It’s easy to get caught up in the numbers of your budget and feel shame around mistakes you’ve made. It tends to make people want to get everything perfect before really tackling their spending. But money management is not about perfection. It’s about consistency, and money dates are a great way to introduce more consistency into your financial life.
I want to encourage you to slow down, take a step back from the numbers, and identify why and how to start managing your finances more proactively by taking your money on a date.
Today, I’m talking about spending quality time with your money through money dates and how they can help you see what’s going on with your finances at the moment. If you feel overwhelmed with where to start, this is a great place to begin. Spending habits and money goals evolve, and money dates will allow you to release shame, adjust regularly, and prioritize your values.
In this episode, you’ll learn…
- Why you should slow down and take your time with the process instead of trying to do everything perfectly [00:35]
- How money dates allow you to spend quality time with your finances [02:13]
- Where money dates fall in my five step process [06:53]
- Celebrating your money wins [07:58]
- Accounting for unexpected or irregular expenses [08:54]
- Taking forward actions instead of judging past mistakes [10:42]
- Monitoring your spending habits [11:34]
- Mindfully adjusting your spending and releasing any shame [13:31]
- Staying on top of your personal and business cash flow cycles [14:25]
- Checking for hidden numbers [15:19]
Tune in to this episode to learn how money dates can help you stay on top of your spending habits and honor your money goals.
In the episode “Using Money Dates to Spend Quality Time with Your Finances”…
Do you ever get overwhelmed by managing your money and don’t know where to start? Do you feel like you have to have everything perfect from the beginning? These feelings usually lead to people avoiding their bank account until the end of the month and hoping for the best.
It’s really important to slow down and trust the process. This starts by taking a step back from the numbers and really looking at your values and goals so that you can understand why you want to be better with your finances. When you shift the way that you think about money, your confidence and financial trust grow.
Instead of feeling overwhelmed by what you might find in your bank account or feeling shameful about what you’re not doing, think of your bank account as information. How can this information allow you to work towards your goals?
A great starting place for looking at your numbers with less stress and more confidence is to have weekly money dates. Get proactive with your finances by doing these simple steps:
Step 1: Celebrate Your Wins
What are your wins this week? Maybe you finally canceled a subscription that you never use or maybe this is the second week in a row you looked at your numbers or maybe you finally paid off a credit card. Celebrate all the wins, big or small. Starting with a positive attitude will help you to be consistent with this practice.
Step 2: Do a Numbers Watch
What unexpected or irregular expenses happened this week that you might need to add to your budget? Annual expenses often fall into this category. Maybe it’s a business subscription, like G Suite. Maybe you’re going back to the office and need a higher gas budget. Accounting for these is the best way to not be caught off guard and turn surprise expenses into something that is expected and planned for.
Step 3: Monitor Your Spending Habits
Monitoring your spending habits weekly will help you stay on track with your overall goals. For example, if you spend $300/month on eating out, checking in on that spending makes sure you stay on track and can adjust if needed. If you wait until the end of the month to see what you spent, you may end up overspending because you weren’t paying attention.
Step 4: Look at Your Cash Flow Cycle
This can apply to both business and personal finances. For business, it might mean checking which invoices you have coming in and which you need to follow up on. For personal, it might be making sure you have the money for the bills that are due before your next money date and automating them. This is another check and balance that helps you stay on track with how money is moving in and out of your life.
Step 5: Check for Hidden Numbers
Hidden numbers usually come around when using credit cards. It’s important to be mindful of what you put on your credit card. If you put some groceries on your credit card and some on your debit card, you have to connect that money is being spent in two places and account for it. Paying your credit card off weekly is a helpful visual because you’ll see that money coming out of your bank account.
Here are the takeaways that I want you to remember from this episode…
- Money dates allow you to release shame and judgment about your spending
- Your bank account is information that you can use to look forward and prioritize your goals
- Being proactive about your money builds confidence and financial trust
Ready to dive deeper into your money dates and patterns? Apply to work with me, and let’s start working towards your financial goals.
Want to go deeper into crafting your financial vision including unexpected things like extra money? Check out this episode!
Transcript for “Using Money Dates to Spend Quality Time with Your Finances”:
Hi and welcome to Money Files. I’m Keina Newell from Wealth Over Now. I work every day with professional women and solar producers 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. So today I want to talk to you because I’m sure that you can relate to a lot of my clients who come and they start working with me and they want to get everything right. That is their number one goal to get things right. And I think that when we go into a situation wanting to get things right, we’re not allowing ourselves to trust the process. And I as a coach, I love to actually slow people down. I will tell you that if you ever have talked to me on a call, on a consult call, the number one thing, the first thing that we do when we start working together is start looking at your why.
We start to look at your values and we look at your goals. And we do that because I want you to take a step back from the numbers. And by helping you take a step back from the numbers, I want to really help you identify why you are wanting to start. It’s not by coincidence that you’re like, Oh, I want to be better with my finances. That’s not coincidental. And I also want this journey in this process that I’m going through with my clients to be one that they go through for the last time, because of the fact that they’ve learned financial trust, they’ve learned how to be more confident with how they’re spending money. They learned how to be more aware. And notice that I’m not talking about being perfect because that’s not the goal, but it’s for my clients to really just shift the entire way that they think about their finances.
So one of the things that I talk about with clients is having money dates, and I want you to think of that as like financial intimacy in the sense that your bank account, your money, it’s love, language is quality time. And a money date allows you to spend time with your finances to see what’s going on. Oftentimes when people are working with me. They haven’t looked at their numbers because they have an overwhelming thought that they don’t know where to start. They’re scared of opening their bank account because they just think that they’re going to find things there that they don’t desire to see. They’re going to see that they’ve spent a lot of money. They haven’t honored their goals. And so they think about all the things that they’re not doing.
Instead of looking at their bank account and thinking about what? What can my bank account tell me? How can I use the information that is in front of me to actually work towards my goals? And so I do money dates with my clients in the very beginning. It’s the process that where I’m going through and asking them, Show me How did your money move last week? And so when I’m asking them, How did your money move last week, I’m really asking, What did you spend money on? Let’s actually look at your transactions, because what we want to do is align your spending plan with the money that you spent so we can talk about what’s coming up for you this next week and making sure that you are thinking proactively about where your money is going and not reactively. And through that process, my clients are able to be like, Oh, I didn’t know that I was paying for a LinkedIn membership twice. Or I notice that Apple is charging me three times for the same $9.99. So we’re building like this, this awareness just initially because we’re actually going through and looking at the numbers.
Sometimes they see that they’re spending money on things that they don’t desire to spend money on. Or we might find out that we’ve forgotten to account for certain things. And so we do this with a very non-judgmental lens. We’re just looking at what’s happening with the numbers. But I will say that the number one place they get stuck though in the beginning, because we do this process on our calls, is that they start thinking like, okay, well, I need to be able to do all of this. And I tell them I’m like, No, I don’t want you to have to look at all of your numbers in the beginning and reconcile your budget. I want you to take a bite size piece. Like I want you to be thinking about what’s coming up for you in the next week or two weeks.
I want you to start thinking about planning ahead. I want you to know and start realizing that the amount in your bank account, you may see that you have $5,300. But I want you to know that that $5,300, every single dollar has a name and it has a purpose. And so when you’re going and you’re making a purchase, I want you to be able to start using intentionality about I’m making a $200 purchase at Nordstrom’s. Where is this money coming from? As a business owner, if I decide to invest in a program. Where is this money coming from? Where in general, what people do before they start working with me is they make purchases based off of the amount in their bank account, whether they’re looking at their personal finances or their business finances, they’ll make a purchase and then they’ll just figure it out later. And so just the thought and intention behind this podcast today is to really help you understand that it’s important to proactively manage your money. And if you don’t know where to start, maybe you haven’t reached out and booked a call with me.
This can be a starting place is to have a money date. A money date can look millions of different ways. I think that money dates can evolve over time and what you desire to look at like you might decide to look at financial goals, you might decide to revisit your values, you might decide to make a new budget, whatever that looks like. But money date really allows you to look at what’s working for you. It allows you to actually take account in starting where you are and knowing that you don’t have to change all of the things. And you really can keep it simple and learn how to trust the process that you started with your finances. So it doesn’t have to be about getting it right. It can be about looking for the simple changes that you’re making and how you’ve honored those things and really being able to look at what is working for you, what’s not working for you, and what you want to do differently.
So you’ve probably heard on another podcast episode that I have a simple five step process. That five step process is knowing your Why, identifying your goals and values, creating your spending plan, evaluating and adjusting. So those are the five steps. So steps four and five have to do with evaluating and adjusting. And that’s what the money date is for. The most common misstep with budgeting and why people often fail is that because they don’t actually go back and look at their spending plan. They don’t realize that their spending plan is a living document and it’s a tool to help you proactively plan and help you feel in control of your numbers. So that’s why I want my clients to be able to evaluate and adjust, is why I want you to be able to evaluate and adjust.
So this week you’re thinking about your finances and you want to go in and acknowledge that like, okay, there are some things that I want to change and I want to give you a way to make a money date simple for you. So the first thing I want you to do is I want you to celebrate. I want you to think about like, what wins? Am I celebrating this week? And so you can write down like, maybe this is the second week that you’ve decided to actually look at your numbers or maybe you canceled you finally cancel that subscription that you’ve been meaning to cancel. It’s been it’s been on your to do list. Or maybe you took all the things back to UPS to make sure that they were returned back to Amazon instead of keeping them in your trunk and missing the date. Maybe you called about a charge that you saw on your account that you didn’t agree with. So just think about like what ways are you celebrating? Maybe you cooked at home. Whatever that looks like don’t diminish any of your wins. Maybe you’re even thinking differently about your finances than you were last week. But the first thing I want you to do is actually celebrate. So what wins? Am I celebrating from this week?
Then it’s what I call a number watch. The next thing that you’re going to do is think about your week and you could open up your account and even think about this. But like what unexpected or irregular expenses came up for you this week that you might want to account for in your overall budget? I think this is the number one way to make sure you don’t feel like you’re constantly caught off guard. So a couple weeks ago, for me, something that came up was that I have a subscription, I like to hike, and I had a subscription that I paid for a year ago and I pay for it annually and I saw like a $30 charge come through on my account. And it was unexpected in the sense that I forgot to go back and put it in my budget. But because I look at my transactions, I now know, like moving forward, oh yeah, let me make sure I account for that $30 and I can account for it and went to annual basis. And so that $30 isn’t going to catch me off guard. I think one thing that people may catch oftentimes when they’re looking at their expenses in this way is annual expenses for your business, whether you have like a CRM service or maybe you are pay for your G suite, whatever that may be, it may happen annually. Something else that’s common that may seem irregular to you is like an annual credit card subscription, but also just looking for. Those things that also may have increased and you are doing more. So a lot of my clients are going back into the office. Gas prices have increased. Groceries are more expensive.
And so when we’re doing this number, watch. When you’re doing the number, watch from week to week, you can just look at like, okay, what’s happening with my overall expenses and what are some things that I want to be thinking about, including in my budget moving forward. And so just this fundamental shift in language, right, of you looking for and watching your numbers, it’s going to help you release shame and the judgment that comes in when you feel like you forgot to account for something, right? Sometimes we want to judge ourselves that, like, maybe you forgot, like, oh, my goodness, how did I forget that? I need to pay the tax prep service? Well, you can think about. Oh, yeah, I have to pay tax prep. Let me like include that. So next year at this time, it’s just something that is already in my account. It’s already there, it’s already prepared for me and I can just pay it with ease and not worry about it. So instead of judging, we’re just going to take this and think about like, what’s the forward action we want to take so that that way we can actually feel in control because that’s what you desire to feel about your finances. And so that would allow you to feel in control.
And then the third thing that you can do on a money date is monitor your patterns. Like what spending habits do you need to adjust this week to stay on track? So I think that this is something I see all the time as people talk about at the end of the month. Their expenses don’t align with what they said they wanted to spend. So I usually use groceries as a budget because I think that that’s something that fluctuates a lot or eating out. So if you’ve set a budget, let’s say you set a budget for $300 for eating out for the month. And if you are sitting down on a money date and you’re thinking about, okay, well, you know, I ate out like three times this week. I know I’ve already spent $150 on eating out. If the overall budget says that you want to spend $300, well, then you can say, well, if I’ve spent 150, I know I have $150 for the next two weeks or I have $150 for the next three weeks.
So you can start to think about, well, that would mean that I would spend if I had it for the next three weeks and I basically have $50 a week to eat out, or if I had it for the next two weeks, I have $75 for the next two weeks to eat out. But it can help you think about does my social calendar actually align with my budget? It can help you think about like is $300 actually a realistic number for me instead of getting to the end of the month and realizing that you’ve overspent? Or you might actually decide, right? Like, I know that I’m going to spend over $300. So now you’re aware that you’re going to spend over $300, but you can actually plan for where’s the difference of the $300 going to come from? So you don’t feel like at the end of the month you’re like, oh, you know, I was going to save money, but now I can’t because I’ve overspent. And it’s all about being in control and thinking about, you know, maybe you want to decide because you know, that you’re going to eat out more.
Another example I’ll give here is that you decide in this next week. I know that I’m going to be eating out because I’m not going to be at home and then I’m not going to spend as much on groceries because I don’t want to waste food at home and be out eating. Because if I’m out eating for lunch or I’m out eating for dinner, that means I’m probably not going to be cooking at home. So it just allows you to be more thoughtful about how you want to spend money in your own personal life. Once again, releasing the shame, releasing the judgment about how you’re spending money because you’re making the plan for how you desire to spend money. And you’re able to. Just get to know yourself and be intentional with how you desire to spend money in your own life from week to week, and not waiting till the end of the month to just see what’s happened and then hoping that you can play that credit card balance or hoping that there is money in your bank account.
The fourth thing that you can do on the money date is check your cash flow cycle. So. For business owners, this can be looking at like, okay, what invoices do I have coming in? What invoices do I want to make sure that I follow up on? How much money do I have in my business expense account and making sure that the money that you have is actually in alignment with the money that needs to go out for personal finances. It’s thinking about like, you know, what bills are due between now and my next money date. So if today is the 15th and then you want to make sure that you’re thinking ahead, you know, I’m not going to budget again until the till the 22nd. Let me make sure that I actually have the money for the bills that are due and everything is going to be able to be automated. It’s able to be paid. I haven’t forgotten about anything. And it’s just another check and balance for yourself to be able to stay on track for how your money is moving in your life.
And then lastly, I want you to check for hidden numbers. So when I talk about hidden numbers, a lot of people use credit cards and they may also use their debit card. And so if you are someone who uses your credit card, you’re not going to hear me say credit cards are bad, but I do want you to be mindful of what have you put on your credit card this week, because going back to the grocery example, if you know that you want to spend $300 on groceries for the month or $300 for eating out, I can’t remember the example I gave just a moment ago. But if that’s your number. But if you’ve been putting all of your eating out or your groceries expenses on your credit card, and then only a few of the expenses, maybe two or three of the expenses has come out of your bank account. Your brain might not be connecting that you’re spending money in two places, but you are spending money into two places. So when you’re sitting down to look at your numbers, it’s looking at your credit card and it’s looking at your bank account. Right? So and things have come through in your credit card. This kind of goes back to your numbers. Watch and monitoring your patterns. It’s knowing like what’s happening on my credit card as well that it wants to be in alignment with my budget.
One of the things that I generally suggest for clients is try paying your credit card off like every week because then you’ll see your bank account balance go down. And so that’ll signal to you what should be happening in terms of your spending. So if, you know, I put $100 of groceries, I put $60 worth of gas, and I pay for some other things on my credit card, especially when it comes to your disposable income. If you are paying that off from your bank account, then your brain is going to be seeing like, oh, okay, let me make that connection with the fact that I’ve actually spent money. It’s what I call hidden money because it’s not always in our face. If we’re someone who checks our banking account and we look at the actual balance on our bank account.
So there’s those five tips that I would have for you in order to just think about like, how do I want to date my money this week? What can I actually be doing on a money date to help me actually take steps and advance forward towards changing my relationship with my money, being able to pay down my debt or save, and really feeling in control of your finances. So the five things that I want you to do are definitely want you to celebrate. That’s the first point that I love. Even my clients, if you ever hopped on a call with me, you know, the first thing I’m going to do is say like, Hey, what wins have you had since last week? And my client joked that that’s the hardest question that I asked them. But I want you to ask yourself that every week so you can acknowledge and celebrate what’s working. I also want you to think about like a numbers watch. How am I watching my numbers and thinking about unexpected or irregular expenses?
A couple of weeks ago, I had to get a new garbage disposal and a new kitchen faucet, you know? And so I could be really bummed that I had to spend money on a plumber and new kitchen appliances and think like, oh, my goodness, the world is ending. But years ago, I learned I need a home repair budget, right? And so if you were in that situation, just think like you could judge yourself or you could say like, you know what it is, what it is. Moving forward, I’m going to make sure that I set aside money on a regular basis to have money for when I need a home repair. And think about like, what are those wins? W h e in that you want to prepare for in your life. Like if you own a car, it’s not a matter of if you’ll need tires, but when you need tires. And so you might notice that like you had an unexpected auto bill, which would then cue me to be like, okay, I want to put that expense into my budget.
So that’s what the numbers watches for is to help you look at like were there any unexpected or irregular expenses that came up for me this week that I want to account for. And thirdly, I want you to monitor your patterns. So just really looking at your week to week spending habits like what’s actually happening when it comes to food, your social life, putting gas in your car and just thinking about how do you actually want to adjust from one week to another so you can stay on track and whatever that means for you and your life. And number four is your cash flow cycle. Thinking about your bills, when are they do? What do I need to make sure is taken care of in between now and my next money date?
And then lastly, paying attention to those hidden numbers and the charges that you may not see because they’re going to your credit card, but making sure you have a way to account for those so you’re not caught off guard when it’s time to pay your credit card bill at the end of the month. So that is all I have for you today. And just wanted to encourage you to start dating your money and remembering that your budget is a tool for you to actively manage your finances. It’s a flexible tool. It’s going to grow and evolve with you, and it’s a tool for you to actually help you achieve the financial goals that that you desire, that you want to create in your life, both in this season and in the next season. So I will talk to you guys next week and thank you so much for tuning in. 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.