Budgeting Tools for Those Who Are Scared of Budgeting

No matter what stage of life you’re in, budgeting is something that is essential but sometimes daunting. If you ask me, I put off my budgeting for far too long. However, now that I budget regularly it has been such a positive addition to my life and has reduced my stress immensely. It is extremely helpful to have tools that you can utilize to help you track your finances and spending, especially if you are saving for something in particular or trying to pay off debt.

Different tools will work for different people, and it is important to find one that is easy to use which you know will last over time and not just for a season. Once budgeting becomes a regular part of your life, you’ll never look back! Here we will compile some of the best budgeting tools that can be utilized by anyone, no matter how experienced or inexperienced they are when it comes to budgeting.

Tool One: Budgeting Applications

Most of us spend a lot of time on our phone anyway, so why not download an app that can help us budget and keep our finances straight. There are many different budget apps on the market; it is just a matter of which is best for you. My personal favorite app for budgeting is HomeBudget. However Mint and Clarity are also top favorites in the app store. I’ll explain a little bit about each and why they might work for you!



HomeBudget

HomeBudget works for my husband and I as we link our bank accounts to the app as well as to both of our accounts. We are able to create a shared budget and then simply add in each expense into categories we’ve already created such as “gas” or “groceries.” There is a free version of this app, but we pay for the upgraded one to get all of the features. My personal favorite aspect is that you can roll over budget money to the following month, which helps me aspire to save for big purchases. It’s fun to watch your money grow as you start to spend on things you budget for rather than just impulse buys.

Simple Ways to Organize your Life to Make More Money

Mint.com

Mint refers to itself as the “free money manager and financial tracker app”. The makers behind TurboTax are responsible for this app, so you know that it will be effective and user-friendly. Mint allows you to track your bills. They also allow you to add in where you spent money and how much you are able to save. Mint is also linked to your bank accounts and allows you to keep track of their balances. Lastly, it allows you to see your net worth. This is a unique feature to help you see where you are with your finances.

Clarity Money

Clarity follows a similar model to many budget apps. They do this in the sense that it allows you to track and manage your expenses and begin to save. The app also has a very useful feature. This feature allows you to see your monthly subscriptions you may have forgotten about (hello, Netflix!) and cancel them if you realize you are not using them. There may be some subscriptions you’ve forgotten about, and Clarity helps you see this. You can also view your credit score on the app and find credit card offers that are based on your spending habits tracked in the app.

Tool Two: Excel Spreadsheets

For those that are computer savvy, this is a free way to track your finances and budget from your computer. There are many templates available online to download and modify (I personally looked at Pinterest and found tons for FREE!). Depending on where you are in life, your budget will be different from year to year. Excel will allow you to change these sections and dollar amounts as well as create charts to track your spending habits over time.

Budgeting Tools for Those Who Are Scared of Budgeting

Tool Three: Paper Budget Planners

Some people prefer to keep their budget planning “old-school” with the old pen and paper method. There are so many printable templates to print out and keep on the fridge, in your planner, or in a binder. This method will help you keep all your bills compiled in one tidy place. Paper budget planners can also be used if you have kids that have an allowance. The binder can help you teach them to budget in an easy and effective way.

Tool Four: Bullet Journaling

If you are a regular reader of Jihi Elephant, you know that bullet journaling is the organization method of choice! Check out the free resources in the Resource Library. In the library, you can get some ideas on how to incorporate finances and budgeting into your bullet journal. A “bills” page will allow you to keep track of bills you need to pay, and you can easily check them off as it is completed. Talk about easy – this method allows you to have your budgeting all in one place with your to-do lists, goals, and everything else!

Remember, it’s never too late to start where you are. Happy budgeting!

More on Budgeting

What Your Myers-Briggs Personality Type Means for Your Wallet

Whether you believe in personality typing or not, tests and types are used quite frequently to build teams at work, hire the perfect candidate, or even determine romantic connections on a first date! Myers-Briggs personality types are widely popular and assign types such as “ENFP” or “ISTJ” to generalize how a person like to interact with others and how they perceive the world around them. If you don’t know your MBTI, or Myers-Briggs Personality Type, you can take quick a version of the test here.

So how does personality have anything to do with how you manage money? Well, since our personality determines how we take in information, analyze risks, and make decisions, it has a lot to do with our relationship with our money! Knowing your money tendencies can help you make better financial decisions when it comes to spending, saving, and investing.

Whether you’re an impulse spender or a frugal saver, there are always ways to improve your money moves. Mint created this infographic to highlight each Myers-Briggs personality type and ways they can reach success both personally and financially.

This post was written in collaboration with Caroline Pitarque Johnson of Line Writing Co. Collaborative writing means that while I have contributed to this post and edited its content and formatting, I am not its original author. Want to guest post for Jihi Elephant? Learn more here



How to Make More Money and Organize Your Life

You’ve probably read the title of this post and thought, ‘but making money is anything but simple.’ This is the mindset that a lot of people tend to have, and it is the very reason those people don’t make more money. If you’re looking to increase your bank balance and have a little more money to spend on yourself, check out these simple ways to organize your life to make more money.

Change Your Mindset

The first and most important thing, which so many people fail at when it comes to making more money, is changing their mindset. They think it’s the least important because you’re not actively doing work to make more money. However, the reason we are not making the money we want to make is that we are letting our limiting beliefs around money run the show. It is your responsibility to change this mindset. Start working on them now, as they can take a while to change. Affirm the things you want to believe regularly, and do your best to stop negative thought patterns in their tracks. Watch all your ‘I am’ statements. If you constantly say, ‘I am broke’ you’re reinforcing that belief.

Are Your Finances Ruining Your Life?

Invest A Small Amount of Money Each Month

If you want to become wealthy, then you need to invest a small amount of money each month. Figuring out where to do that can be the hardest part, but some apps and advisors can help you if you just want to get started. You don’t even need a lot of money to begin! You’ve probably heard of cryptocurrency. Nobody expected it to blow up the way it has over the last few years! There are different platforms you can explore and learn more. Have a look at Coinbase vs. Kraken to see if investing in cryptocurrency is right for you. Another way to invest is through banks and investment firms. I use Aspiration for my investing. Aspiration have various investment accounts to choose from and the best part is that you can set it to automatically invest for you! I invest $10 a month and have already seen gains!

Utilize Passive Income

In an ideal world, we would not have to put in hours and hours of work make a lot of money. People are already doing this with passive income. You can make money passively in numerous ways, these ways could include:

  • Becoming an affiliate
  • Writing an eBook
  • Making YouTube videos
  • Drop shipping

These techniques may take a little work upfront, but soon enough, you won’t have to do much at all to make money.

Are Your Finances Ruining Your Life?

Rent Out Your Home

If you’re going away for a while, you could use a site like Airbnb to advertise your home and make some cash. Alternatively, you could consider renting a spare room, or even just your driveway space. Keep your mind open to all the ways you can utilize things you already have to make some extra cash!

Start A Side Hustle That You Enjoy

If you enjoy doing something, such as voice over work, tutoring, knitting blankets or creating websites, you could start a side hustle. This could be a great way to top up your income while enjoying yourself. I started my blog because of a love for writing, bullet journaling, and organization. With my blog following, I have been fortunate enough to open an Etsy shop where I sell products that I create which interest my readers. Check out my stationery and planners over at the Jihi Elephant shop!

hand painted, hand drawn, stationery

Sell Your Old Stuff

Now is the time of year everyone is cleaning out their closet and homes, getting some spring cleaning in. Go from room to room and try to sell all of the things you never use or the clothes that you never wear. Advertise your stuff on eBay, VarageSale, Vinted, or another selling platform. Facebook can even be used as a selling site these days! Do some research and see if your area has a Facebook page dedicated to selling stuff! If all else fails, try a garage or yard sale out!

Have more great ways to make money on the side? Let me know in the comments below and your ideas might be featured!

This post was written in collaboration. Collaborative writing means that while I have contributed to this post and edited its content and formatting, I am not its original author. By posting this content on my blog, I receive financial compensation. Want to guest post for Jihi Elephant? Learn more here  

What is the Minimalist 50:20:30 Budget System (and how to use it)

The 50:20:30 Budget is gaining popularity, particularly among minimalist populations. This budget helps you break down your goal spending into 3 categories making it easier to keep to your budget than a budget which is broken down into 5 or more groups. Keep reading to learn more about the 50:20:30 budget and how to use it!

This post may contain affiliate links

What is the 50:20:30 Budget?

The 50:20:30 budget is a simplified budget utilizing 3 categories: essentials, savings, and personal. I have been using this strategy on and off since I graduated high school and it has been the most effective budget strategy I have used yet! It is not only easy to use and simple but encompasses all possible spending without much categorical overlap to worry about. There are no excuses.

50 | Essential Spending

The first rule or spending category is essential spending. This category refers to your bills and any other expenditures that cannot be avoided and occurs regularly. This might include topics such as housing, utilities, groceries, transportation, insurance, electricity, internet, phone bill, etc. These bills do not include pleasure subscriptions, or anything extravagant and unnecessary. Remember that your essential spending is half of your income, so spend it wisely!

20 | Savings

The second budget rule is that 20% of your income is to be saved. This might include a savings account, emergency fund, retirement fund, or it might go toward paying off debt. Building up a savings is incredibly essential in case of emergencies, debt issues, retirement, etc. I can personally attest that my savings have saved me, financially, on several occasions! If you aren’t currently saving money regularly, open a savings account and get started today!

30 | Personal Spending

The final rule of 50:20:30 budgeting is that you get to spend 30% on anything else. This includes all recreational or entertainment purchases. This money can be set aside to go on vacation; it can also include clothing, hobbies, home decorating, gym membership, recreational, and entertainment expenditures. Here is where you can go crazy (so long as you remain within your budget) because this category is all you. Whatever your heart desires, this is the part of your budget you utilize to get it. Be responsible, but so long as you remain within 30%, you’re golden!

piggy bank

How do I use the 50:20:30 Budget?

What makes the 50:20:30 budget so successful is the fact that it is minimal and simple. It’s easy to remember the rules, and it’s easier to keep track of, regardless of how you track your spending. My favorite way to track my spending is through Mint. Mint connects to all of my accounts, allows me to set my budget, savings goals, and even pay my bills. I highly recommend checking out Mint, its free!

Another great way to use this budget is to keep an excel spreadsheet of your spending or keep a written record in your planner or journal. Just knowing what the budget is, is not enough, you must now track your spending and be sure to adhere to the budgeting rules.

Get started on your budget, I’d love to hear how well it works for you!

elizabeth signature

5 Ways to Ensure a Harmonious Home

We each have a unique idea of what our perfect home environment looks like and the aesthetics get a lot of attention – but what about how home feels from an emotional perspective?  Our home affects our mental and physical health a lot more than we realize; it’s an imperative aspect of our lives and a large component of the first base of Maslow’s triangle regarding human need psychology.

The saying “tidy house tidy mind” describes this well, but the concept shouldn’t be limited to cleanliness or home organization.  Like the engine room of a ship, some things need to be taken care of to ensure a consistent feeling of harmony within your home – as niggling concerns which are left unattended can quickly snowball.

This article looks at how to ensure a consistent feeling of “home” by taking care of some of the less glamorous ‘behind the scenes’ tasks that are necessary to create a harmonious home environment that allows you to nurture your mental, physical and emotional health.

Are Your Finances Ruining Your Life?

1. Budgeting & Bills

Keeping up with household bills can be stressful if money is tight, but you want your home to feel like your castle – a sanctuary from financial stress – not a situation where each time you go past the mailbox you dread receiving another bill.  The best advice is to set up an affordable payment plan with each of your creditors to lessen the financial stress or even better, look into no interest credit cards that you can transfer existing debt onto and pay off each month within the interest-free period.

2. Gardening

If you come home each day to an overgrown garden, paint peeling off the fences, and rubble in the yard – it can create a feeling of chaos.  Though you don’t need a white picket fence with begonias growing in the garden, however, a garden that feels “well kept” will help you feel calm; like your life is in order.

Self-Love Ideas

3. Organization

Do you ever find yourself searching for car keys or having to empty out your closet to find the outfit you’re looking for?  If you live in physical clutter and chaos, it affects your mental state and creates an inner sense of clutter and chaos too.  Keep things organized within your home so that you can feel more at peace and calm within yourself.

4. Clean & Tidy

Keeping your home clean and tidy sounds simple enough, but often, this can snowball out of control when left for a few days, becoming such a chaotic mess, that you don’t know where to begin.  The trick here is to either employ a cleaner that undertakes a moderately deep clean, each week, or for you to do it yourself, little and often.

5. Neighbors

No matter how hard you try, not everyone is getting to get on with you, and some people are just plain difficult.  However, if you can get on with your neighbors you can build a sense of warmth and community between you. This warmth will pay dividends on facilitating the feeling of “home” you crave.

custom bujo ad

In summary, your home is there to provide you with a place of harmony that supports you throughout the storms of your life, yet it’s important to maintain your home to receive the harmony you deserve from your home.

This post was written in collaboration. Collaborative writing means that while I have contributed to this post and edited its content and formatting, I am not its original author. By posting this content on my blog, I receive financial compensation. Want to guest post for Jihi Elephant? Learn more here

5 Ways to Ensure a Harmonious Home

Are Your Finances Ruining Your Life?

There are a lot of things in life that can cause you stress. Everything from work to family to trying to keep up some semblance of a social life. However, there’s no doubt that one thing causes more stress for the vast majority of people than just about anything else. That thing is, of course, money. Now, whether we like it or not, most of our lives are ruled by money, but if you’re struggling in any way when it comes to your finances, that can start to have a seriously negative impact on your life. It can impact your general well-being, your relationships, even your health! To prevent that from happening, here are a few ways to stop your finances from ruining your life and get organized.

Deal with Your Debts

Few things create a bigger knot in the pit of many people’s stomachs than the word debt. It’s one of those things that can make it feel as though you’ve failed as a person. However, it’s important to remember that debt is just a part of modern life that everyone must learn to manage. Of course, if your debts start to pile up then that can be pretty scary. Luckily, there are ways to deal with it. Consolidating your debts with a single loan can be incredibly useful. Check out this debt consolidation loan calculator to figure out how much you could save on a month-by-month basis. Solving debt with more debt might seem backward, but it helps only to have one payment that you need to make each month.

Are Your Finances Ruining Your Life?

Curb Your Spending

Here’s the harsh truth that a lot of people want to ignore: most of us spend too much money. We end up spending far more than we can actually afford because we don’t keep track of what we’re spending it on. You might think that you’re frugal with your money since you don’t make any huge purchases but the truth is it’s the little things that empty your bank account. A coffee here, a little souvenir there, and soon those little purchases have added up so quickly that your account is empty. Make sure that you keep track of all your spending so that you don’t end up wasting all your money.

Are Your Finances Ruining Your Life?

Set Up a Budget for Healthy Finances

Do you know what your monthly income and outgoings are? Well, if you don’t then it’s no surprise that you’re worrying about money. By setting up a clear budget, you can keep track of all your spending as well as figure out where you can cut back and save money on a regular basis. One really easy way to track your money and create a budget is through the use of mint.com. Mint gathers your financial information from your bank accounts, billing accounts, loan accounts and more to help you create a doable and accurate budget as well as savings goals. Mint even offers a more centralized way to pay your bills.

One of the most important things to remember is that money often only has as much power as you give it. Sure, there are plenty of things in life that you cannot do without money, but if you spend all your time thinking about it, then you’re never going to be able to see the value in anything else. Try to adjust the way you think about money and put less of your energy into obsessing over it.

Gained control over your finances by creating an accurate, do-able budget through Mint.com!

Dealing With Financial Stress

Do you ever find yourself checking your bank account and immediately feeling tense or stressed? That’s because money is a huge source of anxiety in our lives. So if you’re anxiously awaiting your next paycheck, don’t worry—you’re part of the 72% of Americans who feel stressed about money.

Stress and anxiety can manifest itself in our bodies in many different ways. Muscle tension, poor digestion, and high blood pressure are just a few. People with high debt are also more likely to struggle with mental health issues like depression.
Thankfully, there are some self-care actions we can take daily to help alleviate money-related anxiety. From an Epsom-salt bath to meditation sessions and a tall glass of kombucha, this infographic provides self-care inspiration and money mantras for a peaceful and prosperous life.

how-to-combat-money-stress

This post was written in collaboration. Collaborative writing means that while I have contributed to this post and edited its content and formatting, I am not its original author. By posting this content on my blog, I receive financial compensation. Want to write a post for Jihi Elephant? Learn more here


Are Your Finances Ruining Your Life?

4 Steps to A More Organized Financial Life

When it comes to your financial life,  you need to get organized. If you lose this organization, you could find you are getting yourself into a difficult situation without even knowing it. So, in this post, we are going to be looking at four steps that you can take to have a more organized financial life.

#1 | Draw Up or Revise Your Budget

First of all, you should make a detailed budget of all your incoming and outgoing money, as thoroughly as you can. Note that your budget is a flexible thing, and once you make it, it is not set in stone. After all, there are all kinds of circumstances that could befall you. So, you need to be ready for all the financial events that could happen at any point during your day to day life. A good budget is one that can be adapted whenever you need to.

Be sure you have a budget all figured out before you move on. Try using Mint.com to organize your finances and track your money automatically and securely.

4 Steps to A More Organized Financial Life

#2 | Keep Bills in One Place

Even though most bills are now handled electronically, you need to make sure that they are all being sent to the same place, and that you keep them together. This way, you can stop things from getting confused and chaotic. You should also highly consider paying your bills as soon as you receive them. The last thing that you need in your financial life is to pay unnecessary late fees and fines because you forgot about it.

#3 | Sort Out Your Tax Situation

If you only work for a single employer, your taxes are usually relatively straightforward. But if you run your own business, work as a freelancer, or you receive any other forms of income, you need to be much more organized. You may need a 1099 form 2016 on which to declare everything. You need to be thorough with taxes, so you don’t pay any additional fines. Many people find it useful to employ a professional accountant or financial advisor. This way, they can ensure that your financial files are comprehensive and accurate.     

4 Steps to A More Organized Financial Life
Image credit: Ivory Mix

#4 | Check Your Bank Account Regularly

If you have a detailed budget, you shouldn’t find yourself with any unexpected spending surprises. Regardless, everyone should get into the habit of checking financial accounts on a regular basis. Doing this will ensure that you are not the victim of any fraudulent activity.

When you are looking at your financial life, being organized is one of the most effective things that you can do. This way, you know exactly where every penny of your money is going. Many people tend to bury their heads in the sand if they encounter any problems. But you need to be proactive and tackling them head-on!

This post was written in collaboration. This means that while I have edited its content and formatting, I am not its original author. By posting this content on my blog, I receive financial compensation.



4 Steps to A More Organized Financial Life

How to Become a Financially Strong Millennial

Millennials live in a time full of financial challenges; there’s no denying that. Whether we are just not trusted, or if it’s because the cost of living is always on the rise. Regardless, it’s a challenge. But, there are ways to become a financially strong millennial. For any millennial out there, wondering how to take hold of your finances, this post is for you!

Organize and Economize

If you find yourself struggling with your finances, then the first tip we have for you is to begin organizing and economizing. Organizing is as precise as it sounds, take to recording absolutely everything that takes place regarding your expenditures or outgoing money and incoming money, all of it. This is for several reasons. The first reason is that it helps to keep a tighter hold on your finances and ultimately stop your spending from spiraling out of control. And second, financial records provide evidence if you find yourself in trouble. My favorite way to organize my finances is  Mint. Mint gathers information from all your financial assets, helps you create a budget, and work toward saving goals while providing you with useful spending and income trend information. I have been using it for over seven years, and I don’t know what I would do without it.

One way of organizing your financial information is generating payroll check stubs on a site such as PaystubCreator.net and then keeping them in an organized fashion. You could also be keeping all the invoices you receive, both in the world of bill paying and in the world of income, so that you can always prove you have both paid debt that you owe and have been paid.

Economizing refers to eliminating unnecessary spending and utilizing a budget. Before making a purchase, take a deep breath, and ask yourself, ‘do I really need this?’ and if you do need it, ask yourself ‘is there a cheaper alternative that will work just fine?’ Another way to economize your finances and eliminate splurges is to go shopping with a list, never deviating from this list no matter the deal or discount. It’s hard, don’t get me wrong, I struggle all the time! But it is doable!

How to Become a Financially Strong Millennial

 

Get Ready for Retirement

Even if your planned age of retirement is well over four decades away, it’s still important to start planning and saving for it now. This is because believe it or not, as millennials, we are in an ideal position to do so (at least compared to past young generations). Starting your retirement fund now is important because your money will grow and accrue interest and the longer it is growing, the more money you will have when you go to retire.

Specifically, what you should be doing is beginning to contribute to a Roth retirement fund option. This is a fund that both you and your employers will contribute to, meaning money will be growing within it whilst you work. A good piece of advice is to match whatever your employer contributes. If your employers do not contribute then it is up to you to save, add it to your new budget!

Now that you have a better idea of how to begin your journey toward financial strength, get going! Start organizing your financial life with the use of budgeting, shopping lists, filing systems, or whatever else works for you!

This post was written in collaboration. This means that while I have added to this post and edited its content and formatting, I am not its original author. By posting this content on my blog, I receive financial compensation.



How to Become a Financially Strong Millennial