I’d been a student of money management for a few years when I finally decided I needed to figure out how this budget thing worked. I’d been reading books about women and money and prosperity and I loved how I felt as I was taking in all of this information, but it still didn’t feel good to have or manage a budget, so I avoided that part. My father is an accountant. He’d sent me budget sheets before but I was so deeply disinterested in them that I remember once suddenly becoming very sleepy while looking at the sheet. It was like I’d just remembered that I’d been awake for hours and hours and hours and I was just . . . soooooo . . . very very very sleeeeeeeeepy. When I closed the document, the sleepiness went away, though. So, I figured that that meant that the budget document was a bad thing and I’d conquered it with the power of my mind and the escape button.
I’d bought journals over the years with the intention of tracking my finances. And, I usually found them, months or years later with a few pages filled in and then plenty of blank space for me to start again. Usually, the sight of those made me sleepy, too. So back into boxes they went.
I finally reached a point in my finances where I had to face the fact that actively avoiding them wasn’t doing me any favors. In fact, what I knew about managing money and what I was doing with my money were not at all in alignment.
So, I tricked myself.
I bought a cute little green notebook. I wrote Budget Book or something like it on the outside. I knew my plan was to get a concrete sense of my expenses each month and that, in order to do that, I needed to start at the beginning of the month. I also knew that if I put too many restrictions on myself on how to do it “right”, this book would be just like all of the others. So, I dropped it down in my purse and then one day (that just happened to be the 4th or 5th day of the month), I decided to write down every single thing I purchased. And then I did it again the next day. And the next and again the next.
I didn’t always write things down as soon as I spent the money. Sometimes I’d have to catch up on several days’ worth of purchases. Sometimes, I had to accept the fact that I’d lost a receipt or forgotten the specific number of cents (or even dollars) and write down an approximation. But I’d finally decided that no matter what, I’d stick with it. I was done with managing my finances from a fearful place. And a big part of the fear that I was feeling all of the time was simply not knowing what was going on with my money. I was ready to feel differently and to take action differently.
After 3 months of this practice, I had a crystal clear sense of where my money was going, what my expenses were and where I was wasting money. After about six months, I could list all of my monthly expenditures with ease, and I’d found that sometimes I preferred not to bother spending money because I didn’t feel like writing it down, I’d evolved my method for managing my finances and felt more excited to take care of business. After a year, I could feel that I was well on my way to a completely different relationship with money than I’d ever had before.
Here is a step by step guide for How to Start Following Your Money
A little over 10 years ago, I decided I was done with financial stress and hiding from the bills in my mailbox. I wanted to be a confident administrator of my financial existence. So I started studying money, and women and money, and money as energy. Out of that study has evolved my #MoneyMonday practices and The Green Purse Society (a gathering I founded and of which I was the sole member for a hella long time). As I’ve continued to learn and my confidence has grown, I’ve started to share with those around me. And now I’ll get to share with you, too!