I’m so excited to talk about finance and budgeting over the next few weeks!
I’ll be sharing actions you can take right away to start getting organized with your finances (starting with today’s challenge below!)
But before you scroll down to find out more, it’s important to acknowledge what your struggles around money are – because this will help you start taking the right action consistently.
Let’s start by how you see yourself with money (and maybe how others see you too).
I know that when you’re in debt, struggling to save, and stress-spending, it’s easy to fall into the trap of believing “I must just be bad with money” (I used to think the same about myself).
Especially when others start defining you – and you start defining yourself – according to your spending habits.
Among my closest family and friends, I was always the “spender” and my husband Marco was the “saver”.
Sometimes when I arrived home with bags full of cute outfits I had just bought, I would think “Maybe I am just not a saver!”
But deep down, I truly wanted to show myself (and my family and friends) that I could be responsible with money; that I was someone who could budget and save for the future.
And I want this for you, too.
So first, let me just say that although you might feel a bit all over the place with your money…
You are NOT “bad” with money.
The very fact that you’re reading this shows me that you want to learn how to become a good steward of your finances 🙂
But one problem I used to have – and I see this a lot with my coaching clients, so this might affect you too – is that I wasn’t giving my money a purpose in my life.
And that makes it easier to spend impulsively on things that don’t really add value to your life or truly bring you joy.
The challenge I’m giving you below will be especially helpful if any of the following things resonate with you…
🤷♀️ You’re making decent money but often there’s nothing left at the end of the month and you wonder, “Where did all my money go?!”
🏡 You’d love to start saving for the future – maybe for your wedding or to buy a house. And you know that a shopping cart full of clothes and make-up (when you only went to the store for milk!) isn’t helping you reach your financial goals.
💻 You avoid logging in to see how much you owe on your credit cards (not to mention your student loan balance) because when you do, you wonder if you’ll ever pay them all off (let alone buy that house…)
This challenge will be your first step to becoming more aware of where your money is going, and more intentional with your spending – so that you start to give your money a purpose.
But please know (and this is SO important) that the goal of this exercise is NOT to look for things to cut out.
It is for you to find things you’re spending money on but not using (and to try to get a quick money-win starting from today!)
Today’s Money Challenge 👏👏👏
Here’s what you need to do:
- Log in to your bank account and credit card statements. Do the same with PayPal if necessary. Print out or download the statements for the last month. If you receive statements through the mail, have these in front of you.
💡 Mindset tip: Stop and observe what you’re feeling
If you’re feeling any kind of anxiety or resistance toward looking at your finances, take a minute and…
❥ Give yourself permission to look at your money.
❥ Promise you are not going to judge yourself. You are just gathering information and getting an overview of your spending, so you can start taking action.
❥ Remind yourself that this is an important, necessary and positive step toward taking control of your finances – and it might even save you some money! 😊
- Look at each item in your statement. If you recognize it, put a mark next to it and move on.
- Highlight ALL monthly subscriptions, memberships or insurance policies (plus any items you don’t remember or recognize).
- Go back to your highlighted items once you have gone through your statements.
- Try to identify every highlighted item you don’t recognize, so you’re completely aware of what you spent money on in the last month.
- Then for each highlighted subscription, membership and insurance policy, ask yourself:
- Does it make sense to spend money on this right now?
- Could I be spending too much money on this?
Here are some examples to help guide you:
‣ Subscriptions. Are there any subscriptions you forgot you even had or aren’t using that you can cancel right away?
Just recently I was going through our bank statements and I saw our monthly Audible subscription for $25. When I logged into our Audible account, we had credits stored up that we hadn’t used. So I contacted Audible and put our subscription on pause for a few months.
Saving: $75 in total
‣ Gym membership. Are you on the right membership plan for you?
A client of mine was paying $54 a month for her gym membership. When I asked her how often she went and when, she said she always went in the mid-afternoon when it was quieter, around three times a week. We went onto the gym’s website and saw they had a plan for $33.50 a month if she only used the gym between 1-4pm Monday through Friday.
So she switched to the cheaper plan.
Saving: $20.50 a month
‣ Car insurance. Are you paying more than you need to?
When one of my clients and I were looking at her spending, we realized she was paying too much for her car insurance, because she wasn’t using her car as much this year. So she called the insurance company and updated them on her car use and mileage.
Saving: $55 dollars a month
Now: write down your Action Steps 📝
Also write down how much money you’ll be saving next to each step and calculate your total
Call the gym to downgrade membership ($20.50)
Cancel Audible subscription I’m not using ($25)
Update car insurance ($55)
Then: Give this money a new purpose
Choose another place for this money to go each month and write it down. I recommend putting it toward paying down a debt or reaching a savings goal.
e.g. $100.50 → To pay down my student loan
When you complete this challenge, you are:
- Becoming more aware of what you’re spending money on
- Saving money on services or features you’re not using.
- Taking control of one area of your finances by following your action steps.
- Getting nearer to your financial goals, either by paying off debt or putting extra money into savings
- Giving your money a purpose.
This is all part of being a good steward of your finances 🙂
If you ever feel stressed around money and would like to feel more confident about managing your finances and budgeting with ease, make sure you opt in to my free email series on finances below!
PS. To make this challenge more fun, I’m giving away my 60-minute recorded Budgeting Workshop (normally $97) FREE to 3 of my readers! 😃
In this workshop, I teach you:
- The exact budgeting process I use myself and with my financial coaching clients to help them pay down their debts as fast as possible and start saving for the future
- The exercises and mindset shifts that help you create your values-based budget that makes space for the things that bring you joy
- How to set up your fully functional online budget that you’ll actually WANT to stick to (with a step-by-step walk-through of my favorite budgeting website so you can get started right away!).
For a chance to WIN, complete the Money Challenge in this blog post and email me firstname.lastname@example.org to share:
- The action steps you wrote down
- How much money you’ll be saving each month
- The new purpose you’ll be assigning to this money
(This information will stay between you and me)
Send me your entry by this Sunday, October 11th and the 3 winners will receive a personal email from me next Tuesday, October 13th! 🎉