Money and Marriage

Money and Marriage: At Peace With Money

Ah February, the month of love. What better time to dig into your finances with your partner, right? Marriage and money can be a complex subject. I’ve written a little bit about the money moves my husband and I have made over the years to stay on top of our money game. But my best suggestion? Make time to go over your finances together.

The Impact of Regular “Money Time”

Regularly coming together to look at your finances is extremely important in marriage! Why? Because your futures are intertwined, and finances are a major factor in any potential future you share. If you’re not both on the same page about where your money is going and how close you are to reaching any goals, planning other parts of your future plans will be difficult.

Having regular “money dates” can make space for the time you need to get on the same financial page. Together, you can check in on accounts and investments, review your personal incomes, and set and monitor financial goals. Doing this regularly can build your motivation and help you stay on top of financial projects, like paying off debt or building an emergency fund.

Make It Fun

Money and Marriage: At Peace With MoneyIn my last post, I put up a book review of Bari Tessler’s The Art of Money.  Check it out if you haven’t already! One of my favorite pieces of wisdom from her is that it’s important to try to make looking at your finances more pleasant for you! If it feels difficult to look at your accounts and really be honest with yourself, think about what you can do to make it more fun. This could be relaxing music, lighting some candles, a warm fire – anything to make the task feel more comfortable. This same advice holds for money dates with your partner. If it’s hard for the two of you to sit down and talk about money, brainstorm together about how you can make it more fun and bearable!

I hope this info has inspired you to check in with your life partner and gauge the path of your financial futures! I wish you smooth sailing. Check out my article on money buddies for more ideas!

Angela

Book Review: The One Thing

At Peace With Money: Book Review: The-One-ThingThis summer, I read The One Thing by Gary Keller (no relation), and my initial reaction was irritation. Essentially, the book advises us to focus on one big goal that you want to accomplish and then break that goal down into smaller time chunks.The goal is to do something small to work toward that goal every day. The key is focusing. That’s probably why it irritated me.

Staying focused is definitely something that I struggle with. As a business owner, as a wife and mother, as a person in today’s world of distracting gadgets – focusing is difficult!  It seems there is always a fire to put out, a need to be met. Always there is an idea that is nibbling your brain, or a rabbit hole to dive into and lose 45 minutes of your life. My reaction was about something I need to work on in myself rather than the idea the author presents.  

He also suggests scheduling that focused time into your calendar and protecting it – another challenge for me. On top of that, he debunks the idea of multi-tasking. This felt blasphemous to me at first. What mother do you know who does not pride herself on juggling multiple balls in the air on a daily basis!?! It seemed to me that Gary Keller was basically trying topull the rug out from under my life! This book made me so angry that I had to take a few months to calm down enough to even write this review.

Practical Applications

But somehow, this morning I woke up thinking about this book again. A practical example to apply his basic techniques popped into my mind. Let’s say you want to save $30,000 to buy a house over the next 5 years. That sounds like a lot of money to save and a crazy goal! But if we break it down to saving $6,000 this year and saving $500 each month which means saving about $17 each day, it becomes manageable. To reach this goal, we ask, what’s the one thing we can do today to get that started? Perhaps you open the savings account. Maybe you start a side hustle and allocate all the income to that goal. You might start saving your cash in a money jar to deposit at month end. Maybe you resolve to pack your lunch.

The One Thing Book Review: At Peace With MoneyWhat’s important is getting started by taking some action today to make the goals you have for your future turn into a reality.  That is a lesson I can take from this book.

I might have to work on my focus, and reexamine my views on multitasking. However, I do feel I stand behind the ultimate message of this book: get clear on your goal, focus on it, and work towards it every day. If you do that, you will achieve what you’re after. Whether that’s saving for a house or starting a business, this is an important reminder in how we approach our financial goals. If you need an accountability partner to help you get started, please feel free to reach out.  I would love to help you reach your goals (and I promise not to forbid you from multitasking!)

 

Angela

Image Sources: Squidhub, Bonehead Business

What’s Your Money Why?

Your money “why” is like your business’s compass, because it’s hard to get where you’re going if you don’t know exactly where you’re going or why you’re going there! Everyone talks about finding your “why” – your motivation or purpose – in business. Doing so is absolutely important, but today I want to talk about your money “why” because I think that is equally important to the direction of your business. Knowing exactly what your goals are for the money your business generates will  guide you in your financial decision making process and ultimately to the realization of said goals.  

My Money Why

When I started my first business, I wanted to make some “extra money.” The problem was, I really wasn’t clear on what that money was for. Without direction that extra money seemed to  simply come and go.  When I started my bookkeeping business, I had a specific goal for the money I was making: I was paying college tuition for our oldest daughter. She has since graduated and I am now in the process of putting our second daughter through college (three years to go!). After my goal for my money is to supplement our retirement, so that my husband can leave his demanding career. Because I know specifically what these things cost, I have an exact number to set as my revenue goal.

Know Your Money Why: At Peace With Money

Whether you have started your business to fully support yourself or your household, or you’re doing a side hustle to pay for “extras,” if you know your money goals and can get some exact numbers you need to meet in order to reach these goals, you will be so much more clear on how to get there. This added clarity will simplify your decisions, and make your objective more clear. You will also be more likely to make better decisions to maintain your business’s profitability. They always say, “keep your eye on the prize.” Doing so is a lot easier when you know what the prize is!

So, ask yourself a few questions: Why did you go into business? What are some life goals you have that cost money? What are some specific financial goals you need or want to meet with your income? Come up with specific numbers and stay focused on those – now you know your money why! If you need some assistance getting to the bottom of your money why, perhaps you’d like to check out my Business Beginnings or Turning Points packages. 

Angela

Image Sources: James ChouCasey Horner

How To Pay Yourself First

How To Pay Yourself First: At Peace With MoneyI use the hashtag #PayYourselfFirst all the time, but what does it really mean to pay yourself first? It’s a core aspect of Profit First philosophy. It’s also an important part of how I organize my own personal finances. I want to make sure all my readers know how to pay themselves first, in their business and personal finances, so let’s dive in.

Keep What You Earn

“Paying yourself first” is about having a system in place to make sure that you get to keep a portion of your earnings. In my last post on automation, I talked about David Bach’s book, The Automatic Millionaire. Bach includes the concept of paying yourself first in this book and applies it to personal finances. He suggests setting aside savings right off the top of every paycheck, even before breaking it down for living expenses. Users of this system do quite literally pay themselves first! In his system, the money goes to retirement savings accounts, but the system can be adjusted in both business and personal finances to fit your own needs.  Taking a cut for yourself from each paycheck is and important but easily forgotten practice.

Beyond Corporate

So, how does this apply to solopreneurs? If you’re working outside the corporate world, you’re probably working without health and retirement benefits. This is all the more reason to set up a system to take care of these needs. Setting aside money to address health and retirement costs is important for many people, but especially so if your main source of funding for both is your own business. 

How to Pay Yourself First: At Peace With Money

I always say I want to help my clients work with the Profit First system to align their business profits with their life goals, and I assume one of those goals is to support yourself in your health and retirement! Every financial aspect of your business can be set up with this in mind. Your products should be priced appropriately so that you earn something for yourself, rather than just simply covering costs. A part of that money should be invested into your future and your healthcare fund. This is the Profit First system at its core. This is what I want to help solopreneurs work towards with their businesses.

Take a look at your personal and business money systems and ask yourself, do you pay yourself first? Are you setting aside money to support and reward yourself? If you’re interested in more on this topic, I highly suggest downloading the first 5 chapters of the Profit First book through my website.

 

Angela

Image Sources:  Alisa Anton, zixuan Fu

Why Automation Is Your Money’s BFF

Why Automation is Your Money's BFF: At Peace With MoneyAutomation is your money’s best friend. By automating your finances, you reduce your opportunities for decision making, thereby reducing your chances to change your mind about saving money or paying a bill in full. By reducing your decisions you set yourself up for success! Automation can build up your savings and pay off your bills, without any extra effort on your part. So, how can you use automation as a financial tool?

Automate Everything!

There are many different facets of your finances which can benefit from automation. Automating your bills is a good place to start. Many banks have online bill pay options available that help you pay your regular monthly bills on time. In particular, automation is a good way to ensure you always pay your credit card balance in full, so that you don’t accrue any interest fees. However, one important thing to be aware of when automating your bills is that you will need to stay aware of your bank balance, to avoid over-drafting your account. As long as you keep an eye on your balance, automating your bills is a good way to avoid late fees, build good credit, and stay on top of your finances.

The other major arena of your finances that definitely deserves some automation-attention is your savings. I touched briefly on automating your savings in an earlier article, which you can read here. The most important thing about automating your savings is that if money automatically gets moved out of your spending account, you have no chance to spend it. That makes saving that much easier! We do this with our retirement savings, and it really helps us keep it up. A great resource for further information about automating your savings is The Automatic Millionaire by David Bach.

I hope this motivates you to try out automation with your finances!

Angela

Image Sources: Mitch Lensink, Lucas Silva Pinheiro Santos

Young and Thrifty: Creating a Spending Plan

How to Create a Spending Plan: At Peace With Money

Creating a spending plan, also sometimes known as a budget, can be a very important tool for getting a handle on your finances no matter where you are in life. In my last Young and Thrifty post, we briefly touched on budgeting as a way to encourage saving habits. Today, I want to look more closely at 3 different types of spending plans. Maybe you’ll find one that works for you! But first, the budgeting basics:

Analyze Your Expenses

The first step to creating almost any spending plan is to analyze your expenses. Figure out what your fixed expenses are, like rent or mortgage payments, transportation costs, food, etc. These types of expenses are things you really need that tend to cost the same amount every month. After you’ve confirmed what your fixed expenses are, you can analyze the rest of your spending habits and determine which of your expenses are flexible, and not as necessary as your fixed necessities.

Once you’ve evaluated your finances in this way, you can start to take charge of your spending using various strategies.

Categories

The most common budgeting strategy is to divide your expenses into specific categories and assigning designated not to exceed amounts for each category. For example: “Food, $200/month, gas, $150/month, etc.” Doing this can help you establish your monthly living expenses and also help you understand how much you spend on each category. If you wish to cut down on your spending in a particular area, this may be a useful strategy for you.

Set Amount for Flexible Expenses

Another strategy that is helpful when you’re really focused on saving is setting aside a set amount of money for all expenses that lie outside of your fixed necessities. When my oldest daughter was setting a budget while saving for her road trip, she set aside $100 a month for all expenses that weren’t fixed necessities. This might be tight for some, but setting an amount in this way is a very simple budgeting tactic that can encourage you to make your spending more intentional.

Rewards

A third tactic that can help you create a spending plan you’ll stick to is to set aside rewards for yourself. For example, if you have $500 to spend on a certain monthly expense, and you manage to only use $480, you can use that extra $20 to reward yourself. This can be applied to your overall monthly expenses or within certain categories. One of my daughters has found this strategy very motivating and usually ends up using her reward money on ice cream.

Resources

There are two digital resources I can recommend for anyone looking to create a spending plan. Mint and You Need A Budget are both digital budgeting software systems that will help you set up and track your monthly budget. From my personal experience, I enjoy Mint, and my family uses their free version. Amber Dugger really appreciates YNAB and uses it with her clients.Creating a Spending Plan: At Peace With Money

Though this article mentions only a few strategies, budgeting and spending plans can be as simple or complex as you need them to be. I encourage you to do more research if you’re interested. I recommend this article from Practical Money Skills and this podcast from Jen Hemphill as two helpful resources. In a later post, I will be putting together a list of some of my favorite resources for financial self-education.

I hope you find these spending strategies useful. Stay thrifty!

Angela

Images:Camille Orgel, Unknown

Young and Thrifty: A Guide to Saving

A Guide to Saving for Young People: At Peace With MoneyRecently I’ve received some questions about financial advice for young people. I think the most important piece of advice I can give is this: save your money. It’s simple, but it can be difficult to get in the saving habit. That’s why I recommend developing a savings plan. There are three parts to a good savings plan: percentage, motivation, and banking.

Savings Percentage

In order to save money, it’s important to decide what portion of your money you want to regularly save. You can decide this in a variety of ways. If you’re in a situation where you don’t need most of your income for fixed expenses, the amount you can save becomes much more flexible. For example, when my younger daughter started working at our local pizza place, she decided she would save her paycheck and spend her tips.

Many sources recommend saving about 10% of your income monthly. If you have a fixed income, this can be calculated easily. With variable income, you can simply tally up what you’ve made and calculate the percentage each month. Use the other 90% of your income to live off of and cover your expenses. 

If you want to make things more  organized or complex, you can work on budgeting out your expenses. I’ll talk about different budgeting strategies in a later post.

Motivation

Having financial goals is important! Make sure you know what you’re saving for. Are you looking to purchase a car? Moving out? A  fund that will enable you to leave your job in case of  sexual harassment or unfair treatment? Having an intention for your savings is important because it helps keep you motivated. The more specific it is, the easier it is to focus on. For example, when my older daughter decided she wanted to take a 3 month road trip, she calculated how much she needed to save, got a job at a shoe store, and the next few months saving almost all of her income. She even lived on her friend’s couch for two months to save on rent. In the end, she saved all the money she needed and then some. That’s the power of motivation! 

Banking

Use a bank that earns you high interest on your savings and doesn’t charge fees. Doing some research to find a good bank will help you figure out where to put your money and watch it grow quickly. You can also read my tips for avoiding bank fees here

Some banks allow you to automatically transfer money to a savings account each month. Setting up that automation can make saving even easier. When you don’t even have to think about it, it’s much more likely to get done. 

A Guide to Saving for Young People: At Peace With MoneySaving is the best piece of financial advice I can give to young people. Getting in the habit of saving your money opens up a lot of choices, something that’s important and helpful in any young person’s life!

This post was written in response to some requests I’ve received for financial advice for young people. To answer these questions, I’ve created a series called Young and Thrifty. Check the tag Young and Thrifty to see other articles in the series. 


Angela

Image Sources: Jeremy Cai,  Sharon McCutcheon

Why You Need a Money Buddy

Why You Need a Money Buddy: At Peace with Money

Who do you go to for financial advice? We don’t talk about money that much in our society, but we should! Talking about our finances, our incomes, and exchanging financial advice can bring in helpful new perspectives to our financial lives. That’s why I believe everyone needs a go-to person for financial advice or perspective.

Not unsurprisingly, I am that person for a few people in my life. When my sister and I were young adults, we had a conversation about what roles or specialties we would take on in our lives. I have always been a “numbers person,” and volunteered myself to be the financial sounding board between the two of us. My sister calls me any time she needs financial advices, another perspective, or an extra set of eyes on her finances.A few weeks ago, she asked me for my advice about buying a new car, which I wrote about here.

Why It’s Important

Having a go-to person for financial advice is crucial for a few reasons. First, using someone else as a sounding board can lend clarity or new ideas to any financial situation. You can also share tools, tips, and ideas with each other. I enjoy talking with other financial coaches about their favorite strategies, and also get some good book recommendations!

Most importantly, having someone you trust to talk about money with can make your finances less intimidating. If you hear about someone else’s financial situation, it can put yours in perspective. Having a “money-buddy” is likely to keep you more accountable to your financial goals and also help you feel more comfortable thinking about money as it becomes a more regular topic of conversation in your life.

Solopreneurs may also appreciate having someone to bounce financial ideas off of, because they can benefit from outside perspectives. When you’re running your business all by yourself, it can be easy to develop financial blind-spots. Having someone to talk to about your business finances can help you avoid that.

Find Your Person

Try approaching a trusted friend or family member with the idea of sharing financial advice with each other. Make sure it’s someone you feel comfortable with so that your conversations are solely helpful. Once you’ve found someone, figure out how you want to structure your financial mentorship. You could review Why You Need a Money Buddy: At Peace With Moneyyour finances together every month, share your financial goals and progress, start a mini financial book club, or simply plan to call on each other when you need to make financial decisions. Keep it as simple or involved as you like.

I hope that finding a go-to person for financial advice will help you make better financial decisions and reach your financial goals. Of course, if you ever need professional help, you know where to find me.


Angela

Image Sources: Thought Catalog, Tyler Nix

Budgeting Without Feeling Deprived: Create a Spending Plan

woman standing by mountain lake

I don’t know about you, but I never liked trying to keep a budget. It just feels restrictive, like being deprived- like a diet, right?  

But maybe we need to reframe our thinking.  Let’s replace the word “budget” with the words “spending plan.” Creating a “plan” is taking action with intention and “spending” is just where our dollars are going.  If you think about it, spending with a plan gives us permission to have fun – without the guilt.  

Of course, a spending plan needs to take care of the “have to’s” first – mortgage, utilities, car payment, gas and caring for our future selves (in the form of retirement funds). But after those are taken care of, we have a little freedom to spend on things like entertainment, shopping, and travel. You still get to do fun things, but you’re doing them with intention and without guilt because you know you have already taken care of your needs. You may also find that you are able to set aside money over time to use for a larger splurge, such as a special trip you want to take in the future. 

Budgeting Without Feeling Deprived: Creating a Spending Plan

Without a spending plan, that trip may not be possible. Budgeting and having fun don’t need to be mutually exclusive. Making a spending plan can help you work towards affording your dreams and goals. Rather than seeing budgeting as deprivation, it can be a strategy to make your money work for you – just as it should.

Angela
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By |2018-02-19T20:48:12+00:00February 19th, 2018|Categories: Money Mindset, Personal Spending|Tags: , , |0 Comments