Hello everyone! For this year’s Blogmas, I wanted to bring back Self Care Sunday posts! This Sunday’s post will be what I personally do for a weekly personal financial review.
Last time I did Self-Care Sunday, I think I focused on things like spa nights and shopping trips or something! Since then, I’ve had a major mindset change and realized there are more proactive and important things to care for myself. I don’t want to shame anyone who does consider spa nights as self-care, but for me personally, I think there are more important things to focus on.
For some backstory, I lost my job during the 2020 pandemic and the extra free time allowed me to really refocus on what was important to me. One of the many things I started focusing on was my financial health. I created a budget for myself, started tracking my expenses, investments, and progress towards goals. Although it was hard at first, it’s really become one of my favorite things to sit down weekly and review my finances. Here is how I do it.
My Weekly Personal Financial Review
Now, I am old enough that I was taught to balance a physical checkbook in school. While this isn’t something I do anymore as I have my apps that do that for me, I do something similar to consolidate all the information for me.
As I mentioned, I keep all the apps for all my accounts on my phone so I can easily access everything. I have three banking apps and two brokerage apps, along with my student loans app. I have recently downloaded a money management app, but I haven’t really gotten the hang of it yet, so I don’t really use that one.
Earlier this year, I created a budget workbook and I keep everything financial related in there. It’s a bit of a mess and I’m currently working on creating a budget 2.0 workbook to make it better. The first thing I do is I go to the current month’s tab and start entering all my expenses in there. I’ll make sure to log all my purchases like subscriptions, my dog’s food, fees for my ballet class, and so on. I will also make sure to log any student loan payments I’ve made and any transfers I’ve made to my brokerage accounts.
If it’s the end of the month I’ll create my budget for the next month and continue with other reviews. If it’s not the end of the month, I reflect on what I did well, what I could have done better, take those lessons and move on with my life after entering my weekly spending.
At the end of the month, after I create my new budget, I move onto my “Savings” tab. This tab is honestly a bit of a mess as I created it and added to it throughout the year. The first table I have here I use to track how much I save each month. I’m moving from a “save the leftover” approach that I’ve used up until now and switching to a “save first” approach in 2022. But this table has been useful in figuring out how much money I don’t need to spend. The next table is where I allocate my savings to (separate from my emergency savings which are kept in a different account). I like to think of my savings as the place where I keep all my “buckets” of goals. For example, I know I want to travel more after the pandemic so I have a bucket for that. I know I want to fund my Roth IRA for 2022 with some of this so I have a bucket for that, and so on. The last table on this tab is a tracker that includes my savings, retirement investments, and a tracker of my net worth. This chart is a hot mess as well, but it gets the job done!
The last tab I review is my student loans tab. I keep a tracker of how much I’ve paid each month with an end of year total. I paused payments due to being unemployed during the pandemic but once I found a job I started my monthly payments again to take advantage of that no interest period. I’m getting close to paying them off, so the interest wasn’t a huge amount anymore but it adds up quickly so I wanted to make a good dent in the remaining balance during this time.
After that, I take a final check of everything and try to spot any trends. I find that this is much more helpful because everything is in one place. My banking apps will try to provide graphs and such of my finances but each app only has a little bit of information, so it’s nice to have the whole picture in one place.
I have learned a lot about my financial situation with this weekly review. For example, my goal is always to lower my expenses as much as possible, so when I have expenses I forgot to account for, I get really frustrated. And I’m not talking about emergency expenses even, but more like realizing it’s time to pay for my next ballet session or fees to renew my passport/license plate/etc. I honestly get so frustrated with things like my auto insurance, which I pay once every six months and it throws those two months’ spending way over the average for each month. Due to this, that’s how I realized I needed a better system so for 2022 I made changes to my budget layout.
In 2022 the tabs for savings and investments, as well as student loans, will mostly compile information from each month’s tab. For every month, the information will go directly onto the same tab instead of trying to go back and forth from everywhere. I’m hoping that will help although I don’t like how I did the roll ups for the budget and actual numbers. I’m sure I’ll end up changing that one too!
So that’s how I review my finances each week! I do enjoy doing this activity each week, although I will admit that sometimes it’s a day early or late depending on what I have going on. Let me know what you do for your financial review though, especially if you have a great budget worksheet to share!
Thanks for reading!
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