffee?). The second way is to use an additional savings account. I use an account for day trips and long weekend (my adventure savings account), these types of add-ons in my life don’t happen as often as coffee and can be more expensive, so I put a bit away every check and when the time comes that we want to get away I go ahead and use that savings account.
*pro tip* I think both of these ways are totally valid and can work for different situations. The most important thing (again) is to be consistent in your deposits!
5. get a second (or third) income stream
This is more important and arguably much easier now a days – but should be a serious consideration if you want to jump ahead (financially speaking). Many people worry about the time this new venture could take, but let me be clear, for certain you can’t keep trading time for money… this income stream must be very different in that it does not have you trading time for money.
Ideas can include:
💕 Multi-Level Marketing
💕 Affiliate shopping sharing
💕 Investments with dividend options
💕 Packaging and selling information/knowledge you have to others who want it (this is huge and probably the easiest option that could work for everyone)
*pro tip* even using points from club shopping, like airmiles, coinmiles or shoppers optimum can be used as a second income if you collect and use them smartly!
I know it may have seemed bat-shit crazy to have read that I have 4 savings accounts and 2 investing accounts. And trust me, just 2 years ago I had none of them (I was lucky to have any savings at all, and when I did it would always mysteriously disappear when something unexpected came up- sound familiar?). So when I was reading up on how to become financially smarter I decided I needed separate savings accounts for all of my extras and needs.
Let me break down my different savings accounts so you can get it all in order.
I have one completely seperate account for emergencies. It’s in an entirely different bank and I tend to put a tad bit more into this one every time as it’s meant to save me from an emergency (like loss of job, home purchases, car repairs, etc).
I have another savings account for Christmas. Seriously, this time of year is expensive and I don’t like scrimping on presents, food or travel. So I put aside a certain amount every month for just this. The amount I put into this account differs from the rest as I know how much I tend to spend, so I take that total and divide it into equal installments to ensure I’m not short.
Similarily, I also have a vacation account. If I know about a trip I want to go on, I save a certain amount to help get me there, otherwise I just slowly add to it every month.
I have an account for just me 💕 (that’s selfcare not selfish!) I don’t put as much in as the Christmas account, but I never miss a month. This account is for bigger me treats – not things like lunches out but more like shoping sprees, tattoos or full on spa days.
My last bonus savings account is for my kids. It’s not money that I give out to them, but money that I may need for them. As a single mama things come up and being prepared financially isn’t always easy. This account helps me feel secure that, should they need a downpayment for a course, a new activity, or just an entire new waredrobe due to a growth spurt (it’s happened more than once), I’m not left holding a massive amount on my credit card!
*pro tip* I said it before and I’ll say it again. IT DOES NOT MATTER HOW LITTLE YOU PUT INTO YOUR SAVINGS AND INVESTING A MONTH. What matters is your commitment and consistency in doing so!
I can’t wait to hear your thoughts on these tips and how they’ve helped you save for a better future!