Welcome to 2019! The New Year brings with it a sense of hope, new beginnings, and change. And while many folks are jumping into January in an effort to change the numbers of their waistband, I’m proposing we change the numbers in our bank account (by changing how we think, feel, and act around money!)
I’m not promising that this month will bring you a surprise windfall or that any of your financial problems will just magically disappear. (It would be nice though, wouldn’t it?)
What daily journaling can give you is space to think about what it is you want to change, motivation to learn more about money, head space to break through your fears and insecurities about money, and start making the changes you need to see to get comfortable around finance.
The journey to financial peace is constant. There’s a lot to learn. We have to shift our mindsets, address our fears, get out of our own way, and put in the time to learn and take action.
Start with choosing your goals.
What are your main money goals? What are you hoping to focus on during finance month? Choose a few goals from the list below or write down your own. Identifying what you want to work on will help clear the path for learning and growth.
Get out of debt
Get secure with monthly payments
Learn more about budgeting
Learn more about money
Identify fears about money
Address fears about debt
Learn more about retirement
Start a retirement
Boost current retirement
Start savings plan for kids
Talk with a money advisor
Grow my emergency savings
Invest in something
Make spending changes
Make saving changes
Make accounts more secure
Freeze kids’ social security numbers
Finance Guided Journal Weekly Break Down
Week 1: Money & Us
Week 2: Money & Our Kids
Week 3: Money Education
Week 4: Take Action
We all have a money story with a past, present, and future. We’ll spend time this month taking time to uncover it and see what shifts and growth we need to make so that we have more control over the future of our individual stories.
We don’t know what we don’t know. We do the best with the information we have. And when we need to do better, it’s time to learn more. There is a LOT to learn about money. It can feel overwhelming, but it has to be done.
Just a few minutes a day can make a big difference. We need time to THINK about our money, behaviors, and goals. We need time to EVALUATE our past habits, present habits, and future goals. Plans require time to plan. Give yourself permission to take time to work through emotions, evaluate your beliefs, and move toward your goals.
The sheer volume of finance resources available is overwhelming, to the point that people don’t even pick up books or tune into podcasts because they don’t know where to start. I’ve narrowed down a few resources that keep showing up in my own finance research. Have I read every single one or listened to every podcast? No. But they are on my own list to explore. It’s a starting point as we move past the overwhelm and start to take action. Pick one. Try it. See how it goes. It’s a step forward and that’s what we’re after.
This month’s daily challenge will be to explore a finance resource at least once a day—this could look like reading an article about money, listening to a podcast, or tackling as much of a chapter in a book as you can. There will be a space for you to note the resource after each journal prompt. Use it. Let it motivate you. Read more, listen more, learn more.
Rich Dad, Poor Dad
Financial Peace University
You Are A Badass at Making Money
I Will Teach You to Be Rich
The Financial Diet
Girl, Get Your $hit Together
The Stacking Benjamins Show
Smart Passive Income
The Dave Ramsey Show
Side Hustle Show
The Time Ferris Show
You Need a Budget
Radical Personal Finance
The Pineapple Project
Listen, Money Matters
Money for the Rest of Us
The Fairer Cents
Death, Sex, & Money
Rich Dad Radio Show
The Truth About Money
Bigger Pockets Podcast
January Week 1: Money & Us
This week is really about Money and You. I say “us” so that we can begin this journey without feeling alone. You aren’t alone, mama. There are many of us starting this journey with you. This week is about each of us taking the time to look at ourselves and our individual beliefs about money.
Begin at the Beginning
Time to do an honest evaluation. How do you feel about money? When you read the topic FINANCES, what were your first thoughts? Were you excited? Scared? Nervous? Curious? Embarrassed? Does money stress you out? Do you feel there is enough to go around? Do you feel you/your family are compensated fairly? Write about it.
Answer the following questions honestly: What is your spending personality? Are you a coupon clipper? A budgeter? Impulse buyer? Do you buy what you want when you want it? Do you save for it? Are you stingy with money? Do your answers line up with what you want your relationship with money to look like?
Do you know how much money you have right now? Do you know what your debt is as of today? Chances are high that you want to make changes to those numbers—in order to do that, you need to know what those numbers are in real time. Today’s goal is to write find the answers and write them down.
When it comes to lifestyle & money, do you live an inflated lifestyle, meaning you live above your means? Do you live below your means?
Do you know how much you want to make weekly? Monthly? Yearly? Do you know how much you need to make to retire? Write down your goals. Use specific numbers or describe emotions that would make you feel like it would be “enough.”
What do you know about retirement? Do you have a plan in place? Do you feel comfortable with your Does this word scare you? Write about how you feel about retirement today and how you’d like to feel about it by the time it comes to retire? Write about it.
Emotions & Fears
Does your fear of judgment or embarrassment about how much you don’t know keep you from seeking financial help? Do you feel you are “supposed” to know more at this point in your life? What financial education have you received? Any? Some? None? Write about it.
Do you know your credit score as of today? Find out what it is and write it down. How do you feel about that number? How did you come to your evaluation of the number?
Read over this week’s journal prompts. As you acknowledge the emotions you carry surrounding money next to the black & white numbers of what you make, how much you need, etc. are you comfortable with where you are and what you know about money? Or do you feel ready to speak with someone who can help teach you more? Are you ready to pick up a finance book? List to a money podcast station? Or expand your understanding and comfort level in general? Write about how you view this week’s journal responses as a whole.
Our Children’s Teacher
What do you teach your children about money (actively & passively)? Do you talk with them about savings? Cost of living? Daily expenses? If you have very young children, at what age do you intend to start talking openly about money?
Look back at Day 1. How we feel about money and are beliefs surrounding it come out in our every day actions. For example, if money stresses us out, we more than likely pass that along to our children. That being said, write about how your attitudes and beliefs about money come out in your every day interactions with your children? What do you feel they are learning from your example? Are you happy with those answers?
What involvement do your kids have with their own money? Do they have access to their gift cards & monetary gifts? Do they have free reign? Do they know about their bank accounts? If you have young children, when do you intend to bring them in and involve them in their own money use/savings?
What are your reasons behind your decision regarding their level of involvement?
How do you teach your children about savings? Do they have an awareness of how much money they have in their name? Do you make all of the decisions when it comes to their money? Do they? How do you think your current arrangement is working? What do you feel it teaches your kids about money? Are there changes you’d like to make?
Social Security Numbers
Have you heard of locking down your child’s social security number to protect them from identity theft and fraud? Have you done it?
If yes, share with other parents why you did and how. Be the resource.
If not but you know about it, share why you didn’t or haven’t. If you want to, research it today and start taking action. Follow through with your goal.
If not but you have never heard about, research the topic today and decide if you want to pursue this protection plan or not. Write down the pros and cons.
If not but you want to, research the subject today. Jot down notes about how to do it and then use those notes to start taking action.
How much time do you spend when considering purchases? What do you model for your children? Do you impulse buy or stick to the list? Write about your buying style and how you feel about it. Are you happy with the amount of consideration you give purchases or would you like to change it?
Now look at your children—do they have the same spending tendencies as you or opposite ones? Write about how much consideration your children give purchases before making them and if you feel you need to encourage or guide more/less.
Do your children know what taxes are and how they work? Do you talk about them? Do you give the specifics of the when/why/how or do you mostly share your frustrations with them? Do you know the specifics yourself?
Do you or will you ask them to fill out their own tax paperwork, do it for them, help them, or hire out the task? If you have young children, what are your intentions &/or ideas when teaching your kids about taxes?
While “taxes” is a very broad topic, spend today answering the questions and writing down your ideas about taxes, goals, fears surrounding them, etc. so that you can move beyond those emotions and find the space and resources to help you feel better about them.
Review your answers from this past week and use them to come up with financial education goals as they relate to your kids.
What are you passing on that you’re proud of? What areas could use some work? Spend a few moments coming up with goals for yourself and your family as they relate to what/how/why you’re teaching your children about finance.
What is your current money/finance organization system? Spreadsheets? Piles of paper in a filing cabinet? An accountant who keeps all the info for you?
Take a few moments to describe your current organization system and then write about how you feel about that system. Does it need some work or revamp? Does it take up too much of your time? Write about what blocks you feel are keeping you from organizing more (or less)?
Do you budget?
If not, why? What is your current understanding of budgeting? Have you tried budgeting in the past & it hasn’t worked out? Is not having a budget serving you? Is it your lack of understanding of a budget that keeps you from creating one? Is it feelings of constraint or circumstances that keep you from wanting one?
If so, why? What does your current budget look like? Is it serving you? Is it working as is or does it need some tweaking?
Do you have a savings account for yourself? Do you have limits on it or is it free reign? Does it serve you? Is the money just sitting there as a sense of security or does it serve a purpose? Are you keeping it to pursue goals with that savings? Using it as a medical savings account? Are you familiar with all of the modern options for savings accounts or how to invest savings? In a nutshell, how is your savings currently serving you?
And if you do not have a savings account set up, why? If you don’t want one, write about why. If having a savings account is part of your financial goals, what could you do today to start one?
When was the last time you talked with someone about a savings account?
Do you worry about fraud? Do you have security measures in place for credit cards, bank accounts, etc.?
If so, take a few moments today to check in on those security measures.
If not, take a few moments today to check into, research, or explore what security options should/would/could/are/aren’t in place for credit cards, debit cards, accounts, etc.
The Best Deal
How much time do you spend finding the best price? What influences your desire to search for the best deal? What makes you choose convenience over a better price? Write about your spending habits as they relate to finding the “best price” or “best deal” on products and services.
Who can you talk with about money? Who is available in your town? In your circle? Who do you trust? Do you talk about money with others?
During week one, we looked at what emotions keep us from talking about money with others—professional or friends. Go out on a limb today. Talk with someone about money. Ask friends who they use and/or trust and why. Personal recommendations can often break through some of the hesitancy and lead us to greater education.
You don’t have to sign up for anything or agree to anything, just talk. Walk in with a clear goal that you want to learn more—that you’re in the education and information gathering portion of your journey and really want to explore all options before committing to change.
Do an honest evaluation of where you are in your finance journey. How do you feel? What’s changed in you? What actions have you taken? What steps do you need to take at this point?
Now, how honest are you with yourself about your money needs, habits, spending, etc.? Do you find yourself uncomfortable with that honesty? Do you take that honesty and make excuses to avoid the discomfort if it appears you need to make changes? Or do you do an honest evaluation and deal with what is?
Today, write honestly about honesty. We’ve come so far…noticing how we feel, what changes might need to be made. Now let’s sit with those observations and be honest with ourselves about what actions we need to start taking to shed our guilt about money.
January Week 4: Take Action
This week, start using your resources you’ve gathered and discover more!
Today we move past our emotions and old habits that might be holding us back about money and start shifting our perspective by actively gathering resources. Today is the day we look back over the articles, podcasts, and books and take action on one finance/money item in our lives.
What websites have you found this month that speak to you? Are they blogs? Investment wesbsites? More personal sites like The Holistic Wallet’s www.michellebobrow.com ? List your favorites and write about what inspired you most or caught your attention this month. Take action on that point of interest and inspiration.
Have you been listening to personal finance podcasts this month? If so, write down your favorites. If not, hop on board that train! Podcasts are a great way to break through the awkwardness of talking about finance by listening to other people talk about it freely, openly, and often with a bit of humor. Podcasts really bring in the human element with personal stories and insights.
Take action based on a podcast from this month…or listen to one for the first time!
What finance book is your favorite? Which ones have you always wanted to read? Never read any? Today is the day. Go back to that favorite book…pick up the one you’ve always wanted to read…or start reading one! Today’s action is all about cracking open a book and learning.
It’s tax season. Make a promise to yourself that you won’t get behind this year or stress out about deadlines. Organize paperwork, make tax appointments, file papers, interview accountants, or research a tax law that might apply to you this year. Start today.
What are your current financial goals? How do they differ from the beginning of the month? How have they expanded? Organize your new goals on paper. Include action steps that you will need to complete to move forward with those goals…and then take action. You are worth it.
What Surprised You Most?
Write about what surprised you most this month. Was it you? Was it something about money? Take a few moments to expand on something unique or surprisingly motivating that you learned.
Thank You Day!
The first “bonus day” of each month is always Than You Day! Take a moment to send a text, make a call, or write a handwritten note to someone who has helped you this month.
Hindsight is 20/20. Look back over the month. Piece together lessons, visions, and goals in your writing today. Write about what has become clearer on the other side of the guided journal prompts. What will you easily carry over into subsequent months?
Next month’s Guided Journal theme is Fitness! Brainstorm today about what “fitness” goals and guilt look like for you…then get ready to show up for a month of movement along side your sisters! We’re in this together!