Money is energy and a deposit of value. One of the main concepts here at The Money Vikings is to get in touch with your personal resources and power! But sometimes we can feel out of touch from our finances. Where does the money go? Here are 3 easy tips to promote greater money mindfulness. You should be in charge of your money and resources.
1. A simple budget
I haven’t met many people that like budgeting. Some personal finance folks argue not to bother. Just get the “big rocks” right and let the “little rocks” happen, but just do not go into debt. This could be a sound strategy for some. Let’s say you are making the essential bills, contributing to a 401k or IRA, then you may not need to “stress” about going to Starbucks for a coffee.
I prefer a hybrid approach starting with a simple budget. One piece of paper and a pencil. Step one, start with your take home pay each month (after taxes and withdrawals). This is the actual dollar amount you see each month. Step two, list in order of largest to smallest most monthly recurring bills. Probably starting with the mortgage or rent, then car payments, utilities, etc.
This simple listing of expenses gets you in touch with where the money is going. From here you can make strategic decisions. Perhaps too much is going to subscription services or un used gym memberships. These can be cut to free up more money for investments or to pay down debt. Try our 30 day small steps challenge as featured on Camp FIRE Finance for a kind of personal finance cleanse:
2. Manage the credit cards
My personal opinion is that more than 3 credit cards is too much. Americans have racked up record debt lately on credit cards. Time to pay off and close out some of these cards.
3. Investment house cleaning
Do a house cleaning of your investments. Are you paying too much in fees? Stick with Vanguard, Fidelity, America’s Best 401k to keep fees low. High fees seem innocuous at first, but they are wealth destroyers and steal your future. Check your asset allocation. I’m a fan of the Ray Dalio all weather portfolio. During your lifetime one of the asset classes will fail at some point. The all weather portfolio manages this risk.
These are simple ways to get in touch with where the money is going and how it is growing. We are all busy and none of these actions take a ton of time. In many ways we should probably continually strive to simplify our financial life. Over complexity leads to confusion and loss of direction and focus. In the case of money, probably the less complex the more potential for growth.