shopping cart, receipts and money

After the last #FinanceFriday post, many of you contacted me about setting up and Congrats on taking that huge first step! And if you didn’t set up either – go do it now!

After setting up one of these accounts you might hit the point of overwhelm and think, now what?!? My advice is first to hook up bank accounts in Mint or accounting system in LivePlan and start bringing in transactions. Both of these programs will turn all of that jumble of numbers and data into visual graphs that will make it easier for to understand and digest.

Now you are ready to evaluate your spending! Why should you do this? The reason is that, for most people, this is the aspect of their finances that they have the most control over. You might not be able to increase your income or change your debt levels over night, but you can very quickly change how you spend your money.

When you first look at where your money goes you might be surprised. Maybe you spend way more on eating out and entertainment than you through. Maybe your rent or your cell phone bill is too big of a portion of your income. Or maybe you have a big pile of cash stashed under your mattress.

Whatever you discover, it is important not to judge yourself harshly. This exercise isn’t a tallying of your financial sins. It’s an objective look at your cash flow. As you look at this information, think about whether your spending is in line with the life or business you want. Then you’ll be ready for the next step.

Need help with Mint or LivePlan? How about taxes? Set up a meeting with me here.