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