Introducing 12 Months to Get Good with Money: Small steps to make big changes with your money | Your January goal

Hey there reader,

I love the New Year. As a teacher, I tend to look at the beginning of the school year as more of a transitory time of change, but then I always end up falling into the same bad habits come December, so I welcome another arbitrary opportunity for resolutions with open arms.

It’s a widely accepted trope that people tend to drop their resolutions after January. This, I think, comes from the fact that we try to force ourselves to make huge changes immediately and stick to them all year long. These are almost never sustainable. 

So, I want to offer all of you a framework for change that is sustainable, by giving you smaller resolutions each month of 2021. If you take these small steps each month, you’ll be completely on top of your money by the end of the year.

The first step is simple, but not necessarily easy. You may have guessed it… the very first thing you need to do is make a budget.

You need to look at the numbers and know them. What do you bring in each month? What do you spend? What is the exact amount of debt you have? This is the foundation of every financial move you will make this year.

While we tend to think of budgets as inherently restrictive and difficult, it’s actually an important lifestyle habit and probably the best self-care I’ve ever done. It might take some time, but shifting your mindset and beliefs about budgeting is so important.

So let’s go over the basics of budgeting.

Using my system, which is the simplest way I’ve been able to formulate, it takes just 4 steps.

  1. Know your income
    • For teachers and others with standard jobs, this is basically the same amount each month, and you can find it on your paystubs or in your bank account
    • For those with inconsistent income, find the lowest amount you made in the past 6 months and budget with that, then determine a plan for the money
      • For example, you could say that 80% of the extra money you make will go towards savings, while 20% will go towards discretionary spending
  2. Determine your fixed expenses
    • Expenses that are exactly the same every month: bills, rent, debt minimums, subscriptions, etc
  3. Determine your variable expenses
    • Groceries, dining, utilities (if change), miscellaneous costs
    • Estimate or go through old bank statements
  4. With the remainder of your money, create a plan for your larger goals:
    • Debt repayment
    • Saving
    • Investing

Here’s the assignment: make a budget for February. 

Try out systems and see what works for you: EveryDollar and Mint are apps you can start with. But maybe pen & paper is your jam. Or a DIY spreadsheet (you can also use the exact system I use, btw, by clicking here). However you do it, just START. You can do this.

Remember, it will not be perfect your first month. You will mis-estimate categories, forget about certain bills, have things come up unexpectedly, but that isn’t the point. The point is that you’re getting closer and closer to peace of mind with each and every month you budget and each and every month you follow these resolutions.

🙂 Rachel

P.S.

Don’t forget to subscribe to my YouTube Channel.

And if you need more guidance with goal setting, mindset shifting, and budget brainstorming, you can purchase my Money Map Workbook for just $9 –> Get Your Money Map Workbook

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