A Quarterly Number Review For Your Personal Finances

Money Files

How often do you review your financial patterns? When was the last time you sat down to review your numbers?

Your spending changes with the seasons, so your spending plan should too. That’s why I do a quarterly money review: to evaluate my spending, monitor my money goals, and adjust my spending plan so it more accurately reflects my current lifestyle and goals.

Today, I’m sharing my process for doing your own quarterly number review. I’m sharing how you can adjust your spending plan in real time to better reflect your current needs and goals. Plus, I’m explaining why it’s so important to think about upcoming expenses when creating your spending plan and savings goals.

In this episode, you’ll learn…

  • Why your budget should be a fluid document, not a static set of rules [2:05]
  • Why you should do an in-depth review of your personal finances every quarter [4:20]
  • How to do my quarterly number review [5:04]
  • How to align your spending plan with your values and goals [6:36]
  • How to celebrate your tangible and intangible results along the way [7:36]
  • How to refresh and evaluate your goals moving forward [9:05]
  • How to adjust your spending plan based on what’s happening in your life [12:20]
  • How to use a “roleplay budget” to account for upcoming life changes [15:01]
  • How to adjust your spending plan every quarter [17:47]
  • How to customize your quarterly number review to fit your needs [20:24]

Tune in to this episode to learn how to do your own quarterly number review and get even closer to your money goals.

In the episode…

Your finances aren’t static. They shift based on the season, what you’re doing in your life, and your ever-changing goals. Your spending plan should be fluid, too. That’s why I encourage all my clients to do a quarterly number review. 

In my quarterly number review, I take time to look at my budget, celebrate my results, elevate my goals, and adjust my spending plan to reflect those goals. It’s a great tool for slowing down, evaluating my life, and making sure I’m on track to achieve my money dreams.

Want to do your own quarterly number review? Here are the steps I take when reviewing my personal finances:

Celebrate Tangible and Intangible Results

First and foremost, celebrate how far you’ve already come. Your intangible results are the improvements you’ve seen in your mindset and outlook. Maybe you’re sleeping better because you’re not so stressed about money. Maybe you don’t feel the urge to check your bank account every hour. While these aren’t results you can put numbers to, they’re often the most important and life changing.

Next, celebrate your tangible results. Maybe you reached your emergency savings goal or finally got a month ahead on your bills. Maybe you put a down payment on the car you’ve been dreaming of. These are goals that you can put a number to, and they are a huge factor in cultivating your financial confidence.

Refresh Your Goals

Even in the course of just a few months, your goals can shift. Maybe you wanted to save $6,000 within six months but some unforeseen expenses changed your savings plans. Recognizing this shift in your goals will help you realign your goals for the next quarter or even the six months.  Being able to shift your goals will also help you learn what works for you and your relationship with money.

Plan Ahead

Now, you can adjust your spending plan as needed to accomodate any changes to your goals. . This is a great opportunity to think ahead to about upcoming trips, liftestyle shifts, or seasonal expenses. If you still want to keep your goal to hit $6,000 in the next 3 to 6 months how much would you need to save per month? If you already have $300 saved for your annual charity contribution that’s due in two months how can you adjust your numbers to hit this goal within the next two months?  Looking at your numbers in this way will help you recognize your growth and also make meaningful changes that will allow you to be intentional.  

Adjust Your Numbers

Your spending plan is fluid. Feel free to adjust it weekly or monthly as your needs and goals change. Ask yourself what expenses you want to keep or which ones you might want to cancel or revisit. This is a tool for you, and it should reflect what matters most in your life.

So here are the takeaways about your quarterly number review that I want you to remember from this episode…

  • Your spending plan should be fluid. Just like your spending changes based on the season, your plan should change as well.
  • Take time every quarter to rethink your financial goals and values, as well as celebrate your wins.
  • The keys to managing your money well are reviewing your spending often and making real-time adjustments, so don’t be afraid to adjust these tools to fit your needs.

As we shift into next quarter, make sure to do your own quarterly number review. And if you’re ready to make this quarter the quarter you finally move towards your money goals, apply to work with me so we can create a plan to get you there.

Be sure to sign up for my masterclass, How to Budget Without Restriction, March 31 at 12pm EST.

Transcript for “A Quarterly Number Review For Your Personal Finances“:

Hi and welcome to Money Files, I’m Keina Newell from Wealth Over Now. I work every day with professional women and solopreneurs to help them get out of financial overwhelm and shame so they can experience more flexibility and ease with their finances. Are you ready to gain confidence and learn to manage your finances intentionally? Tune in and grab financial tips that will help you master the way you think about and manage your finances. 

Hello, and welcome back to another episode of Money Files, my name is Keina. I’m so excited that you’re here with me today, and I also have some exciting news to share with you. I am going to be hosting a masterclass called How to Budget Without Restriction, and that is going to be on March 31, at 12:00 p.m. Eastern Standard Time. And I want you to join me. I want you to join me because this is the year that you change your relationship with money. And I am going to be diving in and teaching how to budget without restriction. I want you to experience the joy that my clients have around managing their finances. Every single day, I hear from a client who was telling me about something positive that’s going on with their finances and some new possibility they have. So I’m teaching how to budget without restriction on March 31st at 12:00 p.m. Eastern Standard Time. If you’re on my email list, you already have an email about it. You have the link. So go ahead and sign up. I want you to clear everything off your calendar because it is going to be the most important hour that you dedicate to yourself. You want to make a change in your finances, and it starts with one decision. It starts with one thought. It’s being able to show up even when your brain wants to prioritize other things. So be sure. Like I said, go to www.WealthOverNow.com/Masterclass and I will see you in the room on March 31.

So today I want to talk to you guys about something that I think is just good practice when it comes to managing finances. I was on a coaching call last Friday, and one of the things I was talking about is that managing your finances or like having a budget, your budget is made to be a fluid document. It’s not something that is static. Your budget should be something that responds to you. You’re always getting information. Right now, we’re getting new information about how much gas is, we’re getting new information about how much groceries cost, right. And so we want to be able to respond to what’s actually happening in our lives. If you’ve just started the journey where you’re just learning how to manage your finances, you’re also going to be getting new information because you’re just now paying attention to your numbers. You’ve just now pulled your head out of the sand. And so that’s why I always love to tell people your budget is a working document.

Just a couple weeks ago, I was actually budgeting, and I realized that the money I set aside for my utilities, which is about like two hundred dollars a month, that for the month of March, my utilities weren’t going to be covered with two hundred dollars. And I think for a lot of us, we would go into judgment like, Oh my goodness, budgeting isn’t working. Here’s all the reasons I’m doing things wrong. And for me, I immediately went into curiosity to be like, Oh, that’s interesting. There must be something that’s changing about my numbers. Let me actually go and look at them. And so I looked at the last six months from October to February to kind of gauge what’s happening with my utilities. And of course, I’m at home more, you know, the temperature fluctuates all of those things. But what I saw is that my utilities were higher for the past six months than they were at the same time like a year ago. And so I just need to be setting aside a little bit more money. I need to set aside like an average of two hundred thirty dollars instead of two hundred. I made it mean zero things about me because my budget is a working document and one of the things that I’m always doing is evaluating and adjusting how my numbers are working for me, and I’m doing that and my money dates. 

So that leads me to the thing that I want to talk to you about today, and that is doing a quarterly number review. So I am going to talk about reviewing your numbers quarterly, and I really want to talk about it from a personal finance side. I have a whole way of doing this as well for your business, but I want you to think about this today for personal finances. So if you’re a business owner, we need to do our personal and we need to do our business finances. And this just ensures that we’re on track to actually reach the goals that we’ve set for ourselves. And if we’re not on track, it allows us to course correct because remember, like our documents that we’re creating, our spending plan that we’re creating, that is a working document that we get to change and adjust. So I don’t think I’ve actually talked about it much on the podcast, but I want to actually make this really explicit before I go into this quarterly numbers review, and I want to tell you that I have a five step process for my clients. It works for the personal side, it works for the business side. And the reason I’m saying this is because when we look at reviewing our numbers quarterly, it still fits into this five step process and the simple, five step process that I teach clients is to know your why, to identify your values and your goals, create a spending plan, evaluate, and adjust. Now there are tools within each of those components, but like that, the simple process is that we want to know your why, you want to identify your values and your goals. We want to create a spending plan, evaluate and adjust. And oftentimes where people get stuck, it’s not that you’re not good at math, it’s that we’re not doing the evaluate and adjust piece. So when we’re doing this quarterly numbers review, it really falls under step number four and step number five, which is about evaluating and adjusting your numbers because as someone and you are someone as someone who manages their money, well, you know that you want to make sure that you’re evaluating and adjusting your numbers. And when we just make this something that we do that takes the emotion out of money, it doesn’t say anything about you because you’re just someone who’s always evaluating and adjusting your numbers.  

So as we close out quarter one of the year. This is a great time to think about, OK, let me look at the next 90 days and evaluate where I am and then adjust my numbers accordingly or adjust my goals accordingly. Or maybe I’ve actually discovered a new value that I want to put into the plan. So first things first, we have our spending plan and I actually, before I want you to go through a spending plan and especially like I’m talking to my clients here because we do this work together is this is a great time to refresh your goals. And so before you go into looking at what numbers you want to adjust or whatever that looks like, it’s really thinking about reflecting on the goals that you had set for yourself. What did you say you wanted to do in the next six months? What did you say you wanted to do in the next year? And I want you to go through and think about, like, what can I celebrate? What have I accomplished, but what’s been working for me? So in this review of your goals, the first thing I want you to do is think about things like, what do I get to celebrate, what tangible results in my celebrating? And tangible results might be my savings account increased by a thousand dollars or I’ve paid off a new credit card. I just paid off my student loans, or I increased my retirement contributions by one percent or two percent. So those are like the tangible results that you get to celebrate. Then I also want you to celebrate your intangible results, and those are things that may not be seen right by the naked eye, but really thinking about things like, how are you feeling about your finances or how are you thinking about your finances? What shifted? So maybe you’re able to sleep better at night. Maybe you’re definitely a lot more curious about your bank account and you’re checking it more regularly because you just want to know where your money is going. Maybe you’re having more numbers, conversations with a partner or friends, but really just being able to celebrate and think about what’s the list of tangible and intangible results that you’ve created for yourself in the last 90 days? And I’m rolling this in with goals because I think it helps you be able to elevate like what’s working before we actually go and say, like, OK, here’s what I want to do next and really get into this planning phase.

So after you listed your list that you’re celebrating those intangible, tangible results, I want you to refresh your goals. I want you to think about what you want to do next? Get really curious with yourself, and I actually want you to break it down because this is a quarterly numbers review. I want you to think about where I want to be in the next 90 days? Where do I want to be in the next six months? And where do I want to be next year? So I think those are like very tangible time increments for us all to be able to look at for us all to be able to plan around. I think that when we’re thinking about three months, six months, that a year, we can also look at seasonally what’s happening, right? And so when you think about three months, what’s happening for you and I’m kind of bridging over into number two, which is thinking about planning ahead but thinking about three months from now. So right now it’s March, but in three months from now, it’s going to be June, right? And so if I’m thinking about June, what’s happening? What goals do I want to have by June of this year? If I’m thinking about six months from now, what do I want to be doing in September? And so I pair in those seasonal shifts because I think about June, you know, you may know you have a trip coming up. And so maybe you want to make sure that you have your trip paid off in full, whatever that looks like. But thinking about three months from now, six months from now and a year from now, what do you want to do next? Maybe you put in there that you have a plan to increase your income, so where does that fall?

A lot of my clients start talking about increasing their income because part of the work that we’re doing is not just learning how to budget, but also building our capacity to have more money. So we do generally have some type of income goal in there, and it may look like refreshing your resume. It could look like applying for new jobs. It could look like scheduling those conversations with your boss that are going to lead you to negotiate your salary in just a little plug for the episode last week. You should definitely go listen to it if you have it, because I had a conversation with Kim Tran of Your Work Inspires, and we talked all about negotiating. I am a proponent of making sure that you get the money that you deserve and the money that you desire. But with your goals, you’re really going to be looking at where do you want to be in the next three months, six months and a year and get as tangible as you can so that you actually have targets that you’re working towards, right targets that you could actually evaluate three months from now? Maybe there are some things like the last time that you did this where you’re like, Oh, that maybe wasn’t as realistic of a goal for myself. Maybe you decided to save ten thousand dollars in six months, and now you know that maybe it’s going to take you a year so you can actually adjust where that goes into your plan? Or maybe you had a really aggressive goal to pay off debt. And it’s not to say that you can’t pay the debt off in three months, but maybe you realize that you learn more about your numbers and it’s going to take you six months versus versus three months. 

So that’s the first part that I want you to do for your quarterly numbers. Review is one celebration, so it’s kind of two fold. Here we celebrate, and then I want you to refresh your goals and then step two, which I kind of started to bleed into earlier. I really want you to take a step back and look at, OK, let me think about what new seasons are happening for me, what seasonal expenses are coming up, thinking about holidays, thinking about the weather changing. I know with summer coming, we’re going to be outside a lot more, you know? And with that, I feel like people generally tend to eat a lot more, just like they are with friends, more and community becomes really important. So thinking about like how some of the seasonal aspects of life can impact your your spending, even just thinking if you’re listening to this not just in the spring of this year, but even just fast forwarding to if we were thinking about, like, November, December, this would be really important to be paying attention to because I think that time of the year also expensive because you’re invited to parties or you are hosting people at your house. And so just by nature, it’s something that we want to pay attention to and we can plan in advance to adjust our numbers. Maybe as you’re thinking about not just seasonal expenses, but you can also be thinking about, OK, what’s coming up, maybe that I hadn’t planned for, maybe I have a dental procedure that I just learned about, and so I need to think about how I’m going to plan for that. Maybe I said yes to a trip that wasn’t originally in my plan for this year, so how do I want to start thinking about that? And this is also as we think about planning ahead, this is a really good time to check in on your numbers to think about how much money did you say you wanted to save for the holidays? Are you on track? Yes. No. If you were thinking about travel, right? Like, how much money have you actually set aside for travel? Are you on track for whatever you wanted to set aside for travel? Also, I want you to pay attention to your emergency fund. And if you think about your emergency fund like I really want you to have very concrete goals there. So, you know, like I have my first thousand dollars set aside now I have my first month of expenses set aside. Now I have two months of expenses, set aside. I want your savings accounts to grow, but I also want you to check in on those numbers and kind of see what those numbers do for you. OK, so you’re going to make sure that you’re planning ahead in that way also and thinking about planning ahead. And when I’m talking about seasons, also thinking as you were planning out a year from now, think about what else might be true for you in a year. Maybe you have plans to have a baby, maybe you have plans to move, or maybe you have plans to buy a house. 

Just start writing some of those things down so you can think about how they might shift, how you desire to manage your money today. I always like to create what I would call like a role play budget in terms of like when I moved into my house before I moved into my house, I knew that my mortgage was going to be more expensive than my rent. I also knew I was going to have utilities by way of being a homeowner. I also knew I was going to have to pay for certain repairs. So those things were on my radar. I started probably like a year to nine. Months before I moved into my home budgeting as though I already was a homeowner, so my rent at the time was like eight hundred dollars. I started saving two thousand dollars or like twenty one hundred dollars. I can’t remember the exact amount, but I started to save that three hundred dollar difference to make sure that I was actually capable of making a mortgage payment. I started saving a little bit more for utilities to make sure I was capable of essentially saving for utilities, but it would be me paying for utilities in the future. And then I tried to see, like, can I save extra money at the same time to think about like, you know, I’m going to need a new savings bucket, which is like home repairs? And do I have money to actually be able to do that? The reason that I have adopted that kind of role play budget, which is what I’ll call it, is because it allowed me to prepare without anxiety so nobody could come back and foreclose on my home if I’m just trying to see if the numbers work out. It also let me know and practice in a very safe environment. Is there anything that I did in any other area of my life that kind of seems unfulfilled or undernourished in terms of finances? And how do I want to plan for that, but for being able to practice that for, you know, nine to 12 months before I actually owned a home, I knew what the impact was going to be for myself as I moved into that next season of life. And I do the same thing with clients, whether it’s like, Oh, you know, I’m thinking about leaving my job or I’m thinking about moving across the country or I’m thinking about having a kid or I’m thinking about getting married. And so we start to think about what’s going to be the financial impact. 

And so even if you don’t know everything to be true in that next season, you can start when you’re evaluating your numbers on a quarterly basis, just kind of asking yourself, what do you expect to shift? You could make another spending plan that kind of replicates this new life that you think you’re going to be engaging in and then adjust your numbers appropriately. So the whole reason we’re planning is so that that way we can move into this adjustment phase. So that’s step number three, is to really think about, OK, let me adjust. So here you’ve created some goals, you’ve celebrated yourself. You are starting to plan ahead for seasonal expenses you started to think about. Like what else is maybe not included in my spending plan that I want to have in my spending plan. And now we get to adjust. We’re going to look at our paycheck to make sure, you know, my pay stub. Is it a reflection of what I think it should be? I think it’s always great to just have a pulse point on what benefits are being taken out of your pay stub. You think you’re contributing 10 percent to your 401K. Is that actually true? Yes. No. Like just kind of overall, looking at your financial health in that perspective, if it was the end of the year and you were doing this quarterly numbers review, you could also be questioning if there was anything related like health care related. And do I need to be intentional about my FSA or my HSA? You could ask different questions in regard to that in your pay stub. Also quarterly, you can look at your 401K contributions. Is there an opportunity for you to increase your 401K by one percent or two percent? And thinking about adjusting your expenses as you’re looking at your spending plan, this is a great time to actually audit your expenses, maybe because of the pandemic. Or you said yes to a whole bunch of trials in the last 90 days because you wanted to watch Fresh Prince on a new streaming channel. But now you’re done with Fresh Prince, whatever that looks like for you. This is a great time to actually audit your expenses and look through and say, like, OK, what do I want to keep? What do I want to revisit? What do I want to cancel? Because we want to make sure that we’re actually spending our money towards things that are in alignment with our values, in alignment with our goals. 

And so it’s just once again a good time of the year to do a check in with that because sometimes we say yes to things and then we realize we’re not actually using the thing we said yes to. So this makes a time in the year where you can go back and adjust. And I would also say in adjusting, you can call to lower your bills, whether that’s your cell phone bill, maybe it’s auto insurance, maybe it’s cable, maybe it’s internet. But just like there are some bills that we pay that we actually don’t need to pay the full amount because we’re not asking, like, is this your best rate? We’re not calling in to negotiate to make sure that we’re getting the best rate as their client. So just having that on your radar to do at least once a year is important for just making sure that your money is going towards the things that you desire most. So as I’m talking today, you may have thought of other things that you wanted to put into your quarterly numbers review. And that’s great. You can include them in your list. I just wanted to get you started and invite you to look at your numbers quarterly, in addition to the numbers that you’re looking at weekly when you’re having weekly money dates, because doing a quarterly number review allows you to take a look from a different landscape and really be able to assess everything in relation to your goals in relation to your values, being able to refresh those things as needed, and then being able to take the time to plan ahead and adjust. You are changing your relationship with money, and so in changing your relationship with money, there’s just new questions you’re going to ask. There’s new ways that you’re going to show up for your numbers. And I want to be able to support you in doing that because this is the year that you are going to create brand new results for yourself. 

So if you’ve been listening to my podcast, you’re like, Oh my goodness, I need to work with you. I want to work with you. I’m ready to work with you. I want to invite you to book a call. Yes, you’ve experienced the transformation from listening to me every single week, but I want to invite you for the full transformation and to join me and my five month coaching partnership and my five month coaching partnership. We work one to one for five months. You get 15 calls. We’re going to talk to each other three times a month and we are going to implement the things that you’re hearing. So it’s not even about learning more, but it’s really going to be about supporting you to take action, being there to support you as a cheerleader when maybe you feel a little bit overwhelmed. And to help you really hold up a mirror to see what is shifting and changing for you as you complete the journey to budget for the last time and really gain peace of mind with your finances. So if you’re ready to work with me, I invite you to go to WealthOverNow.com/Appointment and you can sign up there. I will talk to you later. 

Thank you so much for listening to money files. If you’re ready to take the next step to reach your financial goals, head to www.WealthOverNow.com/Appointment and let’s get started.  

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