Recently my two sisters and I sat down for lunch to catch up. After covering all the life highlights and rough times of our last few weeks, we started talking about…finances. I know, not a topic to really get into around a table with family, but I am glad we did on this day.
My sister, Lauren, and I quickly found out that our baby sister, Brooke, was schooling us on personal finances. She was running circles around us with her knowledge and organization of her monthly bills and savings accounts. It was super impressive.
Now, I was an A+ business major in college but let’s be honest… that doesn’t always mean that college set me up for success in personal finances. I was required to take the mandatory corporate accounting classes but…I’m a Realtor…so not so useful.
I like to think of myself as a very capable and responsible adult but I am clearly not on Brooke’s level.
All that to say that 2020 is going to be my year of taking control of my personal finances. If anyone out there is feeling a bit out of touch with what’s going on in their bank account on the regular, then this may be a good resolution for you as well.
Places to start:
Dave Ramsey’s 7 Baby Steps: Brooke lent me her full set of DVDs but there are a lot of ways to learn the baby steps. For instance, I know of several churches who run a “Financial Peace” course for a nominal fee a couple times a year. We are working towards being a debt free family, which is a big end goal of these steps.
Create an excel budget sheet: Brooke shared with us that she has a detailed excel sheet mapping out her budget and where all her income for the month is going (Example Below). Her bills, savings accounts and cash envelope amounts right there to see. This is a tenant of Dave Ramsey as he says “A budget is telling your money where to go instead of wondering where it went.” Honestly this part is hard for us as we are a commission based income family. I am working on navigating this hurdle of a budget for the upcoming year.
Online Savings Accounts: Choose an online bank with free high yield savings account options. Brooke has several, each labeled for goals her and her husband are working towards. It’s a great techie alternative to putting your spare change in a “vacation” jar on the counter.