With the financial year is upon us and you’ve stumbled across my blog because we have some big money goals for the upcoming year or years. One of the greatest things I have learnt about new starts and having different personal needs and goals is the ability to have a completely altered mindset on how to manage finances. Must admit, it is tempting to dig deeper when it comes to taking a hard look at what basics you have and want; while the idea of revisiting your “budget” runs through your mind. Like me, if you have good financial intentions and are wanting to gain a rainy day trust fund egg than these are some of the easy steps I’m using for budgeting in 20/21 financial year.
STEP 1: NAMING EVERYTHING
Like others, I am a massive fan of modern day technology and with this, the ability of being able to give everything a name. Prime example, all of my bank accounts (yes, I have multiple) have been given the nickname of ‘rainy day emergencies’ etc. As a broke university student, I learnt budgeting can be seen as having a form of diet as everyday expenses can make us feel as if we should be doing something. Particularly when it comes to saving or even, establishing that all important: safety net.
Being in my early 30’s and learning from past money mistakes, I now view managing money as a form of self-care as I am continuously thinking about my future and my family as well. As a result, my first step of being financially stable is stop using the word ‘budget’ and call it something completely different. Hence why giving everything a name has a new meaning to it.
I find the word ‘budget’ has an ability to lower anyone’s self-worth and we often find ourselves falling over the financial edge six weeks into everything. For 20/21, I’ve chosen to not use the word as I feel like it takes away the power of being such a heavily loaded word and as a result, I’m going to get creative when planning replacement words. Options you can use includes finances, emergency funds, cash flow or my personal favourite: safety net. By using this positive language and slowly changing your mindset, we’ve taken the first step to becoming more wise when it comes to budgeting.
STEP 2: DOLLARS NEED JOBS!
While heavily pregnant with my son, I picked up a financial book from my local library and read in a section that every dollar we earn should have a job. Since reading the whole book (twice), I have learnt an important key notes when it comes to reframing the mindset of someone and the way we view money. The actual process of becoming aware begins by taking a good look at how you manage both your money and income/outcome. After this defining money moment, everything started looking really different for me.
In the past, I used to have a loosely based ‘budget’ that would entail a list all of my expenses being smushed up against my income. As a broke university student and first year Registered Nurse, I would also consider it a great bonus if I had a little bit left over from the fortnight/month and I’d start plotting mad holidays on a five cent budget. However after reading this book, I soon discovered a whole new tactic. That being: instead of listing all of my monthly expenses in red, I would work backwards by writing down a few main goals for the overall financial year and then I’d start writing down monthly expenses.
One of my biggest goals for this financial year is to be able to buy a house with my husband or go away on a holiday to South Australia (hello wine country!) or Hamilton Island, after covid of course. By manifesting these dreams of mine into actual goals, I need to figure out how much money will need to be saved for a house down payment and any potential extras we may be faced with when going on our holiday. It also allows myself/us to have a workable and flexible timeframe as to when these goals can be accomplished, while eliminating the feeling of being overwhelmed.
But what about the left money I don’t spend, what can I do? The answer to the question is: whatever money is left over from the monthly expenses needs to have a job! Whether you consider this ‘job’ as being invested in a great date night for you and your partner, treating yourself to a mani/pedi or putting it into your safety net account; everything from your income has purposely been allocated to having a job. Ultimately, it makes financial planning a little bit easier and eliminates any “guessing games” at what our month-to-month resources are.
STEP 3: FINDING YOUR NICHE
One of the key aspects about managing money is there needs to be a lot more motivation than purely working on the concept of all bills need to be paid on time. Working on the concept of money equals self-care, we need to focus on the ‘how’s’ and ‘what’s’. How’s: how are we going to feel after contributing to our lifestyle of happiness and safety. What’s: what are ways to making sure these teeny daily actions are actively contributing towards my lifestyle and self-care.
Struggling to get motivated can have an effect upon how you picture/achieve your goals and manage your finances within a meaningful way. If this sounds familiar to you, I encourage you to revisit your why or finding your niche as it is about finding and emotionally/mentally feeling every little outcome from every financial effort you achieve or strive towards. Some would even say, the niche you define as being important to your goals can be more powerful than any financial goal or milestone being accomplished. As they have a means and ways of keeping those feelings bubbly away at the surface, us motivated for the long term and making the decision to stick to a plan; as we will always face temptations such as splurging on unexpected expenses or something that we really do not need.
If this doesn’t motivate you than girl, step away from the Hermés handbag and call it a day because your credit card cannot afford another transaction.
STEP 4: TRACKING YOUR GROWTH
Coming to the conclusion of wanting to purchase or build a home in the foreseeable future, I’ve discovered there is such a thing called finance fatigue and boy am I feeling it at this moment. Modern day technology and society has come a long way over the past few years as we now have the accessibility to apps, various platforms and unlimited options for financial management of money. Yet, we often become stifled and drop off the bandwagon several times as a result when it comes to tracking our growth.
By seeing small incremental changes within my financial status and future, it has become not only insanely motivating to carry on and keep focused on the long-term goal; but it’s also made me aware that it’s important to find an option that works for everyone. As no two people are the same when it comes to thought processes, visualisation of the goals and budgeting.
While some others would prefer using modern day apps and platforms for managing their finances, I’m old school and prefer using a blank piece of paper and a pen/highlighter or using a spreadsheet. Either way, you’ll want to spend some considerable amount of time planning and thinking about any financial goals, creating and reviewing a long-term financial plan (think 5 years), any investments you have or wish to have and your personal financial bucket list.
Who knew by my early 30’s and realising now is the time to become financially stable, it would lead to this and so much more. By simply starting and sticking to a routine of creating jobs for your income, finding a niche for goals and checking in to your long-term investment goal, it can lead to a lifestyle of becoming more wealthy, financially and in knowledge.