My 5 Secret Tricks to Saving Money

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Is your budget just not cutting it? Do you need to figure out how to save more money and cut costs? Here are 5 tricks to saving money starting with your purpose, diving into cooking and even the softwares I use to save money on autopilot.

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Looking for ways to save money so you can do those things you’ve been dreaming of? Maybe traveling, paying off your loans or vacationing on a cruise? 

In this episode/post I share 5 money saving hacks so you can cut back, save money on purpose and be free to do what you want to do in the future.

5 Tricks to Saving Money:

Before we dive into these tricks you really REALLY need to have a budget. If you don’t know where your money is going every month then you won’t be able to actually save money!

If that is something you need help with go check out this Budgeting 101 blog post where I share how I create my budget and stick with it!

<< Read Budgeting 101/or Listen HERE!>>

Now onto trick #1

1.Know where you spend TOO much & have a purpose

Now that you have a budget and can look through it let’s specifically look at the categories that are not the vital ones.

For example vital budgets are rent, electricity, food, gas, etc.

We are trying to look at where you spending the most money that is optional like eating out, shopping at Target and on.

After find where you are spending the most money, and before we see how we can cut back, I need to think about something.

Why do you want to save money?

I need you to get really specific. Do you wish to go on vacation? Not stress about living paycheck to paycheck? Have enough money to invest? Go debt free?

Think about it and come up with your own unique purpose and why. That is what will drive you to saying no in the moment when over spending can come easily.

Write it on post it notes. Don’t drive to Target. Avoid shopping when you are bored. Really lean into your bigger long term plan so you can say no in the moment.

2. Use all your FREE resources first

Are you living in college? Do you need furniture for your apartment? Ask mom. Go through the basement. Ask relatives and friends about anything they are getting rid of.

Do you constantly buy new books at the bookstore? Go to the library! Reserve that book online and go pick it up! It’s like Christmas to me and I am saving money for those books I HAVE to own. You can do it too.

3. Use Honey

Honey is a browser extension that will go through promo codes for you when you are checking out, surf the internet for better deals on specific products and even let you price watch a product.

If you like shopping online ANYWHERE you have to use Honey! It can save you so much money!

Here is a photo of it when I was shopping on Amazon. It even shows me whats on sale and what coupon codes are available.

See I’ve been watching to buy a Nutribullet on Amazon and this is what honey looks like! It even shows the history of price drops for the product showing me how much I could save if I wait!

<<Just go ahead and go sign up HERE!>>

4. Learn to cook and eat at home

I realize a lot of people will actually hate this one but it can save you SO MUCH MONEY! It costs 10 or MORE per person to go eat out. Every once in a while is totally fine but multiple times a week will eat up ALL your budget.

So first you gotta learn to cook at home and this scares a lot of people but it is WAY easier than you would think.

I learned to cook by being thrown in the deep end. I moved to Ukraine with NO IDEA how to cook whole foods. They don’t have grocery stores like ours but a lot of booths farmers market style. At these booths you have to tell what item, how much weight then pay. That was A LOT of Russian for someone who didn’t speak any 😂

One month in and I almost starved. I learned real quick after that inital hump.

I am going to share a few secrets.

Start with one dish. You are going to make this dish several times until you aren’t stressed about it and it tastes pretty good. A gerat example of this is chicken and veggies. Simply buy frozen veggies and use lemon pepper on the chicken on the stove and BAM you can cook one meal.

The goal is to have 7 meals you can rotate through at home without stressing about them. I heard this as a mom hack once and even though I only feed one mouth I’ve been working on my schedule to save me time and money.

Figure out how many times you eat out every week then cut it down. Don’t allow more than a few times and keep that purpose for your savings on the forefront of your mind.

Another little hack for this is to order your groceries ONLINE and pick them up at Walmart. I’ve been loving this lately!

<< Get $10 off of your first order at Walmart Groceries HERE! >>

5. Look up & cut your recurring payments

You are probably spending a lot of money on services and subscriptions you don’t even know about.

Go back look through this month’s transactions and figure out what are subscriptions.

After that find ways to cut them back.

Do you need audible when the library has overdrive?

Do you need Netflix when your family has an account?

Are you a student? You can save at Spotify and Itunes music!

CUT CUT CUT.

Save that recurring money!

If you cut out Audible thats $15 a month or $180 a YEAR! That’s a one way flight to visit a friend!

Now before you go I have a few extra hacks/softwares worth mentioning:

The first is Ibotta. With this app you can save money on groceries. You get cash back on items you are already buying!

It’s like if you bought milk and Ingles you can look at Ingles and get .50 cents back. If you look at the app and decide what brands you buy you can get so much back!

Also if you sign up with this link you get a bonus $10 for FREE!

<< Sign up for Ibotta HERE! >>

The other software is Rakuten.

This is similar to Honey in the fact that it works across the web but you get cashback instead.

When you sign up with Rakuten you get $10 as a bonus right away too! It’s like free money, why pass it up!

On the day I wrote this post these are the double cashback shops you could get if you bought the things you were already going to buy on their site!

They include popular stores that you probably shop at like Old Navy, Gap, & on.

It’s just a free way to get money back!

<< Join Rakuten HERE and get $10 for free! >>

How I Bought my House at 22

It’s been four months since I bought my house and that is absolutely crazy to me. If you had told me that by 22 I would settle down and commit to one house in one city I’d laugh. Through high school my family moved across states several times and college was constantly changing too. I learned to like the changes. They brought new experiences and people into my life, there was always an adventure around.

Then I graduated college, moved to Ukraine as a missionary, God changed my plans, brought me home and settle me into this little town in the North Georgian mountains near my parents.

It is NOT a place you move to before you are married. It has many similar qualities to a retirement community, but here I am! Cutting my chance of getting married soon real low (I am just kidding, promise!).

I’ve always wanted my own home. I am creative brained so any chance to make something my own, I am all for it. Every time we moved I loved the chance to decorate my bedroom and space. College was the same. Every year when I moved in it was like Christmas with four white blank walls just waiting for me to get creative.

I’ve always had the desire to have a home but I was not expecting it to be this soon.

When I moved home from Ukraine in October of 2018 I moved in with parents and I asked God a lot of questions. I was, of course, wanting quick replies but He pretty much said “wait” over and over again.

So I waited and watched. I watched for open doors, opportunities and His leading. Everything said “you are staying for a while” so I started looking for where to go. I was NOT able to live with my parents for much longer. Don’t get me wrong, I have awesome parents! This girl needed more freedom so the hunt began.

There were NO rental properties! All the ones I had found were overpriced and would require me to find a roommate. I started looking at the actual cost difference from buying vs renting.

Ultimately I decided buying was best for me. I could invest money and resources into the property and potentially make a profit off of it in the long run. Renting would have been easy if it was only short term but that’s a lot of money going into someone else’s pocket.

Queue the obsession with realtor.com.

I scoured the online house sites for months, four months to be exact. My dad had a realtor friend and a home builder friend who shared advice. The home builder said to look for 3 bedrooms & 3 baths, these have the best resell value. The realtor friend told me which zip codes to stay away from and to wait. Spring has many more homes for sale than winter time.

This is where my impatience and obsession blew up too big.

Everyday I was on the sites, I looked at houses over and over again. I grew impatient. I went and looked at a few different homes that had potential but were a stretch. They were overpriced and not worth it, but they were my only options so I started to justify them in my head.

I kept asking God about them, I am sure if He was human He would gotten irritated with me. One day He asked me “do you trust me?”. That wasn’t exactly what I wanted to hear. I was ready for a yes to something not this question. I didn’t answer the first time, I thought about it. Then He kept asking and eventually I let go of my personal desires and impatience and said “Yes”. This went on so long I eventually said my “Yes” much stronger.

I finally reached a point where the stress and impatience had practically eaten me alive. I was so restless and anxious I hit a wall. I FINALLY let it go into God’s hands. I finally told God “Yes I trust you” before He even asked me.

The next day I got a phone call & was going to look at a house at 1pm. Turns out it was my dream home.

3 Bedroom with 2 baths, 1500 square feet, a screen in porch looking out over the neighbors rolling hills, 102 years old in the downtown historical area of Demorest.

It is a dream and it’s a miracle. I knew it was the house but I didn’t have enough money for the downpayment and I didn’t have a way to finance it. I couldn’t get a loan alone because I didn’t have a full time job (I am self employed). I had someone willing to personally finance it for me for a price but he looked at it and said no. I cried that whole day because I was so upset! That was something because I am not a crier.

But God was SO GOOD!

The older man that owned the house did two things. He offered to finance it for me and he let me pay 5% down and 5% in three months. This was a miracle. He needed the money from this property to rebuild his Mexico home but his wife heard my story and encouraged him to sell it to me. She said they had enough money, the wanted to help me.

Isn’t that crazy??? Man, we have a good father! I write this as I sit in my bed in my home which I feel blessed with everyday.

Looking into buying a house soon? Here are my top tips!

Work Hard & Save for the Downpayment

I had been saving money for three years before I could afford a downpayment. This was not full time employment either, I was a student. I worked as a babysitter through college to pay for the essentials and set a little aside. Then in my last summer I got a job doing social media management for a local business. I continued (& still work with them) through the years and set that money aside as well.

In one summer I worked hard and put away $3000 which was a great start! I continued saving intentionally especially when my expenses were really low as my parents helped me when I moved back to America.

When you are buying a house typically the downpayment amount is 20% unless you are a first time home buyer. Many states have deals so first timers only have to put down 10%. A Note! You can buy a house without 20% (or 10%) BUT you will have to pay PMI which is insurance that does not for you but cost. This insurance is a monthly fee you will pay until you’ve paid off 20% of your house cost.

This can take a long time especially because each monthly mortgage isn’t just paying the principle! In the beginning you are paying much more interest than principle! Make a monetary goal to save at least the 10% or 20% you need to avoid paying the PMI.

Need help managing your money? Check out my new Money Well Managed Workbook! It can help you see your financial status, build a budget, set goals and make a plan to achieve them! It’s only ten dollars!

Be Building your Credit Score

Yes, you need to have a good credit score! This score will impact the amount of interest you will pay for your loan. This can be an increase of thousands of dollars if you haven’t started building credit! Need some ideas to get started?

Check my ultimate money guide article for tips!

Shop around for Financing Options

I was so blessed to have an owner willing to finance the house for me. Sometimes this is an option. If it isn’t displayed in the description of the house don’t forget to ask if Owner financing is an option.

If it isn’t an option check around. A few mortgage places I’d check are:

Plan for the Extra Costs

I am not going to lie, I was not prepared for all the extra costs that came with buying my house. I currently have a few high credit card bills because I scrambled to make it work but don’t worry, I have a plan to pay them off!

The closing costs of my house were only around $1300 which are low but I wasn’t prepared for this. Some of it is attorney fees, insurance, taxes, etc.

THEN when I moved in and owned no furniture and one pan, my parents helped me pay for toilet paper and seasonings (they are great).

Then I had to get the house sprayed for carpenter bees and replace the hot water heater.

Know there are MANY costs to buying a house so have cushion in your savings plan!

Look at the Neighborhoods History

This is important when looking at purchasing a house. You need to look at the chance of this purchase being profitable in the long run. Has the zip code and city been increasing or decreasing in population? What does the ten year trend look like? Does it seem like it’s thriving or surviving?

If you aren’t sure about this ask a realtor! They can see all the trends and tell you if its a good investment area or not.

Let God Lead the Process

This is my top tip! If you are looking for a house invite God into the process then actually allow Him to lead it. It will be a MUCH easier process when you allow God to show off His love for you which is ALWAYS a blessing. I couldn’t have dreamt of a better home than this and I would NEVER have found it! It was never even on the market!

Good luck on the saving and house hunting process! Want to see a video tour of my house? Comment below!

The Ultimate Money Guide for the Christian Girl

Hey friend! I’ve got to be honest, I love talking about money. Maybe it’s the business in me or the love of organization but I like to know exactly what money I have, where it is and what goals I am working towards. 

I was blessed to grow up in a home where my parents regularly talked about money and taught me different principles. Sure they taught me how to use a check register (?) but I learned how to be aware of everything coming into the account and everything going out (even though at the time it was my pretty piggy bank). 

Now I am 22 years old, I still have some school debt I am tackling and I bought an 102 year old house. Overall I am in pretty good standing and I want to share all the life lessons I’ve learned along the way.

TOPICS TO BE COVERED:

Money Mindset

Where in the world to start

Do I need to be tithing?

How to Budget (& stick with it) 

How to get rid of debt

Goal Setting

Do I need to be building credit?

How to be saving for a home

Where you at?

Okay to really kick this off you need to ask yourself a few questions.

  • How do you currently feel about money?
  • Are you aware of your financial status?
  • Is your money working for you?
  • Are you a saver or spender? (first reaction to this is typically correct)
  • Are you working towards money goals?

Great! Now that you know where you are, you can see what areas you need to be working on first.

How we approach money, especially as Christians, is what’s really going to set us apart. To honor God in our money management might not look like worldly wealth. Being rich shouldn’t be our life goal.

Having a desire to work hard and make money is not bad. Some people are natural entrepreneurs. They were created to build businesses which when successful make money. The world needs these creative people!

The world also needs school teachers, Michaels employees, nurses and everything in between. 

Here are three healthy money mindsets for Christian girls:

1.My Father is my Provider

You may need to sit in this, I often do. I get anxious about my money situation especially when it looks like the numbers don’t add up. I often forget God is working even if it doesn’t look like it. I can choose to trust or I can choose anxiety. 

And my God will supply every need of yours according to his riches in glory in Christ Jesus. Phil. 4:19

Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us,  to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever!  Eph. 3:20

I am the LORD your God, who brought you up out of the land of Egypt. Open your mouth wide, and I will fill it(Psalms 81:10)

2. I am in control of how I manage the money God’s entrusted me with

We can let money manage us or we can manage it. God has entrusted us with HIS money. He has purpose for the money we have and we can willingly give back to God and bring Him glory through it or not.

Sticking your head in the sand about your current financial status is not going to allow you to see Him working or allow you to be used by Him to bring Him glory! I am not judging or condemning simply trying to encourage you to see your money as a gift!

3. I will not be more happy if I make more money

Sure a few things could be easier. Sure you could have paid off your school debt. Sure that 1 million dollar home you toured on Youtube looks really nice.

BUT money will not bring you happiness. In fact happiness is fleeting, joy is what we should be working towards! 

If you chose to find joy right now, today, your whole life will be an adventure. If you chose to be unhappy until you get another raise, I am afraid that raise won’t satisfy you!

Chase Joy!

4. I can’t spend money I don’t have

If you start developing this mindset you will be in much better shape in the future! If you spend money you don’t have then you are simply cultivating debt. Sometimes emergencies come up, yes, but that is why we need to be working towards building an emergency savings account.

Where in the World to Start!

Starting can be the hardest part especially if you haven’t been detailed in your past money habits. It can seem overwhelming and near impossible but it’s not! I promise! No matter how much debt, no matter how many credit cards, no matter how many negative numbers you look at, it is possible to get it a grip on your money.

The best place to dig your hands into first is your current financial status. When I use that phrase I mean to have a big picture of what your debts, assets, bills, and savings are.

Another word for this is Net Worth. Your net worth is all your assets (cash, value of your car, money in checking and savings, anything of monetary value) – your liabilities (outstanding debts, school loans, credit cards, money you owe your parents, money left to pay on car, etc) = your net worth!

*** If you want pages where you just fill in the information to find your net worth grab the money well managed workbook! It’s only $10! 

Grab a piece of paper and write out all your assets. Look at your current bank account amount, look at your savings, look at any larger assets like your car, house etc. Write their total value not just what you’ve paid on them.

Next draw a line to separate and list all your debts. Look at your credit card bills, school loans, personal loans, outstanding medical bills, how much money you owe on your car or house, etc.

Lastly draw a third line and take your total assets and subtract your liabilities and BAM you have your net worth! Good job!

Don’t fear if this is a negative number. We just need an honest view of where you are so we can move forward and make it a positive!

Do I need to be tithing?

This has been a question I’ve been shaking down with God. There are different interpretations of Scripture about tithing but I do believe that we are to be giving some of our money back to God’s house! Our churches are doing God’s work and when we tithe specifically back to them we are building the kingdom of God. 

The amount is something you need to decide for yourself. I do believe you should start with 10% and I recommend it be the first ten percent!

I know if I wait until late in the month I get a little panicky. I start to feel like I won’t have enough when in reality I will and I still need to give God His money back first.

” But Ashley I don’t make enough to tithe!”

I’ve heard this before, I promise you’re not the only one that feels like this. I want you to do this. For one month I want you to tithe. I want you to ask God to show up and show you why you should be tithing. I want you to look for the blessings that always come when we live according to how God has called us to.

He gives us life and life abundantly. 

Sometimes following God doesn’t make sense. Sometimes it seems smarter to save the money to give it away but we are called to be servants to God! We are called to give in every aspect of our lives!

Do you remember this story from Mark 12?

Jesus sat down opposite the place where the offerings were put and watched the crowd putting their money into the temple treasury. Many rich people threw in large amounts.But a poor widow came and put in two very small copper coins, worth only a few cents.

Calling his disciples to him, Jesus said, “Truly I tell you, this poor widow has put more into the treasury than all the others. They all gave out of their wealth; but she, out of her poverty, put in everything—all she had to live on.”

Wanting to dive into this subject more? I highly recommend reading the book Plastic Donuts by Jeff Anderson – Buy it here!

How to Budget & actually stick with it!

This is one of my favorite parts of the process and I sit and look mine over monthly! There are several different ways you can do this and I will show you my process.

Let’s start with what is a budget?

A budget is a list of categories that you typically spend in a month. These can include food, gas, eating out, clothes, etc. With each category there is an amount that is how much you are allowed to spend that month in that category. All of these categories added together should equal the amount of income you make in a month.

You need to have a budget. If you don’t you have a high chance you will spend more than you make which YOU CAN NOT DO. If you spend more than you make every month you will have debt which we don’t want.

So how do we build a budget? We first look at what and where you already spend.

How to Observe Spending Habits

1.Look up your statements from the last month on every card you have. Now take out another piece of paper and write out common categories and how much you spent.

Be completely honest with yourself! When you look at your spending habits you can build a better budget for yourself. You wouldn’t like my budget because it was created for me! I like to spend more money on books than clothes and you might be the other way around. Be true to yourself!

2. Now that you have all the categories written out analyze them. Where are you overspending? Where do you need to be using self-control and saving? Are there any categories you know will be added soon? Like will your rent be going up soon? Or electricity because of summer?

3. Next you need to build a new budget using the information about your spending habits you have collected. See below!

*** I have all this ready for you to fill out in the $10 Money Well Managed Workbook – Here!

How to Build a Realistic Budget

1.Grab another piece of paper and start listing all the categories. Try to start with the most important ones at the top, this will allow you to prioritize well. 

2. When you have all the categories written out fill in all the fixed categories meaning all the ones that are around the same amount each month. Like I typically use 60 in gas each month and my mortgage is $539.60. 

Estimate and fill in all the rest of the categories

3. Add all the totals together. Does it equal your income? If not tweak and try again!

This budget will change. You will make it through this month and some categories will work and some won’t. You just need to keep moving forward!

? Look at you go! You’ve already created a personalized ready to use budget which is half the battle!

Now let’s look at how to stick with it!

You should use this app

An awesome app that I use to stick with my budget is Mint. I use the Money Well Managed Workbook to create and analyze my categories. Once I’ve built my budget I use mint to follow it digitally. They allow you to create all your own categories and amounts. They will sync with your banks information and your school loan! You can track everything in one place. 

Read this article for more information on Mint!

Ask these three questions

Besides checking in on mint often, I use a mental process of questions before I make a purchase that isn’t absolutely necessary.

  • I say do I need this/have purpose for this?
  • Is it in the budget/can I save somewhere else to buy this?
  • Is it investment/will it last?

After answering these questions I’ll purchase or I won’t. I am naturally a saver so it’s easier for me to say no then yes. Know yourself. If you tend to over spend shopping for clothes, limit the shops you go into. Be purposeful.

Ask God for Wisdom

On bigger purchases we should be going to God for wisdom! James 1:5 says “If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you.” God gives wisdom if we ask Him for it. 

This may seem weird to you but the more you invite God into your daily life, the more you’ll see Him there. He wants to be doing life with you. He is a gentleman. He will wait for you to invite Him.

If discipline is something you really struggle with I totally understand! I created this course to help you develop discipline in an are of your life! Check it out here!

DEBT DEBT DEBT

Everyone’s least favorite subject. I get it, I have it too. It can be overwhelming and seem like it’s never ending (hey interest!). You can get rid of it if you have a plan of action to do so.

First you’ve got to look at what you have and how much it is.

How to Analyze Your Debts

1.Pull out ANOTHER piece of paper ? and write down all the debts you can think of. Look up exact totals if you need to.

2. Now look up their interest rates. How much in interest are you paying?

3. Prioritize based on which one has the highest interest. Start to tackle that one first.

There are many different methods of doing this like the snowball method etc. 

There are two ways to pay this off faster. Lower your spending or raise your income.

If you chose to lower your spending go back to that budget category and cut again. If that isn’t possible then consider raising your income.

This can be another part time job or a side hustle. I am not going to dive into these categories in this post but I can if you are interested! 

Many people have different opinions on debt even all looking at the Bible. There are different interpretations of Scripture. I personally want to get rid of my debt as quickly as possible. I consider my school loan of higher importance than my house loan. Why? Because I can sell my house and pay off my debt. Unfortunately, I can’t sell my college degree to get rid of my school debt.

“What happens if I refinance my loans?”

Refinancing your loans looks like this: consolidating them into one loan with often a lower interest rate. That means if you are paying for three different school loans from three companies you can apply to get them refinanced. This can be a great option especially if you are paying an outrageous amount of interest. I can’t tell you to refinance or not because I can’t see all your loans but ask around for advice on this and shop around to different companies who refinance. You can ask questions and tell them you aren’t ready. Gain all the information you can!

You have to make a plan of action that is best for you! Ask God for help. Ask Him to come in and help you honor Him with your finances. It’s crazy what he can do when you invite Him into different areas of your life.

Let’s Set Some Goals

Getting the right mindset and building a budget are important stepping blocks to help you reach your goals. 

This works into that saying I mentioned earlier. Either your money works for you or you work for your money. When you set goals and make action steps to attain them, your money is working for you.

What are examples of money goals?

  • Being debt free (on my list)
  • Purchasing a house
  • Going on vacation to Disney World, the Bahamas, Thailand etc.
  • Starting my own business
  • Building my Savings to be equal to 6 months of my salary 
  • Investing 
  • To stop living pay check to pay check

There are so many different things you can working towards but don’t choose too many, that can be overwhelming.

Two good goals to begin with are 

  • Save $1000 for life mishaps
  • Pay off my debts

Once you choose your two goals you need to build an action plan to accomplish them. For example if you saved $200 every month for five months you’d complete your first goal!

This is specific to you. There is no right or wrong way of doing this. If each month you are only $1 closer to your goal, then you are closer to your goal.

Do I need to be building my credit?

The answer is yes! Think about it. When you are ready to move into your first apartment you’ll need some credit. If you need a loan, you’ll need credit. 

It’s important to start early because then you can get better rates! 

“What is a credit score?”

A credit score is a number that represents how trustworthy you are for financial institutions. This number is impact by many things some of which are paying your bills on time, managing your credit cards well, how long you’ve been building your credit, etc.

How can I start building my credit?

Do you have a credit card/are you responsible enough to manage it?

I am going to repeat myself: Do not spend money you don’t have.

If you can’t follow this rule, don’t get a credit card. If you can use self-control, get one! I recommend Discover or Capital One because they are great credit card companies, especially when just getting started.

Use this card but do not use more than 30% of your credit limit. This will drop your credit score. I personally pay mine off every month and this is the slower way of building your credit. If you want to build credit quickly leave $50 dollars on it monthly, pay the interest and watch your credit score go up!

How did you buy your house?

This is a long story, one I want to make a video about but in a simple steps I did this:

1.I Saved a lot for years. It took me a while but I started saving my last summer before I graduated college. I started working for a friend and it became my side hustle. I managed his businesses social media presence. Each month I put most of that income into my savings.

2. I researched the market. I looked at my area and I looked at prices. I was looking for a decent house around $100,000. Understand I live in a small town in the North Georgia mountains, this was hard to find but our cost of living is relatively low. I was saving for a downpayment for 10%. Check your state sometimes low downpayment options are offered for first time home buyers BUT watch for extra “insurance” or PMI. You do not want to pay for this, it does nothing for you. The normal downpayment amount without PMI required is 20%.

3. I saved for the closing costs. These are the attorney fees, insurance, etc. My closing costs were $1300.

4. I gave it to God. It was a four-month process but God provided the PERFECT house for me and it was such a blessing through everything. God’s hands were all over it. More to come in a video!

If you are convinced you are ready to tackle your finances grab the $10 Money Well Managed Workbook Here! I created it specifically for those really trying to grasp their financial standing and create money freedom in their lives.

Have a money question? Ask me below! ??

3 Must Use Money Tools

Every month I sit down with my finances. I don’t skip, especially since I am a freelancer and my income changes all the time. I’ve found such peace in the process and knowing where all my money is.

When I first started adulting (I still don’t know how to do that) I had no idea where to start. My old school parents still suggested I use a register. You know that little check book looking thing that your mom always kept in her wallet? I tried writing out EVERY TRANSACTION once. That didn’t work for me.

Then I googled and read a lot of articles, tried some things and now I have a system that works for me. Plus it’s simple.

These tools can help you manage your finances whether you are just getting started or you are a pro! Some tools can help you make your process easier and breezier!

HEY! I want you to know it is better to know your financial status than to sit in oblivion. I know it can seem daunting to look at the numbers especially when you know you owe a lot of money but it is WAY better to be aware and working towards change than to avoid your financial situation. Trust me, you can reach peace in this area.

1. THE MONEY WELL MANAGED WORKBOOK

I swear by this workbook and I promise it’s not just because I created them! Knowing what your financial status is the key to freedom! With that in mind, you must look at your current money state, your spending habits, where you need to change your spending habits and your goals.

We do a lot of things on the computer but this is something I always have to write out. These sheets are simple to use and will work you through your current financial stage of life.

With a very clear, written out explanation of how much I make monthly, bills, debts and spending categories, I can then move into the mode of management. Sticking within these guidelines ensures I don’t overspend or forget to pay that bill… again.

—-> Buy it here for only $10!

This is step one because its a stepping stone into the next tool I use all the time!

2. MINT

This little guy is my favorite. Mint is a free budgeting app that pulls your transactions from your bank accounts, allows you to categorize them, follow your budgets, bills and credit cards. It even keeps you updated about your estimated credit score and sends you notifications about when you go over a budget.

I’ve been using this app since I was in college and still love it. I use it both on my computer and iPhone dependent on what’s going down in life and it makes it easy to stay on top of things.

After you fill out the budget sheets for the first time, you can then use the spending categories and add them into the budget categories in mint. This makes it easy to see if you are actually staying IN the budget or not! No outdated register needed (sorry mom).

Here is an example of part of my budgets. It tracks all the income, transactions of all my accounts and categorizes them if it recognizes it.

Using mint I can even follow my school loan. It keeps it updated and allows me to be aware of my complete financial status!

3. QUICKBOOKS SELF-EMPLOYED

And finally the third tool I personally use because I am fully self employed is Quickbooks Self-Employed. I am on their $10 a month plan but the first 6 months are only $5 a month! I originally started using this site because I have clients who needed a simple way to pay me without mailing in a check. Each month I invoice the business and on the email he can pay me. This is making the whole process easier.

Another awesome bonus of the online system is it estimates my quarterly and yearly taxes. Self employment taxes are confusing! I am still trying to navigate it, but this helps me estimate so I am not too far off at the end of the year and owe an arm and a leg.

This app will also sync in with your online bank and pull transactions in automatically. You can mark if it is a personal or business transaction. It will separate your business expenses into categories and you can even put in your mileage.

This can be an awesome for someone who isn’t fully self employed either. If you have a side hustle where you make over a few hundred dollars then you have to pay taxes on those transactions too. This makes it easy to keep the books organized and prepare for the next tax season!

REMEMBER

Your money is not scary. What you make and how you handle it can create freedom in your life or can help you dig yourself a hole. Good money management starts by simply becoming aware of yourself and your spending habits!

It also DOESN’T mean you have to cut your Starbucks or other guilty pleasure.

It CAN mean going on that dream vacation. Maybe I’ll see you in Thailand next year!

If you aren’t sure where to start I wish I had this easy workbook. Grab it for only $10 here!