I don’t know if you’ve figured this out about me yet, but I'm kind of obsessed with making all money matters as simple as possible.
While I truly believe that our financial health isn’t based on a number but on a practice of wealthy habits, when it comes to money, we can make sure our financial habits are actually working in our best interest with these six monthly money moves.
Remember: It’s not about what you HAVE but what you DO with what you have.
Let’s spruce up your finances with some easy-peasy monthly habits, shall we?
While I recommend checking in on your finances somewhere every week or two, there are some money moves you should definitely make at least every month.
Whether you’re making great progress on your financial goals or you’re feeling guilty of letting it go for too long, let’s set you up for success so you can fund your best life.
CLEAN OUT YOUR WALLET
I’m one of those Magic-Art-of-Tidying people but even my wallet gets a little cluttered from time to time. It’s easy to get flustered by a messy wallet and overdraw your account with the wrong card or not realize you’ve ran out of cash and have to charge your purchase. Lose the overwhelm with a minimalistic approach.
Keep your driver’s license or some form of ID, your health insurance card, a debit card, and/or a credit card if you’re using one for perks, and uncrumple your cash. Everything else can hang out in your freezer… or wherever you keep your emergency stash ;)
LOOK BACK AT YOUR SPENDING
Good gravy, this is my favorite! You're going to feel a bit vulnerable about this at first, but knowledge is power, friend! I have templates galore for this in the Weird & Wealthy Collective but use whatever method feels best to you. Go through your bank accounts and credit card statements and tally up how much you spent and where you spent it.
If you’re strictly a cash spender, you won’t have much data to use besides your ATM withdrawals, but this is a good place to start putting some tracking habits into place – like a notebook or an app on your phone.
Keep tracking your expenses every month. If you can’t look back this month, start tracking now so you can do it next month. Do this exercise! I promise it’s really cool and insightful. Just explore with childlike curiosity and determine if your spending is aligned with your goals and values.
CHECK YOUR NET WORTH
Your net worth does NOT equal your self-worth, but I find it really fun to see how this figure changes month over month. Your net worth is a great indicator of your financial wellbeing over time. If you're net worth is increasing – Awesome, keep it up! If your net worth is decreasing – time to review your income and expenses for any money leaks.
This might sound complicated but it's actually really simple. In one column add up all of your assets from the cash in your wallet to the present value of your investment accounts. And then in another, add up all of your debts from that $20 you owe a friend to your student loans to your mortgage. Assets minus debts = NET WORTH.
MAKE A PLAN
This is what I get paid to do if you’re interested in hiring this project out. OR you can take a deep breath, lay out all of your numbers, set some goals, and go for it! I also teach my unique financial planning framework in the Weird and Wealthy Collective.
It’s just a plan, you can keep adjusting it as needed, but just set yourself up to start already! Do this before a new month starts so you can hit the ground running come the 1st of the month. A good budget is flexible and has room for adjustments so if you’ve been struggling with the same budget for the past year, switch it up!
ORGANIZE YOUR TAX DOCS
Even if you don’t have all of your year-end tax forms yet, I’m sure you have plenty of monthly bank account and credit card statements plus all those receipts for tax-free purchases you’ll be deducting on your taxes. I’m talking doctor’s bills, insurance premiums, donations, etc.
Gather everything you have so far and stash it in a folder (either physical or virtual). Having a stash of tax docs is way more manageable than tracking down 12 months of paperwork. No need for you to stress over your taxes at the last minute!
SET WEEKLY MONEY DATES WITH YOURSELF
Once you start holding formal reviews with yourself, you’ll only have to give yourself one assignment per week for the rest of the year. I’m talking reviewing your credit report, checking on your investments, and so forth. The weekly approach helps prevent you from feeling overwhelmed by all of the to-dos you’ll set in the name of financial well-being.
Literally, put them on your calendar and don’t flake out on yourself. You’ll have yourself to answer to next year and you mean business! Be your best self and show up for you and your money life.