Lesson 7 – Schedule a Money Date
- July 21, 2021
- By: Greenpath Financial Wellness
Congratulations, you have a budget! Now what?
The next step to maintaining a budget is monitoring your money. This is a critical factor in sticking to a plan. Think of this like your GPS system for your money. You are checking your route to make sure you are continuing on the right course. Monitoring your money lets you know if you are staying on track, or if you need to make adjustments.
Similar to GPS, you may encounter construction or need a quick rest area stop!
To Stay on Track You Need to Do 2 Things
- Schedule a money date.
Your money date is the time for you to review your spending, schedule your upcoming payments, and adjust as needed. We recommend scheduling your money date around payday. It’s much easier to schedule payments, or plan money that you have coming in.
- Choose a method for monitoring your spending.
This allows the information to be at your fingertips so your money date is easy peasy. If you do not choose a method for monitoring your spending and your expenses, the money date won’t happen. Let’s be honest, it’ll be way too stressful!
Below are a few methods you can use to tracking expenses. An important thing to remember, you do not have to choose just one. Alternatively, if you try one and it doesn’t work, that’s perfectly fine! Try a new method to find what works for you.
- Physical Tracking
This can be as simple as keeping receipts in an envelope or using a notebook to jot down expenses on the go. There is a popular method of using an envelope system and tracking with cash; you can use the same principle to write things down on slips of paper or envelopes.
You can take this digitally by using a Notes app on your phone, and you can even track by category.
At the end of each period [we recommend at least weekly to start if you are new to track, enter the expenses into your budget and compare your budgeted amount versus your actual amount to see where you stand. Are there areas needing an adjustment or reduced spending? If yes, then implement the changes!
- Apps and Budgeting Software
There are a lot of apps and specialized budgeting software out there that can help track spending digitally. If you are not one to spend cash and prefer using debit cards, this can be a great way to track spending. Typically, these programs allow you to connect a bank account through their app or website and sort your charges into categories for you! You can see how much is remaining in your budget for that expense type.
Every Dollar, Mint, and YNAB (You Need A Budget) are apps that will help you with these. Most have an online website in addition to an app as well to help you manage your spending. These apps are a combination of free and paid-for apps, pick which works best for you.
- Multiple Bank Accounts or Reloadable Cards
This is an excellent way to mimic an envelope-style system digitally. If you have a checking account specifically for groceries, transfer funds into that account, and use a specific debit card to purchase items that fall under this category only. Monitoring the account is easy; check your account and view the remaining balance. Check for any pending charges that may not have deducted from your account; you do not want to worry about overdraft fees! This is a reliable way to monitor more considerable and recurring expenses. Besides, this is an excellent method to use for separating personal spending money from household bill money.
The rules above apply as well for a reloadable credit card or even gift card. This allows your funds to be separate and trackable. It makes you conscious of how much you are spending and what you are spending it on because the account only has a certain amount of money available.
Pick one, or combine these methods, so it works for you. There is no one right path, and remember progress over perfection! Start now; it does not have to be foolproof; some tracking is better than no tracking, so don’t delay!
Email your coach and let them know what method or methods you are choosing. Need some help picking a plan, your coach can help you! Let’s set up some time to chat, we are here for you!
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