Have you ever seen those memes that show epic Pinterest “fails”?
The ones that give a picture of what the project was supposed to look like vs. how it actually came out? If not, Google it, they are freakin’ hilarious!!!
I have had my fair share of disastrous Pinterest projects and can usually boil it down to one of two problems: 1) I’m an idiot…user error 100%, or 2) I don’t have the right tools to do the project and end up trying to use “hacks” and substitutes to get it done lol.
The thing is, sometimes the tools you need to get the job done can’t be substituted or circumvented, you just gotta bite the bullet and get er’ done!
Finances are the same way, if you want to make the tactical job of managing your money effortless AND become stupid rich, then you need the right tools!
My friends and family ask all the time how the hubs and I keep our money game tight…well here it is.
My top 4 gotta have em’ money tools…let’s make your money Pinterest worthy! 🙂
1. Money Map
Money mapping is my family’s way of planning out our spending for the month. Why a map? Because it implies a trip, and on a trip you can change course or direction at any time for any reason. It reminds me that none of this is set in stone and gives me peace of mind that I don’t have to stick to some rigid arbitrary numbers on a piece of paper. My money does what I tell it to do, even if that destination changes mid-month. *sigh* So freeing.
Having a spending plan was a total game changer for our finances! We use it as a wealth-building tool, it basically allows us to see if our spending actually aligns with our investing goals for any given period of time, and if not, adjust accordingly.
There are no secret millionaire money hacks to financial freedom, just good old fashioned time tested principles. To be honest, it is relatively simple, grow the gap between your earnings and your spending and #BOOM, there it is. A money map allows you to focus solely on that wealth building principle!
It doesn’t matter if you make a million bucks or a few bucks you need a spending plan! Don’t believe me? Click here to read why you’ll never be rich unless you learn how to SPEND you money!
This a non-negotiable in our home, I can’t even remember what life was like without it…actually I do…WACK!
2. Budgeting Software
If your spending plan is your money map, then the budgeting software is your GPS! Back in the day, I remember trying to balance our checkbook in the little register that came with the checks (do people still write checks), and it was a pain in the arse. It was so tedious with those useless tiny lines! And was absolute hell to reconcile if I didn’t stay on top of it. #aintnobodygottimeforthat
Well thank goodness that technology has come so far in the last 50 years! We’ve tried many different programs over the years, but the one we ALWAYS came back to is You Need A Budget. We have used it for the last 13 years and probably always will. LOVE it!
What I love about it: (my top few, cause a sista can write a whole review on my love affair with You Need A Budget)
- Direct Import – you can link it to your bank account and it pulls transactions in automatically! No more entering EVERY.SINGLE.TRANSACTION. #byefelicia
- Links to spending plan – your bank account register is linked right to your spending plan, so it always stays up to date and you can see exactly what your money is doing (or not doing) at any given time.
- Super easy to use…trust me, if it wasn’t easy I wouldn’t stick with it. And it has a beautiful interface too.
- Reporting – easy to generate all kinds of money reports! Charts, graphs, and spreadsheets…OH MY!
- Priorities based – the framework the system is built off of truly helps you to establish a great money foundation, stop living paycheck to paycheck, and start building your wealth! #preach
3. Credit Reporting Service
It is imperative to watch your credit like a hawk these days. First off to make sure your neighbor isn’t secretly trying to become you…no fa’ reals, this has happened to me and identity theft sucks!
And second, to make sure your credit report is a true representation of your money habits via your score. Don’t be scared of your credit, its simply a method of feedback. Low score? Develop better money habits! High score? Pop ya’ collar and keep slayin’!
There are gazillions of options out there, but the two I use heavily are Credit Karma & AnnualCreditReport.com.
What I love about them:
- It’s FREE!!!
- Mobile App – Who doesn’t love a good app?!? Its simple and easy to use with a very clean interface.
- Credit Score – I use Credit Karma to keep a quick watch on the contents of my credit report and the general direction my score is trending in. I love that the scores are updated every 7 days. So you always have timely information.
- Notifications – Credit Karma notifies me if there are ANY changes on both my TransUnion and Equifax reports. #IDthievesbeware This allows me to be proactive in protecting my credit and identity…priceless.
- It’s FREE – As a consumer, you are entitled to a free credit report from each of the 3 bureaus every year. And this is the only provider that is actually approved and authorized by federal law.
- Comprehensive Reports – With Annual Credit Report, you can get your hands on your actual credit reports as filed by each of the credit bureaus…these are not compilation reports cobbled together by 3rdparty providers! While they do not provide scores, they are the best for providing your most comprehensive reports. This is where you want to go when you need more than just monitoring, when you need to verify accuracy of EVERYTHING.
- Disputes are easy – If you find inaccuracies on your report, it is very easy to dispute them right from the site.
- Single Location – Unlike other providers that may give you access to one or two reports at a time, this website gives you access to all 3 in one location.
- ***Pro tip*** – Instead of ordering all of your reports at once, you can order them sprinkled through out the year one at a time. This allows you to keep an eye on your report throughout the year from the most accurate source.
4. Debt Tracking APP
On our journey to become debt free, it was always frustrating and tedious tracking all of our different accounts on a spreadsheet (and that’s coming from an accountant)…enter my fave debt tracking app! Debt Manager (iOS Devices) is awesome sauce and hands down the best from the ones we’ve tried.
What I love about it:
- Easy and clean – Are we seeing a theme here lol? It is extremely easy to use, you can get it setup and running in about 5 minutes flat! The interface is clean and visually appealing.
- Flexible – I love that you can choose whatever method you want to pay down your debt, snowball, avalanche, or even create a custom order.
- Snowflakes – One of my favorite features is the ability to add what they call a “snowflake”, or an extra payment to a debt if you happen to receive some extra cash. This can be set as a one off occurrence or given a repeating frequency.
- Whatif’s – In the app you can run scenarios to see how a situation will affect your debt payoff date, interest paid or saved, etc. And you can do this without losing your current strategy.
- Progress Bar – I am addicted to watching my progress towards hitting my goals…be it weight loss, ounces of water drank a day, step counting, whatever! So I’m ecstatic that they have multiple ways for me to monitor my progress…charts, graphs, numbers…its all there! Yaaasss. Super motivating stuff my friend.
- Loan calculators – Loan calculators are included right in the app, so convenient.
To be fair, we all know that money management is not on the top of anyone’s fun crap to do list…everyone wants to spend it, no one wants to watch it! But if you have plans to be stupid rich one day (I know I do), it better become one of your fave activities.
When you have the proper tools tho, its so much easier #nonfactor. Imagine trying to eat soup with a fork…exactly, hot mess…literally lol. Having the right tools make all of the difference. And in time, it becomes outrageously fun as you watch your net worth and bank account get fat!
What are some of your favorite can’t live without money management tools? Hit me up in the comments below!