What on earth is “extra” money?

The current Woman’s Day magazine has an article talking about “extra” money and how it often gets “frittered away”.  I had to stop right there.  What on earth is extra money and how do I get some?

Well, it turns out that by “extra” they really meant unexpected, unplanned for or forgotten money.  Let’s break these down for a minute.

  • Unexpected money. This is the good stuff, the real deal.  The bonus you didn’t know was coming.  Maybe an inheritance or winning the lottery.  This is money you had no way to expect, and thus weren’t planning for in any kind of real way (though we all have the day dreams).

Continue reading “What on earth is “extra” money?”

Don’t forget about me (said your budget)

It’s nearing the end of the month and the number one thing people struggle with when we start to work on a financial plan is the timing.

I say timing – not time – because no matter what, you’re eventually going to spend the time.  This is more about spending that time in smaller (more useful) chunks and *ahem* not procrastinating.

I am an expert level procrastinator (if I wasn’t this post would have been up last week to remind you to do this mid-month), so I am not throwing any stones here.  Instead let me throw you a soft cushy place to land before that procrastination completely takes you to that crazy overwhelmed place. Continue reading “Don’t forget about me (said your budget)”

The Budget

Budgeting is no April fool’s joke. And it’s not a gimmick.  And this one doesn’t even come with a click bait title.

A budget is a plan. Having a plan on how you want to spend your money is not something that should cause anxiety or panic attacks.

I spend a crazy amount of time reading about money and finance and psychology and a never ending list of things related to money.  Because almost everything is related to money if you look closely.

Earlier this week I was reading the comments on a new money book.  I haven’t read the book, but the things people were saying about their fear and panic and anxiety regarding money made me want to pull people through the internet, sit them on my couch and say “Hey! We’re going to get you past this feeling and back into reality. And you’re going to be OK about money.”

Reality is that money itself is neutral, not scary.  Money is just a tool to trade skills and products because the barter system is really a pain in the ass when you need a gallon of milk at 2 a.m. Continue reading “The Budget”

The First of the Month

Happy first of the month!

The first of the month feels a bit like New Year’s Day to me, but 12 times a year.  I’m not talking about the possible hangover or exhaustion from staying up who knows how late, but the feeling of starting a new year all fresh with a blank slate. Sometimes I’m lamenting the last year but looking with optimism to the future, and other years I’m giddy because it was an amazing year and I’m celebrating all that good and planning on keeping the goodness going.

Living with a budget makes the first of every month exactly like that – sometimes I’m lamenting the last month but looking with optimism to the next month, and other months I’m giddy because it was an amazing month and I’m celebrating all that good and planning on keeping the goodness going.

Continue reading “The First of the Month”

The Finish Line

Fifteen minutes after my last post I found myself reading a “success story” post.  I love these, and this one was all about how this couple paid of 40k in debt in two years.  What’s not to love about a success story like that? And while they listed five tactics they used, the first one started with the great words of wisdom “set your finish line before you start”.  Let’s dig into that nugget of wisdom and get a little closer to a budget. Continue reading “The Finish Line”

If It Makes You Happy

Last week I talked about taking some time to list the things that make you happy.  I said that list would help you refine and define your priorities. And hinted about how we’re building up to the big idea that every penny we have or spend is based on our choices.  And I’m a big believer in the idea that our choices should mostly be for things that make us happy. You can’t do that if you don’t know what makes you happy. That’s pretty straight forward stuff right?

So like magic you’ve had a week to think about the things that make you happy.  Now I’m going to help you classify those happy things to make sure you’re heading in the right direction. Continue reading “If It Makes You Happy”

“Budget” is not a bad word.

It’s really not. But as soon as I utter the word I see the side eyes. I see the guards go up. You suspect I’m about to tell you to stop spending money on something you love and if one more blog tells you it’s possible to retire next week if you just give up your daily coffeehouse coffee you are going to scream. Because you would rather never retire than give up that coffee. And that’s ok.

Let’s start with this: A budget is not about limits and feeling bad. Life is limiting. Reality has limits. We can’t all marry Brad Pitt or figure skate in the Olympics. The good news is we don’t all want to marry Brad Pitt or figure skate in the Olympics, so most of us don’t feel limited by those particular realities.

A budget is the same way. Sure, it’s going to have limits (because of reality), but most of those limits aren’t going to bother you. And surprise, it’s the limits that will bother you that are why you need the budget most of all. Continue reading ““Budget” is not a bad word.”