It’s almost February, so it’s time to introduce the resolutions that go with my Second Commandment: Spend Wisely (find my Twelve Commandments for 2019 here). The topic of money is one I’m burning to tackle as quickly as possible. If it weren’t for my lousy Spanish, it would’ve been the topic for January. This is not because I think money buys happiness. Or at least not necessarily so. It can buy a lot of things that make you happy though, but only when spent wisely. Gretchen Rubin, who also devoted a month of her Happiness Project1 to “buying some happiness”, put it perfectly:
“[Money] is a good servant, but a bad master.”Gretchen Rubin, The Happiness Project. Tenth Anniversary Edition.
In my case, there’s not a lot of money to serve — let alone master — me. When we moved to Gran Canaria, I decided it was the perfect opportunity for me to pursue my dream career as a creative business owner. I opened my own knitwear shop, Chain Twenty (I may talk about that another time), and to (sorta) make ends meet, I started working as a freelance text editor on the side.
The ends still don’t really meet though. Therefore, in my case, the first thing money can buy is financial independency. I think that will tremendously increase my happiness, because it buys me a worry-free (in financial terms at least) life. So, to become financially independent is my stretch goal for this year (I’ll talk about the importance of stretch goals another time). At the end of 2019, I want to be able to pay my half of our fixed expenses, save money according to some kind of savings plan, and have enough left for the fun stuff like going out for dinner, shopping, buying presents, and the occasional indulging on beauty treatments, home deco, or travels.
I like to think of myself as being very Mature when it comes to Tracking my Finances. I have the necessary spreadsheets, do some kind of budgeting and I can tell you exactly where all the money I spent in 2018 went. This is largely because I love tracking things, I love lists and I love statistics. Still, tracking my finances is often a source of irritation. I feel like I’m not doing it as efficiently as possible, which is why it takes too much time and doesn’t give me the feeling of overview, insight, and control as it should.
Therefore, I’m gonna dive into the Wonderful World of Finance Tracking and develop a system that’s easy to keep up to date, doesn’t take me my entire Saturday afternoon, and shows me what I need to know in the blink of an eye.
Daily Habit:2 to update my finance tracking spreadsheet (in whatever shape or form) every day.
In order to know how much money I can budget for what types of expenses, and how much money I can save for what purposes, I obviously need to know exactly what I make on a monthly basis now, and how much I would need to make to become financially independent.
With the help of my new-found, efficient method of finance tracking, I’ll have to create an overview of my ideal, financially independent life and calculate how much money I need to make to get there. Besides attracting more money (which I’ll discuss below), I will come up with a budgeting and savings plan that will take care of debts, upcoming expenses, and wishlist items, and will still leave room to grow my good ole savings for the future.
Daily habit (with regard to those savings for the future): to save €1 a day (= €334 by the end of 2019)(= about €13.500 when I retire)(if I stick with the habit of only €1)(which I will not, because I’m gonna be One Big Fat Financial Supastah).
This is a difficult topic, because I feel like I cannot do / work more than I already do. However, I do think I can be smarter with attracting money. I should, for example, focus more on passive income sources (such as the knitting patterns I design and can sell in perpetuity). I should put a price on collaborations with brands and content creating. And I should get my shit together (quite literally), as well as that of the boyfriend, and sell the stuff we don’t need. All of that will also build a foundation for my March (work), June (minimalism) and July (home) goals.
This month’s Book Club book is one of those people-love-it-or-hate-it books: Jen Sincero’s You Are a Badass at Making Money. Master the Mindset of Wealth. Now even though the title is a bit too dramatic for my liking, I’m very excited to read it, because it’s not necessarily about how to make money, but about how your mindset influences how much money you make. I believe strongly that ‘the universe meets you halfway’ when you want something bad enough, and I’m curious to see how Sincero applies this kind of concept to money making.
Feel free to read along and share your money projects in the comments!
Photo: Las Palmas on Black Friday