I don’t know about you, but I am one of those people who is often about two steps behind where I wish I were when it comes to organization. I recognize that becoming truly organized has everything to do with the habits you create and work on, but when life (and children, and work and school) are constantly throwing curve balls, it is really easy for the balance of the day-to-day routine to shift.
My organizational skills have been one of the things that has caused my finances to suffer. However, as it turns out, Money Mastery is all about making the process of organizing as painless as possible. One of my very favorite features of this program is the mobile app that lets you track all your spending right at the point-of-purchase on your cell phone and connects directly to your spending plan online.
I have always been terrible at keeping receipts and tallying up my expenses at the end of each day, and more often than not they would just get stuffed into one of the grocery bags or my pocket and ultimately get thrown away, leaving me guessing how much I had spent at the store. Now, using the Money Mastery tracking app, with the time it takes to swipe my card, I can open the app on my phone, deduct the amount I have spent from the correct category in my spending plan and be done with it before I even have to punch in my debit card pin number at the register. Even better is the fact that I don’t have to remember to sit down, gather my receipts and catch up on my balance because the spending totals and balances are automatically updated in my online spending plan. I have found this especially handy on those little purchases which add up, but you don’t realize it because you didn’t think it was worth writing down.
While a different system (such as stowing receipts until the end of the day, or writing out each transaction in a check register) may work better for you, the mobile app is what works for me and my lifestyle. I respond well to things I can do while I am on the go and having the information I need, literally at my fingertips makes my financial life so much easier. I don’t have to remember to look up what is left in my grocery spending category before I go to the store, for instance, or try to remember later that I spent more on gas than usual and need to recalculate my spending amount for fuel. Both of these things can be done for me in moments, one-handed, while using the other to keep my four-year-old from bolting.
Before my divorce, my husband and I made several genuine efforts at keeping to a budget and not overspending. I would keep track of my expenses and he was great about saving his receipts and turning them over to me at the end of each day. I would dutifully enter everything into an excel spreadsheet we had created and yet, somehow, we would still be off enough to cause us overdraft fees. My husband often had to cover business lunches and other expenses and reimbursement would come sporadically. Our finances never
lined up where we thought they should and we constantly failed but couldn’t figure out why. It is clear to me now that we would have benefited from a spending plan, rather than a traditional budget, and if we had known that spending must be tracked, like I have been taught through the Money Mastery program, things would have been much different for us financially. I can only imagine how much simpler tracking would have been if we each had the option to deduct expenses or transfer money from one spending category to another and see it instantly reflected through the mobile tracking app. You can even write notes on each transaction in case your spouse needs more detail. It just makes sense that when two users share a bank account, everything stays more organized when the right hand is aware of what the left hand is doing. One humbling memory of mine involves me and my husband going about our day with a basic idea of how much was left in the account before payday the next day. I earmarked the amount for groceries, while he found he needed gas. What resulted was a massive pile-up of overdraft fees, which we had to beg the bank to reduce. Although I no longer share my account with a spouse, I never see a spending column in my spending plan without a wistful sigh for our financially challenged newlywed selves and a little bit of envy for those of you who could be utilizing this very valuable tool early in your marriage…it might save you a lot of heartache.
Although there are additional facets to getting organized financially, such as paying down debt using a systematic plan, creating a predictable retirement, and protecting valuable assets from taxes and probate through estate planning, the basics of the Money Mastery program are worth getting acquainted with so you can learn how to manage the simple stuff now and have more knowledge to go to more complex things later.
It’s actually quite simple to get started:
1. Create a spending history by looking back over the last year at the way you spent money; see where you wasted it or in which category you are not satisfied with how much you spent .
2. Create a spending plan with spending categories that show how you want to spend money going forward based on your personal spending priorities.
3. Track your spending every day according to that plan using a free mobile phone app.
4. Create a debt plan for powering down debts so you can get out of all of it in 10 years or less (including your mortgage).
You can do all that by enrolling in the FREE Basic online plan.
I do want to say, however, that even the most convenient financial management tools are useless if don’t make the effort to use them. Set up a spending plan, then incorporate it into your life daily by recording each expense using the mobile app. If you don’t bother to do so you will never see changes that could totally revolutionize your financial life. As with any lifestyle adjustment, it takes time and persistence to establish good habits, particularly so if you are in financial tandem with a spouse. The experts at Money Mastery are constantly adapting their program to make their options as accessible as possible to all of their clients, based on what fits their lifestyle best.
Now, if only they could help me get my household chore schedule as organized and convenient… 😉