Do you want financial success? Spend less than you earn.
It seems simple enough right? Yet so many of us have a hard time sticking to this rule.
Look – I get it. We’ve all been there.
For example, we see a “hot black dress” in a store and convince ourselves we need it because it’s a lil’ different from the other ten we have. And it’s on sale…so we’d be crazy not to get it – right? I’ll admit I did this too many times in the past, and then cringed when a year later I stumbled upon clothes in my closet with the price tag still on.
If you can relate to this, and need a little, or A LOT of help in gaining control over your spending, or if you’ve tried repeatedly only to fail and get frustrated, you’ve come to the right place!
I’m going to teach you an easy path to good money management, and it requires you to have just TWO things:
A Roadmap and Introspection
The “Save and Spend” Plan
Notice I didn’t tell you to use a “Budget”. It’s because I’m not a fan of the word budget. It feels constraining – as if we’re being deprived of something. The Save and Spend” or “S&S” Plan works with a twist and is much more liberating!
Below you’ll find a link to the plan that you can download and use – absolutely for free!
Know your Money Personality
You may be asking what your personality has to do with savings? A lot. How you handle money is important to understand. Emotions are incredibly powerful and will override self-discipline 8 out of 10 times. This is why I don’t believe you should have to conform to “one method” but rather use the “S&S” Plan in way that works for you.
So What’s the S&S Plan?
The aim of this plan is to account for ALL your money and reach a ZERO balance by the end of the tracking period (monthly is most common). You start by writing down your monthly income from all sources. Next – AND THIS IS THE KEY – you set aside what you’ll save, whether that’s for your emergency fund, children’s education, retirement etc…Once you have this, you allocate the rest your expenses.
By using this specific type of plan, you accomplish two very important things:
- You focus on the one big thing that matters. Savings! By prioritising your savings objectives and treating it like an expense, you don’t need to feel guilty about spending the balance!
- By tracking your cash, you’ll get a very good sense of your money habits. If you’re having problems saving, this will help you uncover why. After all, you can’t fix what you can’t see. You may be surprised to find you’re overspending in some areas and even under-allocating funds towards important goals that have been overlooked.
You Either Enjoy Tracking Money or You Don’t!
If you’re like a bookkeeper who is disciplined in tracking every dollar and actually likes doing it – the S&S plan will be a piece of cake. The plan has detailed categories and accounts for each month of the year. The first worksheet is where you’ll input your expected income, savings, and expenses. The second worksheet is where you’ll input your actual figures and them review the differences.
If you’re like most people (including me!), you don’t enjoy tracking every dollar, in which case the S&S plan might feel daunting, Here’s what I do and it works marvelously! In fact, this is even useful for the ultra-busy bookkeeper types.
- Automate Paying Yourself First: Just as in the S&S plan, you’ll put aside savings before spending. Set your savings goals and divide the amount you believe you’ll need by 12 (to get the monthly amount). Then set up an automatic monthly transfers, deposit or investment account that goes towards your goals.
- Automate Bill Payments: This way you won’t lose track of your obligations. If you are repaying loans, be sure to account for those as well.
After this is done and you find you still end up with a surplus, you can decide how you want to spend it. You’ll want to double-check the beginning and end balance of your S&S plan to see that you’re not going into “negative balance”. Once you’re in this habit, it will be easier to take it up a notch and track your cash flow for just a few months to see if there are areas where you’d like to improve your spending habits, but you’ve already taken care of the big important thing – and that’s savings!
Now click here to download your S&S plan. Check out the “help” worksheet to guide you on how to fill it in.