START TRACKING YOUR SPEND
Get to know where you spend, how it makes you feel and what really matters when it comes to your money!
Let's stop pretending that being good at money means you need to be good at math. Instead, let's listen to our body and our mind.
When it comes to money, everyone has their self-proclaimed winning tips. There are a lot of surprising ways to save, earn and invest your money. Traditionally, the few that work such as budgeting, paying off debt and saving for retirement are no fails. You should absolutely be doing these things with your money. If you want to, that is. At the very minimum, finding a way to get on track financially is critical.
For me, some habits that began to build when I was in the middle of repaying my debt have stuck. They are somewhat repetitive and not essential to my success – but finding these behaviours has helped me create an excellent system and pattern for my money.
They say it takes 66 days (to be exact), to form a behaviour into a habit. That’s great news, isn’t it? Even if you’re not doing extraordinarily well with your money today, you could be doing something small but impactful to help achieve that goal within 3 months! All it takes to spark this newfound motivation is a little bit of inspiration – and that’s what I’m hoping to do today. Inspire you.
When I feel like I’m stuck or about to do something that’s not good for me financially, I at least know that I’ll always be doing these few things right, because they’ve become ingrained in me. Let’s dive in!
One of the reasons I slipped into consumer debt was because I was unable to repay my credit card off by the end of the billing cycle. This meant interest, and that’s never an enjoyable cost to pay. As soon as I achieved debt freedom, I promised myself that I would never put anything onto my credit card that I wasn’t able to pay off by the end of the month.
To be honest, these days, I want to be able to pay it off by the end of each week. Although this habit requires a solid groundwork for financial success, it’s also the habit I’m most thankful for. If you can’t afford to pay it off by the end of the month, you can’t afford it. Period. Does that mean you shouldn’t buy groceries if you need them? Absolutely not. It just means that once you start to get on track, this should be a goal for you. It causes less stress, less anxiety and more freedom.
These days, opening a high-interest savings account takes no time to accomplish. The best part? Every account can have its own nickname. Right now, I have five savings accounts open. Each account is for a separate financial goal, and you better believe, I’m not afraid to open more.
Another tip is that you shouldn’t be afraid to open high-interest savings accounts at more than one financial institution. For example, if you don’t want to change your day-to-day branch, that doesn’t mean you’re limited to just that bank. I opened an account with EQ bank because they have the best high-interest savings rate in Canada (recently increased to 2.45%). I keep money there to take advantage of this fact.
One of my most intense financial habits is that I check my online banking four to five times per week. Oh yeah, you read that right. There are no limits to the number of times I’ll check my accounts, but at a minimum, it’s magic number four. Why would I ever do that? Is what I can imagine some of you are wondering (whereas the rest of you are saying “that’s it?”). I’ll tell you.
The first reason I check my accounts this often is because this is my personal form of budgeting. Rather than take a pen to paper or log in to an app, I like to get the real numbers and ensure that I’m not missing anything. The second reason is that I am incredibly fearful of fraudulent activity. If there is ever any strange behaviour on my card, you better believe I’ll notice before my bank or credit card company does. These check-ins are useful to control my intentional spending. If I am in the mood to spend money, sometimes I just do a quick transfer to a savings account instead so that there isn’t any money to be spent. These small looks at my bank account have been monumental to my financial success.
TiMe RuLeS eVeRyThInG aRoUnD mE! No, but seriously. If there is one thing I’ve learned about money, it’s that the 24-hour rule is the only rule that matters. The amount of times I’ve wanted to buy something but withheld to think about it and then not wanted to buy that item is astonishing. You’d be amazed to find that things you think you want, don’t matter all that much at all.
I’m not talking about coffee or Skip the Dishes because those decisions are made often and quickly. But, instead, think about those online shopping sprees and I’ll-just-pop-into-Walmart trips. Your wallet and your financial goals will thank you for taking the time to consider the impact every purchase you make has on your budget.
When you’re in your 20s, it can be hard not to compare yourself to others. People are used to following the conventional path that is career, homeownership, marriage and baby. I say, screw tradition! These typical paths are no longer reality. People don’t go in order, not all people achieve these goals before 30, and most of us are just trying to create a life that makes us happy.
The moment I stopped worrying about milestones and timelines was the moment that I actually started to accelerate in my financial wealth. I was less concerned with doing things when I should and was more focused on tackling these wants and desires when it was appropriate. Most people don’t know what they want out of a career until their mid-20s, and most people aren’t financially able to buy a home at all. Be proud of yourself for any milestone that makes your mental health and happiness the focus. From there, you will be more capable of achieving challenging financial goals.
Although you should keep track of your income and spending habits, one thing that can make this challenge a lot less stressful and a lot more fun are by tracking progress. Celebrate your successes, and give yourself a unique way to take control of your financial life. For me, writing down what I want and seeing if what I’m currently doing will help me to achieve that want, is step one.
If you’re interested in accomplishing a financial goal, keeping a journal or realistically acknowledging those goals is a great place to start. Lucky for you, I have the perfect journal to help you do the trick, and you can preorder right now!
Most people will encourage you to tackle a laundry list of financial obligations in your 20s. Still, the reality is that sometimes it’s not possible to do it all. If you take time to find some simple and realistic financial habits to build in your 20s, everything else will come with time.
Oh no, you missed the live webinar! But, good news: Mixed Up Money is pleased to share a resource for anyone planning for a future child or family.
Mixed Up Money is pleased to share a free resource for anyone looking to cut back on non-essential spending. My most-requested product is these monthly calendars to share on your Instagram story, use as a phone background, or print off to track your spending habits.