Budgeting Isn't Just For Business By Colleen Salchow
It’s easy to spend money on your business. There always seems to be something that needs updating on your website, a new trend to learn how to use your social media and different ways to network with other professionals and connect with your ideal client. As business owners, we use profit-loss sheets to track our income and expenses. However, are you applying that same mindset of tracking your money in your personal accounts?
Full disclosure; I’m a personal financial coach. Teaching my clients how to create a plan for their money and fund their future goals is why I started my business. My husband, Richard, and I were married in 2011, and shortly after our wedding, we realized that we had $9 in our checking account, $100 in our savings account, and $60,000 in debt. We took a personal budgeting class at Marine Corps Air Station in Cherry Point, NC, and we learned how to use a budget for our money. We also learned how to talk about our finances and create our money goals. Within two years, we had paid off all our debt and have used a budget ever since.
Understanding where our money is, how we’re spending it, and why we save it has empowered our family to make decisions. If talking about money with your spouse feels awkward, it may be because you were not taught how to discuss the topic as kids. A 2019 study from Boeing Employee Credit Union, BECU, found that only 28% of parents talk to their kids about money. Richard and I spent about five months learning how to use a budget. Typically, to develop any new habit takes 90 days. By understanding our family’s goals for finances, objectives for family time, and priorities for our children’s education, we have been able to adapt to the changes that have taken place since March 2020.
Budgeting Strategies For Families:
1. What is your income? Knowing how much money is coming in each month is essential for understanding how much you can spend.
2. List all of your non-mortgage debts. We had a car loan, student loans, and credit card debt in 2011. After we added everything up, I cried. The number was significantly more than we earned that year, but it was the wake-up call to start tracking our money. By knowing exactly how much we owed empowered us to make a plan.
3. Create a budget. There are several different ways to do this. There are apps, digital spreadsheets, and good old fashion paper ledgers to write in with pencils. We started using a budget before we both had a smartphone, so we still use an Excel spreadsheet to this day.
Regardless of what tool you use, documenting every purchase and updating the budget consistently are essential steps for understanding your finances. Richard and I set aside time each week to go over the budget together, and our kids hear us talking about our finances. That’s part of how we’re teaching them to use money. By tracking your finances, you see where your money is going, which will encourage you to say “No” to any purchases. We have a choice to make if money hasn’t been set aside for fall candles, a new bike for our daughter, or an impromptu dinner out. Either move the purchase to next month’s budget or move money around in the current budget.
By tracking your finances in your personal account, you will be more confident to direct money towards the goals you have set for your family. Just like business owners look at their revenue to determine what investment to make next in their business, you should similarly view personal finances.
For more information on personal budgeting, follow me on Instagram and Facebook @salchowcoaching. You can also schedule a free consultation to learn more about how I work one-on-one with individuals and families on my website, www.salchowcoaching.com.