How to budget intuitively.
Before Build a life you love, I worked in the camera department in the film industry. I was freelance, so my earnings were sporadic and I was often paid late.
My chaotic cash flow made it very easy for me to hide from the truth when it came to me and money. As soon as any money hit my account it burnt a whole in my pocket.
Money always felt like water running through my hands. I’d no sooner got it than I’d spent it. I was terrible at sticking to a budget.
Budgeting always felt very restrictive to me. I would start with good intentions but end up yo-yoing between spending blow outs then austerity saving cuts till my next pay day.
Through working with Tracy (my mum) I’ve discovered a different approach to money. One that is more intuitive. Just like we can eat intuitively, I believe we can hone a money intuition.
This intuition helps us tap into how spending money feels so we can make less knee jerk spends, save for our future and enjoy life now. Very few of us are born with an inbuilt money barometer. I am still developing mine but I have found the steps below have really helped me to connect to money more.
1. Look at your money every day.
I know it can seem scary but you can’t hide under a rock when it comes to money (trust me, I’ve tried). So my first tip is to look at your money everyday. Don’t try to control it yet, just look at what money is coming in to your accounts, what bills are going out and what you are spending.
Click here to download our simple money tracking sheet that you can fill out daily.
What about Monzo and other money tracking apps?
Although they can be great, I really think it’s worth putting pen to paper. Money is already so virtual so keeping it as simple as possible makes it more understandable and helps our money intuition grow.
2. Inbox and Apps detox
Go through your inbox and phone. Unsubscribe from any email lists from brands trying to get you to spend money. Also delete any apps off your phone by brands that offer deals and send you notifications encouraging you to spend (like ASOS etc).
This step is important as it’s really hard to cultivate your money intuition when you’re being constantly bombarded with messages encouraging you to buy.
Did you know you see around 1,000+ adverts a day? That’s a lot of times to say “no thank you” to spending money!
While you can’t walk around with an eye mask on and ear plugs in, you can control your tech. So give yourself a break and remove these adverts from your life while you find your balance, you can always re-download them.
3. How does spending make you feel?
As part of understanding money better, I’ve started to pay attention to how spending money makes me feel. I have had to learn the difference between the “rush” of a new purchase vs investing in experiences and things that enhance my life everyday.
So when you’re looking at your money or about to spend, ask yourself “how does this purchase make me feel”?
There’s no judgment here as what enhances your life will be entirely unique to you. Asking yourself this question though will help you to focus on spending your money in ways that make life better rather than in ways that don’t.
One of the main challenges when it comes to connecting to your money? It’s so virtual!
Using cash to pay for things helps you to see how much you’re really spending. You could try taking out a certain amount at the beginning of the week and see how you spend it. You might spend more or less than you think. Either way it’s a great exercise.
5.Build a fun fund.
Fun funds are a great way to enjoy life now without overspending.
A fun fund is amount of money you set aside for, fun! It is a set amount of money that you can spend anyway you like on anything you enjoy but once its gone, that’s it, no more luxury spends. It is separate to your savings and other expenses.
I hope these tips give you a solid starting point for tapping into your money intuition. Let me know if you try them and how they work for you.
Remember, even though they might seem small, little steps really add up when it comes to your money. The key is just to start.