We are starting the last block of challenges for Simplify your life. I saved money for last for two reasons. One is because I knew it was a big one that most people would just get started looking at this month, but have to carry on into 2013. Another is that my knowledge base in this area is weaker than the rest of the challenges. I will be sharing broad ideas with tips to get your started thinking. If finances are a big issue for you I definitely suggest you invest time in this area and possibly involve a professional advisor.
My own story is this – we don’t budget. I am very lucky that I married a man who has similar views on money and we are in sync 99% of the time. Neither of us grew up with a lot, we don’t aspire towards great wealth (although a nice comfortable house is top of our list) and we prefer to live in the here and now and not worry about when we are 85 years old.
I have shared how my father died suddenly when I was fourteen years old. This above all else shaped my money ideas. I could have gone a different way – socking away lots of money so I would feel secure since the opposite was the case after his death. Instead I chose the route of “you never know if you have a tomorrow so enjoy today”.
My grandparents retired, bought a condo in Florida and my Grandfather died before they ever got on the plane to move.
I don’t actually want to live to be 99 like my Grandmother.
So this shapes what is my money “simple”. I spend money on books, travel, good wine and my family. I do want to sit down in 2013 and make some financial plans with my husband though, but know he still won’t want a real “budget”. We live within our means and work on growing our income, saving money where we can (both in terms of saving on purchases and building up our savings), and making strides in the direction we want to head.
So this week is all about being aware of where you stand and determining where you want to head.
This will look different for each of us. I shared my story so you would see there is not just one way. I will talk about budgeting, but do not operate from one myself. There are numerous approaches to everything you want to tackle from budgeting to investing to saving for a trip or a house.
Take stock of where you are now. Know your financial truth.
What is your income, what are your outgoings, what is your debt if you have any?
Set goals for your finances
Do you want to finally create a budget or financial management system? Check out Pear budget , Mint, Dave Ramsay If you need some budgeting tips check out these posts and guides from Buttoned up, Planning with Kids, Kylie Ofiu and Slow your home.
Do you want to be more conscious of your spending? Perhaps switch to cash only (read about the envelope system a la Dave Ramsay) or work at decreasing impulse spending and incidentals.
Do you have something big you want to save for but have not yet started (or have stalled)? a home, a car, a holiday, education (yours or your children’s), investments etc.
We will be covering reducing outgoings and increasing income in the next two posts about achieving our goals. For now we are just setting our intentions.
Challenge this week: Know where you are and think about where you want to go. Read, reflect and answer any questions above that you connect with or are your next step on your financial journey. Remember to be true to your values as you set goals that are right for you even if they are not right for someone else. Let go of “shoulds” – if you want to rent a home to free up cash flow / income so you continue as a stay at home mother that is right for you. If you want to save for an overseas trip rather than private school fees that is right for you. Funny enough there are no rules for money management even if society tries to tell you otherwise.
If you are blogging through these money challenges it will be helping others learn from you too – you don’t need to share dollar amounts or anything deeply personal. Being intentional and taking control of any money issues is something to be proud of so focus on where you are going and not where you have been.
What do you need to look at financially right now?
Find your simple,
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Photo credit: Money image from flickr user 401(K) 2012