money priorities

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To Find Clarity and Focus, Do a Mid-Year Review Pt. II

This is part two of a two-part series on doing a mid-year review of your business! You can find part one here

So, now that you’ve reviewed your work so far and adapted your strategies and goals appropriately, it’s time for the next few steps. These are intended to really up the feeling of getting a fresh start, while enjoying your business for what it is: a way to meet your life goals.

Refresh

For an extra dash of clarity and focus, include a refresh in your review process! Now is the time to do whatever necessary maintenance you might need to grease the wheels of your business. You might clean your workspace, clear your inbox, or centralize your passwords. Attend to your physical and digital spaces. Check in with your finances, and schedule an appointment with a bookkeeper. 

This is usually my favorite part of the review process, because I make time to do all the little things that have been nagging me, like scheduling lower priority appointments, finding that one piece of paper, and sometimes making a new goal chart for myself. Giving yourself the time and space to get organized can save you time and effort down the road. It can also add ease to your everyday business functions – which is an added bonus!

Celebrate

Go back to step one, and take stock again of all you’ve done this year, including this review process. Chances are, you will find you’ve done quite a bit of work towards your goals, no matter how close you might be to completing them! Take some time to celebrate all the work you’ve done. Treat yourself to an afternoon off, a fun or inspiring event, or whatever you’d like to do to celebrate your achievements so far! Being a self-starting solopreneur is hard work. If you’ve done the work, you deserve to cheer yourself on once in a while.

If you busted through this whole review process, congratulations. I’d love to hear from you about how your business functions going forward, or if there are any little things you’ve added to the process. Just leave a comment below or shoot me an email at angela {at} atpeacewithmoney.com. If you think you could benefit from working through this process with an accountability partner, you know where to find me – just check in on my Services page.

Angela

Image Source: Emma Matthews

To Find Clarity and Focus, Do a Mid-Year Review

Goal motivational quote

We’re six months down the line. How are you doing with your goals? Have you totally crushed them, worked on them bit by bit, or are you not sure? In the thick of things, sometimes our focus on our goals can get a little murky. Here’s the first two steps of a two part series on doing a mid-year review. Let’s jump in:

Review

Step one in a mid-year review is the review, of course! When you take a look at the goals you’re working towards, it’s easy to get bogged down by focusing on what you still need to do. Instead, train your focus on what you’ve already done.

Start by making a list of milestones you’ve hit or steps you’ve completed. Rifle through your day planner or old to-do lists if you need a refresher. Go back through the year, month by month.

Now, it’s time for a little introspection. Take stock of all the actions you’ve taken towards your goals, and then ask yourself a few questions: How do I feel about this goal? Do I still want to achieve it by the end of the year? Is that feasible? At what pace have I been able to work toward this? What’s my capacity been like?

Don’t be afraid to drop things or add new things. Some goals may simply no longer excite you, or you may have realized that another achievement is more important or time sensitive.

During this review process, it’s also helpful to take a look at the systems and work routines you have in place for your business. For example, you may have set an intention to review your numbers once a week, or you may be trying out the Profit First system. Evaluate the effectiveness of your systems and routines. Are they working for you? Do you have time to do these things? Are you consistent? You may find that your routines need to be simplified or tweaked to be more pleasant. Or, you might find that your systems and routines are working just fine! Both are vital evidence when checking in on your business.

Learn and Adapt

Next, it’s time to use all of that evidence you’ve gathered to adapt your goals and practices. First, notice if you have any goals that you are either discarding or adding. Next, examine the pace at which you’ve worked on your goals. These pieces are important when it comes to planning out the rest of your year.

I recommend drawing or writing out a map for the next six months. Include any events relevant to your business, like conferences, trade shows, or gallery openings. Then, begin to write in milestones you hope to meet in the next six months. Make sure these are realistic! Don’t pressure yourself to level up in three months if it took you six to get where you are now. Instead, allow yourself the space and time to achieve things incrementally.

When you’re making your plan, be sure to adapt your goals to what’s worked so far this year. If you really love a certain routine or feel fired up to keep working toward a certain goal, go for it. If you’ve stalled on a project because you need to do more research, carve out some time to go back to the drawing board. When charting your course, keep your own needs and preferences in mind.

The next two steps will coming out in part two of the series, but I think this gives you enough to chew on for now! If you haven’t yet set goals for your business, or would like some more help thinking them through, check out my article Set Informed Income Goals. And of course, I am happy to walk through the goal setting process with you. All three of my service packages are focused on helping you set, work towards, and achieve goals. If you find you might appreciate some accountability or guidance, head on over to my Services page and schedule a curiosity call

Angela

Image Source:  S O C I A L . C U T

Working on Your Finances is Self Care

Working on Your Finances Is Self Care: At Peace With Money

It’s that time of year: time to make New Year’s resolutions. Many of us are focused on doing better for ourselves. We often resolve to do things like “exercise more consistently,” or “learn new things.” One habit I’m adopting this year is stretching at the end of my daily walk.

These self care habits and regimens are all well and good, but one area that gets overlooked is your finances. This is an unfortunate oversight. Our money is so connected to our quality of life, so if we really want to treat ourselves well, looking after our finances is one of the best things we can do.

If you’re here reading this blog, then you’ve already begun to take the first steps towards working toward financial organization and freedom. Congratulations! This blog is a great resource, and I suggest clicking around on some things that interest you anytime you need a little financial education. One of my favorite posts, “Money Doesn’t Need to Be Scary,” contains a lot of great resources for financial self-education. Give it a whirl!

Working on Your Finances Is Self Care: At Peace With MoneyAs we go into 2019, I’m focusing on this idea of financial organization as self-care. To kick the new year off, I’m releasing a series detailing my top three money moves for financial success this year. These insights are geared towards solopreneurs and intended to help you get on top of your business finances. [Edit: you can read the full series here.]

In the meantime, reflect on your financial state of affairs. Perhaps you’d like to check out my exercise, “Three Steps to Financial Clarity.” This will give you a good snapshot of where you are in your finances and where you’d like to go. If you’d like to talk to someone more in-depth about your business finances, don’t hesitate to schedule a curiosity call. You can also check out my services packages to see if they might help you get on the right track this year.

Angela

Image Sources: Wolfgang Hasselmann,

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

Check In With Your Goals – Time for a Review

Check In With Your Goals: At Peace With Money

Time to review your goals.  Only four months left in 2018, can you believe it? It’s certainly flown by for me, which is why this week I want us to take some time to reflect on our goals. Many of us set goals at the beginning of each year.  You may have set some goals for your business that you have since been working towards. It’s been a while since January, so now’s the time to check in!

The Review

Review your goals and begin to reflect on your progress for each one. Now, here’s the tricky part: don’t get caught up in what you still need to do. Instead, it’s important to spend a good chunk of time reviewing what you’ve already done to reach your goals. If you feel like you can’t remember everything, try going back month by month. If you use a day planner, flip through it and scan your old to-do lists. Chances are, you will find you’ve done quite a bit of work towards your goals, no matter how close you might be to completing them! Take some time to reflect on the work you’ve done, and congratulate yourself on this work. Celebrate your achievements so far! Being a self-starting solopreneur is hard work. If you’ve done the work, you deserve to cheer yourself on once in a while.

While you’re having this victory party for yourself, now may also be a good time to map out what you hope to get done during these last three months of 2018. By reflecting on what you’ve done up to this point first, you are able to clearly see the pace you work at. With this in mind, you can set realistic expectations for the next three months, rather than trying to cram in too much work.

My Check-In

You may remember that I set a goal earlier this year to be mindful by enjoying what’s right in front of me. I want to share a little check-in of my own on this goal. That way, you can see how it’s going and be inspired to reflect on your own goals.

I’ve been doing a couple things throughout this year to stick with this goal. Every weekday, for 10-15 minutes each morning, I’ve been writing in my little gratitude journal. During my morning walk, when I reach the top of our road, I cross the street to take in the view of the Monterey Bay for a few minutes. In this way I’ve been able to appreciate the place I live more fully. I also notice changes in the season and the forest, and even the subtleties of the fog cover.

Check In With Your Goals: At Peace With MoneyI’ve also been trying to practice a technique for grounding my memories. The way this works is, when having a good experience, you try to capture the memory by taking in all the sensory details. Notice how your surroundings smell, feel, sound, and taste. Paying attention to these details has helped me appreciate them more. I learned this technique from Lucky Bitch by Denise Duffield-Thomas. It’s a great read, and I hope to do a book review on it soon!

For more resources on reviewing your goals, I recommend this video series by Muchelle B. on Youtube. I hope this post inspires you to check in with your goals, celebrate your hard work, and be mindful of your capacity as you finish out the year. Remember to enjoy your business, and your life! If you find you need some help setting goals, especially for your business, check out my services page or set up a discovery call with me!

Angela

Image Sources: Brooke LarkAmy Shamblen

How A Reliable Car Can Save You Money in the Long Run

How a Reliable Car Saves You Money: At Peace With Money

Earlier this year, we said goodbye to a dear old friend – our Ferrari red ’92 Volvo station wagon. We bought it just after we had our first daughter, and since then, it has been with us through thick and thin. That is, until it got T-boned. All told, we owned and regularly used the car for over 20 years.

Having a good reliable car helped us save money in the long run. Because we were able to keep it so long, we eventually completely paid it off. We also saved big on the maintenance of our car. Volvos are known for their long-lasting engines, and ours was no exception to the rule. Though it did require repairs, it was not a finicky car the way others can be (we’re looking at you, Mercedes-Benz). We did our research before we purchased this car to make sure we didn’t buy something that would be too needy. We ended up saving a lot of money over time because we had to deal with fewer repairs. We’re also lucky to have an in-house mechanic; my husband did many of the repair jobs that were needed, which saved us still more money.

Ultimately, we got more than our money’s worth out of this car. My husband drove it to work, we drove the kids and their friends around in it, took it on many a road trip, let our kids drive it in their teenage years, and moved our oldest daughter to and from college many times. We wouldn’t have been able to keep it so long if it hadn’t been so reliable!

My advice is: do your research and buy a car that won’t need a lot of repairs! This article from Consumer Reports is a good place to start, but don’t stop there. Do more research, compare sources, and make sure your car purchase is a thoughtful one. If there’s anything I learned from owning the Volvo, it’s that your car choice can make a big difference in your finances. If you’d like more advice on purchasing a car, check out my other article about avoiding “car-shopping-brain” and making a purposeful choice.

I hope this advice inspires you to make a thoughtful car purchase, or simply appreciate your car. And next time you see someone driving a Volvo station wagon, admire their money savvy!

Angela

Image Sources: Court Prather, Clem Onojeghuo

What is the Feminine Economy?

What Is the Feminine Economy? At Peace With MoneyAs someone who’s been involved with finance throughout my career, I love hearing about and researching new financial ideas. When I came across Proposals for the Feminine Economy, a talk given by Jennifer Armbrust, it piqued my interest. Immediately, I began to see the parallels between Jennifer’s ideas and Profit First ideology. Today, I want to share these parallels and discuss how we can apply these ideas to our business as solopreneurs!

Money as Water, Business as Art

Jennifer speaks about thinking of money as water, flowing where it is needed. She maintains that a business is a “needs-fulfillment machine.” To me, this aligns directly with the Profit First philosophy of creating a business that meets the owner’s financial needs. My objective is always to help my clients align their business profits with their life goals. This includes making sure their business is supporting them financially and meeting their needs!

She also suggests that we treat business as art, as a process of experimentation. She encourages everyone to monetize their natural skills and abilities and build business structures that allow for growth. Her emphasis clearly lies on building business and a larger economy that meet the needs of the people running them. In her book, room for growth and meeting personal goals are also needs that a business can serve to meet.

How Can We Use This?

First, if you haven’t viewed the talk yet, I suggest watching it! Jennifer’s solopreneur story is one full of creativity and inspiration.

Next, take some time to think over these ideas and apply them to your business. Perhaps it might be helpful to list out all your needs. Think about things like time spent with your family and doing social activities, your involvement in your community, the amount of money and time you’re able to give to causes you care about, your diet, health and exercise, time for creativity and expression, yoWhat is the Feminine Economy? At Peace With Moneyur spiritual needs, etc.Which of these needs is your business meeting?  Which ones are not being met, and how could you adapt your business to better serve you in that area? What are your goals? Is your business helping you meet those? Answering these questions can help you discover whether your business is truly supporting you in all the ways it could. Approaching your business with a creative eye can help you create something more supportive. That’s Profit First in action!

I hope these ideas have piqued your interest just as they did mine!

Angela

Image Sources:  Omar Lopez , Hian Oliveira

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