Do you wish you could eliminate stress over your credit cards, car and student loans, or even your mortgage because they were all paid off? Can you imagine what it would be like to have the freedom in your schedule and savings to take your kids on a cross-country trip? Do you want to retire early so you have more time with the kids?
On my podcast, I’ve had the pleasure of interviewing people who have achieved those goals. And while they each had their own particular journey, there were certain patterns and habits that kept coming up. One crucial piece in executing their plan? They became financially aware.
The Power of Financial Awareness
It sounds simple, but knowing exactly how much money they were working with and then tracking their progress helped these families in creating a winning game plan.
In my book Jumpstart Your Marriage and Your Money, I share the strategies that have worked for families who have accomplished some big personal and financial goals like paying $100,000 of debt, saving for a big dream, and retiring early (even with kids).
What these families did was look at two key things – what they wanted to do (their dreams) and where they were now.
The first one is a lot of fun. Who doesn’t want to imagine relaxing at the beach, working part-time on a passion project, or building their dream home?
The second part though – the one where you have to see how much debt you’re in or how tight your budget is? Yeah, not so much.
Here’s the thing – it is the backbone of winning with money.
Put it in the context of your health and what you would do to improve it. If you’re looking to get into better shape, you’ll be keeping an eye on your exercise routine and your diet. Tracking your diet has many benefits, one of which is getting a clearer idea of how much and what you’re actually eating. It can be an eye-opening experience.
It’s the same with your finances. Tracking your net worth (the big picture), as well as your usual monthly spending, can allow you to see where your money leaks are.
Knowing your numbers can have a powerful effect on how you spend and also gives you an idea of where you can save.
Keeping an Eye on Your Money
The even better news is that you don’t have to worry about having to track every single penny yourself, you can use an app like Mint to do that for you.
When we were at the beginning of our journey, we used Mint to keep an eye on our monthly budget. It was so helpful to get reminders when we were getting close to the limits we put in place. We created a plan that allowed us to balance taking care of our big goals, like paying off debt while still having room for fun.
I also love that Mint gives you information that matters most to your financial health, all in one place. It’s easy to take a look at your credit score, net worth, and recent expenditures in order to figure out where your finances stand. This will help you figure out realistic goals and different milestones to work toward.
So if you have a big dream, make sure you’re tracking the numbers. It can be the game-changer you need.
Thoughts on Financial Awareness Day
I’d love to hear from you. What goals do you want to accomplish? How are you planning on staying on top of your money?