Why Have Daily, Weekly and Monthly Habits?
Why is having daily, weekly and monthly habits helpful? Because managing your money can be challenging. You’re dealing with your checking account, savings account, perhaps a credit card, savings goals, and trying not to put more money on the credit card than you can pay off your checking from your checking account. Due to the diversity of your accounts, it’s essential to set these daily, weekly and monthly habits to help support you in making progress towards your goals in the way that you want.
Daily habits are important because they serve as the foundational structure for things that you can do on a consistent, daily basis. You will remember these habits pretty quickly, and they will lay the foundation for long-term success. So what this usually looks like is one of two ways. If you’re in the nitty-gritty with budgeting and you’re categorizing every transaction, what you’ll want to do is organize your transactions on a daily-ish basis. If you miss a day or two, is it going to be the end of the world? Absolutely not. If you start missing seven days at a time, then it becomes a problem. The purpose this daily categorization serves is twofold. 1.
You don’t fall behind with the categorization process. If you don’t do it for seven days, you can forget what you spent money on seven days ago. 2. It keeps you aware of how much money you have been spending over the past couple of days and provides a mental benchmark. As you check daily, you may find yourself thinking: “Oh, that’s what I’ve been spending money on. I’ve gone out to eat at least once every one of the last three days. Maybe that’s something that I should be checking when I have my next weekly check-in.”
And the other way to create daily habits if you aren’t categorizing every transaction is to only use a specific bank account for your variable spending. You can watch the “Banking Structure” Fireside Financials episode if you want to learn more about how to set up an intentional banking structure for yourself. With this strategy, you look at your account balance in that particular variable spending checking account so that you know where you stand on your spending every couple of days. That’s it for the daily. And again, we’ll say daily-ish so that you don’t get hard on yourself.
From a weekly perspective, there are three things to do. First, you would look at your spending for the past seven days or up through the time you are in that month. For example, if you’re in the second week of the month, you would review your spending for the first two weeks in your top three or four challenging categories. Most of my clients’ difficult categories include dining, groceries, entertainment or weed. The goal is to see how you’re tracking for the month. If you set a $400 goal for groceries and check-in at two weeks and realize that you’ve already spent $300, that review allows you to consider whether you should adjust your spending or make other adjustments.
The second suggestion is to have a weekly money meeting with yourself, checking in on your spending. If you’re single, make sure that you put a reminder in your calendar or on your phone. If you have a partner, make sure that you coordinate with your schedules to find a time that works for you both. When I’m conducting these meetings with my clients, I have a weekly meeting agenda that I send to them, but you could create one yourself. If you have a partner, make sure that the agenda items and topics you cover works for you both. And if it’s just you, then come up with something that works for you. And lastly, review any notes that you had after your last money meeting. For instance, if you’re meeting the second week of the month, check the notes that you’ve kept since the previous meeting for discussion. Keeping running notes is helpful to make sure that you complete all the to-dos that you have coming out of your weekly sessions.
The most important thing about monthly habits is reviewing the past month and monitoring your tracking. There are a variety of ways you can monitor your spending. One way is to look at your budget or plan for that month and then look at what you actually spent. You can do that on a single monthly basis. But what’s also helpful is looking at it over three months. The questions to ask yourself include: what did I spend this month? What was my plan for this month? And what have I spent money on over the past three months? These questions help to get a sense of the trends so that you don’t get too focused on just month-to-month.
Another habit for financial management is to create a spending plan for the following month. So after you review what happened last month, make a plan for the coming month. This plan allows you to stay on top of any changes that may occur in your budget. If you know the holidays are coming up or a particular event you want to attend, you can put that in your budget and your plan.
Once you get to the end of the month, if there’s money left in any accounts you didn’t spend, review that and move that money towards goals that matter to you. Hopefully, you’ll have taken the time to prioritize your goals because not all objectives are created equal. Then the extra money you have leftover, you can allocate based on your priorities.
If you have any questions or comments, please put them in the comments below!
This post was adapted from an episode of the Fireside Financials series. If you’d like to check out the video, you can watch it here!