5 Tips to Stay Motivated When Working Towards Your Financial Goals

5 Tips to Stay Motivated When Working Towards Your Financial Goals

pin image for 5 Tips to Stay Motivated When Working Towards Your Financial GoalsStaying motivated through these hard times can be difficult. Especially when you’re working towards financial goals. This year has been very hard, particularly financially, for many families. I think we can all agree, it’s been quite a year.

I know that staying motivated to reach your financial goals, whatever they are – buying a home, getting out of debt, saving for a dream trip – can sometimes be discouraging, especially if you can’t see the light at the end of the tunnel. It’s very easy to lose momentum and quit. But, that doesn’t have to be how it goes for you. That’s why I want to share some tips with you to keep at your financial goals even when the going gets tough.

 

Here are my top 5 tips when your are trying to stay motivated while working towards your BIG financial goals:

Name Your Goals

For me, making a goal specific is one of the main ways to keep motivated towards reaching that goal. If you have a vague or not very specific goal, it’s hard to stay motivated. It’s important to specify and name your goals. The more specific the better! Ask yourself what financial success looks like to you? And, when you feel like giving up on your debt free journey, dig deep and remember your why. Get clear on what it is all for

Once you’ve specified your goals, you need to speak them. Tell others about your goal, post about them on social media, put yourself out there and make others aware so they will hold you accountable. I’d also suggest writing out or typing out your goals and posting them in places where you’ll see them regularly – next to your laptop, inside your journal, on your refrigerator, etc. You could even incorporate them into a vision board if that’s more your style.

When my husband and I were first on our debt free journey years ago, it was tough and I wanted to quit. I just couldn’t see the light at the end of the tunnel. But I kept my why in the front of my mind and that helped.

Build Your Support System

Once you decide on your financial goal and you make sure your goal is very specific, get yourself some support. It’s best if those closest to you support your goal and also take part in reaching that goal. If you are in a relationship and/or have kids, try to make it a family goal that you can all work towards together. Maybe even make reaching the goal a game or fun competition with your family members. To stay focused and motivated when working towards your financial goals, make sure you have the support of your family and spouse so you can cheer each other on.

Celebrate Small Wins

If you set a huge financial goal, it can be hard to stay motivated along the way. It’s helpful to break your large goal into mini goals and celebrate along the way as you reach each mini milestone. 

When my husband and I started paying down our over $100K in debt, we had to find smaller increments and goals to celebrate or it may have begun to feel overwhelming and like we were never going to get ourselves out of debt. Celebrating the little wins along the way can make things more fun and keep you motivated – even if your celebration is just yelling and dancing. 

I love to think of it like this: How do you eat an elephant? One bite at a time. The same goes for paying down your debt!

Say Bye-Bye

This might be hard, but you may need to cut loose any friends (for the time being) who don’t support your goals. If your friends are not happy with your success or try to get you to give up on your goals, this can seriously impact your motivation to reach those goals. If you are clear on your financial goals and your friends are dragging you down, be honest with them about your goals and ask for their support. And, if they still try to tempt you to spend, maybe it’s time for some new friends who are more aligned with where you are at right now in your life and your financial journey. 

If your friends can’t understand why you’d rather pay off debt than go on another trip, you might need new friends… just saying.

Find a Supportive Community

If you are looking for support and motivation as you work towards your financial goals, I invite you to join us for 31 Days of Money Motivation. Every day in December, across all of my social media accounts, I am sharing a Money Motivation Tip. We just started a few days ago and I am already floored by the support and encouragement that I am witnessing. If you need support as you charge towards your goals, come and join us!

 

To join in for the 31 Days of Money Motivation, go and give us a follow on Instagram, Facebook, or LinkedIn – whichever is your preferred platform. 

How Budgeting Will Improve Your Quality of Life

How Budgeting Will Improve Your Quality of Life

Pin image for How Budgeting will improve your lifeWhen you think of the word BUDGETING, what’s the first thing that comes to your mind?

If you’re like most people, you probably say: “It’s a pain” or “It’s not for me”, and you run away from anyone who brings it up! 

Here’s the thing though, what most people don’t understand is that a budget is just another way to say a spending plan, or a plan for how you want to spend your money. Now, I don’t know about you – but I LOVE spending money. I can’t think of much that’s more fun than planning how I’m going to spend it. 

But, aside from that, there are some very distinct connections between budgeting and quality of life. Whether you’re a saver or a spender, getting on a spending plan will not only get you and your partner on the same page, but it will help you get what you want out of life. 

Here are some insights into how setting up a budget or a spending plan will improve your life. 

Budgeting Will Improve Your Marriage or Relationships

Typically, when you’re a saver, you’re more likely to want to get on a spending plan, so it’s not as much of an issue for you. Your bigger worries are about the spender in your relationship. So much frustration comes with having to worry about what they are spending on and how it affects the overall family finances. 

For the spenders, you don’t think there’s a problem at all and you can’t understand why your partner or spouse is constantly nagging you. 

No matter which side you’re on, without a spending plan or budget, you’re experiencing some level of stress and frustration. If you didn’t know already, money arguments are the leading cause of divorces. Establishing a budget or spending plan that you can both agree to and live with will create a much more calm, stable, and cohesive home. 

a couple budgeting

Budgeting Will Improve Your Sanity

Money ties into almost every aspect of our lives, our social life, our home life, our kids, our education, etc. Money touches everything. That’s why, unless you get intentional about getting that part of your life organized, it’s going to cause a lot of tension in all areas of your life. 

Once you have a spending plan or budget set in place, you will be able to release so much stress and tension. 

Are you sold on setting up a budget or spending plan? Good! That was my goal. So, what can you do now? Let’s keep going!

Start talking to your partner or spouse and get on the same page. 

If you and your partner have joint accounts, you can’t set up a budget and stick to it if you’re not on the same page. You have to both be on board with budgeting. The first step for this is beginning to have super open and honest conversations about what is actually happening with your finances. 

You’ll need to identify exactly what is coming in and what is going out. Then, you need to make a commitment to each other and to your budget.

Get some assistance from an outside source to help you plan a family budget.

It’s okay to not be able to do it on your own. It’s actually really admirable if you recognize that you need help and you’re open to asking for that assistance. 

Maybe you’ve tried different types of budgeting and quit because they just didn’t work for you. Or maybe you really want to get started but you are so intimidated by spreadsheets and budgeting apps. That is okay! There is a budgeting style that will work perfectly for you. You just might need help finding it and getting started. 

 

Now that you know you’re ready to get a budget set up, it’s time to take action. Lucky for you, I can help with that! Let’s set a time for us to chat about how we can get you in control of your finances!

The 5 Behavioral Phases of the Finance Journey

The 5 Behavioral Phases of the Finance Journey

pin image for The 5 Behavioral Phases of the Finance JourneyBeing prepared in our finances can empower us because it impacts all of the areas of our life. Knowing this simple fact led me to put together a five phase journey based on my own experience with finances and the experiences of those I’ve helped along the way. My hope is that this framework will show you the path to financial freedom.

Knowing where you are at and which direction you’re heading in is vital to moving towards where you ultimately want your end destination to be. These are the five phases we went through. If you can identify which of the behavioral phases you are in, you’ll also be able to identify the steps you need to take to move forward on your journey.

Wondering which phase you are in? Check out my 5 behavioral phases of the finance journey!

visual image illustrating the 5 behavioral phases

Phase 1 – Denial

This is where most people begin their financial journey. When my husband and I were first married, we were definitely in denial about our finances. We thought we had all of the money in the world and we were spending on credit like there was no tomorrow. We racked up debt on over 11 credit cards. Since we could afford the minimum payments on them, we thought we were fine. You know the motto, “Buy now, pay later”? That was us. Trust me, we sure did pay later!

We were in denial that we couldn’t really afford these things. We were in denial that we had a spending problem. 

Phase 2 – Avoidance

In this phase, you start to recognize that you have a spending problem, but you’re doing things to avoid the issue because you don’t want to deal with it. But, at the end of every month, you need to come up with money to pay the bills and you’re noticing that your credit cards are maxed out. 

For us, we had our 11 credit cards, and we found ourselves signing up for new credit cards each month with 0% interest rates. Then, we would transfer our balance from one credit card with a high interest rate to this new low interest card. Essentially, we were just moving our problems around – not solving them. 

This process took care of some of the fees, but it didn’t solve the actual problem – which was our spending. We knew there was a problem, but we were avoiding it. We didn’t want to address it. 

Phase 3 – Frustration

Eventually, if you are stuck in the denial or avoidance phases for long enough, you will start to get frustrated with your lifestyle. Living paycheck-to-paycheck, being tired every month of not knowing where all of your money is going, and having those arguments every month with your spouse or partner about money are just so frustrating. 

That level of frustration at not knowing where your money is going, being disorganized with your finances, and over spending will start to build up and catch up to you. For myself and my husband we were in the avoidance and frustration phases for a long time. We finally decided enough was enough and we didn’t want to be stressed out and frustrated anymore. This led us into the next phase.

Phase 4 – Exploring

featured image for The 5 Behavioral Phases of the Finance Journey

Once you’ve decided that you’ve had enough of the stress and frustration, you’ll begin to explore your options. We knew we needed to do something so we started to look at our situation and considered getting outside help. We took a good hard look at our lives and began to think about what it is that we wanted for our future. 

Whether or not you do this yourself with all of the resources out there, you ask family and friends for tips and suggestions, or you get professional help, it’s important to find a solution to the problem you are having and begin to work on the issues. And this slowly moves you towards the final phase – the place where we all want to be!

Phase 5 – Control

The final stage brings us confidence and control. This is where we all hope to end up with peace of mind and stress free living. This is what we all want for our lives and our families. 

Ask yourself – which phase are you in now? This might sound crazy, but if you are in the frustration phase, this is a great place to be! Here’s why: If you are frustrated, you’re likely ready to take action and make a change.

Now that you’ve identified which of the behavioral phases you’re at, it’s time to make a plan to move you along on your journey. Lucky for you, I can help with that! Let’s set a time for us to chat about how we can get you in control of your finances!

3 Teachable Money Lessons in Your Daily Life

3 Teachable Money Lessons in Your Daily Life

Did you know it’s super easy to teach your kids about different money lessons?

pin image for money lessons blog postMost people grow up not learning money lessons from their parents. They have to go through life and learn it the hard way, like I did. I learned from my parents to just – work, work, work, save and not spend. That can be a money lesson but I’m here to encourage you to teach your kids to manage their money more effectively. 

There are so many easy opportunities in everyday life where we can teach our kids about money. These teachable moments are scattered all throughout your days and I want to share a few of them with you so the next time you do it, you’ll recognize it and say to yourself, “Oh, this is a teachable moment!”

Finance is a huge part of our lives. If kids don’t learn about it early on, it will create huge issues for them in adult life.

Why even talk to our kids about money when they are young?

You might be thinking – why bother, they’re so little? They’re just kids. Starting at 5 or 6, it’s okay to start. And you’re likely already doing it in small ways. As they get older, we want them to develop better habits and have a healthy relationship with money. 

If we don’t share with them about money, they will grow up thinking money grows on trees. Or, they’ll go away to college and keep calling asking for money. We don’t want that. We want them to be self-sufficient. We want them to go to college and be able to manage their money on their own – plus understand and value money and have a healthy relationship with it. 

When they learn these lessons early on, they will grow up and appreciate money but also – money won’t control their lives. They will control their money – instead of the other way around. 

I want to teach my kids skills so they can value and understand money. Now, you might be thinking, “I’m not good with money, how can I teach my kids about money”. Well, you can use these tips to start implementing positive money habits in your own life, too. 

Here are 3 easy ways to talk to your kids about money lessons in your day-to-day life:

Have Your Kids Track Your Eating Out Budget

A family eats out while the kids learn money lessons

You might not have any idea how much you spend to eat out each month. That’s okay, you can start now with the help of your kids!

We set a dedicated amount each month for this. For us, it’s usually around $400. If we had some left over from the previous month we roll it over into the next month. I have my kids track this budget using a calendar board in our living room. Each time we eat out, I have them write down where we ate and how much it cost. Then they subtract it from the budget. 

My kids are a bit older, 10 and 12, so they can do the math themselves. If you have younger kids, you can work through the math together with them and explain to them what you’re doing and keep yourself accountable as well as start to expose them to what you’re doing. 

The goal is that by mid-month, you’re only about halfway through your budget. So, when my kids come to me and ask if we can go out and get some Boba drink, I ask them to look at the board and see how much we have left in our budget.

Here’s the teachable moment – I tell them, if we spend it all now, that means we have 2 weeks with no money to spend on treats and eating out. So I try to teach them to spread it out evenly. Go at a balanced pace, don’t spend it all up front. If we are out of money and they ask to go out for food – we say there’s no more money for that. My kids are okay with that now because they understand. It helps to keep all of use accountable for not overspending on eating out. 

Talk to Your Kids and Get Them Involved in Tracking Common Bills

We use the same board in our living room to track our common household bills like water, electric, and cable/internet – stuff that the kids use regularly. 

Every month, I write down how much we spent that month on those bills. If the water bill happens to be a little higher one month, I’ll point it out to the kids and get them thinking about why that is. I’ll recommend to them to be more mindful of how we’re using our water and electricity in our day-to-day life. I also point out if the bills are going down and I say, “Wow you’re doing really good, guys!”

You’re already paying bills each month, so I recommend just pointing out what you’re doing to the kids so they’re aware, too. 

Teach Your kids the Difference Between Needs and Wants

When you’re at the store or talking with your spouse about getting something new, you’re already running through it in your head. Just talk it out with your kids. Talk about if it’s something you truly need or something you just want. Ask, “Do we really need it?” Let your kids hear you talking about it and expose them to the conversation. Get them used to the habit of taking a step back before making an impulse buy. 

a child learns a money lesson by paying for his own things.

Our kids have gotten used to this. When we go to the store, they know that we won’t make impulse buys.

There are teachable moments all day, every day with our kids. When you are already doing something, talk to your kids and involve them in it. The worst thing you can do for your kids is to keep them out of the loop when it comes to money lessons. Not teaching your kids about money management could lead to kids accumulating tons of debt and I know I don’t want that for my kids. If there is something I can do to help prevent my kids from getting sucked into the trap of money issues, I want to do that. 

 

If you’d like to learn more about budgeting, I’ll be hosting a Happy Family Budgeting Workshop. Head here for all of the details and to get signed up!

3 Big Reasons I Pay My Kids to do Jobs (not chores) Around the House

3 Big Reasons I Pay My Kids to do Jobs (not chores) Around the House

Pin image for 3 Big Reasons I Pay My Kids to do Jobs (not chores) Around the HouseAre you currently paying your kids to take care of certain jobs around the house? Or do you give your children a weekly allowance without requiring them to do anything to earn that money?

A while back I had an idea. I was always buying things for my kids and I thought, why don’t I take that money I was going to spend on them anyway and actually teach them some money lessons instead. Why don’t I pay my kids to do jobs! I love a good teachable moment! 

Of course, my kids have chores that need to be done regularly around the house. Think: making their beds and doing their laundry. I’m not talking about those things. I’m talking about the things that go above and beyond the normal daily household routine, like things that could be taken off my plate. For example: vacuuming the stairs, cleaning the microwave, or dusting the baseboards and shutters. Now, I pay my kids for doing those things.

If you’re wondering why, here are the 3 main reasons I pay my kids for doing these jobs around our house: 

I want to teach them the basics of money management. 

These are things like saving, spending, and giving. These are basic money lessons they are going to need to learn eventually. Why not start earlier on?

So, I’ll ask them what it is that they want to buy and they can slowly work up to saving for that thing. I have them divide the money into those 3 categories. How much do they want to put toward their goal, how much do they want to have available to spend on a treat, and how much do they want to put towards charity or gifts for others. 

Now, this concept of teaching them to save what they’ve earned is really helpful in letting them in on how to budget their pay in the future. It starts them out on those habits but on a smaller scale. It will lead to a healthy relationship with money once they start earning their own income.

What I’ve noticed is that when they are using their own money, they are a bit more conservative with their spending. This tells me that what I’m teaching is really sinking in!

I want them to learn to have a solid work ethic. 

They know this is a job and they know they have to do it well. Just like when they get out into the real world, they need to do their job properly in order to get paid. If they rush through it or don’t do a good job, I have them do it over before paying them. This teaches them the kind of work ethic I want them to have. Life isn’t just about having fun, you need to work hard, too. I always tell my kids: work hard, play harder. 

In our house, the kids do their jobs on Saturday. They have to get their jobs done before they even think about opening their iPad or turning the TV on. 

It’s all about responsibility. 

My kids are each assigned different jobs and they are each responsible for making sure their job gets done and that it gets done well. If they are assigned a job, they need to do it and take ownership of their responsibilities. 

Allowances vs. Jobs

If you are one who gives an allowance to your kids, I highly recommend you switch things up a bit. At the very least, in the verbiage. Think about what the word “allowance” says to your kids as compared to calling it a job and paying them for doing that job. When kids get an allowance, sometimes they feel entitled to the money instead of having to work for it. As adults, we know this isn’t how the real world works. We need to work in order to earn money, we aren’t just given money for existing. (though that would be nice, right?) It’s a tiny shift in language that could make a huge shift in your kids mindset and attitude. 

If you’d like to learn more about budgeting, I’ll be hosting a Happy Family Budgeting Workshop in just a few weeks. Head here for all of the details and to get signed up!

How I Manage My Spending Without Cash Envelopes

How I Manage My Spending Without Cash Envelopes

Pin image for How I Manage My Spending Without Cash EnvelopesDo you use cash envelopes? Or do you know someone who does? Or maybe, like me, you’ve tried it and hated it!

Cash envelopes are a really good tool for some people, but not me. I’m here to tell you about why I don’t like them and what I do instead to keep my finances organized and how I manage it all.

Spoiler alert: my system is easier and much more simple! 

Who are Cash Envelopes Good For?

Cash envelopes are a great option for people who really need to have that control. These are people who don’t want to be tempted to overspend on things.

It’s also great for people who need the visual of seeing that a particular envelope is empty and knowing that you’re done with that for the week or month. 

Why I Don’t Like Using Cash Envelopes.

Using cash envelopes can be a lot and it can get overwhelming and confusing. You have to have all of these envelopes and all this cash on you at all times. You have envelopes for groceries, eating out, paying bills. If you don’t want to keep the cash on you at all times, you can leave your envelopes at home. But, if you leave them at home, when you’re out and about, you could end up needing it but you won’t have access to that particular envelope at that time. That’s a little inconvenient.

It can also be a bit dangerous to keep that much money on you. What if you lose it or it’s stolen?

a cash envelope

Additionally, it takes more time. You have to go to the bank and take out a specific amount of cash. You might want specific dollar denominations so you need to have the teller take care of that for you. Then you have to take all of that cash and divide it into all of the envelopes. It’s a completely manual process and it’s time consuming. 

Cash envelopes can also be tricky if you have more than one family member who needs to spend from the same envelope. How will you handle that? Will you both take money from the envelope or will one person take the envelope and the other take some money? What if you end up not having the right amount of money? This process can just be a bit inconvenient. 

What I Use Instead.

My family uses a quick and simple app called, YNAB. YNAB stands for You Need A Budget and it’s personal budgeting software available for Windows, Mac, and iOS. What I love about YNAB is that it’s super simple for me to divide and budget our funds into different categories. Then my husband and I can see what we have left to spend by simply looking at the app on our phone. 

In the app, we set categories for all of our monthly expenses. When you add your budgeted amount to each category, it is automatically deducted from our monthly total. This might seem like a lot of work, but it’s really so quick and easy. Each month, it only takes me a matter of seconds to update our budgeted amount for each category, as opposed to all of the time it would take with cash envelopes. 

Best yet, it updates instantly on all connected devices so my husband and I can both see, at all times, exactly how much money we have left in each category. 

Hopefully, now you have a better understanding of a way to budget that is different from using cash envelopes and you can see if, maybe, this is a system that you would prefer. Let me know, which system has worked for you in the past or which system you think would work best for you and your family. 

 

Do you like the idea of  having access to your budget on an app on your phone at all times? I’d love to offer you a done-for-you/done-with-you family budget program! One where I will hand deliver a fully set up and organized YNAB budget plan based on your flow. I’ll work side-by-side with you to develop a routine and process to keep you on top of your family finances once and for all. Schedule a free 15 min call with me! Find out if we’d be a good fit and how I can help make it happen for you!