This is the year I will conquer my finances!!
I set this goal a few years ago and fortunately, it worked. But things change, finances change, new tech moves in and I find myself needing an update every year.
This year was no different, so I'm sharing the three things I'm doing to improve how I manage my money and what I do with it. I want to budget smarter, save more and protect what I already have.
1. BUDGETING WITH YNAB.
This program is killer and exposes all of your dirty little spending secrets in a way that is hard to deny or run away from. It's an organizers dream and the final answer to having a ledger when you have multiple people on an account. When I first got married, I obsessively kept a ledger. My husband had no interest in such things and couldn't understand why he should have to write his spending down when he didn't really spend that much anyway. The thing about a ledger-if you don't write EVERYTHING down...it just doesn't work. He has been hanging on to this excuse for ELEVEN years now and finally I've found a loophole. YNAB. It's too easy. All he has to do is whip out his phone and record what he spent. Once he's been somewhere it remembers the place so he doesn't even have to enter anything but the amount. At a glance we can see how much we have to spend, what we've spent and move things around if we want. It's fluid and it's budgeting at it's finest. It is forcing us to look hard at what we're spending and where (and that's the killer part).
I tried MINT a few years ago but it never quite worked for us. The magic with YNAB is that it isn't linked to your account, so instead of being able to see what's "available" you see what you've actually spent in real time. Often my bank account says I have $200 but in reality I only have $10 because I paid that $190 utility bill and it's hasn't gone through yet. If you've never budgeted before, or are looking for an awesome option for joint-budgeting, YNAB is the best.
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2. INVESTING WITH ACORNS.
I'm terrified of investing. It overwhelms me and in our current economy I feel like any money you put in the market had better be play money and not serious savings because we've seen some things disappear. Acorns is just that. You link it to your card (credit or debit or both) and it rounds up all of your purchases and invests the extra cents. For example, if you purchase a pack of gum for $0.68, Acorns with invest the remaining $0.32. When I first signed up for this I was worried about two things: one, that it wouldn't even count for anything or two, this would actually add up to A LOT of money and kill us. It is neither and has been an amazing option! Because it's gradual we don't even feel the money leave!
Here's the bonus: if you use both YNAB and Acorns, when you log your spending in YNAB you can just round up to the nearest dollar knowing that Acorns is going to take that extra off the top. I am LOVING how this is working out.
3. CREATING A FAMILY TRUST.
This was so far past due. If you have children, it's really important to have something in place to care for them in the event of you and your spouse's death. Creating a trust not only helped protect them, it caused me to sit down and look at our assets, our life insurance policies and decide if we're as covered as I would like. Creating one was fairly painless and completely worth it, and I write more about that here.
It's the little adjustments that we make in managing our finances that help us reach our financial goals and these three are easy and effective.
What are you doing to organize your finances this year?
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