Welcome to the second week of our Superhero Financial Challenge. You should be commended for your desire to improve your financial well-being.
This week, I, Dr. Wisely, will share resources that will help multiply your money management moxie! With persistence, you will be planning like the Pocket Protector!
Wherever your budgeting balance is today, we will help you reach the next level in your super journey. Let’s begin!
Week 2 Challenge: Money Management
for Beginner Budgeters
Congratulations on making it to the next step of your financial challenge. If you are committed to changing your future, there is nothing that can stop you.
Don’t stop saving now that you’ve made it to Week 2! Make it a habit and you will never have to worry about it again. Managing your money is similar, and as a bonus there are endless ways you can be creative about how you manage your money.
Since you aren’t actively managing your finances, your first step will be to start tracking your income and expenses against a financial goal. When you measure what goes in and out, it’s a lot easier to keep more of it in (helping you save more in the process)!
Read the suggestions below. After you have completed one or more of these items, email DrWisely@unitusccu.com, include “Mastering Money Management” in the subject line and tell me of your success. This will earn you a chance to win $500!*
How do you manage your money? It is not easy, but it can be simple once you know the way. Follow the guide below and you will be on your way to meticulously managed money!
Narrow your focus with the Unitus Pathfinder.
- Your current life stage and circumstances help determine how to budget your money. If you’re getting ready to start a family, you’re going to follow a different path than if you’re trying to pay down debt.
- Visit the Unitus Pathfinder and select the path that matches where you want to go next. Find the guidance that would work for you and make a plan that incorporates the guidance you see there.
Set up your Personal Financial Management (PFM) tool.
- Having all your finances in one place gives you more clarity, less worry, and more confidence to make smart choices with your money. Choose a PFM program to start.
- If you’re a Unitus member, enroll in Total Finance. Note that after the first 30 days of free service, a $2.00 monthly deduction will be made from your designated account.
- If you’re a non-member, or are interested in a different program, there are other options available: You Can try Quicken, You Need a Budget, or other well-reviewed programs. Read up on each program’s benefits and limitations and choose the one that best fits your lifestyle.
- To help you get started, we have developed a comprehensive budgeting worksheet that will walk you through the key elements of your budget and how they all relate.
Track your income and expenses against a goal.
- Create monthly tracking for income and expenses.
- Calculate all your income using your PFM or a budgeting worksheet.
- Calculate all your outgoing expenses using your PFM or a budgeting worksheet. Build in a little room for unexpected expenses.
- If you don’t use a PFM, use our comprehensive budgeting worksheet.
- Set a Budget Goal for exactly how many dollars you will have at the end of the month. Keep track of your spending and at the end of the month write down your Actual Spent. Keep your Actual Spent lower than your Budget Target. Following this practice alone will keep you financially healthy and happy into the future.
Give every dollar a job.
- As soon as you receive your next paycheck, give every last dollar a job. What does a job look like? Here are some examples:
- Savings (from paying yourself first)
- Utility bills (water, electric, gas)
- Groceries expenses
- Pet food, toys, medicine
- Monthly insurance payments
- Monthly auto payments
- Once you have covered your mandatory expenses for the month, give every remaining dollar a job. Have some fun with it! It could be a surprise gift for a family member, a night out at the movies, or a child’s education fund. Just make sure some of this remaining money goes to your savings account.
- Throughout the month, track your spending in each area. If your restaurant money started at $60 and you spent $30 at dinner last night, you’ve got $30 remaining.
- This method works great because you know ahead of time how much you can and can’t spend, so you won’t have any anxiety before swiping your card or handing over cash for a purchase. If it fits in your plan, you’re golden. If it doesn’t, you don’t buy it! Any dollars that didn’t get a job by the end of the month will be put it into savings for an even better long-term outlook.
Want more motivation to manage your money?
We have a secret weapon – our Masters of Money Management, who dedicate themselves to improving others’ financial well-being through education. If you are ready to take money management into your own hands, fill out the boxes below and a Master of Money Management will reveal themselves to you. It could change your life for good. Click here to get started.