Tracking Money to Transform Your Finances

When I first started Ride Free Fearless Money in late 2015, my finances were neat and tidy but lean: I knew what to do to manage and track money as an entrepreneur and freelancer, but to be real — I didn’t have a lot to work with. I hadn’t yet learned to *make* money.

About a year into figuring that out, in late 2016, I created my first net position snapshot, a simple list of accounts with money and debts owed.

When I stumbled across that snapshot a few weeks ago, here’s my hot take, and exactly how you can do what I did and start transforming your finances, too:

I can not stress enough how important the following simple approach is:

  1. Get the data. How much revenue does that freelance or project bring in, and at what cost in time and expenses? How much money DO you owe, at what interest rates? How much money IS in that old lil retirement account? How much IS your paycheck, exactly and where precisely is it going? This is one of the prep exercises I suggest all my coaching clients do before we meet – it’s MAJORLY useful!!
  2. Prioritize the problems. Which change will you work on first? Just literally pick one thing to start with. Like I say in the video above, for me throwing money into retirement became a huge priority once I got the reality check of seeing my mom retire on a measly fixed income. I focused with the highest-level question I could: how can I increase the amount of money I’ll have available in 20-30 years? That lead me to try all kinds of solutions, and to a 5x in retirement savings in 3 years, among other things 🙂
  3. Check on your progress. This is the beauty of a snapshot — you can go back to the old one, or run a new one and see if what you’re trying is working. Now, I use the app Personal Capital since it’s simple, updates the snapshot for me, and it’s free — if you use my affiliate link we both get $20 🙂 — and I think there’s tons of value in a simple spreadsheet or handwritten document.
  4. Take the next step. From comparing your snapshots, you’ll see what’s changed — and you can then decide what goal to work on next. Or, you might notice no changes and then you can course-correct for what hadn’t changed as you hoped. Transforming your financial reality is a time-bound process of testing and learning, pals.

What you give attention you give intention: if you want to take control and have a plan with your money, give your money quality attention.

Are you kicking off the year thinking about making your finances better? Here’s a few other ways I can help you, along with the exercise I suggest above:

  • Read my Money Steps Guide, and see if the prompts lead you to understand the step you’re at and to choose a next money objective to work on
  • Join an upcoming Money Like you Mean To cohort to find and focus on your next step!
  • If you’re thinking about trying to earn more money, take time to learn what others make for similar work. Ask around, read salary guides, and don’t be shy — learning these answers can seriously change your life (at least, they did for me).
  • Consider if coaching is right for you, if after you’ve created your snapshot you have a lot of decisions to make (if, say, you’re a freelancer or small business owner and have a lot going on with your money on several levels!)
  • Read either of my favorite money books: Your Money or Your Life, by Vicki Robin, or You are a Badass at Making Money by Jen Sincero.
  • Check out the upcoming Ride Free workshops and come to one 🙂