Wednesday, November 25, 2015

You Don't HAVE to Budget Your Money!

Welcome to the Finance Gym Action Plan for a Better Life with Money. I'm Stacey Powell, and I'm here to help you have a healthier life with your money.

And I'm kinda happy about today's video because I'm going to explain to you today, why you don't have to budget. You know of course a bunch of you will have to budget, but here's the thing... When I wrote this book, I thought long and hard about where to put the budgeting chapter. Part of me didn't want to put it right up front because it scares people off. And if your one of those people that it scares off then I want you to listen really carefully to today's video.

The other reason I didn't necessarily want to put it right up front is that budgeting isn't necessarily the most important thing in the whole book. Saving and earning in many ways is far more important.

The truth is, though; budgeting is really key for a lot of people. But if you're one of those people that absolutely hate it, and you're never going to make it to chapter 3 because you're going to stall out in the budgeting work in chapter 2 then I've got really great news for you … skip it. I want you to skip it.

I want you to turn the book to chapter 3. Leave the budgeting behind. And I want you to attack, with fervor, all of the other chapters in the book. And if I let you out of doing chapter 2 you have to promise that you do all those other chapters with fervor.

Because here's the thing, if you work on savings, getting out of debt, increasing your earnings, all the work in the other chapters, you might get to the end to the end of the book and discover that you don't really need a budget because your money is now good.

You also might discover that, alright, maybe you do really need to do the budgeting work. But the thing is by the time you get to it, by the time you circle back to it from doing all the other work you will have built some money muscles that you didn't have before. And so budgeting isn't going to be as hard as you thought it might be.

So if you're one of those people that aren't going to finish my book because you hate the idea of budgeting, then I want you to jump ahead to Chapter 3, Building Peace of Mind, which is arguably the most important chapter in the book.

And I also want you to watch the next video in the series because I teach an important component about how to get away without budgeting, how to build your finances so that budgeting becomes much more simple.

And as always I don't want you to do this alone, come on over to Facebook and join our private Facebook group, Team Do Better, or join one of our Finance Boot Camps at and sign up for the YouTube series, subscribe so that you know when the next video goes up.

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

How to Manage Your Money Action Plan Part 5 - Intention

Welcome to the Finance Gym Action Plan for a better life with money video series. My name is Stacey Powell, and I am here to help you have a healthier life and a happier life with your money.

If you're watching the video series while you're doing the book I want to give you a big, huge congratulations. Because today's video is the very end of chapter 1. and so if you made it to the end of chapter 1 huge kudos to you for starting out on this journey and making it there.

And as a little treat, at the end of every chapter I do something, that when I was a kid I thought was incredibly fun. I loved Mad Libs when I was a kid, before I decided I could actually be a writer, it made it so simple to just fill the story in. So I included something like that at the end of every chapter, and that's what we're going to do today.

You're going to tell a little story about your path with money. Why are you reading this book? What'd you learn in the first chapter? And what are you hopes and your commitments as you move forward in the book?
So the first question is, It's my intention to have a better life with money. My hopes and dreams for that better life are …. You fill in the blank.

Alright, I'm going to sit here for a second. I want you to grab a pencil, and I want you to actually write that down.

Did you do it? No really like if you didn't do it go get a pencil and write it down. Hit the little pause button, I want you to write that down. I want you to be really clear with yourself about why you're taking a few minutes to watch this video. Why your taking time to read this book.

What are your hopes and dreams? Because if you're just doing this so you can learn something about your money, that's not motivation enough. Money is the thing that fuels our hopes and dreams. So if you're not clear about that, this is a great time to get clear.

So a couple of other things - you can turn to chapter 1 at the end and fill this out. But if you don't have the book, I'm going to let you know what a few of the other “fill in the blank” sentences are.

So when you were sketching out the big picture that was in the last few videos, I realized that the areas I most need to focus on are … fill in the blank.

And the other thing I realized was, Thank goodness I'm already a rock star at x. What are you a rock star at? We're all good in some area of money, some little area for some of us. But we're all really good at something with our money.

So what did you see? As you worked through parts of looking at the big picture.

And last, but not least, to get healthier I'm going to commit to working on my money. How many times a month? How many times a week? For the next, how long?

I want you to write that down too, and then I want you to tell someone. You can put it in the comments below on YouTube, that's fine. You can join our Team Do Better group and let us know. And I'll check in on you from time to time.

If you tell me how much you want to commit to working on. I promise I'll check in with you. God knows, I could not do this alone when I started doing this. And I want to help you get better with your money.

As always, no way you're alone, so come over to Facebook and join our Team Do Better Group. Or join one of our Finance boot camps. You can find those at or subscribe to our YouTube channel and keep watching these videos.  See you next time.

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

How to Choose a Recordkeeping System - Part 4

Welcome to The Finance Gym Action Plan for a Better Life with Money video series. If you’re ready to not just know better but to do better with your money, you’ve come to the right place.

Today’s topic, one of my favorites, recordkeeping. It’s actually not really one of my favorites. I like recordkeeping. But given a choice on a Saturday, do I want to go hang out on a river, go for a bike ride or do recordkeeping? I think the choice is pretty obvious.

But what it came down to for me is, “Do I want a peaceful, healthy, successful financial life?” Well, that’s what I wanted and the conclusion I came to is I had to do more recordkeeping than I was doing.

For many of you, you’re probably going to have to too. Not for forever but definitely for a while. So I’m going to talk a little bit about recordkeeping today and I’m going to show you the super fun way of recordkeeping to just give you an example of what might work for you.

I get asked the question all the time. What’s the best recordkeeping system? What should I be using? Well, there’s no one answer. It’s just not that way.

So my answer is, “What recordkeeping system do you think is the most fun?” If your answer is none, “Well then, what recordkeeping system do you hate the least?” because the truth is you just have to pick something you’re going to use and whether that’s Quicken or Mint or Excel or a butcher paper or just writing it down the old-fashioned way in a ledger, I’ve seen so many people be successful in all of those modalities.

You really just have to pick which one is going to be – maybe not fun. But you know, why not try to make it fun? So this is the thing that Cassie did to make hers fun. She was a client of – in our finance boot camps and very creative and there was no way she was going to put everything of hers in Quicken.

So she said, “I don’t know. I’m going to put this butcher paper up on the wall,” where her kids could see it in the dining room and start keeping track of when money came in and when money went out so that she could get a feel for it.

So what I’m going to show you is extremely simplistic, $4000 something every single month. By the end of the year, it’s very easy to see she has brought in $48,000 and she was kind of writing down what she had spent money on but just the big swaths, nothing specific. Who cares if you spent $3 at Starbucks?

What’s really important is at the end of the month where you made $4200, did you spend $4600 or did you spend $3800? Those are really the most important questions. So she did the same thing with this blue line here as her spending and you can see like most Americans, she ends up kind of living paycheck to paycheck all month long or all year long.

Some months are different. Some months are better than others. Some months are worse. Then the same thing with tracking where your debt is. Take a look at the beginning of your year. So for her, she had $49,000 worth of debt and if you’re living paycheck to paycheck and not really putting a dent in it, which is what she was doing, she can end up with $49,000 of debt at the end of the year.

But if she can shave this blue line down and start tracking the reduction of her debt, you can draw it up here and see it. In a lot of ways, I think this is almost more valuable to do this where you can see it.

Last but not least, tracked her savings. So she didn’t have any savings at all. She was totally living paycheck to paycheck. But what she did have was retirement which is a form of savings. So $35,000 in her 401(k) and it was just inching up. By the end of the year, she’s at $38,000.

So there’s nothing rocket science about this. It doesn’t take that long. I pulled that together and drew that in less than five minutes. It will take you just a little bit longer but not all that much longer and here’s the thing. Just having that up there, isn’t that a lot better information than you had five minutes ago?

Are you going to get better information by using an Excel spreadsheet or a Quicken software? Absolutely. But is having that much greater detailed information going to impact the changes that you’re trying to make? Maybe. I think that remains to be seen as you kind of move through the work that we’re doing here together. For some of you, you’re going to have to drill into the details.

But for a lot of you, this big picture view is really all you need to do. So get your colored pens out, some butcher paper and have some fun. As always you don’t have to do this alone. In one of the chapters in the book Date Night with Your Money, I talk about the importance of grouping together with your community or an accountability partner.

Come be a part of our community. Subscribe to our YouTube videos or join us over on our Facebook private group, The Finance Gym Action Plan.

Wednesday, November 4, 2015

Managing Your Money with These 5 Numbers - Part 3

Welcome to The Finance Gym Action Plan for a Better Life with Money video series. If you’re ready to not just know better but to do better with your money, you’ve come to the right place.

Today we’re going to be talking about the big picture again. In our last video we talked about the big picture but we wrote about it in sentences. Today we’re going to get those pencils out and put some numbers down. But for those of you that are number-phobic, I promise today we’re just going to do five simple numbers.

If you’re following along in the book, turn to chapter 1, page 11 and for those of you that haven’t gotten the book yet, just get a piece of paper and a pencil out and write these five rows down. You just start with “earning” and then we’re going to subtract “spending” and then the third row is going to be “difference”. The fourth row will be “debt” and the fifth row is “savings”.

What I want all of you to do is to think about your last year, either your last 12 months or the last calendar year, whichever is easiest and I want you to estimate. We’re not looking for exact here. What did you earn in the last year? That’s earning everywhere, in your businesses, in your job, in your investments.

Then I want you to write down what you spent in the last year and then of course the difference. Whatever that difference is, whether it’s positive or negative, I want you to divvy that up. Did you increase your savings with anything that was left over or if you had a negative amount, did you grow your debt? Was there some mix happening with both? So some of you, you’re like writing those numbers down right now. You guys are great. You’re all good. Some others of you are like, “How in the world would I know those numbers?”

So for some of you, you might need to pause this video and when you do that, I want you to set a timer for 15 minutes and spend no more than 15 minutes going and gathering that information to write those five numbers down.

Now again, estimate it. If 15 minutes ends and you still don’t have those numbers, then just do it to like the nearest 50,000. All of us can do it to the nearest 50,000. Well, most of us. But those people aren’t watching this video. Just do as close as you can and take a look at those numbers.

So here’s the thing. How much time did it take you to pull those four numbers and do that simple little calculation down? How much energy did it take and how comfortable are you with your final answers?

There’s a trick to this exercise. When I have an introductory meeting with potential financial coaching clients, they always want to know what information they can pull together to bring to that first meeting and I always tell them I would really rather you didn’t prepare and then I asked the questions that I just asked you and how readily someone can answer those questions tells me a lot about where they need to begin on their path to making their money life better.

So if this was a challenging exercise for you and you wanted to pull your hair out, you might not like my answer. My answer is you’re going to have to watch that next video on recordkeeping and you’re going to have to make a little bit of commitment to change your recordkeeping format.

I promise you I’m going to make it as painless and easy as you can possibly do. But you’re probably going to have to do something a little different and if you’re one of those people where those numbers just roll off of your head or they were at your fingertips, whatever recordkeeping you’re doing, even if it’s simply just recordkeeping in your head, you’re good enough. You don’t need to do anymore unless you really want to because you already know what your numbers are. You have your answers.

So thanks for walking through the first time of delving in, writing numbers down. I swear we’re not going to do this every time and as always, I don’t want you to do this alone. If you would like support, please join our community by signing up on our list at or head on over to Facebook and join our Finance Gym Action Group or head on over to Facebook and join our Finance Gym Action Group, "Team Do Better". Have a great day.