So, we’ve talked about Fitness, Nutrition, Restoration and Peace on our Wheel of Life. Today we are going to talk about Finances. Wheels must be balanced on all sides to run evenly. Balanced finances help life roll along smoothly. A balanced financial plan helps with peace in our lives. Our relationship with money is ever-evolving. It’s never too late to start.
Begin by tracking your expenses so you know where your money is going. There are good apps available for tracking your spending. A couple are https://www.vertex42.com/ExcelTemplates/ and https://www.mint.com/. Once you know where your money is going, it’s easier to alter the course of action if you are not headed in the right direction.
Next, it’s important to create a monthly budget. Make a list of known expenses based on your tracking. Some common categories are food, rent or house payment, health insurance, cell phone, home owner or renters insurance, car repairs and gas, utilities. You get the idea. Always plan to pay yourself by putting money into your savings. Plan to spend less than you earn. That enables you to save money for the unexpected expenses like the car breaking down or the water heater going bad. Re-evaluate the budget regularly to make necessary changes and adaptations.
Do you have any debt to repay? Are you trying to save for a car? A house? A vacation? Retirement? These goals need to be incorporated into your budget. Maintaining your goals are crucial to your financial success. Without goals, you’re also without direction. When you are torn between spending and saving, think about which moves you closer to your goals. This helps keep things in perspective.
It is helpful to list 3–5 goals in a prominent place so you see them regularly. This will help keep your focus on what’s most important to you and more likely to put your money where your values are. An example of this might be that you enjoy traveling. So, you may save money for a vacation rather than purchasing a new handbag or pack your lunch instead of eating out. It is also helpful to see a chart or graph of your finances to help you visualize where you are and what you need to do to reach your goals.
Save an emergency fund so when unexpected things happen, like a trip to the vet or your car breaking down, you are covered. Life happens and we have to plan a little cushion to cover those occurrences. How much do you need? Dave Ramsey suggests enough to cover 3-6 months of normal living expenses. Start small, even $5 or $10 per week or per month will build up over time. The biggest thing is to get started!
These are some basic steps to your financial path. Talk to experts, learn and keep an eye on your balance sheet. Knowledge definitely helps you steer through the highs and lows of the financial market. Do what works for you and be sure you understand what you’re doing and make adjustments along the way. Don’t be afraid to reach out and ask for advice. A Financial Planner can make strategic suggestions to help you reach your goals. Always remember to keep your eyes on the goal.
One life, One body, Care for it!