Does Your Money Have a Job?
I used to be all willy nilly with my money. If there was five dollars in my wallet, I’d find a way to spend it…on anything. I impulse shopped ALL THE TIME. I ate out a lot. Life was good…
UNTIL, the bills came and I suddenly realized I spent the water bill money at the movies. There were so many times when my bank account balance was under a hundred bucks and I had to stretch that money for almost two weeks until I got paid again.
Naturally, I was in a constant flux of immediate gratification bliss and anxiety stricken panic.
I couldn’t take the pain of worrying about money all the time, but I didn’t know what to do different. How could I make sure I was spending my money wisely? How could I ensure that I was always prepared to pay my bills on time and have a cushion in case of an emergency? The answer: My money needed a job.
That sounds weird, right? Shouldn’t it be, “You need a job to make money”?
Most of us have jobs that provide a paycheck. That’s not the problem.
The problem is we aren’t taught what to do with our money once we’ve earned it, so we’re left to trial and error to figure out the best method for getting the most bang from our bucks.
I’ve learned from experience that I must assign a job to every single dollar I earn. Otherwise, I’ll make split second decisions about what to use my money for, only to regret them later.
So, what does it mean to give your money a job anyway? It means creating a SPENDING PLAN (aka. budget). Like this:
This table only lists a few common bills, but you’ll want to add every single thing you spend money on each month to your spending plan and then determine how much you’ll spend in each category.
After you’ve spent the money, you’ll add the actual amount to the “Actual” column, which will help you see how much money you have left over (or how much money you’ll need to take away from another category to keep from overspending).
The total money budgeted for the month should EQUAL YOUR MONTHLY INCOME. So, if you make $1,000.00 a month, you would allocate all that money to each category in your spending plan until the combined total is $1,000.00. Your actual spending should equal that same amount to ensure you’re not going into debt (which is a common problem for many people).
You can probably see already how giving your money a job will help you stay on track and help you to know exactly where your money is going.
But if you need even more convincing that having a spending plan is a smart move, here are 5 Reasons why YOU should give your money a job:
You want your money to work for you rather than you always working for your money.
You know that saying, “Work smarter, not harder”? That applies here. You don’t want to be working day and night just to make ends meet. You want to earn a living so you can do the things you enjoy and have the things you want, but if you aren’t giving your money a purpose, you’ll just blow it. Assigning a job to everything single dollar protects you from having to scramble, put in overtime, or pick up a second job just to break even.
2. You create a realistic plan for finally reaching those long-term financial goals.
Do you dream of paying off your student loans or mortgage, but feel like it will never happen? Do you fantasize about buying a new sports car or having a beach house but can’t see how you could ever swing it? Do you wish you could put your kids through college but don’t have a penny saved for it? Coming up with large sums of money for things like this takes time and dedication to your goal, but if there’s nothing extra after paying for the bare essentials, you won’t have any money to put towards these dreams. By giving your money a job, you make sure you’ve got extra cash to put toward these long-term goals every month and your far off dreams will become reality.
3. It’s the only way to get out of debt and live debt free (aka. experience financial freedom).
Remember how I used to spend money on frivolous stuff and then wonder where it went? After I gave my money a job (well, several jobs actually), I was able to make sure I didn’t overspend in any category. Because I wasn’t overspending, I wasn’t adding to my already existent debt. AND I set aside money every month in my “extra payments toward debt category” so I could pay more on my credit cards than the minimum payment. That’s what made it possible for me to get out of debt, and once I did, I never used a credit card again. You can live debt free too (trust me, it’s exhilarating) if you’re committed to a spending plan.
4. You’ll experience peace of mind knowing the money is there.
Think about those annoying annual bills. You know, the annual car insurance premium that you get socked with every August, or the property tax bill you have to pay in the Fall, or the dreaded income tax payment you have to make by April 15th.
Wouldn’t it be nice if you had the money sitting in your bank account, ready to be put towards those bills rather than freaking out about where you’re going to come up with the money in time?
A spending plan helps you to stay on track with putting aside a little bit each month so you’ll be prepared for those annual bills before they even arrive.
5. You’ll determine your highest priorities and live in alignment with them.
What’s more important to you: eating out three times a week or taking a week-long family vacation? Sometimes we don’t realize that by choosing to pay for convenience or picking up all those little extras here and there we don’t really need that we’re preventing ourselves from having what’s truly important to us. If you’re spending your money on crap, you won’t have any for the things you value.
As you create your spending plan, you’ll be forced to think about what’s most important to you and where you want your money to go. As you spend, you’ll always be comparing that to your plan and making adjustments to your spending habits to fit with your overall financial goals. This is what makes it possible for you to have the things you really want rather than just wasting it on things that don’t really matter to you.
TIP: Avoid numerous trips to places like Wal-Mart, Target, and Dollar Tree. These places suck you in to wasting money on stuff you don’t need! Keep reminding yourself of what you REALLY want when you feel compelled to impulse buy in these stores.
Now, I want to hear from you. What is your greatest takeaway from this blog? How do you plan to get started giving your money a job? What’s keeping you from taking action today?
Leave a comment and let us know!