Become a Money Master
Welcome to the Master Your Money Course! I’m Jenn, and together we’re going to explore the details of personal finance and make you a money master! Whether you want to become financially independent or get a handle on your spending and debt, this course will provide you with the tools and tips you need.
Money can be a tricky and stressful subject, but it doesn’t have to be. You have the power to let go of your money woes with a few strategic steps that will lower your stress and set you up for financial success. By following these steps, you can spend more time focusing on your passions and less time worrying about money.
Today we’re going to discuss the first step to greater financial security: understanding where your money is going. You won’t be able to meet any budget or saving goals without knowing how you currently spend your money.
There are many different tools to track spending. One option is Mint, which is an application by Intuit that allows you to connect your accounts and create budgets and spending categories. Mint will show you how much money you spend in different categories (food, shopping, etc.) each month by pulling in all the transactions from your accounts and categorizing them. If you’d rather not share your account information with Mint/Intuit, many banks allow you to download your transactions each month, which you could then import or type into a spreadsheet with your own categories. Personally, I have found the automation of Mint to be very helpful, and it allowed me to accurately track my spending for the first time!
When first tracking your spending (no matter what tool you use), it is helpful to group transactions into categories, such as groceries, restaurants, shopping, books, home supplies, coffee/tea, alcohol/bars, gifts, donations, etc. Select the categories that make the most sense for you and begin to total up the transactions in each one. This will give you a starting point for creating your budgets.
If possible, it is helpful to look back at several months of transactions to get an idea of how much you spend in each category on average. For example, perhaps your family just had several birthdays, so your gift expenses might be very high this month. However, for the three months prior to this one, you spent very little on gifts. Looking at historic expenditures over time allows you to get a better sense of how much you spend on average each month.
No matter what tool you use, get started on a path to financial freedom today and start actively tracking your spending! Without knowing how much you spend, you cannot set accurate budgets that you can stick to or identify areas where you can save some serious money!
Tomorrow we’ll talk about budgeting! See you then!
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