If you’ve ever heard me speak about finances, you’ll know that I’m big on knowing your numbers. However, keeping track of it all can be a challenge. When you’ve got bills, investments, multiple accounts, savings goals and more on the go, it’s helpful to know where to start and how to create a maintainable system. 

From my experience as a financial coach, an entrepreneur, and someone who has dealt with personal and family finances, here are my best tips and tricks for you.

Develop/Improve Your System

First things first. What’s your system? Analogue? Spreadsheet? App? Whatever will be easiest to maintain is what I’d advocate for. If you have a system started, there’s no need to do an overhaul. Wherever your instincts took you in the first place is probably the way to go.

Once you have an idea of how you’d like to go about keeping track of the moving pieces, it’s time to look at improving the efficiency and effectiveness. Some tips: 

  • Have your bills come to the same place, and know when to expect them. 
  • Use multiple bank accounts. Some options include an Emergency Savings account, a Long-Term Goals savings account, or a Bills account. Determine which variation best suits your needs and use them to divide your income appropriately. 
  • Pay your bills as promptly as possible. Leaving the email on read is a recipe for a missed bill payment. 

Review your Income 

This one seems obvious, but sometimes things get missed! Make the most out of your income by getting to know it. Here are some questions to get started:

  • What’s your overall monthly income? 
  • Do you have a regular work schedule or is it unpredictable? 
  • How steady is your income? 
  • Is there a side hustle or passive income making contributions? 
  • Do you receive any regular financial assistance? 

Whether your income is predictable or not, having a general idea of how much you make month-to-month, and even understanding how much it can fluctuate, will help you make determinations about your expenses and lifestyle. 

Review your Expenses

Step 1: Take a good long look at where your money goes each month.
Step 2: Compare that to your income.
Step 3: Make adjustments to your expenses where you can/need. 

We often end up paying for things we don’t need or want.

  • Make sure you don’t have any accidental subscriptions pulling money from your account each month. 
  • Now look at the rest of your subscriptions—how many streaming platforms do you really need?
  • Look at your food bill. Can you grow some of your own food? Simplify your meals? Go without the specialty organic goods for a while? Order in less? 
  • Stay steady on your debt repayments. Make those a top priority when it comes to your outgoing payments. 
  • Be honest with yourself about your “fun” spending. 

Embrace the discomfort of getting to know your financial habits—it’s temporary and necessary for getting to the bottom of keeping track of your finances. 

If you need a little help keeping all this together, try an expense tracker app. Depending on your needs there’s Mint (personal and free), QuickBooks (for small business owners), and Goodbudget (great for beginners)! 

Pay Attention to the Overall Economic Climate

This one is so important right now. Inflation is affecting all of us, and keeping tabs on its trajectory will inform your money behaviours. Inflation (as you’ve likely noticed) is affecting everything from interest rates to grocery bills to the housing market.

When you keep an eye on the economy, you know how to plan accordingly with your own finances. Put a little more into your emergency fund each month, watch your debt repayments, consider putting off buying that new car for a little while. 

Check your Statements for Errors

It’s all-too-easy to do a quick glance at your statements and let your eyes wander to what (if anything) is owed. Go through each item, making sure it’s familiar and the numbers match your expectations. If you see an extra entry, an unexplained charge, or a higher payment due than normal, it may be time to give someone a call. 

Outline your Savings Goals

Your goals may need an update to account for inflation, relationship/family changes, a move, a new job, or just new goals.

Now, I will always recommend a few different savings goals for people: 

  1. An emergency fund that reflects your current situation. Aim for 6 months of living expenses saved up. 
  2. Retirement savings. You are never too young to start. 
  3. Your dreams! Dream big, and plan well. 

These tips should be enough to get your journey started, but if you need a little extra assistance book a call with me! I can help you optimize your personal finances for a bright financial future! OR, if you’re a business owner hoping for this same service for your business finances, you can check out my blog on this or connect with me!