Money. Budgets. Saving. Spending. Anything to do with budgeting stresses so many women out to the point where they fear looking at their bank accounts! I want to change that and empower you to rewrite your personal relationship with money, wealth, and budgeting. This is the key to confidently handle wealth without the stress.
In this episode, I talk about the rules of budgeting to follow so you can raise your money confidence and have money work for you and your business, now and in the future.
In Today’s Episode We Discuss:
3:07 – Why you’ll still want to listen to this episode even if you think you don’t need help with money or budgeting
6:22 – How I used to think I’d create wealth and manage money
9:08 – Why you should forget everything you’ve heard about budgeting
11:06 – How your budget is simply a map of your priorities
14:55 – The 1st rule to follow when it comes to budgeting
24:10 – The 2nd budgeting rule you must follow
31:21 – The final rule of budgeting
35:39 – Other important things you need to know about budgeting
Mentioned In 3 Budgeting Rules to Confidently Handle Wealth Without the Stress
Other Episodes You’ll Enjoy:
Episode 67: “Guilt-Free Spending on Yourself”
Episode 62: “Deciding From Abundance”
Hello, my friends. Welcome back to the podcast. The episode you're about to listen to is one of my favorites. So much so that the content in there drove me to actually become a certified You Need A Budget coach over the summer. The response I got from it was overwhelming so I decided to take even more action because also, in my many years of coaching and even in my previous jobs in businesses, I have found, and might even go to the table on this one, that the topic of today's podcast: money, budgets, saving spending, wealth, and the stress around it, is palpable for so many. Money, budget spending, saving, it creates so much stress for many women. They fear the word budget or even they fear looking in the bank account, both personal and business.
That is why I decided to do something about it. We have narratives around money and budgeting. We have stories that have come with us from our childhood and our past experiences. We also have labels about ourselves like “I'm not good with money or I've tried all that before” regarding money. But just like everything, the past is a teacher, it is not a fortune teller, and I want to empower you to rewrite your personal relationship, your personal narrative with money and budgets, and keeping track of it all.
I'm all about helping women create confidence so that they can go out and do what they want to do in life, and money confidence is just one more kind of confidence, just one more place where we need confidence for sure. Based on lots of research, observation, learning, and my certification with You Need A Budget, or affectionately called YNAB, I have created an entire coaching program around money. You can go find out more about that at moneyconfidencenow.com or via the Work With Me page on my website.
But the gist of this Money Confidence Now program is that we need both the mindset and the thoughts around money to make our money work for us, and we need a system or a lens through which to view it, manage it, and manipulate it. In the Money Confidence Coaching program, you receive both one-on-one coaching to help you with that mindset and you learn a tool or a system that will help you manage money, the You Need A Budget system or software. You actually also receive two free months of the software.
I know that everybody's at different places with money confidence. That's why I made this flexible. You've got one, three, or six sessions as well. Based on where you are in your money journey, or using tools, you can make the appropriate choice for what you need. Now as you listen, you might be thinking “I don't really need this episode because my partner takes care of the money,” and that can be actually, sidenote, great or can be stressful.
Or you might tell me, “I don't need this because I'm not worried about money. We have enough money we have a steady flow of money. We have a financial planner and a CPA. We have a 401(k).” Here's the thing, this is still for you because none of those facts stated above have anything to do with your money confidence. Money confidence is a feeling and one which you can always move more toward the positive end of the spectrum.
I would bet you one million dollars that you have not thought about money in the way in which I will present it in this episode. If you are concerned about whether or not you will have enough money in the future, maybe for retirement, this money is for you.
If you're a business owner, you may think that you don't need this episode either because you are profitable in your business. You have a CPA, you use QuickBooks, you have a bookkeeper. Again, you need this episode because it really is more about cash flow and forecasting that create the safety or the certainty, or the lack of cash flow or not understanding cash flow and forecasting that create the stress. You need the confidence in knowing where money will be going, not just where it's gone.
CPAs, QuickBooks, and bookkeepers, they're all looking at past transactions. Those resources or tools do not help you make decisions about the future. They don't help you plan for what you want. They're really just about the past. You need this episode to learn how to make money work for you and your business in the future moving forward and to make decisions from abundance without anxiety or stress. Let's get into it. This is an episode where you might want to take notes, because this is great, great stuff. If you're listening in front of a computer, you might want to check out moneyconfidencenow.com. But here we go.
You're listening to the Time to Level Up Podcast. I'm your host, business life coach, Andrea Liebross. I help women in business commit to their own growth personally and professionally. Each week, I'll bring you strategies to help you think clearly, gain confidence, make your time productive, turn every obstacle into an opportunity, and finally overcome the overwhelm so that you can make money and manage life. Let's create a plan so you have a profitable business, successful career, and best of all, live with unapologetic ambition. Are you ready to drop the drama and figure out the how in order to reach your goals? You're in the right place. It's Time to Level Up. Let's do this.
Hello, my friends, and welcome back to the podcast. Today we're talking about creating wealth. Does that sound hard to you? Because I think it sounds hard to a lot of us, especially women. But before we start I want to just read to you a couple sentences that are part of the copy on my website and this is how I felt about the thought of how I would actually achieve or create wealth. Here's what I wrote.
I get it. I was just like you. I thought I would eventually figure it out. Because it's not rocket science. I felt like you should be able to DIY this whole process solo. But DIY didn't work for me. How's it working for you? You’ve thought that maybe you should ride out the storm, that this too shall pass. Newsflash, the weatherman reported that in some areas, the storm has turned into a hurricane and she's not sure exactly when the whole thing will come ashore. What will happen when it all does come ashore, all of it?
There are a lot of areas in your life that you want to get control over: home health, finances, relationships, work, and at times you think your only option is to evacuate. You could continue to shy away from putting goals down on paper, and you actually have. I bet that paper is buried under the rubble of that hurricane. I know some years you do write business and professional goals but you rarely put pen to paper on what you want, what actually lights you up. Because you wonder, “What really is wrong with me? What am I so scared of? Why can't I do it?” Let's face it, what you really want is to know what to do about it before the hurricane hits again.
That's on my page for Achieve More, Do Less. When I was writing that, I was thinking about all sorts of things. As women, we think we should be able to figure out all sorts of things all by ourselves. To me, creating wealth and actually managing money was one of those. I thought I should be able to figure it all out in a spreadsheet, by having different accounts, or using QuickBooks, all these things, but I couldn't, I didn't. It wasn't working for me.
That got to a point where it was stressful because I was unsure of where money was going and how I was creating money. Once I got a hold of that, it became so empowering. I'm going to share with you today how I actually got a handle on the wealth, the money, and how I did it. I am going to give kudos to You Need A Budget, which is a tool that I actually use to do this and you've probably heard me talk about it before but I can't say enough great things about it.
Here's why. It’s like you've never budgeted like You Need A Budget helps you do because You Need A Budget is not really a budget. Forget everything you've heard about budgeting. It's not what you think it is. It is not scary. Because what this tool does, you need a budget that the lines your money with your priorities and your values like we talked about in the episode before, last week, Episode 67. You need a tool that helps you make your hopes and your dreams, those big dreams a reality.
You don't need a spreadsheet. You need a budget that's adaptable and flexible. Yes, budgets can be flexible, and one that can change as your life circumstances change, as your business circumstances change. You don't need rigid formulas that break like the formulas in the Excel spreadsheet every time something unexpected happens.
You need a budget that smooths out the ups and downs of life and work, and one that really provides you—and I totally feel this now—security, stability, and flexibility in your financial life. You don't need a monthly reminder of all the things you should feel guilty about, which I know for a lot of you is exactly what happens. Let's turn the discussion and kind of continue the discussion from Episode 67 on priorities.
Really, if you think about it, your budget is nothing more and nothing less than a map of your priorities. Think about that, let that sink in. Your budget is nothing more nothing less than a map of your priorities. It's telling you what you are valuing. It's kind of like how you spend your time is an indicator of how you're managing your mind. How you spend your money is also an indicator of how you manage your mind.
But when you hear the word budget, you probably think about accounting, CPAs, and taxes, and you think about restricting yourself or denying yourself things. But what I want you to do, I want you to let those stereotypes go. Instead, I want you to think about your budget as your priorities all laid out so you can reach them, so you can create the wealth you want, so that you can achieve more.
Maybe you've tried this before, or maybe you've come away thinking that you don't have enough money, you're not at a place where you even need a budget, or you spend all your money every month anyway so why even bother? Or sometimes we let ourselves off the hook because we've just never been good with money. Or on the flip side, money's never really been an issue. The money's always been there.
I want you to let all those misconceptions go. I think the reason that most people struggle with their budget is because they're not sure what their priorities are. We all have likes, desires, and dreams. We might have goals, even whims. But have you really thought about your priorities? Maybe your priority is spending more time together as a family, so spending money on family, vacations, or dinners, that's the priority.
Maybe it is getting your kids through college debt-free. Maybe your priority is eating more organic produce. It might be that new fancy car, it might be a trip, or it might be new golf club. Maybe it's escaping anxiety in mental health. Your mental health is important, escaping anxiety of being deep in debt. We can't tell you your priorities, they're all yours. But what we can teach you is how to align your money with your priorities.
The result is going to be something that you've probably never experienced before; perfect confidence that your money is doing precisely what it should. How would that be? What do you mean your money is going to do precisely what it should be doing? I'm going to show you, but the first thing you need to do, and maybe you've done this because you listened to Episode 67, is you need to do some thinking and talking.
This is really just you spending time clarifying what's most important to you, what brings you the most joy. You know what, to me, sometimes getting new clothes does bring me the most joy or spending money on that great bottle of wine. But define your priorities, either by yourself or with your partner, and write them down, sit with them. Change them a few times until they feel just right. You don't have to go into nitty-gritty detail here. But it's critical that you take the time to decide what's really important to you. It's going to guide everything else you do.
Here we go. I'm going to share with you three rules when it comes down to budgeting. The first one, rule number one is that every dollar must have a job. You're going to give every dollar a job. Now, imagine you have a day, I bet you can kind of imagine this, you have a day when you have a free afternoon, something got canceled and you have three hours to do what you please.
What are you going to do in those three hours? What is most important to you? Now, imagine that you've decided it's important to eat together as a family. That's a priority for you, especially if you can supply some of your own food. You relate it to being healthy. You want to make exercise a part of your daily life so you decide this is how you're going to spend your three free hours. You're going to spend one hour running, one hour preparing dinner, and one hour weeding in the garden in the backyard.
Then you remember, you'd also like to read a novel that your friend recommended and you've been trying to reward yourself with a little bit of entertainment. But you've already allocated those three available hours. That's like a finite sum of time. You can't just create another hour. You can't do two things with the same hour like you can't weed the garden and run. Not a good idea.
If you want to read, you're going to have to reprioritize, and so maybe this day reading a book is more important than running, cooking, or weeding. Or maybe you decide, guess what, all four of these things are important and you're going to read for a little less time and take a shorter run.
All of these are choices, they're just choices and decisions that are yours. But no matter what, you have only three hours. It's a finite amount of time. It really doesn't matter what you end up choosing to do. It only matters that you engage in the process of prioritizing. When you do, your time is going to be aligned with your priorities and you are actually probably going to find joy in it. But if you don't prioritize your time, it will be gone and you'll wonder where did it all go? At the end of the day, you're like “What did I just do?”
This works the same way with your money. Because money is also finite. No matter how much of it you have, you need to prioritize where it goes. As you prioritize what's most important to you, it will definitely become clear where you should spend your money. Consider this, you need to give every one of your dollars a job, and you're going to decide in advance what you need it to do and where you need it most. You'll work only with the money you actually have and give it a job, only one job to each dollar.
Once you give one dollar a job, it will just sit there waiting until it completes the job or until you decide a different job is more important. They're your dollars and your priorities. It's a process and you've got flexibility in assigning these dollars but it's important to give every dollar a job.
Here are some things that might come up as you give every dollar a job. You might get to the place where you feel or experience a little scarcity. We talked about that in the podcast about creating abundance or deciding from abundance. But when you have that fear, when you're feeling that scarcity, you are tempted to not be honest with yourself.
When you recognize that you've had three hours, that “Oh my gosh, I got three free hours. What am I going to do?” it can quickly really turn into, “Yeah, it's only three hours. I need 30 hours.” With that kind of attitude, it really doesn't matter how much time you have or don't have. You're just wishing there were more. There was more time, there was more money, there's more dessert, there were more meals already cooked in your kitchen, you name it.
This is an important moment because the feeling of scarcity might tempt you to quit budgeting. You might decide that this isn't for you. But when you step back and embrace the scarcity, you start to make good decisions. If you become okay with experiencing that feeling, it's not comfortable. But if you are willing to work through it, you start to make better decisions.
Just like when you recognize your time is finite, you appreciate it more, you're more intentional about how you spend it, and how you spend it, it's more likely to align with your priorities. If we pretended that there was no such thing as scarcity, you could easily waste an entire day binge watching Ozark, I’m currently watching Ozark, but when you realize your money is finite and name one and only one job for each dollar, money can start to feel a little scarce even if you have a lot.
Even if you had all day to watch Ozark, but if you realize you only had that day, the time can start to feel scarce. Anticipating this feeling is really what might be keeping you from budgeting. But I want to go back and say that feeling that feeling of scarcity is actually a good thing. Experiencing it, embracing it, it's a good thing.
Now, we don't want to run out of money or never buy anything fun again. We want to notice, I want to notice, when I give every dollar a job, there is a finite number of dollars. It's one reason to make sure that you really do name the job or the priority for each dollar and your awareness is going to grow every time you spend a dollar because you're making a choice. You're consistently making choices that align with your priorities. That's what’s going to make you really happy.
When you run away from scarcity and try to forecast how much money you might have down the road, you take your focus away from right now and it's easy to imagine more money coming later, and putting off prioritizing in the present. But think about your money and think about what's most important, and those important things deserve your attention, the attention of your money.
Sure, it might mean that other things get less money, but that's being honest. When the money starts to feel scarce, where you might be inclined to be less than honest, then we have to take a look. When you start giving every dollar a job, you might be tempted to assign dollars based on how you wish things were instead of how they really are. Go back to the afternoon with three free hours.
You can be dishonest with yourself and pretend each activity will only take you half an hour instead of the whole thing. You can be dishonest and skip over budgeting for a whole activity, like the shower after you run. But either way, the effect is the same. If you wish things were different than they are or you create a situation that really isn't aligned with your priorities, you end up spending time where it isn't best served, you end up frustrated.
It's the same thing with your money. If you wish you only spent $500 on groceries but you have made a reasonable effort to change it and you spent $600 in the past four months, then really you should be budgeting $600. Now perhaps that doesn't sound like budgeting because you're giving in to the habit of spending $600. But so far, that is the reality.
If there's one thing your budget needs to be, it does need to be realistic. Every decision you make impacts other decisions that follow. If you budget $500 for those groceries instead of $600, the $600 that you're very likely to spend, that's $100 you'll go and spend elsewhere. But that's not realistic. You know you're going to need another $100 for the groceries in the end. Send those dollars to groceries in the beginning. Be honest with yourself and with your budget and you'll sleep so much better at night. Honesty, people, honesty and scarcity, recognizing those two feelings that come when you give every dollar a job is important.
Here's rule number two. Embrace your true expenses. Embrace your true expenses, that kind of tags off or segues off of the honesty thing. So, like we said, sometimes an hour, three hours, or a whole day is not enough. Sometimes you leave too many hours not accounted for in terms of priorities. You leave, you waste away too many hours. We've all been there. We wait to the last hour to make something happen and then it's not enough. This is kind of like the don't procrastinate.
Now imagine, and this happens to me, imagine you're having visitors, imagine my in-laws are coming in from New York and I'm getting my house ready and I wait till the last minute to clean. I left it all for the few hours before they arrive. Then I start to scramble, and I spend all day doing it. When I do that, then I don't have time for anything else. Then I end up not eating a healthy meal and ordering takeout and I end up abandoning my workout. Then I end up not having any time to relax.
Those were my priorities. The job got done. I cleaned, but maybe I didn't clean as well and I abandoned my priorities. I didn't have a plan. I didn't break the job into manageable pieces. Imagine this though instead, what if I have not tried to do it all the last second and I had taken an hour a day for the week before and cleaned a room at a time, one hour, one room each day for the week before, then what would have happened? Then this whole thing would have been a whole lot easier. Don't you agree? It would have been a whole lot easier. No stress.
If I were to break this down and budget my time over the week, I would have smoothed out the craziness and avoided the stress instead of trying to put it all into one chunk of time at the end. Now, how does this relate to money? Well, when you make progress now on tasks that need to be done later, you flip around your strategy for getting it done. You use your time in ways that are truer to your actual needs. By planning ahead, there's not as many ups and downs, my stress level is lower, I eat better, I get exercise in.
Imagine if your finances felt the same way, and they can. I want you to imagine never dreading the arrival of a big bill. Why? How? Because let's say you're going to set aside money for your annual insurance premium every month, because oftentimes, we don't do that and we're caught by big surprise. But if you put away a little bit each month, the money will be right there waiting for you.
Now I'm not talking about starting a separate account. I'm just talking about allocating the money, kind of like putting it in envelopes, almost. Imagine next summer's vacation, instead of paying for it in all-in-one sum and maybe you are going to literally pay for it in one lump sum, but you've started to allocate money because you know these things are coming, and you can and should be ready, so instead of scrambling to pay the massive amount when you're on the trip, we're moving money around you've already allocated.
Think about other things in life like huge bills for your kids, like orthodontia, tuitions. If you have money waiting in your account to pay it, there is no stress. But now, not everything is predictable. This rule number two, it can help you prepare for things also that might feel like surprises. If you think of them as predictable, like surprises are predictable, car repairs, predictable, home repairs, predictable, medical bills, predictable, they may not know exactly how much but they are predictable, they're not surprises. You just don't know exactly when they're coming or how much they're going to cost but they will come in.
When you put money aside for them now, they aren't stressful later. When we don't prepare this way, these large non-monthly bills catch us off guard. Then it puts all that planning we've done for our priorities at risk.
Rule number two, embrace your true expenses. To go along with this theme here, you need to budget for all of it. You need to budget for all parts of the day, for example. Let's just think of a day. You're going to get up here and eat breakfast, you're going to get dressed, you're going to go to work, you're going to make dinner for the family. These are things that happen every day and you plan for them without a second thought. Except I hate planning what's for dinner.
But maybe this is how you've treated your expenses and your budget. You total up things that are really predictable, the rent, the mortgage, car payments, gas, groceries, all the things that happen each month without fail. There's no resistance to them. They happen all the time. They’re monthly expenses.
But maybe then it's a month where it feels unlucky because this month you had some car expenses or repair. It's February so your heating bill is a little higher. This isn't like an unlucky month. These things, although we didn't know exactly what the cost would be, they are predictable. Your true expenses are everything that you have or want to pay for right now, plus everything you're going to need to pay for in the future, and they include monthly things like rent and cell phone bills, and also quarterly things like insurance bills or camps, and they include things like car repairs, that really shouldn't be surprises.
Holiday spending shouldn't be a surprise. Higher utility bills, heating in February, not a surprise. You can implement this rule two by putting a single dollar aside for something today. At first, it might be like you're juggling some of your immediate obligations and your less frequent true expenses but that's okay. This is for the long game. Because when we're budgeting for two expenses, the juggling stops.
Now, here's the last and final rule, roll with the punches. If you had those three hours in the afternoon, and you'd plan to garden, run, and read and all of a sudden you say, “You know what, I'm going to take the kids to the beach,” should you stick with your plan and exercise or should you change plans and go to the beach? You know what, the fact is our plans change all the time. They change all the time. We adjust and it's normal, especially during COVID. Haven't we adjusted? But hopefully you're not doing this rolling with the punches thoughtlessly, because we do want to keep our money spending aligned with our priorities.
Imagine though if you budgeted your money or your time and you weren't allowed to change. That wouldn't work. Because let's say you had planned to meet a friend for dinner and then you have a sick kid. You're not going to dinner, but you've given yourself the grace to change the plan. Of course you can change your plans, but really, the whole premise of not being allowed to change is absurd, because it just doesn't work in life. You can't know exactly what you're going to do hour by hour weeks or months from now.
Your finances are the same, you cannot and should not set out outlines for your money and not be willing to change them. Because our priorities change all the time. Our goals change on an annual basis, or sometimes on a monthly basis. When the details change, and they will, you can change with them. Rigid budgets break and that's probably another reason why you might have shied away from doing a budget.
When you've budgeted though $400 for gifts and spent it all on one person and then realize you've completely forgotten about the other person you have to buy the gift for, what are you going to do? Are you not going to give a gift to your mother? Of course not. You're going to adjust and you might take some money from your entertainment budget or your clothing budget, whatever's most sensible given your priorities.
This has worked with everything, the massive car repair put you over budget, that's okay. Maybe we're going to take a little bit of money from the summer vacation. You gotta roll with the punches. You've gotta adjust, adapt, breathe, and be confident that you're still on track and moving forward. Because changing your budget means deciding from an empowered place what to change.
The answer, my friends, goes back to prioritizing and only you can answer that question, but your budget is really going to reflect your priorities. You don't know that some priorities are more than important than others. You don't know that for the next 10 years, you can't predict priorities for the next 10 years, but you can predict them for now. Your budget for now should reflect them.
There are priorities that you should never touch or even contemplate, like having a roof over your head. But at the other end of the spectrum, you have priorities that might be more discretionary. There are things that you want, things you like, but things you can do without entertainment, recreation, for example. In between, there's a whole lot of other things, these are the things that are important to you. But the consequences for not having the money right now are not dire, things like clothes, vacations, and gifts. If you've got nothing, you can reassign it from the lowest level of priorities.
You might look into things a little differently. You might group your categories differently. You may decide that you're going to change the priorities for this season of life. But you need to recognize ahead of time that overspending will happen because you're human, and adapting and adjusting for overspending keeps your budget in line with your priorities and your goals.
Let's put this all together. Here are some important things. Now, while choices themselves may be complex, understanding or thinking about your priorities may feel exhausting, this process is really, really simple. Because here's the thing, here's what you should be prioritizing. First, you're going to budget for obligations. Next you're going to embrace what your true expenses are. Third, you're going to deal with your debt. Fourth, you're going to think about the age of your money. Fifth, you're going to set quality of life goals. Sixth, you're going to think “What can I do just for fun?”
That little piece there is kind of the icing on the cake, and I'm not going to get into all of that in detail. We could spend a whole other podcast on it. But when you put it all together, I just want you to remember that your budget is really a reflection of your priorities. What did you think? What did you think about the thought give every dollar a job? That was fun, that was a game changer for me in our personal finances, in my business finances. It made everything so, so clear. To then have a system to actually use this thinking in to actually help me make things happen to keep track, that was the icing on the cake.
I encourage you, if this episode resonated with you in any way, let me know. First of all, DM me, but then head over to the moneyconfidencenow.com page and just invest in one little teeny session, one session. You can also invest in three or six, but just one session. The cost of that session is minimal compared to the amount of money you're going to save. You will actually even get better costs if you purchase six sessions but you go figure that out.
I made this coaching program, but I would say in my brain, my thought is that it is very affordable. Because I want you to gain this knowledge, this insight, this thinking. I want you to have a guide, someone to help you with this. It's life changing. It's been life changing for me. You can actually go read a few clients stories there, women who have done this and the impact this has made on them.
My friends, moneyconfidencenow.com, remove the stress of money. You owe it to yourself. Now is the time, there's no better time. Don’t wait. I don't know what you're waiting for. I bet you will be happily surprised how you can actually fall in love with your bank account, feel in control in that dread, that word budget anymore. Okay, my friends, share this episode with someone who needs it. This might be one that someone really needs. Someone might really need this and you can be a good friend too. But be a friend to yourself most importantly. See you next time.
Thanks for listening to the Time to Level Up Podcast with me, your host, Andrea Liebross. If you know someone who could benefit from listening to this episode, I encourage you to take a screenshot and share it with them. Okay. Now, what about you? You've listened to the podcast, and if you now know that you're ready to upgrade your life, upgrade your business, upgrade you, then stop being only a listener and start being a liver living that upgraded life. Head over to my website and schedule a call. Right there on that call, we'll start changing the way you think and act so that you can have the freedom to achieve the impossible in life and business, and have the resources to do it. You deserve an upgrade. Let's do it.
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