Being serene on a daily basis also means money. It is not an end in itself but it can buy you freedom and serenity. Discover how with 3 essential habits to manage your money efficiently and stay Zen.
Managing money is often considered as a boring and complicated activity.
There are certainly more pleasant activities.
But it can be simple and quick, while being terribly useful and beneficial.
Why is that?
Money is certainly not a goal in itself. It is only a tool.
And when well managed and used properly, it allows you to secure your daily life, to prepare your future and that of your family, to give yourself and your family moments and gifts without thinking too much about it.
In other words, managing your money properly buys you freedom and serenity. I don’t know of a more useful and beneficial purchase.
And you can do this without stress. Simply by applying to your daily life 3 essential habits to be serene with your money and finances.
These habits have been essential in helping me get back in control of my finances. And I still use them today for easy, simple and efficient financial management.
Keep track of your expenses from day to day
I use a small notebook, very thin, in A7 format, that is 74 * 105 mm, to note all my expenses as soon as I make them.
Such a small notebook is not cumbersome and can easily be slipped anywhere, in a jacket or trouser pocket, in a bag or satchel.
As soon as I make an expense, I write it down in detail:
- the date and sometimes the time
- the amount
- the means of payment (credit card, cheque, cash, bank transfer, …)
- the purpose of the expenditure (morning coffee, shopping, petrol, …)
If necessary, I will provide additional information.
Why do this?
- I’m sure I’m not forgetting any expenses
- I’m sure I have an up-to-date budget…
- I’m really aware of all my expenses, even the smallest ones.
There is no better way to (re)take control of your finances. It’s much more efficient than simply going through your bank statements.
And afterwards, it’s the most efficient way to keep your finances and budget in the nails.
A little aside on small expenses…
Worrying about small expenses may seem counterproductive.
Intuitively, one would tend to worry only about the larger expenses. They are indeed a source of savings to be considered.
But small expenditures should not be neglected. Their interest lies in their multitude and repetition.
For example, 2 subscriptions at £5 monthly each and 2 monthly magazines at £10 each, that represents £360 per year. That is as much as you could save on one of your insurance policies, a more important and only annual expense. Without having to wait for renewal in a few months.
Manage and follow a budget
More boring and off-putting than managing your personal finances?
Yes, it is possible: manage and follow your budget!
At least that’s how it’s most often perceived. However, one doesn’t go without the other. In fact, managing and monitoring your budget is the basis for managing your money well and building up your wealth and getting rich (the idea is not to get rich just for the simple pleasure of accumulating money, the idea is to secure your daily life, your future and those of your loved ones).
So, yes, you should have, manage and follow a budget.
The most complicated thing is to build up, to create your budget. And again, everything is relative. I’m sure you can find more complicated things to do 🙂
Once your budget is created, you still have to follow it. That is to say, make sure that you don’t get out of the box too much or that your budget always corresponds to your daily life.
If this happens too often, make your budget evolve. Because it is your budget that fits your life, not the other way around.
That’s where daily expense reports come in handy: they give you a secure, factual basis.
But do you have to follow your budget every day?
You could. Or at least you could at least consolidate your day’s expenses into your budget. But it’s also a way to get a grip on how you manage your money.
I suggest you do this once a week. That’s what I do as part of my tracking and weekly reviews. It’s very quick and very simple. And it provides a certain security and peace of mind.
Paying yourself first
Becoming aware of your expenses and creating your budget will help you reduce your expenses. Then regularly monitoring your budget will ensure that you have a small surplus every month.
Don’t wait until the end of the month to ask yourself what you’re going to do with this little nest egg. It’s a blow to see it disappear without really realizing it.
Cool, I still have £400 on my account, I can afford this purchase!
So, yes, you’re right to afford this purchase and give yourself this and other pleasures. You’ve earned that money, you’ve also earned the right to indulge and relax.
But if you act like this too often, you risk not reaping the fruits of your efforts and not being able to secure your daily life and your future.
In fact, such pleasures should be included in your budget to get the best of both worlds:
- pleasing you without guilt
- save and invest without frustration
The solution for not wasting your monthly surplus?
Withdraw it from your current account as soon as possible, as soon as your salary, or any other income, has fallen.
Pay yourself first, that’s it.
Paying yourself first means withdrawing money from your current account to build up your precautionary savings and investments.
By doing so, you get the most out of your efforts and your daily life.
A precautionary fund?
A precautionary fund is a pool of savings that is quickly available to deal with the unexpected and hard knocks. A car or boiler breakdown is no longer a financial headache: you can finance the repair or purchase without putting yourself in danger.
To keep your personal finances under control, while getting the maximum benefits and advantages and keeping it simple, I advise you to follow these 3 habits:
- Keep track of your day-to-day expenses
- Manage and track your budget
- Pay yourself first
By applying these 3 habits, you know you can:
- meet your expenses for the coming month…
- meet unexpected expenses
- to please and please you without risk, guilt or frustration
- prepare and finance your future, your projects or your children’s studies
If that’s not being serene on a daily basis, I don’t know what is!