Where is My Money? : Unmasking the Power of the Budget

It’s so important that we acknowledge our needs, and re-frame our mindset about debt, cash, and wealth. Living paycheck to paycheck should not be our default frame of mind...it should not be the baseline. And many of us are living paycheck to paycheck simply because that’s how we think it should be. We ask the question, do you have holes in your bag?

 

Holes in your bag...does this sound familiar?

(Video clip from "Securing the Bag" Workshop during the We Rise Recharge Women's Empowerment Conference, October 26, 2019)


 

Why are there holes in your bag? Consider these questions:

  1. Do you use a budget/spending plan for cash flow accountability?

  2. Is it Cash Flow? Or your relationship/mindset with money?

  3. Do you have savings for emergencies?

  4. Is your debt manageable? Or do you have an action plan to eliminate your debt?


These are standard questions asked as we get to know our one-on-one clients. But what’s so interesting is when we are presenting classes, seminars, and workshops, these are the same things that people identify as agents of anxiety and stress regarding their finances. Specifically, they mentioned financial fine-tuning and accountability, saving for emergencies, and being overwhelmed with debt. And having an effective budget or spending plan will allow you to address these agents individually and collectively.


When we ask, “How many people have a spending plan or budget that they consistently use?” it is ALWAYS less than half...and usually closer to 25-30%. And even worse, those few people are not doing an effective job utilizing their plans.



So, one of the first lines of defense against check-to-check living is finding the “holes in your bag”...or your purse...or your wallet...or your bank account. Plugging the holes always starts with accountability and fine-tuning. The best tool for accountability and fine-tuning is BUDGETS and SPENDING PLANS. Typical budgets and spending plans fail for the following reasons:

  1. They are based on “fudged” figures or fixed expenses. Yes, you must include the basics: housing, utilities, car/insurance, phone, food, and clothing. But have you included hobbies and habits?

  2. They are too restrictive and not realistic. Like a starvation diet, if you don’t create allowances for living and fun, you are not able to stick with it for very long. OR, when you do indulge, you go way beyond what would be allowed for constructive maintenance.

  3. They are ignored once they are written down. How many of us have taken the time and created a pretty spreadsheet or spent time writing out a plan...only to never refer to it again?

  4. Adjustments are not made. Life happens. As do the holidays and special events? Have you adjusted your food budget for meals, potlucks, outings, and/or gifts? Spending plans are for telling you what you can’t do, they are for creating opportunities for what you want to do.

  5. Debt is not included. Many people forget that debt elimination HAS to be a priority because debt follows you. So, make sure you include all payments you are making to reduce any debt. This includes the monthly payments you plan to pay and any additional money you identify to help pay off the debt. And...don't create new debt in the meantime.

 

Once you have an accurate and doable spending plan in place, remember that postponing a purchase is not the same as denying it.

(Video clip from "Securing the Bag" Workshop during the We Rise Recharge Women's Empowerment Conference, October 26, 2019)


It’s about discipline and knowing that abundant living is just on the other side! Here are a few tips to help keep you encouraged on this journey to financial independence:


PAY YOURSELF: Live within your means, and every time you receive income, earmark a portion for either saving or investing in something you like. And after you’ve eliminated debt, use the debt payments to FURTHER invest in yourself.


SAVE EXTRA FUNDS: If you receive unexpected money (like a bonus, commission, or inheritance), invest part or all of it. You didn’t know it was coming, so use it to fuel the future!


PARTICIPATE IN YOUR EMPLOYER’S RETIREMENT PLAN: If available, make sure you’re investing enough to get a 100% return on your investment. This is free money to you from your employer for YOUR future!


MAKE SAVINGS AUTOMATIC: Assign a portion of your direct deposit (or deposit a portion of each check) to a savings account not connected to your check. Use a different bank, and ensure you don’t have card access, so you are more inclined to leave that account alone to grow.


BREAK A HABIT: Put aside the money you have spent on a former habit (like eating out every day for lunch) to increase your savings.


GET A PART-TIME JOB: If you have the time and availability, why not get a part-time job? And if your budget/spending plan doesn’t rely on it, you can use that income to eliminate debt, then increase your savings and investments even faster!


 

We are excited to be exploring more ways to provide education as you begin your journey of financial transformation. Right now, you can access our Value-Based Budgeting course.

Remember, you can do it! And we’re here to help!




Have a blessed week!