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8 Actions to Take Today to Get Your Finances Under Control

8 Actions to Take Today to Get Your Finances Under Control

Who spent way more than you wanted to for the Holidays? Yep, that’s me raising both my hands. I’m guilty. Holiday Finances way out of control. 

Look, it happens even to the best of us. So there’s no point in beating ourselves up over it, right?

December was a bust in our house, for sure. Heck, all of 2020 was a bust, really. But let’s not dwell on it for too long. There’s no good that will come from that. 

Instead, acknowledge it and then make a plan.

I’m all about coming up with solutions and getting into action to make positive changes.

So if you’re telling yourself, “This is it, I need to get my spending in check,” or “It’s a new year and I’m ready to get back on the bandwagon”, then you’re going to want to take action on these items, today! That way you can start the new year off on the right track.

8 simple actions you can take today to get your finances under control

Unsubscribe From All Retail Emails

If you’re like me, your inbox gets filled with emails from every company you’ve ever bought anything from. And sometimes, even from places where you just browsed (I know! It’s so creepy how they do that.)

Just go on and scroll to the bottom of that email. All marketing emails like this are required to offer you the option to “Unsubscribe”. Hit that button, I promise you won’t miss anything important. 

Delete All Shopping Apps From Your Phone

There are so many apps that make it easier for us to shop online (like Amazon, Target, Groupon, and more). But, if we want to shop less, we don’t want those apps staring at us, taunting us, every time we check out phones. Go ahead and delete them. You’ll thank me later.

Delete All Saved Cards on Websites 

Sure, saving your card info on a website is a convenience, but we don’t want to make shopping any easier, right? If you delete that saved card info, it won’t be so easy to buy.

Add Items to Your Wishlist Instead of Add to Cart

If you’re window shopping on Amazon, you can opt to add items you’re looking at to a wishlist instead of to your cart. This will help you to take some time to think about the item and if you really need it before you purchase. 

Wait a Minimum of 24 Hours 

Before you buy anything, wait. Then, after 24 hours, ask yourself if you really need to buy it. You’ll be amazed how this simple step will affect your spending.  

Find an Accountability Partner 

Find someone that can help you stay in check. If you have a weak moment, his/her image will suddenly appear in your mind and force you to have second thoughts about spending. You can help each other get your finances on track!

Check Your Emotions Before Buying

Make sure you’re not shopping just to fill an emotional void, because you’re bored, to feel a rush of endorphins, or to distract yourself. Ask yourself, “Am I buying out of boredom, anxiety, frustrations, sadness?”

Try a No Spend Day

Challenge yourself and designate no spend days. Find some friends and even do a group no spend day challenge to make it fun!

 

I know a lot of these are going to be hard to do at first but you can do it. Imagine all the money you will save that can go towards your next family vacation? Just pick one and tell me below which one you went with. I will help cheer you on!

For more tips on getting your finances under control, check out our Free Family Monthly Budget Action Plan. This Monthly Budgeting Action Plan, offers step-by-step instructions to guide you through the exact steps you need to take to set up your own family budgeting plan.

 

How to Make Sure You’re Financially Prepared for Christmas 2021

How to Make Sure You’re Financially Prepared for Christmas 2021

pin image for how to make sure you're financially prepared for Christmas 20212020 was unlike any other year we’ve ever lived through. There was a global pandemic, calls for social change, unprecedented unemployment, virtual learning, and a chaotic election. It was a year of learning, change, and growth for many but also grief and struggle. One lesson I know many people are taking with them from 2020 is the need to be prepared for the unexpected. 

With such a crazy year, I know many people who struggled through the holiday season financially. They weren’t financially prepared for Christmas. 

I have a question for you and it might be a bit personal – how much did you spend on Christmas 2020? Were you okay with the amount you spent? Or did you spend way more than you had planned? 

Have you taken the time to add up all of the gifts, purchases, decorations, and foods you bought for Christmas 2020? If not, go grab a piece of paper and figure it out! Find the exact number (or as close to it as you can get) and take a good hard look at that number. Then ask yourself – am I happy with this amount? Was I prepared to spend this amount?

If you’re not happy with what you spent and you feel like you don’t even know how you paid for it all (or you do know how you paid for it – on credit – and you’re going to be paying it off for months), I have some news for you. 

NOW is the best time to start planning for NEXT Christmas.

3 Steps to Make Sure You’re Financially Prepared for Christmas 2021! 

Take the Number You Just Wrote Down and Adjust it Realistically.

So, I just asked you to find out exactly what you spent on Christmas 2020. Whether you paid for Christmas in cash or on credit, this number gives you a real hard look at exactly how much you spent. Take it in and get comfortable with it. Then, consider where you are at currently and make adjustments based on that. 

If you went way over and feel buried in credit card bills, lower that number. If you’re pleasantly surprised with how much you spent and you stayed right within your budget, keep it the same or bump it up a bit. 

This type of assessment, and reflection – after any major event or purchase, is really important to your realistic budget planning. 

Divide by 10, 11, or 12 – You Pick!

When will you start shopping for holiday gifts and begin decorating your home? Considering this will help you to determine when you’ll need your fund built up by. If you start shopping in July, you’ll want to have a good amount in your fund after only 6 months. If you wait until after Thanksgiving to get started, you could go with 11 months. 

Set up Your Christmas 2021 Sinking Fund – Either Digital or Cash Envelopes

Now that you know the numbers you’re working with, get your Christmas 2021 sinking fund set up! That way, you’ll be financially prepared for Christmas! A sinking fund is a fund that you set aside each month to go towards a specific expense, savings, or payment. In this case, that expense is Christmas 2021. To set this up, you can either use a digital budgeting app like YNAB or cash envelopes. 

YNAB, aka You Need A Budget, is personal budgeting software and it’s available for Windows, Mac, and iOS. Setting up a sinking fund on YNAB is super simple. It’s just a matter of creating the fund and then specifying how much you’ll add to it each month. You’ve already done that math, so you’re set. 

If digital is not your thing, you can instead use cash envelopes. Simply grab an envelope, label it Christmas 2021 and add the specific amount to that envelope each month.

Being proactive or planning ahead for Christmas shopping is such a huge relief! I used to always dread having to go Christmas shopping because I knew that meant I needed to spend money I didn’t have, but now, it doesn’t even cross my mind. I go into Christmas shopping with my mind at ease, which makes it a much more enjoyable experience.

 

If you’re ready for a fresh start in 2021 and you’re looking to take off on the right foot, come and join my 5 Day Family Budgeting Challenge starting next week! In the challenge, we’ll go through my 5 step process for getting a simple family budget set up that will work for you and your family. Join the 5 Day Family Budgeting Challenge right here!

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!