It’s a new month, new quarter, and new season. Whether you made a lot of money last month, or not, it’s important to start every month off with positivity and intention. Here’s my monthly finance checklist. I typically do this on the last week of every month so I can start the 1st of the month off right.
The first step to a monthly finance checklist is understanding your spending habits. It’s important to know where your money is coming from and where’s it’s going. You need to have a bookkeeping system in place so that you can do this part easily and efficiently every month. In simple terms, bookkeeping is recording the money your earned and spent. If you bookkeep routinely, it’ll be easy to review this monthly. I use a bookkeeping software/app to do this. How does it work? The app connects to my bank account and my transactions are automatically recorded every time I swipe my card to buy something or when money is deposited into my account. I just categorize each transaction so that at the end of the month, I’m able to see exactly how much I spent on eating out, shopping, bills, etc. I’m heavily involved in my personal and business finances so I check this weekly, but reviewing this monthly is a good habit to start with. Trust me, knowing how much you spend on dining out will make you think twice before ordering Postmates again.
Now that you know how much you’ve made and spent last month, it’s time to make a budget for the upcoming month. The fastest way to go broke is not having a budget. A budget helps you have control over your money. I remember how hard my life was when I didn’t budget – I kept living paycheck to paycheck, going broke, and just didn’t understand how I didn’t have enough money to cover my bills. It wasn’t until I started budgeting that I saw a HUGE improvement in my finances. The best part is.. you don’t have to earn more money to see an improvement, you just have to learn how to have control over it. We have step by step breakdown on how to create a budget here.
It’s easy to forget about your business or personal credit store. But having this on your monthly finance checklist ensures that you’re staying on top of it. If you have a bad credit history, work with a professional to change it or put in the work to improve it. Two years ago, I didn’t have the money to pay a professional to improve my score so I had to do the annoying work of calling creditors, understanding how credit works, and working my ass off to pay debt collectors. I know a lot of YouTube “gurus” have a lot of hacks and tricks for getting debt off your credit report, but the easiest way is just to pay them!😂 I paid the debt collectors and in return I requested they take the collection off my credit report. Now my credit score is over 750, I was able to buy my own home, can purchase any car I want, and credit card companies offer me cards all the time. Keep in mind, this didn’t happen over night. The process of building and maintain my credit took 2 years but it happened because I made checking my credit score apart of my routine so it was always at the top of my mind.
I routinely update my calendar with personal and finance related events so that I never overbook myself or forget anything. For example, I have a calendar that lists all my bills, birthdays, appointments, etc. The majority of my reoccurring expenses and bills are on autopay so I add the amount and due date of each bill to my calendar at home. By noting the due dates and amounts on my calendar, I know when and how much money is coming out of my account each day. You can use the calendar on your phone, your planner, or keep a calendar up on your wall at home – as long as it’s somewhere you can see it often.
We all make goals in the beginning of the year, but why is it that only a small percentage of us actually accomplish them? There’s a lot of factors, but one key thing that has helped me accomplish 90% of the financial goals I’ve set for myself is breaking those goals down into months. I only make 3-4 financial goals in the beginning of the year, then I break those goals down by quarter then by month. For example, one of my goals this year is to have $50k in liquid assets. I want to be able to buy another property, invest in a business, or simply just have $50k in case of emergencies. That’s a huge goal so I break that down down into quarterly and monthly action items by making sure I invest or save at least $4,167 every month. By reviewing my yearly goals consistently, I’m reminded of what I’m working towards.
Last but not least, set an intention and priority for the month. If you’re like me, you may feel like you have a lot of things going on at one time. It may be your kids, husband, job, sick parents, etc. Some areas of our life will need more attention than others and we cannot make everything our top priority. If we try to do this we risk stretching ourselves too thin, overwhelming ourselves, or experiencing burn out. Always set an intention and priority for the month so that you don’t feel obligated to do everything. My intention for March was to focus on my mental health and my priorities were finding a therapist and hiring more employees in my business so I can take some things off my plate. No these aren’t necessarily financial priorities (this time) but by setting an intention and priority, I was able to shift my focus so I know how and where I want to spend my money. I knew that it was priority to hire a therapist and employees, before spending money on other things that seemed important.
I hope this monthly finance checklist was helpful for you. If you have any questions, please ask. If you struggle with budgeting, bookkeeping or finance in general reach out to my Centure Financial. We have a team of experts to help or you can work with me directly. 🤍
April 7, 2021