Bravely firmly believes that no one inherently sucks at money. Once you have the tools and education, money is something anyone can be good with. For those who identify as ‘bad with money’, we’re here to help set you up with a simple plan to get you out of that mindset.
Here are 5 steps for people who think they suck at money.
Step 1: No Negative Self Talk
Negative self-talk. What a tricky beast. It’s a dangerous road to go down that has no end in sight. And unfortunately, the more you do it the more powerful it becomes.
When you tell yourself you’re bad with money, you give yourself permission to make bad money decisions.
If you tell yourself you don’t have a head for numbers, you’ll shy away from opportunities to work with them. When you tell yourself that finances are hard, you avoid learning how to demystify them.
It’s a vicious circle. Begin to break the cycle by refusing to voice negative thoughts out loud. Don’t give them any more power over you.
Instead of beating yourself up, give voice to positive thoughts. Tell yourself that you are learning to control your money. Say out loud ‘I am good with money.’
Share with your friends that you’re working on your budget. Create positivity where there was negativity.
Step 2: Know Your Income and Expenses
You can’t work with what you don’t know. It’s critical to know exactly how much you earn on a monthly and annual basis. If you’re a W2 employee with a salary, this is easy to find out. For freelancers and hourly employees, income can vary day to day, which makes it harder to track.
For freelancers and hourly employees: keep track of all invoices and pay stubs that you send and receive. This will give you a baseline of what you’re earning. You can use pen and paper, an Excel spreadsheet, or an invoicing program like Freshbooks as a freelancer.
Similarly, write down all of your annual costs. Rent, food, insurance, pet care, car care- everything that you possibly spend money on goes on the list.
In order to get your financial house in order, you have to know what the structure of the house looks like. Knowing the firm numbers on what comes in and goes out each month is step one.
Step 3: Budgets Are Your Friend
Budgets have a bad rap. People shy away from them because they think budgets= no fun ever. Untrue! Budgets are your friend. Budgets are just the advanced level of understanding what you’re doing with your money each month.
You don’t need to become a finance nerd to have a budget. You don’t even need to make a budget after reading this article. We just want you to understand that budgets are not inherently evil. If you’ve been putting off making a budget because you think it will ruin your fun, we’re here to tell you that’s not true.
Here’s a dirty little secret: you can make a budget line for fun. Literally, you can allocate money each month in your budget to whatever you do for fun. Eating out, getting drunk with friends, travel, shopping, books- your choice! Build it into your budget and rest easy knowing that you have the money to ball out however you want.
Get our budget workbook and spreadsheets here to get your budget going to-damn-day.
Start your budget by breaking down all your expenses into monthly spending to understand where and when you spend your money. Monthly expenses will be things like rent, utilities, food, gas, etc. If you pay your car insurance every six months, you don’t need to budget for it each month. If you get coffee from the neighborhood spot every Friday, you need to budget for that each week.
Step 4: Ask For Help
Scared of starting a budget? No idea where to start when it comes to your credit card debt? Feeling overwhelmed by the process of buying a house? There’s someone else out there who can help you.
You do not need to become a financial ninja to get your money right. Asking for help with things you are not well versed in is one of the best things you can do. You know what’s hard for most people in the US? Taxes. They vary state to state, and sometimes your situation can change year to year. The forms are intimidating, and almost everyone hates paying them.
You can ask for help with them! You can email an accountant and say ‘my taxes are slowly killing me. Can you help me decipher this bull shit?’
It’s the same with paying off debt, picking a credit card for yourself, or whatever your money beef is. Find someone or something that can help you. Our resources page is a good place to start. Google is also your friend. (The internet knows all.) Ask friends and family if they know how to help you, or if they can point you in the direction of someone who can.
Step 5: Pick Tools You Love
You know when you go to a restaurant and there’s an item that you could eat, but you’re not really feeling? You’ll get it down, but it wasn’t a meal that you would tell friends about. It wasn’t something that you would eat again.
That’s exactly what we do not want for your financial tools. You have to find the tools, methods, and systems that work well for you. If you’re not a spreadsheet kind of person, using Excel to do your budget will get you nowhere.
There is no rule that says you need to use what other people are using to handle their money. You can budget with a notebook you carry everywhere or use an app on your phone. You can live and die by your credit cards, or exclusively use cash.
We’ve got an 8 chapter and 2 spreadsheet budget workbook to help you figure out your spending values and financial roadblocks.
As long as you find a system that you feel comfortable sticking with you will get your money in order. When you like something you want to do it. If your friend swears by her Mint app but you hate how small the phone screen is, Mint is not going to work for you.
Mix and match tools until you find the right ones that work for you.
Money is something everyone can get a handle on. We’d love to hear from you! Tell us how you are getting good with your cash in the comments.