Why You Should Start Managing Your Personal Finances Like a Pro
 
 
Personal Money Management 101
 
 
 
Now that you are better prepared to live simply but abundantly, it is time to tackle the actual work of personal money management. If you feel that your personal finances are out of control and tend to leave you feeling lost and frustrated, there is hope. As your own life coach, you can become totally empowered to give yourself the foundation you need to get your finances back on track. While these steps will help you gain control of your finances, you cannot expect everything to change overnight; climbing out of a financial hole takes great deal of patience and hard work. But embrace this fact rather than let it frustrate you – all that work will help you avoid falling into the same traps of want, want, want and need, need, need in the future.

Activity

Do not let your finances cause you stress any longer; it is time to take your life back by putting these five steps toward financial freedom to work for you. Please note that this activity will likely take you some time; feel free to spread it out over several days.

  1. Determine your income

While this first step may seem self-explanatory, many individuals do not know what their net pay is for one month. If you are an employee, then determining your net pay is as easy as looking at your last pay stub. Self-employed individuals should look at their last 2 years of income and then determine what their monthly average has been in order to determine their projected cash flow. Once you see how much money you have to work with, you can then use these figures to determine what your monthly household budget should be.

  1. Determine Your Expenses

The second step in overhauling your finances is to determine what your monthly expenses are. Make a list of each of your bills and what the required payments are for each one. Do not forget to include how much you spend on gas, groceries, medical supplies, pet supplies, clothing, entertainment items and eating out. It is important that you are honest with yourself during this step, as listing all of the items you spend money on is key to gaining control of your finances.

  1. Create a budget

Now that you have done the research it is time to create a budget using all of the information you collected. Take all of the expenses you listed in Step 2 and create a line item for each in a basic spreadsheet. You should also create a line item for the items that require a regular contribution to savings but do not occur regularly, such as tax bills, car repairs, vacations, home repairs, insurance bills, emergency pet bills, etc. Making small contributions to these funds over time will help ensure that you have funds available when an emergency occurs. Subtract all of your expenses from your income to determine your budget surplus or deficit. If a deficit occurs, you must recalculate your numbers until you can successfully balance your monthly budget.

  1. Pay down your debt

Now that you have a monthly budget calculated it is time to start paying down your debt so you can free up more of your money for savings. Start your crusade against debt by paying a little extra toward your smallest credit card or loan. After you pay off your smallest source of debt, roll the monthly payment amount into your next largest payment. Continue this snowball effect until all of your debts have been satisfied. Though this may sound simple, it is crucial that you do not allow yourself to become discouraged if you have months where extra money cannot be paid toward your debts due to unplanned expenses.

  1. Start saving

The key to true financial control is to eliminate the need to borrow money from financial institutions. By building a savings account you can easily achieve this goal and have the financial freedom you deserve. You should ideally save 20% of your net income every month. If you do not make enough money to cover your expenses and contribute to a savings account, then there are some things you can do to increase your income. The most obvious solution is to get a second job. While this may not seem feasible at first, placing an ad for basic lawn care, babysitting, housecleaning, organizing or moving services on a community site could lead to a lucrative side job that provides both flexible hours and reliable income.

 

Changing your financial course takes hard work, a steadfast attitude, and patience. You did not create your current financial situation overnight, so you cannot expect yourself to be able to remedy it that quick. There may be times when saving money is not possible or when an emergency threatens to steal your entire savings; these are all a part of life and are things you must learn to live with. By bettering your financial health, you can make living with life's small setbacks easier and more manageable than you ever thought possible.
 
Love: Healthy Relationships


 
As your own life coach, this last section is perhaps the hardest to take on; the complete honesty with yourself gets much tougher when you start to address the relationships in your life. This section includes all loving adult relationships, not just romantic love. Your relationship with your parents, your siblings, your spouse or lover, your friends, even your adult children will be tackled in this section. Every relationship you have has the power to change you; therefore ensuring that your relationships are healthy is vitally important to living the life you want.
 

A young adult book with a cult following is The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky. In it, Chbosky provides the best summation of how we choose our relationships in the simple line:

 

We accept the love we think we deserve.

This seemingly simple concept is not only much more complex than it seems, but is also usable as a guide to determine whether or not your relationships are healthy. It indicates clearly that if you are in a relationship where you are treated poorly, then there are two options: end the relationship because you know you deserve better or remain in the relationship because you do not believe that you deserve better. Many people sabotage their own relationships with wonderful, giving partners because they live in fear. This fear stems from the belief that they do not deserve their wonderful partner. What you must, as a life coach, remind yourself of is that we all deserve to have healthy and happy relationships. We are all flawed, beautifully and deeply flawed. We nonetheless can be good people, worthy of love.

 

Most likely you have found yourself in a bad or unhealthy relationship before, perhaps many times. Some relationships start out unhealthy from the beginning, but we stay anyway (see above for reason!). Many relationships start out seemingly healthy but then take a turn for the worse. Sometimes it is a gradual slide; other times it is a sudden change usually preceded by a dramatic event.

What makes a relationship unhealthy? Any time the love is detrimental to your well-being.

 
Perhaps there are elements of emotional or mental abuse. Passive-aggressive behaviors, cruel remarks, thoughtlessness, lack of boundaries, unrealistic expectations, severe inconsistencies in behavior and more tend to be the most common aspects of unhealthy relationships. These may be present in your relationship with your partner or spouse, but they are all too often present in our other loving relationships as well. Maybe your sister is callous in her remarks to you. Perhaps your mother expects you to live your life to please her. It may even be that you have been the perpetrator in these situations, such as expecting your children to always have straight As when they are not truly capable of it. These relationships may be reparable or may not, but there is a possibility for change.

 

Physical and sexual abuse and assault is a more obvious aspect of an unhealthy relationships; it often tends to occur between parents and children or between your spouse and yourself. If you are in a relationships with someone you believe is having a negative impact on your child(ren), you cannot ignore it. Maybe your spouse hits you or throws things at you. Perhaps your husband has even raped you. These are very real, very common, and very disturbing relationships to be in. These are situations in which you have no choice but to remove yourself from the relationship. 

If you or your children are not safe and secure, especially in your own home, can you imagine a life coach that would allow you to stay in that situation? Of course not. You must then understand why you cannot allow yourself to stay either. There are resources available; please see the Resources and References section.

If you are not in physical danger but there is emotional abuse occurring in your relationship(s), this must be addressed, but may be able to be reconciled. We are all guilty of selfishness and unreasonable expectations sometimes; the real challenge is to not only help our loved ones be better about these issues, but to be better ourselves as well.

There are three simple (but difficult) ways to begin to repair our relationships:

  1. Construct boundaries

  2. Communicating boundaries, expectations, and consequences

  3. Following through with consequences

These may seem simple enough but are much more complex than they seem. How many times you must go through the process may vary widely based on the other people involved as well as the relationship you have with them. For example, you may be willing to go through this process over and over and over for someone you love deeply such as a spouse, parent, or child, whereas a friend may not receive numerous chances.  

The emotional toll that it takes on you to go through this process can also have a tremendous impact; if every time you tell your father that you are not going into the family business results in a huge fight, it may be destructive as well. When the relationship begins to turn negative and the person you are dealing with cannot or will not change, you may have to significantly alter or end the relationship you have with them. If you choose to make it clear that certain behaviors must stop, you must also communicate what the consequences will be if they do not stop and then you must be willing to follow through with said consequences. 

For example, if you feel that your brother is judgmental to the point that it is a very negative experience to be around him and you need it to change, the following may be a statement you would make: 


"Clint, when you say that I'm an idiot and a moron for my political views, it is frustrating and hurtful to me. I also do not find it appropriate for you to say things like that about me in front of my children. We can stop talking about politics, we can talk about politics but you not use demeaning terms like that, or I will have to seriously restrict the amount of time I/we/the kids spend with you." In this example, you've expressed the problem, said what you would like to happen, and expressed a consequence. The only remaining part of it is that you must be willing to then restrict your time with Clint.
  
 
 
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