You may or may not know this about me by now, but I’m a tad bit of a control freak. And by tad I mean… well really, I’m just controlling (but in a pleasant way)! I simply like to have a plan. Even if it doesn’t go as thought, I still want a plan in place whether it’s for vacations, clothing purchases, traffic routes on drives to LA and even our finances. The thing is, I also like numbers. Take the passion for math and numbers and add in a Type A personality and you have… ME! The person who loves to dig into spreadsheets, track spending down to the penny, constantly figure out ways to trim costs and save and run through approximately 1,328 “what-if” scenarios on our finances each month. My actions both amuse and frighten my husband as he’s a bit more laid back with our finances, and believes they’ll work themselves out. (Uh, with my help, obviously.) He constantly tells me to relax, that we have a savings and we’re moving forward on a daily basis. Then there’s me, glaring up at him from my financial calculator, elbows deep in spreadsheets that insist we MUST. SAVE. MORE. So, yes. I’m passionate about organizing our finances (as well as other people’s, hence the business). And while my instinct is to constantly check-in on our money, after all of the changes going on with our income in the past six months due to my business and his transition out of the military, I recently had to step back and ask “how much is too much time to be spending here?” Guess what I realized? The hubby was right. It was time to relax and know that our plan is in motion.
Trust the Process
It often takes so long for us to get ourselves focused on organizing our finances and money initially that once we do and we have our goals set – we want to hurry up and get there already! Kind of like standing impatiently in front of the stove, waiting for your Kraft Mac & Cheese to finish. Except your finances aren’t like the boxed stuff. Your finances are like the ooey, gooey, homemade noodles, grated cheddar cheese, baked in a casserole until it’s crispy around the edges kind of Mac n’ Cheese. The really good stuff takes the initial time and effort to get it prepped and some midpoint check-ins along the way to ensure things don’t go off course, but staring into the oven on a consistent basis is not going to make it bake any faster. There’s a lot of work that goes into getting your finances organized in the first place, from setting up an accurate spending plan, laying out SMART goals for yourself, calculating your initial net worth so you can measure your progress, and then creating the action plan! While it’s important to understand where your money is going and to have a detailed plan in place to ensure that you’re using it to live a life you value, it’s also essential to relax along the way.
Strike a Balance
If you know you’re set up with an emergency fund and you’re stashing away money each month to meet your goals, then live a little! Striking a balance between using your money for your goals today and down the road is going to help you stay motivated and invested in your long-term success. One of the ways to strike that balance is to set up a system for periodic check-ins on an ongoing basis. Perhaps check in on your spending and budget every Sunday night and then do an overall, big “money date” once a month. This will help to keep you in line, but also ensure that you aren’t getting bogged down by the details and stressed out. And what about year-end bonuses, commissions, and other extra income that can be allocated towards basically anything? Any extra money that comes in can be used 50% debt pay down, 30% savings, 20% for whatever you choose. Set up a clear plan for any extra or unexpected income, and then stick to it. Remember that your financial journey is likely not going to be a straight path to success. It’s going to resemble a jungle gym with twists, turns, up and downs along the way. Part of the fun comes from taking part in the adventure and celebrating wins (big and small) along the way. Your money needs to be managed on an ongoing and consistent basis, but not to the point where it’s not fun or stresses you out. If you know you’re on track, ensure you’re simply checking in on a monthly basis and tracking your goal progress every thirty days. That should allow you enough time in between to see some tangible progress and ensure that you don’t become so overly focused on the end goals that you forget to enjoy the ride. Ready to take control (or relax a little) with your money? Schedule your free 30-minute Focus Session here. Note: The title of this post should really be “Why My Husband is Sometimes Right About Our Finances,” but I feel that the original one earns me a lot of brownie points, so I’m keeping it.