We've broken it down into a month-long process that should help set you up for financial security. Along the way, we'll even provide some free printables that should help you along as you get rolling. So without further ado...
Step 1: Start Tracking
This might be the hardest step of all, and it's really very simple:
Every time you handle money, you write down what you did.
Complicated? No. Time-consuming? Not really. Requires discipline? Yeah, a bit. So to help you, here's a printable that you can use to keep track of everything.
As a method for keeping track, we suggest the following:
- Empty your purse, wallet, or pockets of all your receipts. Put them in a separate place (or better yet, deal with them however you planned to deal with them in the first place).
- Every time you handle money, get a receipt. (If you can't get a receipt, i.e. if you're doing something online, then perhaps write it down on a Post-It.) Put the receipt/Post-It in your pocket/wallet/purse.
- At night, before bed, empty all the receipts/Post-Its out of your purse/wallet/pockets. (If it's just one day's worth, there shouldn't be too many.)
- Keep the printable from above beside your bed with a pen/pencil. Write down your receipts before your head hits the pillow.
- Decide how you will handle receipts. We put ours in a box with other papers to be shredded, and our bank hosts a "Shred Day" once in a while where we can take the items to be shredded at no cost, if you have a shredder or a friend who's generous with shredding privileges - that will work too.
Next week, we'll be talking about setting goals and start getting into the actual creation of your budget. Take advantage of this easy week and starting a great habit of writing down what you spend and spending money with intention and planning.