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Personal Finance Mentoring - Integrating the practical and emotional elements of your money.

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An Inevitable Ripple Effect

Megan deBoer

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How do we move towards more ‘wealth’, and fulfillment? Both individually, and collectively?

There are many practical, logistical, strategic, action-oriented steps that we need to take in our own financial lives: getting paid, saving/investing, paying the bills, paying down debt, creating spending plans...

Each of these is important. 

The recipe for building wealth is, quite honestly, pretty simple: earn more, save/invest more, spend less spend consciously (more on that distinction another day…). 

This is the simplest recipe I know for attaining - and maintaining - financial wealth. 

Simple - but by no means easy. Each one of the three has its own layers… its own complexity… its own hurdles to cross: both visible and invisible; personal and institutional

The statistics are bleak when you examine race, gender, class, and ability. We don’t arrive at the ‘wealth building’ starting line on equal footing, period. We need new policies - yesterday. The change that is required feels like it is out of our immediate control.

Individually we have control over three things. Our perceptions. Our decisions. Our actions.

I believe that one powerful way to flip the narrative – and more importantly, our current reality - is to begin exploring different perceptions – seeing things honestly, differently, and inviting in new beliefs.

Because in-spite of circumstance, we are powerful beings – and are even more powerful together. 

What would it look like if we began individually shifting – and influencing - a collective movement in a more prosperous direction?

An old narrative leaves us in varying states of emotional pain – in the form of shameanxietyfear, low self-worth, and powerlessness.

Because how can we earn more if we believe  ‘it is impossible for someone like ME to earn more’….?

It isn’t the only factor, but wow… things are so much easier when we integrate a more supportive belief system!

So let me guide you through a quick exercise… I am going to pick SAVING, since it is the one we all know we ‘should’ do more of (the stats say that we aren't saving enough, despite the knowledge that we need to...)

  • Do you save as much as you want to save/invest?

  • What do you feel after considering your answer? Can you name the emotion?

  • How does your body respond to that question? Notice your breath and your body, are they contracted, or expanded?

  • If you want to save more, WHAT would need to change for you to do so?

  • Do you believe those changes are possible?

  • Pretend for a moment that they are possibleHow would your life be different?

  • And finally, what could change if collectively we shared and supported each other with this new belief?

I could begin listing new beliefs for you… 

[that it is possible to save - no matter your financial circumstance... that you deserve for things to be easier... that you are worthy of earning enough to make saving effortless...]

But there is actually nothing that I can say to radically change your internal story. Because...

I believe this is the hard and beautiful journey that we are required to travel ourselves…

...the inquiry into your own narrative, the willingness to release what no longer serves, the eagerness to integrate a new story deep in your body,propelling you to operate from an entirely new personal paradigm. Taking actions and making strides you previously thought impossible...

To give you my words would be to rob you of the journey that only you can take… but one that doesn’t need to be traveled alone.

In our Yoga + Prosperity workshops we lead you through specific inquiry, guided movement, visualization, and healing - to shake up the limiting narrative that is ready to be released, so that you can move closer to the prosperity you desire.

To define for ourselves – in our own language - a new story that can operate beneath the surface of all the powerful – and yes, practical! - actions we must take to move us closer to the life we are ready to live.

This is what the workshop is all about – to support you in your own, very personal adoption of a powerful new narrative. 

I sincerely believe that the work we do individually - and in community - has a significant impact on the collective. It isn't the whole of it - not by a long shot. But there is always a ripple effect...in our families, for our children, and within our relationships... when we operate from a different belief.

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Tidying up - your house and your financial house

Megan deBoer

Photo by  Daria Shevtsova  

Photo by Daria Shevtsova 

Are you caught up in the wild and productive inspiration of the Tidying Upshow? Marie Kondo is sweeping the nation - and inspiring a wave of Spring Cleaning well before the Spring is even here.

I read her book years ago - and got as far as my clothing. But I will say, its 4 years later and my socks are still neatly folded and separated in lovely lined boxes. It will soon be cliche, but it most certainly sparks Joy each time I get dressed. 

Having order, calm, and yes - even reverence - for my clothing is a revelation. I recently did my sewing room (if you are on Instagram, perhaps you followed along in my stories... @tendedwealth). And I have kept it very neat ever since, even after multiple sewing projects have littered the floor. 

What I appreciate the most about her style is this: she wants the discerning / discarding to be the individual's own process. She encourages each person to determine what is relevant, and meaningful, and joyful to them... not to her, not to her staff, not to some external formula or designer's handbook

I have always been passionate about this being at the core of this work that I do. No two clients have the same spending plan. Mine has different categories from theirs, and it looks different from when I first started doing them. Because at the core, a spending plan honors the evolution we all experience - which is inevitable as we change and become more and more aligned with our truer selves. 

The practical work that I facilitate is very much like tidying up a house, only it happens to be the financial house. What I know is this: it is more effective and longer lasting to adjust your spending, increase your savings, accept your current situation when you look at it with a similar kind of discernment.

"What is really enhancing my life? What is sustaining my life? and What is literally draining it?" 

Start here... you may be surprised at how naturally things start to align.

So... in the spirit of tidying up... consider a similar approach to your financial life. If you want support in knowing just where to start with thatpotentially daunting project, email me by responding to this newsletter and I will help you decide just want that easy next step could be... (sometimes it is just the right book to get you off on the right foot, or just knowing that you aren't alone...)



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A holiday spending plan

Megan deBoer

Photo by  Caley Dimmock

Photo by Caley Dimmock

‘Tis the season of gift giving no matter your tradition…

It is so much fun to give - particularly when we find just the right gift for someone we love.  

One of the best strategies for to stay financially grounded during the holidays is to create a holiday spending plan… aka, a spending roadmap.


This time of year we are often pulled by our emotions and veer off our intended course. Having a solid spending plan makes all the difference - and prevents a spending hang-over, or a credit card bill from surprising you in January.

It isn’t as fancy as it sounds - if you have never made one before, it is simply a list of categories you are likely to spend on. With the amount you plan to spend beside it.

Total it up to ensure you will have the funds to cover all that you are planning. Don’t panic if it is more than you realized… you haven’t spent the money yet, and there is time to course correct. If debt has been an issue in past years, you are just seeing it before, instead of after.

A simple method is to use envelopes with cash for each category. Or use a fancier system to track the actual spending in relation to the plan. Whichever way you choose, it is so helpful in staying clear, conscious, and connected to your intention - and to end the year without any financial harm.

I find myself able to relax and enjoy the entire giving season when I have 'pre-spent' the money, giving us permission and 'guardrails' for our spending.

Spending money on gifts made me EXTREMELY anxious years ago, in part because we didn't have much to spend, but more importantly because there was no plan and it felt out of control - I am so glad that part of me has done a 180!


Here are some categories to consider using..

Decorations - Tree, Candles, Wreaths, Lights, etc.
Holiday Meals & Entertainment - pay particular attention if you are hosting, or attending lots of parties where you will bring wine or gifts for the host
Wrapping Supplies
Santa (if it applies)
Pet Gifts (I know... but for some people this adds up :-)
Charitable Giving
End of Year Tips (housecleaner, hairdresser, doorman, etc.)

If you find your funds not quite stretching to cover as much as you want to cover, consider ALL the possibilities!  The possibilities could include: exploring creative solutions (a lightly used toy swap with friends to be re-wrapped and newly loved by your kiddos and theirs) as well as lowering your expectations. As Erin Boyle states on her blog, "there’s no admission price to the holidays".  You can be in the spirit of giving without sacrificing your own financial wellbeing.  

If you find that while you are shopping for others your own intense desire to spend and buy for yourself, consider putting aside a little money for yourself before you go shopping ($10-$100).  Giving yourself healthy permission in advance can, in and of itself, prevent overspending. You can choose to spend it, not spend it, or give it away... but it gives you choice. And sometimes that is what we need the most.

Stay grounded… stay connected…and enjoy the spirit of this giving, generous season!

If you want a very sweet reminder about the joy of giving, take a peak at this ad from the UK - My daughters shared it with me - I highly recommend watching until the very end… so very good!

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A Bit of Calm for the Holiday Storm...

Megan deBoer

Photo by  Caley Dimmock

Photo by Caley Dimmock

Is your inbox as full as mine? Black Friday! Cyber Monday! Giving Tuesday!

And so here we are... fully immersed in the holiday season before we have even turned the calendar to December.

I won't lie. It all makes me tired. It is a quick pull away from this moment - a grounded sense of enough. Of plenty. It reminds me just how quickly we can get pulled off center.

It isn't necessarily negative - so much that is being offered is lovely, worthy, helpful, and fun! It is just that there is an incessant pace to all of it at this time of year. This is the first ingredient of the storm.

It is the season of over-spending, over-eating, over-drinking, over-committing, general over-indulging. Each one of these has an effect on your financial wellbeing. Combined, it creates a bit of internal chaos.

This time of year also holds emotional highs and lows - for many of us this time is laced with sorrow or nostalgia for what was, or isn't. This is another layer of the storm - and can increase its intensity.

So - what to do? I wanted to share some thoughts, and some resources to provide an anchor in the coming weeks. 

Holding steady emotionally becomes your most trusted anchor. And what prevents debt, over-spending, or other financial hangovers come January.

Checking in with ourselves regularly becomes the practice that helps us stay true to ourselves... and our commitment to our financial health.

A Quick Assessment - to do throughout the holiday season… 

  • What is the feeling I am feeling? Simply name it. Acknowledge the feeling. Be with it for one breath (happy, sad, angry, anxious, overwhelmed...)

  • What do I need right now? Water? (maybe pack a bottle of water to bring with you each day) Deep breaths? (1 deep breath does wonders…) A snack? (maybe keep some good protein in your bag…nuts and dried fruit are my favorite) A few moments alone in your car between ALL.THE.THINGS? (it is perhaps the best gift you can give everyone around you...calm and centered you) A quick call to your best friend to cry or laugh with? (you know, that friend who grounds you…)

  • Meet that need! Drink the water. Eat the snack. Take that long deep breath - or 5. Or do all of the above! (and if I sound like a mother, it is because I am a mother - and a human who knows how easy it is to forget these things)

  • Then ask, Do I feel grounded? Feeling grounded allows clear thinking, making decisions from an un-rushed, un-reactive stateIf the answer is no, consider repeating 1-4... and know it is all about PRACTICE... not about being perfect!

I would recommend doing this quick assessment before you make any purchasing decisions... online or in actual stores. 

[And TEA… always take time out to pause for tea - or your beverage of choice. If you know me, you know how much I love to have tea in my cold hands.]

Being a mindful spender is all about practice... a practice in learning how we respond and react. A practice in being more conscious and intentional about the choices we make - about our money, our time, and our energy. Each of which is a resource to be tended with care.

I hope you stay grounded during this season - coming through feeling as though every dollar was money well spent.



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7 Steps to Consciously Invest in your Wardrobe

Megan deBoer

We all need to wear clothing... and for so many of us, it is more than just covering our bodies and being warm - it is about expressing ourselves. Spending money on clothes can be thrilling. Expressive. Sometimes guilt-inducing - but of course - necessary.

It is an area that gets confusing - where there is often a blurry line between 'need' & 'desire'. We tend to be more vulnerable to overspend when we aren't clear - making impulsive decisions that may be filled with later regret.

This year, I want to invite you to take a look at your closet and approach buying new clothing for the season from an intentional, thoughtful, 'slow money' perspective - where it feels really good to wear what you buy! I want you to LOVE what you wear and spend without guilt.

The steps below help you get there. 

Because I am so tired of our culture wasting on all the levels - wasting MONEY, wasting RESOURCES, wasting TIME, wasting SPACE,wasting ENERGY. There is another way - for you, your wallet, your 'I feel fabulous in this!' and the greater world around us.

I think the biggest hurdle is that no matter how much we have, it can feel like 'not enough'. This is where the myth 'more is better' (even when more is scratchy, doesn't look good, doesn't fit) has been our cultural mantra. To realize 'plenty', we have to start defining what is 'enough' for us. How many pants? How many shoes? How many shirts would be enough?

I am thrilled that there is a solid trend towards a 'capsule' wardrobe - a thoughtfully curated closet of a small number of interchangeable pieces.

Wherever your 'enough' line is, I want to encourage you to define it. Because I believe LESS really is more in this area (less laundry, dry cleaning, less space required, less folding, less money, less ironing... you get the idea).

Here are my steps to mindfully clear out a closet and discern what you need/want to invest in.

Step 1: SORT

  • Get 4 bags (laundry baskets, boxes): Label them "Keep" "Not Sure" "Care/Repair/Replace" "Pass Along" - Go through everything and force yourself to decide which of the 4 piles each goes in. The "Not Sure" might be really big - but that is just fine. You don't have to know yet. Everything that is "KEEP" can go immediately back in your drawers / closet. Leave the other piles alone for now.

Step 2: MAKE LISTS

  • Have 3 Lists: "NEED!" "Want!" "Replace" - This step calls for honest reflection. What is truly 'missing' in your closet (go back and take a look at what is in your drawers / closet. What is missing? It might be that you 'have' everything you need, but it is all black... or it is all very boring, or doesn't feel fresh to you... this may indicate that you actually 'need' some colorful pieces, some new pieces, to add a little life to your closet. Need doesn't mean it is restricted to socks, underwear, one pair of jeans, and a t-shirt! It is a perfect time to make a Pinterest Board, or if you are a bit of a nerd you might enjoy the Style Book App that helps you plan outfits (oh yes, I am that nerd). But whatever you use, play around with the new colors, textures, and styles that inspire you as you are right now... (not the 5 year ago version of yourself).

Step 3: SHOP WHAT YOU HAVE

  • Look through your "Not Sure" pile with fresh eyes - sometimes our brains see things through an old filter. Take a look through the 'not sure' pile. There may be nothing, or there may be something that catches your eye now that things are clearer (your style, your needs). Don't keep anything out of guilt - it was an impulse buy you regret, it was expensive, it was a gift. Nope. If you are tempted to keep it out of guilt, it most definitely needs to go in the pass along pile. But maybe there is something that catches your eye... and will satisfy a few of the 'want' items on your list. This isn't about 'making do' necessarily - though you may see something as working for a little while longer while you search for something better - if this is the case, put it on your "replace" list.

Step 4: CARE / REPAIR

  • Learn some new skills - we are a consumer culture, meaning we have not been taught - or have forgotten - that it is entirely possible to extend the life of your clothing with a few simple skills: mending, sewing on a button, de-pilling sweaters, shining shoes, hand washing, ironing... I have a "Waste Not Want Not" board on Pinterest with a few tutorials, but there are plenty with a quick you-tube search. This time of year you can care for your sweaters by hand washing, de-pilling, or dry cleaning. Taking care of our clothing is a re-emerging art form. I, for one, am pretty excited - because it is yet another way we can actively 'tend' to our wealth.

Step 5: EXCHANGE

  • Turn your "Pass Along" pile into new clothing, money, or happy recipients - letting go of what is no longer serving you is liberating. It can also provide a way to get a few of the pieces you have on your need or desire list! To spin your straw into gold, here are some of my favorite options...

    • Sell / Exchange - Your local consignment store, Crossroads, Buffalo Exchange OR Online: Thread UpDepopPoshmark (if you get cash back, put this in an envelope for #6)

    • Host a Clothing Swap - Your friends may also have a pile that they are tired of, but would be fun for others. It can be a really fun social event as well! 

    • No matter what, make sure the clothes move along by the end of the month - you don't want these hanging around any longer than they need to - circulation requires that they move out for good.

Step 6: PLAN

  • How much can you spend? - Make sure this is conscious, thoughtful, and grounded. If impulsive spending, or credit card spending has been a problem in the past, take the money out in CASH so you are clear about the limit you are working with. But you will still want to add a little more detail to your plan. Prioritize what you need. Look at prices online. Plan how much You may need for the big pieces. You may have to span the purchasing over a few months, but I want you to be clear. This is where your list is a fantastic guide.

Step 7: INVEST

  • NOW you are ready to spend money on those new pieces for the fall - 

    • Investing in new pieces means that you LOVE what you buy. 

    • It is a good investment if you WILL actually wear it (my rule is that if I can hardly wait to put something on the morning after I get it, I know I will love it for years. If, on the other hand, I am a little 'meh' about it and don't wear it right away, I usually take this as a sign and return it - hence I have a rule of keeping tags on for at least 24hrs). 

    • So, in addition to the actual COST of the item, make sure you will get MANY wears out of it - otherwise even a $20 shirt can be extremely 'expensive' if you end up never wearing it out the door.

    • It also means that the item will LAST - it won't fall apart after a few wears but can be mended throughout its long life.

Ahhh... can you envision your closet: sorted, clear, clean, curated... everything that you love, nothing less, nothing more? I am working on mine. Every year I add a few new pieces: good shoes, sweaters, and pants that I like (this is the toughest of all for me to find). I have a ways to go, but I am further along than I have ever been.

To money well spent on a closet full of your favorites!



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Do you RUN from Money?

Megan deBoer

Photo by  Jeremy Lapak

Photo by Jeremy Lapak

Do YOU run from money??

Oh no, not me, [you say] – I love money!”

But perhaps the answer isn’t so simple. You see, sometimes we turn our backs when things get hard – when things aren’t quite as easy, or nearly as pleasant, as we would like. [Ahem]

Being in a  r – e – l – a –t – i – o – n – s – h – i – p  with money requires we are there, for better or worse. For richer, for poorerIn sickness and in health. 

Which is work. And it’s HARD. And make any of the following really, really difficult to face: 

  • Those unopened bills oppressing you daily with their very presence on the counter…

  • The student loan debt that you just can’t bear to look at – the balance unrecognizable from the amount you borrowed in the first place…

  • The dread of speaking to your accountant and finally knowing the amount you owe for last year’s taxes (so you just forget to return their calls and miss some critical deadlines…)

  • A customer - or client - or boss - or family member - who owes YOU money but you keep not bringing it up because you don't want them to think you are _______ (fill in your own blank)...

Can you relate? Maybe you have a different list. But I imagine it has the same flavor.

Avoidance is the external symptom of our nervous system’s response to FEAR. FLIGHT & FREEZE are the strategy. Avoidance. Paralysis. And yes, RUNNING away. Get to know these ‘helpers’ of yours. When do they show up in your world? (it helps to start getting curious, so simply pay attention and observe...)

They are actually “brilliant” and sneaky survival responses - but that doesn’t mean they are doing you any favors! As for helping you survive? I would bet that your unconscious has you doing all matter of crazy, illogical things in the name of 'safety'. 

But none of those things leave you feeling peaceful. They likely leave you with either low grade anxiety, hopelessness, or full-on shame and despair.

Each of these states have you - yes you! – running from money. We alldo it to some degree. In my experience it is the brave, courageous, conscious act of turning TOWARDS what we fear that also allows us to run towards money… yes, the ‘for BETTER’ ‘for RICHER’ and HEALTH part of the relationship we ALL want. 

It doesn’t have to mean agony… it doesn’t have to be a life sentence of torture. All that is required is a willingness to brave what we fear. To stare it straight in the eyes, even when it terrifies us. SO THAT WE MOVE TO THE OTHER SIDE.

Because this is what I know to be true: we cannot have one without the other

We can’t have a peaceful relationship with money until we confront the fear. 

When we avoid the darkness the light is suppressed in there too. Always. 

I have sat with many clients as we open months of unopened bills (which is symbolic of anything being avoided, really…). There is always a good deal of brow-sweat, shortness of breath, and tears… 

But you know what else there is?

As if by magic, we find LIGHT in that darkness: the amounts due are inevitably smaller than their mind had assumed. 

Sometimes there has actually been a statement of a CREDIT! Sometimes an actual CHECK that is about to expire!! 

Even if there isn’t money in an envelope, the reward is always CLARITY. RELIEF. EMPOWERMENT – the truth really does set us free.

And THAT, my friends, leads to a balanced relationship with money – a true partnership with money….The good along with the hard - the challenging along with the beautiful.

Run towards money in its completeness… because it is always BOTH / AND. 

Money is inherently dynamic, asking YOU to be engaged, to dance with the entire range and find the beauty you can create together from here forward, COME WHAT MAY. It is a relationship that – unlike some others! – really will last a lifetime, like it or not.

So, are YOU running away from money right now? How is your “relationship” with money? The good parts, the hard parts?

 

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Why Wasn't there a class about money in school??

Megan deBoer

I have Virgo in my chart, so this time of year always feels like a refreshing return to Order & Routine - aka, a giant sigh of relief pour moi! The back to school supplies definitely add to my mood - sharpened pencils, fresh notebooks - a fresh start that all of us (in this country, anyway) have in our bones, like it or not.

But when you think of allllllll the classes you attended over alllllll the school years, was even ONE of them about money??? About the practical nuts and bolts? (if you were lucky you learned how to balance a checkbook). How about addressing the emotional aspects of money?? I would like to think that there is at least *one* person somewhere who was lucky enough to receive guidance about the emotional side of money in school, but I know there probably isn't a single one.

We teach sex education (poorly in most cases, but at least it is taught), so why not personal finance? Why is this? Why has this virtually disappeared from the curriculum, when the ONE thing we all have to deal with is money? I have some long answers to that question - but will save that for another time.

The fact that we 'never learned this in school', yet we are still 'supposed to know' leaves far too many people stuck in shame or unable to move forward because there is a real fear of looking or feeling stupid.

If I could shout from the rooftops and call everyone who feels this way out of their homes, the streets would become a party - truly! 

Financial education is STILL a subject that we 'assume' will be covered at home, but more often than not, it isn't. 

If, as a parent, YOU feel unsure, or insecure, about money it can be really hard to bring up the subject with your kids. Inadvertently, a void is created, and from that void in communication some unconscious patterns can develop for the person watching. 

This means that for most of us, our financial education came predominately by witnessing: our parent's mood when the bills were paid (or not paid). The mood before - and then just after - Payday. Our mood when we wanted something that was a little expensive and we knew not to even ask. When one of our parents spent money in secret. Or told us not to tell. Our little minds tried to make sense of these experiences. Learning ways to respond to money in our future.

We all have layers - most are unconscious, and they may or may not be influencing our current reality. Also! Our parents did their best, after all, they were "taught" by their parents (your grandparents), and so the cycle goes.

But here's the good news. If YOU missed this fundamental 'Life Class' about money, there is no reason that you cannot start learning now! 

And...You don't have to be an expert to teach your kids. However, it always helps to be honest. Tell them in a simple, age appropriate way, that you are still learning (why yes, it is ok to not know 'everything'). Tell them that you would make different choices if you could make them again (we ALL have made some mistakes with money, acknowledging this is healthy for you - and them). Tell them that you want to support them in learning so they can make better choices throughout their lives. They will make mistakes, but you can talk about these mistakes and help support them through the learning.

Even if you don't have kids, you can use this same approach with yourself - imagining that you are your own parent, talking to your younger self. Engage in this dialogue (see below). You will simultaneously heal any void that may exist and take the reins of your financial life.

Someday I hope there will be an enlightened class in schools that cover all the financial literacy topics as well as healing some of the dysfunction that has been passed from generation to generation. Until then, we can take the reins ourselves.

Did you have a class about money in school? If you didn't, what do you wish you had learned? 

And...Are you talking to your kids about money? If not, what makes it hard for you?

 

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Design Your Life, One Spending Plan at a time

Megan deBoer

Spending Plans

Are you turned off by the idea of a 'budget'? I know I am... and I know most of my clients are too. It may sound like the same medicine, just wrapped up in a fancy bottle, but a Spending Plan is philosophically very different. Let me explain...

Money touches every aspect of our lives. It is usually involved, to some degree, in helping us create a life that is meaningful. Being intentional - and conscious - about where your money WILL be spent becomes a powerful exercise in reclaiming some say.

Too often - and despite our very best intentions - we find ourselves at the end of the month (or year!) wondering: where did all that money go? (a worthy question, but one that can also keep you stuck in shame, blame, frustration, and guilt).

Instead, try a new approach. It is the 1st the month, a perfect time for a fresh start! 

Sit with your calendar and a piece of paper. After you pay your bills and address all the static expenses, look beyond to what will be happening AND what you would like to happen: happy hour with your girlfriends, a birthday party, gas & picnic money for a weekend hike, supplies for your house project, & perhaps some fall sweaters...

The things on the list may or may not have any spending associated with them (and I always, always encourage looking for creative low/no cost alternatives). BUT, if they do require money - and you forget to plan for them - the outcome could be one of two things: You do it, even if you don't have the money (it goes on a credit card or just feels crappy) OR you don't do it and you feel disappointment and frustration because this ALWAYS happens.

A 'Spending Plan' helps you see what is important to you in advance  - what's happening this month that deserves or requires your financial attention. It is also flexible... unlike our connotations of a strict 'BUDGET', this is your money and YOU can change your mind!

Where will you guide your money this month??

Master the 7 Principles

that will shift you towards Financial Breathing Room and give you the space to dream!

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