How To Feel Good About Your Finances
This post is Day #8 in the 31 Days to a Better Work + Life Balance series.
I think there are two types of personalities when it comes to managing money. And usually one personality is married to someone with the opposite personality which makes life extra fun haha.
We've got the "numbers" person and the "non-numbers" person. The numbers person wants to know the details, the statistics and the goals. The numbers person manages the account, is great at saving, staying on budget and telling the non-numbers person what they shouldn't be spending haha. The non-numbers person wants to know the basics - "Are we good?" and "How much can I spend?" The non-numbers person manages the purchasing, the giving, and the losing of receipts. Kidding! I'm totally stereotyping here.
But seriously, a lot of us could use more balance when it comes to money.
Put Those Big Girl Pants On
I'm the non-numbers person. My eyes sort of glaze over if my husband and I talk about finances for more than 20 minutes. Early on in our marriage, I just sort of let my husband decide what our budget would be and keep track of it all since he's a numbers person. I never looked at our account. I didn't really stress if I went over budget in any category and I kind of left it up to him to figure out how we would save. This was a really, really bad idea.
This immediately gave us parent-child roles instead of teammates. Every time I went over, he felt like I didn't care about his efforts to keep us on track. And I really hated getting told how to (not) spend money. Finally after way too many arguments, he decided the best idea was for me to take over finances.
I remember thinking, "But wait. I'm not the numbers person! We're going to go broke with me in charge!"
I had to put my big girl pants on and actually start to pay attention to details. Since he's awesome, my husband did help me make good decisions in planning our budget. And now we team up with everything.
But the point is that balance doesn't just happen. You have to be super intentional and all in.
Being in the know about numbers is especially important when you're in a marriage or running a business. There's high stakes.
Tell Your Money What To Do
Sometimes we think of money as if it has a mind of its own. "It's always gone! I keep putting it in the account and it keeps disappearing."
Or we think the problem is that we don't make enough. "If I could just bring in a little more next month we would be just fine. If we hit this goal, we could start saving and giving more."
The majority of the time, we're making enough money. We just have trouble tracking where our money is going and telling our money what to do.
One thing we did that worked really well is to pick percentages to give, save and spend. An example: Give 20%, Save 30% and then live on the rest - 50%. Deciding in that order helps too because giving a little keeps you from becoming a greedy hoarder haha, saving a little gives you a cushion for when life happens and then knowing your spending limit helps you from living paycheck to paycheck.
Don't just let life decide for you. If you're constantly buying stuff you can't afford or making payments on things, your money will be gone before you can decide what's most important. You never want to be spending more than you make.
Be Free To Tweak
We used to be super rigid about budget numbers. We would find ourselves getting upset for going even $5 over in any category. Then a friend of ours said something that stuck with us: "The budget is for you, not the other way around."
Life and circumstances are always changing, so it makes sense to always be tweaking. One key to balancing anything is that you have to make little corrections when things start to tip too far in any certain direction.
This doesn't mean you keep increasing your spending to keep up with your rock 'n roll lifestyle. But it does mean keeping things reasonable. If my husband wants to buy dinner for a friend and our "give" budget is gone, I'll up that category and lower something else like "clothes."
Still Feeling Out of Balance?
Here are a few super awesome resources...