Finance

Revamped Spending Tracking

Have you struggled to stay on budget or track your spending? Let me guess it seems like a punishment or restriction on your spending freedom.

Today I talked with a client who has been struggling to feel in control of her finances. She’s tried budgeting, but as soon as she felt money getting tight, she would break out the credit cards and swipe away. That temporary want-based shopping, knocked her down even more to appoint where she gave up entirely.

I asked her what she wanted her relationship to look like. “I want it to provide protection and security for her future.” I then asked her how she felt about money now. “It’s uncertain and I have a lot of fear around where it will come from in the future and every time get anxious, I go out and spend money on things I want.”

We brainstormed a bit on what a reasonable spending plan could look like. I asked her how she felt about a Needs-Only-Spending Diet. “Well I already have everything I need I know I’d have a lot more money left at the end of the month, but I know I need something else to keep on track with it.”

What if you tracked your spending, but wrote things down in a “Want” or “Need” column?

“Oh! I could definitely do that and then I could look back and see how good I did that week and I can keep it in Excel because I love Excel and I can send it to you.”

So we now have realistic tracking with accountability. If you’d like to start keeping track, feel free to download this form as an Excel or printable PDF.

Excel

PDF

 

How’s Your Relationship with Your Finances?

As business owner and a coach for business owners, I’ve had to get real about my relationship with money. It would be a lie if I said I had it all under control. I’ve come a long way, but with the cyclical nature of clients and a feeling of financial uncertainty, the scarcity mentality can come creeping in.

When I work with my clients (who are my best inspiration to keep my shit in check), I notice that their financial fear comes from partial information and a story that is based on one or two facts. Their fear of the knowing the full story is exactly what they need.

I’ve had the best 6 months of my business (almost triple to what I was making at the beginning of the year) and I still feel the tightness in my chest when I start to worry about what next month looks like. Are people going to reup? Will I get new clients? Will people be interested in my new courses? Will all of that outreach finally pay off?

It’s a lot of unknowns that rely on the decisions of others, which makes it even more important for me to focus inward on what I can control – how I feel about myself and what immediate, mid-range and long-term financial decisions need to be made.

I sit down with my Quickbooks App, open up my bank account, and make a list of priority expenses in addition to the fixed costs each month. The I write down my earning potential for the next month and highlight what feels like a strong guarantee and what is probably not going to close in the month. Then I work with the guaranteed number. I don’t focus on the “OMG it would be so awesome if that happened.” I’ve done it and it’s caused more productivity-stunting harm.

I totally believe in abundant thinking, but counting checks before they’ve cleared your account can only lead to disappointment. Trust me, it’s happened to me more than once and it feels like shit.

So, what can you guarantee for income? What bills do you need to pay? What do you have left over or need to bring in to make up the difference?  It’s all about keeping things realistic. If you need to make an extra $200 in two, it’s feels much more doable than $2500. You’ll also want to keep a budget and saving strategy for those flush months and future bigger purchases.

As you build your business, it’s not about being flashy and seeming like you’re successful. Your success is reflected by your poise and composure because you actually have your financial shit together and can afford it.

The first 2-5 years are all about stowing away for those uncertain times in your business. It’s not meant to be easy. It’s not meant to be glamorous, but if this is what you want to do, get your numbers straight and get real with yourself.

If you’re racking up credit card debt, take a close look at what’s a need and what’s an image-boosting want. I definitely put my rent on a credit card for the first year, so I could stay cash flush. After my business started increasing, I started paying with cash-on-hand and paid down my credit cards. I’m still not at a zero balance, but I’m getting there.

I’ve seen too many CEOs ignoring their financial situation and being fancy. They live a plastic swiping existence thinking that they’ll be more successful when they look more successful. Ultimately, you’ll pay with lost employees when you can’t make payroll or lost vendors when you don’t pay your invoices. Keep your word to yourself first. If you’re not being honest about your money, you’ll never have a real picture of abundance, but I’m sure you’ll have some pretty stuff.