Hi Sisters – Shannon here…
It was three years ago that I found myself sitting at my kitchen table in tears, and totally overwhelmed with fear. I had ZERO idea how to manage my money, or even where to begin. It was something I had trusted to be taken care of for me. Only now…I faced the reality of managing my life solo, and that meant I alone, was responsible for my financial future.
I was terrified to find out where my $ was going, where it had been spent, and what I had available to me….BUT I chose to move forward. That decision to move forward and create a budget was the first step that eventually helped save me…not just financially, but because it also gave me back my sense of power. Creating a budget set me up for a series of (Lots of lessons) small victories that made me believe I was entirely capable of managing my life. And money….well, turns out it’s just a thing that I get to tell what to do for me.
But Sister, that is NOT where I started. So if I can do this, you can too! I didn’t even know how to log into my bank account, seriously…didn’t even have a username. Are you like I was? Totally terrified of money, or maybe you just want to change your relationship with money? Maybe you want to let go of the fear and change your pattern of avoiding bank statements, credit card bills, and the dreaded B word…budget. That’s Okay, I was too...let's do it together.
Money Move #1: Create a Budget
Back then I felt totally overwhelmed by the idea of a budget. But I discovered it really is doable when you break it down. AND, it’s the foundation to everything good that follows. Here's how.
First - find out what your monthly expenses are.
How do you do this? (I didn’t know either- so no shame here - we are learning something new and that takes practice). Go back to your debit card, credit card & utility statements from last month . Go to your checkbook if you use that. If you don’t have this information, you can call your credit card company or bank and ask them to send you a statement. Ask for help- there is no shame in asking for help- I had to do this a LOT and was so thankful for the kindness that was extended to me.
Next, create a list with the amount spent that month on EVERYTHING….
The mortgage/rent, heating (separate line for gas & electricity), All your utilities, insurances, medical expenses, trash, water, sewer, groceries, clothing, meals out, pet food….and I do mean everything (dog toys, pedicure, your latte from Monday).
Once you have this list (these are your outgoing expenses) with the amounts you've spent, CELEBRATE... because now you know where your $ has been going. Here’s where you take control sister...where YOU choose, where you take your power back. From this point on, YOU get to tell your money where it gets to go!
Now, Find Your Outgoing Expenses.
From this list you just created, add the total of these expenses together. Write that down. Next, write down the total amount of income, ($ coming in each month). Now, subtract your total outgoing expenses from your monthly income. This is important because it will inform you of where you are, and what steps to take next. If you have a negative balance, (where you're spending more $ during the month than you're bringing in), then you now know you need to reduce your spending. This is a tool sister- I know it seems super scary to look at our spending habits- but I want to encourage you to take one more step. You just completed the first step in budgeting, I’m right here with you, let’s take one more step together okay?
"From this point on, YOU get to tell your money where it gets to go!"
Money Move #2: Use CASH ONLY