We’ve talked about budgeting before but it can’t be spoken about enough when we want to control our finances instead of our finances controlling us. We can’t compare our lives to others; we can only control what’s in front of us. Some of us have lost jobs, income, haven’t been able to work out deals with landlords or banks, so many variables. How do we take control back?
Set Goals – If you’re a goal setter, go for what you want your finances to look like a year from now. If you’re not, start with today. What little changes can I make today? Can I bring a bottle from home and have cork service instead of buying from the restaurant? Can I buy all my groceries on sale? Can I make my coffee at home instead of Timmy’s? Can I buy my gas from a discount carrier where I save 5 cents per litre? All these add up.
How Much Do I Make and Where Is It Going? – You know your net pay from your cheques. But write down where it’s going. I liked to write it out by hand but I’ve included a financial budget calculator recommended by Geoff McNary from McNary Financial Services who facilitated our informative session on budgeting, cutting expenses, saving for retirement and insurance. The best number to reach them is (403) 209-4044.
It is designed and executed by Quick books and TurboTax, which people are usually familiar with from doing their Taxes. Geoff has used this application. You give Mint access to read only statements of your bank account and credit card information, and it gives you weekly updates on your spending. It breaks down your monthly expenditures and gives you a good idea of where your money is going. Nice flashy pie charts, etc.
Will This Bring Me Joy? – Are you cutting up cauliflower twice a week to make cauliflower rice? A food processor will change your life. Do you need it for one cool recipe you’ll make once? It will gather dust. Will having fresh flowers on my table bring beauty and joy into my life? If the $20 price tag is worth it, you’ll know. If I go out with friends, will I feel better (bank wise and the next morning) if I have one beer and then switch to sparkling water?
Budget Blueprint – Now that you know what you’re making and what you’re spending, make a template for your budget. Take care of your essentials and bills. Then savings (emergency and long term). If you’re currently laid off, you’re budget will look much differently currently than six months from now.
Convert Your Budget into Action – Take your budget off paper and use it in real life. We learn valuable lessons by what we mindlessly spend on and we can also inspire ourselves. Sometimes we just need to make more. Awesome baker or organizer extraordinaire? Take your talent and turn it into a side business. Love people? Become an uber driver? Getting motivated by a bit of extra savings. Explore investing.
Dream Big – Then go bigger. Meditate or visualize or write down where you want your life to be one month, three months, six months from now. From those little savings, do you want to invest that extra money in yourself, on holidays, in stocks? When you’re doing one of those, feel in your body and heart what it feels like to reach those goals and live the way you want to be living.