Teach Your Kids What Christmas is REALLY About

If you don’t want your kids to be materialistic, quit buying them so much stuff.

You’ve probably seen me say this before. Don’t feel badly though if you’ve fallen into the consumer vortex and got a little gift-happy this year. I’ve been guilty of this too! Sometimes we all need a little reminder.

We all want to teach our kids to be grateful for the things that they have and more importantly, the people in their lives. But you know how Christmas is. Their friends at school are talking about their Christmas lists… and what they want. They’re going to want stuff! Chances are the grandparents and awesome aunts and uncles in their lives are going to get them stuff, too. If they got a bunch of stuff last year… how quickly did that thing end up in the corner of the closet never to be played with again? How fast did they lose that vital piece? How soon were they onto something else?

That’s why it’s important for you to help your kids understand what Christmas is really all about.

How do you do that?

You have to lead by example. If your kids see you getting all frazzled and excited over Black Friday sales and Cyber Monday deals, then they’re probably going to get excited and start talking about these things too! But if you take the time to talk about how important it is to spend time together and build cherished family memories by experiencing the parade, checking out the lights on your street, or baking peppermint cookies and making hot cocoa, they’ll be excited for those things too.

No one is going to give a Christmas toast about you that says “She has a designer couch and really expensive earrings.”

I love waking up on Christmas morning with the excitement of Santa MAGIC. I love when the boys open their stockings. But the absolute best part of the day is when the stockings and the small items inside are all put away and we get to head to the beach as a family to have a sand castle building competition. We forgo big gifts and set aside money all year long to go on a family vacation. Yes, it does require money to do this, but spending time together does not.

When I was a kid we would volunteer as a family at the Santa’s Anonymous warehouse. We spent the entire day freezing our butts off and packed HUNDREDS of hampers. I don’t remember every gift that I unwrapped. But I remember the faces (rosy red and cold) of the people who came together in community to do this cold task every year.

These are experiences I’ll never forget—and they had nothing to do with a gift that was given to me. It was all about spending time with my family and giving to other people.

This Christmas, I hope that you’ll teach your kids how important they are to you, and how much you cherish the time you spend with them. I hope they learn that their worth as a friend and human on this planet is FAR more than the brand-name sweater they wear or the shiny new bike they ride. Here are some practical examples of how you can build your family bond this Christmas season:

  1. Volunteer as a family. You might sing carols at a nursing home or build a gift basket to donate to a family in need. You could volunteer at your local soup kitchen or church. Talk to your kids about why you are choosing to spend time this way. That will make for some memorable and rewarding conversations!
  2. Take your kids on a gift-buying date, individually. Give them each a small amount of money and have them buy thoughtful gifts for their siblings. Ask them questions about what their brother or sister really likes and what is really important to them. On Christmas morning, let them unwrap these gifts one at a time and have the buyer explain why they thought of their sibling when they bought it. You’ll get a special one-on-one date with each child and the joy on Christmas morning will warm your heart, I promise!
  3. For every gift your kids receive, have them give something away. You’ve got to give them a heads up before Christmas morning so that they know what to expect. Get them involved in choosing which toys they want to give away. This will help with the after Christmas clutter storm and encourage your kids to value generosity.

If you totally identify with this mindset, I really encourage you to follow my blog. You’ll gain some really valuable tips about money for the busy family and feel validated and empowered!

3 Ways to Cut Your Christmas Spending!

PUBLIC SERVICE ANNOUNCEMENT: Christmas falls on December 25th this year!

I’m only kidding a little bit. Why? In reality, we all know what day Christmas is… yet every year we fail to plan for the cost! Gifts to buy… time off work… turkey dinners to make… it all racks up.

If you’re in my inner circle called the Pretty Money Club, then you’ve budgeted for this holiday all year long. You’ve set up your bank account architecture and you’re automatically putting money into the Future You category, which includes Christmas.

If you’re like many other busy people who flail around the holiday season and promise to do better next year instead, don’t beat yourself up. I got your back. Here are three things you can do to stay on track this Christmas.

1. Make a budget and stick to it.

I know this might seem like a no-brainer, but if you don’t figure out how much money you have to spend, you’ll definitely blow your budget. Take 5 minutes and download my free holiday spend tracker. You will get to make a budget for everyone on your gift list, and actually track each purchase right from your phone.

2. Don’t get distracted by shiny “SALES.”

Just because those awesome shoes are on sale doesn’t mean you have to buy them. Sales are going to come up again. They don’t JUST come up at Christmas time. In fact, I promise that there will be a sale within a month of Christmas coming to an end. Stick to your list! Is the item that you’re drooling over on your gift list for someone? No? Then don’t even. You’re falling for the shiny object. You’re getting distracted. Just because there is a big red sign that says it’s 70% off DOES NOT give you an excuse to reach for your credit card and spend money you don’t have on something that isn’t on your list in the first place.

3. Meaningful gifts don’t have to be expensive.

Chances are that your most treasured memories have little to do with a material object and more to do with an experience with friends or family. Think outside the mall this season. Use your skills. Get creative. Give your time. There are so many ways that you can show someone how special they are without having to spend a ton of money! Maybe it means that your family pools their resources to do a really fun activity together. Maybe you frame a photo taken on a life-changing trip with a friend. Maybe you knit a hat for your niece’s favorite dolly. Maybe you host dinner this year and buy a fun board game to make some memories with.

If you feel like you’re scrambling this year, I encourage you to get on top of your finances with my FREE 5 Day Budget Makeover Series, so that next year you are not SHOCKED that Christmas arrives on the 25th… again!

PS – Don’t forget to download my free Christmas spending tracker!

Can We Just STOP with the Gift Giving this Christmas?

Christmas has become a retail festival with a CONSUMERISM mindset… and it shouldn’t be.

Christmas should be joyous, a time to relax and spend quality time with the people that we care about…. but it causes some people unhappiness, debt , and anxiety.

Many people this season will feel obligated to buy gifts for friends, extended family, coworkers, our even our kid’s teachers… that they may not even use! Many people will buy these useless gifts with money they don’t have and cause themselves stress they don’t need.

I think that one of the reasons for this completely insane mindset is that we have disconnected with what a gift is in the first place. A gift is something given without an expectation of anything in return. It is given because we want to bless or benefit someone else. We want to benefit the other person, because we WANT to, not because we feel obligated to. We want to benefit the other person without expecting that they are going to benefit us in return. We are receiving the gift of joy simply by knowing that we blessed another person, hence why you feel good even when your gift is completely anonymous.

“A gift is something given WITH JOY and WITHOUT AN EXPECTATION of ANYTHING in return.”

Lindsay Plumb – Founder of the Pretty Money Club

If we do not consider gifts in this manner, then Christmas becomes a zero-sum game. I give to you and you feel obligated to give back to me at a similar value. This becomes a numbers game where we are trying to end up with 0 obligation to each other. Lets pretend I spend $25 on a scarf for you, because I care about you and I know that you will be out in the cold often this winter… and you don’t have a scarf. I give you the scarf with joy in my heart because I have budgeted money for gift giving and I genuinely want to bless you. I tell you that you are in no way obligated to return the favor. You trust that I am being sincere and accept the gift without feeling obligated to gift back to me. Fantastic. Unfortunately, it often does not go this way.

“For it is in giving that we receive.”

Saint Francis of Assisi

A more common scenario would be this: I buy you a $25 scarf because it’s Christmas and I felt like I should get you something, so I grabbed one I saw on my frenzied shopping spree, even though I didn’t budget for it. I give it to you without explaining that there is no obligation attached to the gift. You really didn’t need a new scarf, but since I bought you one, you now feel obligated to buy me something of equal value. You spend $25 on me, instead of putting the money toward something else that you actually needed: new boots. After Christmas, I am anxious because I have spent more than I intended and I’m not paying interest on my credit card, and you mis-prioritized your spending money because you bought me a gift instead of putting that money towards new boots. And now your toes are still getting wet because of those holey boots.

IT’S TIME TO STOP THE MADNESS.

I think it is time for us to get off this gift giving trend. The best gift is releasing others from the obligation of having to give to you in the first place! Lets work together to ban unnecessary Christmas presents. I’m not telling you to skip gift-giving altogether. Go on and get your spouse that thing you know they’ve been dying for. Get a few presents for the kids to see their smiling faces on Christmas Day when they spy the sparkly boxes under the tree. But don’t let that list of people grow beyond your means. You may be embarrassed to raise this point, but most people feel the same way, so you’ll likely be doing them a HUGE favor.

Okay, so what about the people in your life that you know are going to give you stuff, because you know they want to. Your parents, for example?

If you do have generous people in your life that really want to bestow a gift upon you, it would be doing them a huge service to tell them what would really benefit you. For example, let’s say I had money budgeted for Christmas and I decided that I wanted to really bless my sister. So I go out and buy her that expensive hair straightener she was talking about last week. I give her the gift on Christmas and she opens it, with a stunned expression on her face. I think she loves it, but in her mind she is actually thinking “Oh my gosh… we could really use that money for groceries. Things are so tight… what would she think if I returned it ?” I would ABSOLUTELY want her to tell me that. If she returned it to get herself something that really helped her… awesome.

What about your kids? How many times have they received toys that they play with for like, 2 days… then they lose the charger, break it, or just plain lose interest? What if instead of those material things, they got a pass to the pool? How awesome would that be? Be bold! Be brave! TELL the close people in your life what it is you and your kids really want or need.

Let’s all make a pact together, right here, right now.

We shall NOT give gifts beyond that for which we have budgeted.

We shall give budgeted gifts with joy and without ANY expectation.

We shall NOT give gifts out of feeling obligated.

We shall be BOLD and tell the world all about our pact… inspiring others out of their anxiety and encouraging generous gifters to give gifts that are actually useful!


PS: If you have a habit of over-spending at Christmas, get on top of your budget this year by joining me for my 5 Day Budget Makeover Series. You’ll learn how to set money aside for next Christmas, so that you have cash in hand rather than grabbing that credit card! AND you’ll be invited to join a Facebook Group full of people who are doing the same!

PPS: If you need help tracking your purchases this Christmas so that you DON’T blow the budget, use my FREE tool: the Holiday Spend Tracker! You can put it right on the home screen of your phone so when you buy something you log it right away.

Buying Christmas gifts for your Employees? Check this out!

This blog post is for my fellow Canadians… can I get an eh in here??? (Okay, I don’t say it that much either.)

So you’re an AWESOME employer. You da boss. And you have AWESOME employees that you couldn’t do it without. And it’s going to be Christmas soon! You want to spoil those hard working people with a small gift.

Can you write this off come tax time against your income?
Yep. You bet. You can claim 100% of client gifts against your income.
If you give a non cash gift it is deductible for you and non taxable for your employee given that it meets certain requirements. The requirement are that the gifts are under the $500/per year limit on gifts to employees and they must be for a special occasion such as a religious holiday, birthday, or wedding etc

Will your employee have to claim your gift on their income tax if you give them cash?
If you gift cash or near cash such as a gift card then the amount of the gift is deductible to you and needs to be included in your employee’s income.

So, you incredible boss you, feel free to GIVE!!!!

Here is a link to the CRA website that explains gifts and awards to employees.

AND you should be tracking all your Christmas spending (if you’re on top of your budget, that is.) Lucky you, I have a Christmas FREEBIE… the Christmas Budget Spending Tracker! Get it here!

Do YOU have a UNICORN BUDGET?

You’re probably thinking that a unicorn budget is awesome, because unicorns are clearly a super awesome and popular buzz word right now. But a unicorn budget is NOT a good thing. What do I mean by “UNICORN BUDGET?”

Well, if you have created your budget, your spending plan, by numbers that you THINK make sense… you might have a unicorn budget.

If you have a budget written down with categories based on how you spent your money last month… you might have a unicorn budget.

If you don’t have a money pot for “Future You!” (Check out who FUTURE YOU is in this blog post) then you might have a unicorn budget.

A unicorn budget is when you are NOT using the FACTS and figuring out exactly how you regularly spend your money.

A unicorn budget is when you are not planning for future expenses, like car or home maintenance, your kids field trip, that friend’s wedding… you know, all those “UNEXPECTED expenses!”

A unicorn budget is when you don’t have insurance policies in place to protect you if you get sick, or injured and can’t work any longer.

A unicorn budget is when you’re living in a fantasy land and not real life.

DON’T be stuck with a unicorn budget! Learn how to make a REAL plan for your money with my 5 Day Budgeting Makeover Series!

And checkout my blog post on what a real budget is here!

What IS a BUDGET?

Woah there! Did you just CRINGE at the word “budget”? You, like many other people, may get a negative feeling even mentioning the big “B” word. I personally love it. I get EXCITED when I get to talk about budgeting. My day is MADE when someone tells me how my budget tips made their financial plan AWESOME. So excuse me for getting a little giddy and bubbling up when the word “BUDGET” resounds.

Let’s talk about the word BUDGET. I want to help you if you are someone that cringes at the word “budget.” Do you feel like budgeting is restrictive, like you’re going to fail, like it is all the things that you’re not allowed to do, or that it is looking at what you’ve been doing wrong? I really want to encourage you that the word budget doesn’t have to be so negative and scary for you; however, if you are having a hard time shifting your mindset on that, please change the name. Call it a money plan, call it a success road map, call it whatever you want. Turn that negative word into something positive for yourself. In this blog post, I am going to be saying “budget”, but you can replace that in your mind’s ear if it helps!

The word “budget” does NOT have to be scary; but if it IS, just change the word. Call it a money plan. Call it a success road map. Call it your PATH TO FINANCIAL AWESOMENESS. Call it whatever feels good to you.

Lindsay Plumb, Founder of the Pretty Money Club.

So what IS a budget?!
(Click here for my free 5 day budget makeover series that will take you through creating your budget step by step.)
One of the reasons many people have a hard time budgeting is because they don’t actually know what a budget IS in the first place. Let’s cover that now. A budget is a plan. It is a road map for how you are going to spend your money. It is NOT an analysis of how you HAVE spent your money. A budget is looking FORWARDS. It is NOT looking backwards. It is finding the facts of how you have been spending your money only so that you can create a plan to modify your spending in the future. It is making sure that you have money set aside for FUTURE YOU. It is planning ahead for expenses, like new brakes on your car, a new hot water heater, or having someone come clean your gutters and mow your lawn. It is figuring out what your NEEDS are vs what your WANTS are. It is how you figure out how much money you have to spend on your LIFESTYLE, after covering all of your NEEDS. It is achieving your lifestyle goals, like a family vacation, by putting aside money every month to get them. It is consistently checking in on a monthly basis. It is checking in any time your financial situation changes, or you add a new goal to your life. I break the budget down into the following pieces:

STOP looking at the UNICORNS! (Find the FACTS)

One of the things that people do wrong when they budget is that they look out the window and they see unicorns. Now, what do I mean by that? I mean they’re in a fantasy land. They’re not looking at reality and using the facts of their life and their expenses when they create the budget. What are the chances of you staying on track if your numbers are grabbed out of thin air? You HAVE to use real numbers when you are creating your spending plan. This small piece of the budget is often times what people think the entire puzzle consists of. I talk to people every day that tell me they have a budget, when really, they have a breakdown of the money that they HAVE SPENT already. This is important, but it’s just a small part! If you’re using a spend tracking app, you can pull up your banking records for as long as you have had the account (or credit card) and have the app categorize it FOR you. (Make sure you go through and check how the app has labelled your purchases… often times they are not correct and need to be manually adjusted.) If you haven’t been tracking your spending, you need to look through your banking history, your credit card history, or if you have used a lot of cash (which I do NOT recommend doing), your receipts, and create a master list of your regular (and irregular) expenses. If you take part in my FREE 5 day Series called the “5 Day Budget Makeover” I provide you with a list of common expenses, plus a bonus list of the most commonly FORGOTTEN expenses that throw your budget off. Create a master list of your expenses.

Do you REALLY need that?! (Needs vs Wants)

I want you to get two colours of highlighter. If you don’t have highlighters handy, but you have kids at home, grab some crayons. You know you have those around, right!? I want you to decide which colour is for needs and which colour is for wants. Go through your list and highlight the needs and wants. Now, it’s very important for you to look through the lens of someone else when deciding if something is actually a need. People will tell me all the time that they NEED this or they NEED that… but they don’t. They have created their life to WANT things SO BADLY that they NEED it… but they don’t actually need it. So be careful when going through this list. I would also encourage you to share your results with a friend or a family member, or maybe your partner and see if they agree with the needs and wants. This should take you no more than ten minutes. Your needs can look a little different than your neighbors do. For example, I NEED my cellphone plan. I use it for work all the time. I use it to do group coaching calls with video from my phone. I make notes on it when I have a great idea that I just need to share with my Pretty Money Club members, but I’m at the park with the kids and don’t have a pen handy. So, my phone is a NEED. Maybe you don’t use your phone for much aside from social media and communicating. So do you really NEED that giant data plan? My friend is a lash artist. She NEEDS her lashes, because she teaches courses on how to become an awesome lash technician. If hers don’t look good, she loses her credibility, and it affects her business negatively. I certainly don’t NEED lashes. They would be a WANT for me. I could make excuses for myself and claim that I NEED them because I am on webinars and videos all day long sometimes… but I really don’t. Don’t make excuses for yourself. Let someone else help you decide. This is something that I talk about with a no nonsense attitude in my 5 Day Budgeting Makeover Series.

Future YOU Needs Money Too!!!

Inside of the Pretty Money Club, my members hear me saying all the time “future you needs money too.” You have to plan for “future you.” What do I mean by “future you?” I am told every day that budget get thrown off because of unexpected expenses. When I ask what the unexpected expense was, I usually hear things like “My car broke down and needed work!” or “My hot water tank started leaking!” Those are actually an EXPECTED unexpected expenses. It is absolutely 100 percent expected that your car is going to need maintenance. It is absolutely 100 percent expected that your house is going to need maintenance. It is 100 percent expected that your kids are going to need clothing, go on field trips, and have registration fees for activities and sports come up. It is expected that someone will get married and you will want to give them a wedding gift. Those are not unexpected events. What is unexpected sometimes is the schedule, but not the fact that this expense is going to come up. You need a list of the EXPECTED UNEXPECTED’s for FUTURE YOU. What about goals? Goals are going to be achieved by who? Future you! You need a list of goals… like vacation, kids education, new car, renovations. Whatever is near and dear to your heart… write it down. If you aren’t budgeting for your goals, they either won’t happen, or you will spend money that you don’t have to achieve them. I provide a list of the most common “expected unexpected’s” that throw people off in my  FREE 5 day Series called the “5 Day Budget Makeover”. It’s worth checking out.

Figure Out Your LIFE…style.

Now that we understand the concept of future you… we are going to come back to current you. We’re going to make sure that current you know exactly how much you can afford to spend on a monthly basis without blowing the budget. Now if you have budgeted in the past most of you have used templates or models that have had you allocated money for kids clothing, your clothing, entertainment, miscellaneous, wine, coffee, hobbies, toys, all of the needs on your list. I don’t like doing that. I don’t got time for that. If you do, congratulations; I want you to go and use it to spend time with your kids, or get in some more exercise. It’s not meant for budgeting.

Here’s how I do things: I call the amount of money that you can spend, after all your needs are met and Future You has been planned for, Lifestyle Spending, or a Lifestyle Amount or a Lifestyle Number. The concept is all around your lifestyle. Lifestyle money is the amount of money that you can afford to spend this month without breaking the budget, without stealing from future you, and without jeopardizing your goals. Sounds great, right? Imagine if you could spend totally freely, knowing that all the things that were important and necessary in your life and all the things that lit you up and you want to achieve are going to happen while you were spending this money. Imagine what will happen when your spouse has the same thing. They have a lifestyle budget amount also. And they can go out and spend freely with no nitpicking, no judgement, no questioning on why they spent that on this, or this on that that everybody involved in this budget can spend freely knowing exactly what amount they have to spend. Does that sound good?

(If you NEED to figure out how to get your LIFESTYLE BUDGET on track, do my 5 Day Budget Makeover Series!)

Okay, so here’s where we are finally going to get our numbers into the budget.

  1. We’re going to take all of our needs and put them into the budget
  2. We’re going to take all of our future you categories and numbers and put them into the budget.
  3. We are going to take all of your sources of income and put them into the budget.

Now, you are going to notice that some quick math happens. And we take one number away from the next, and we come up with your lifestyle budget. This is the money that you get to spend on whatever you want.

If your lifestyle budget has four figures, or more… I want you to go back and look at your future you categories. Look at areas that you can beef up in your future you categories. If your lifestyle number is only two digits… I want you to look for areas where you can decrease your expenses or shift your goals maybe to be a little bit longer than you would hope for. It’s very important that you have at least a few hundred dollars available for spending.

Why is that? Well, because life is expensive! There’s a lot of stuff to buy and pay for. You could convince yourself that your family will live on ramen noodles, but it’s not going to be sustainable. This budget needs to have money to spend. And so if your lifestyle number is too small, we either need to work on decreasing the expenses, or increasing the income, or shifting the goals.

Make that budget STICK

Now, moving forward, the way you’re going to keep this budget alive is with a monthly review. At the end of every month, I want you to go and plan out the following month. Make sure that you check out the calendar and there are no new unexpected events coming up that you can’t afford somewhere. Make sure you know how much income is coming in next month. You HAVE to do this each and every month, regardless of how similar your months may be. Most times your monthly expenses and monthly income will be the same, or very similar, unless you have a variable income. Why are they going to be similar? Because your wants and your day to day spending is coming out of that lifestyle amount, so knowing exactly what you have coming up at the beginning of the month that is going to be spent from the lifestyle amount is very very important. Give yourself half an hour so that you can sit down with a cup of tea or a glass of wine and look forward at the next month. Make sure you have a conversation with your spouse or your kids to make sure that everybody is involved and everyone is on the same page before moving into the month.

You’re also going to review the budget any time that your expenses are going up or down our income is going up or down. You want to review it if you have any financial changes. So… no buying a puppy or a new car before looking at the budget. This is your road map to success. It’s not some numbers that you’ve thrown on a piece of paper to forget about in the future. This is the road map. This is where you come, this is your GPS to find your financial success. You have to come review your budget when you want to make a major purchase, add a goal for your future, if you get a raise, if you lose your job, if you have a baby… all of those major changes!

I HIGHLY recommend that you take part in my FREE 5 day Series called the “5 Day Budget Makeover” 

to really dig deep into what EXACTLY a budget IS and what it IS NOT. You’ll also be invited to join a Facebook Group full of people who have already completed the 5 Day Series. This will offer you a chance to message me, personally, with questions! I’d LOVE to support you. You’ll also have a community of like-minded people who can share stories and offer strategies that worked for them. Get plugged in and get budgeting!

5 Day Budget Makeover Series Transcription – Day 5 – Review!

Welcome back for Day FIVE of the 5 Day Budgeting Makeover Series!!!

We’ve done a lot of work over the last few days; work that you’ve probably never done when creating a budget before. This is the work that makes or breaks your budget, so if you have fallen behind, take time today or tomorrow to get caught up. These videos are going to be available for you to watch over the next few days to give you an opportunity to get caught up. Come and ask your questions (in the Facebook group). Let me help you iron out the wrinkles to make sure that this sticks. In this final lesson, we are going to wrap things up.

We have talked about making sure that your budget is full of facts and that you are not living in a fantasy land looking out the window at those unicorns.

We’ve talked about how important it is to understand the difference between needs and wants. We want to budget for our needs and only for our wants if we can afford to have our wants included. Otherwise, we want to put those into a future you category and save up for them.

We talked about the concept of future you. That future you needs money too. In order for the budget to work, we need to take care of future you. We need to make sure that the expected unexpecteded’s are accounted for and that your goals and dreams are put in place in the budget so that they actually happen.

We also talked about the concept of the lifestyle budget. How much money you can afford to spend on a monthly basis without screwing it all up. What’s the point of creating a budget if you don’t actually plan on following it? Or even that you can’t follow? We want this whole process to set you up for absolute financial success.

So now that we have covered all of that, we are going to talk quickly about how often you need to budget, review and revise the plan that you’ve created. Well, you need to keep doing it until it’s a well oiled machine. Over the next several days, I want you to keep revising the numbers and figure out what you can do to reduce your expenses and increase your income if your numbers are not falling in to the place that you want it to to give your future you enough and your lifestyle category enough.

Now, moving forward, the way you’re going to keep this budget alive is with a monthly review. At the beginning or end, depending on how your schedule goes, of every month, I want you to go and plan out the following month. Make sure that you check out the calendar and there are no new unexpected events coming up that you can’t afford somewhere. Let’s make sure that we know how many paycheques we are going to have this month, how much income is coming in. I want you to take the time each and every month. Most of your expenses and most months your income is going to be the same, unless you have a variable income. We will have a conversation about that separately if that applies to you. If that doesn’t apply to you, each and every month are going to be very similar. Why are they going to be similar? Because your wants and your day to day spending is coming out of that lifestyle amount, so knowing exactly what you have coming up at the beginning of the month that is going to be spent from the lifestyle amount is very very important. Okay? So each month, I would expect this to take you no more than 15 minutes. Give yourself half an hour so that you can sit down with a cup of tea or a glass of wine and look forward at the next month. Make sure you have a conversation with your spouse or your kids to make sure that everybody is involved and everyone is on the same page before moving into the month. Make sense?

You need to review your budget on a monthly basis AND any time your financial situation changes, or you add a new goal to FUTURE YOU.

Lindsay Plumb, Founder of the Pretty Money Club

We also want to go and review the budget any time that our expenses are going up or down our income is going up or down. We want to review it if we have any financial changes. We want to come back and look at this budget before making financial decisions. So… no buying a puppy or a new car before looking at the budget. This is your road map to success. It’s not some numbers that you’ve thrown on a piece of paper to forget about in the future. This is the road map. This is where you come, this is your GPS to find your financial success. So come back here on a regular basis and review your budget when income and expenses change, or when you want to make a purchase or add a goal to your future.

Your budget is your road-map, your GPS, to financial success.

Lindsay Plumb, Founder of the Pretty Money Club

I hope that you learned everything that was missing. I hope this budget now has given you an opportunity to really see that your goals can happen. I hope that this gives you some piece of mind that you have enough money. I hope that this eliminates some of that stress and maybe even fighting in your house around who spends what. Money does not have to be so stressful. I am here to support you and if you’ve enjoyed this series, I want to encourage you to come and ask some questions about the Pretty Money Club. We do our budget on a monthly basis together. We also take on a different topic every single month to increase our financial literacy, to increase our clarity on our goals and our understanding around finances in general. So this if this is something that interests you, please come and ask me! I would LOVE to welcome you into the Pretty Money Club if this is something that you would like to include in your life moving forward. Thank you so much for taking the time to trust me, for implementing this system, and for doing the work. I can’t wait to see what you can do with it. Bye!!!

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5 Day Budget Makeover Series Transcription – Day 4 – Lifestyle Budget

Hey there, welcome back! 

I’m so glad that you continue to come back day after day and learn more about budgeting. 

You know, budgeting seems like it should be so simple. But when life gets complicated, life gets busy, and finances get stressful, all of the sudden, this simple task is not so simple anymore. So over the past few days and for a couple of more, we have been talking about how to create a budget that’s actually going to stick. I hope that you have found these exercises eye opening and helpful so far. And think of them as building blocks towards your budget, your financial plan, and ultimately, your financial success. Those goals that you’ve set for yourself, or that you haven’t set for yourself quite yet, can absolutely change your life and change our world. So I just want to continue to encourage you and thank you for joining me. But I want to encourage you that you can do this. That your goals are important and that if you keep practicing and using these fundamentals, that they will happen. And I want you to come back and tell me all about them. Nothing else lights my day up more than hearing somebody has used my budgeting system or one of my templates in order to achieve one of their goals. Will you do that?

Okay. Now, let’s get back on track here. Now that we understand the concept of future you… we are going to come back to current you. We’re going to make sure that current you know exactly how much you can afford to spend on a monthly basis without blowing the budget. Now if you have budgeted in the past most of you have used templates or models that have had you allocated money for kids clothing, your clothing, entertainment, miscellaneous, what else… wine… alcohol… all of these things. I don’t like doing that. I don’t got time for that. I don’t know if you have more time than I do, but I did not have time to guess how much I was going to spend on all of those different categories only to know that I was going to be wrong and I would have to rob Peter to pay Paul, so to speak, and reconcile them at the end of the month. I don’t have time for that in my life. If you do, congratulations, I want you to go and use it to spend time with your kids, or get in some more exercise. It’s not meant for budgeting.

Your time is not meant for budgeting.

Lindsay Plumb, Founder of the Pretty Money Club

Here’s how I do things: I call the amount of money that you can spend, or your spouse, or your kids, (depending on who is involved in this budget) your spending money on a monthly basis is called Lifestyle Spending, or a Lifestyle Amount or a Lifestyle Number. The concept is all around your lifestyle. This money is going to be spent on all the stuff that hasn’t been planned. Going out for lunch, stopping for coffee, buying a pair of shoes on sale, or maybe you don’t spend it and you’re going to save it up for that pair of shoes that you hope are going to go on sale next month because you want to have the cash for it. So lifestyle money is the amount of money that you can afford to spend this month without breaking the budget, without stealing from future you and without jeopardizing your goals.

A lifestyle budget is the amount of money that you can spend on all the things you WANT to without breaking the budget or robbing money from Future You.

Lindsay Plumb, Founder of the Pretty Money Club

Sounds great, right? Imagine if you could spend totally freely, knowing that all the things that were important and necessary in your life and all the things that lit you up and you want to achieve are going to happen while you were spending this money. Imagine what will happen when your spouse has the same thing. They have a lifestyle budget amount also. And they can go out and spend freely with no nitpicking, no judgement, no questioning on why they spent that on this, or this on that that everybody involved in this budget can spend freely knowing exactly what amount they have to spend. Does that sound good?

If your spouse has a lifestyle budget, you don’t have to nit-pick or judge what they spend their money on. Imagine saving that argument!

Lindsay Plumb, Founder of the Pretty Money Club

Okay, so here’s where we are finally going to get our numbers into the budget.

  1. We’re going to take all of our needs and put them into the budget template.
  2. We’re going to take all of our future you categories and numbers and put them into the budget.
  3. We are going to take all of your sources of income and put them into the budget.

And when I say income, I mean all of the sources of income involved in this budget. So if this is just you, it’s your income. If this is a household budget, which I find works a lot better when you’re working with a spouse, then all of the income. I don’t mean gross income. That’s your salary, that’s how much you’ve earned. Net income is how much landed in your bank account this month. This is the number that I want you to include in the budget template.

Now, you are going to notice that some quick math happens. And we take one number away from the next, and we come up with your lifestyle budget. This is the money that you get to spend on whatever you want.

If your lifestyle budget has four figures, or more… I want you to go back and look at your future you categories. Look at areas that you can beef up in your future you categories. If your lifestyle number is only two digits… I want you to look for areas where you can decrease your expenses or shift your goals maybe to be a little bit longer than you would hope for. It’s very important that you have at least a few hundred dollars available for spending.

You need at least a few hundred dollars in your Lifestyle Budget. Anything lower is unsustainable.

Lindsay Plumb, Founder of the Pretty Money Club

Why is that? Well, because life is expensive! There’s a lot of stuff to buy and pay for. You could convince yourself that your family will live on ramen noodles, but it’s not going to be sustainable. This budget needs to have money to spend, okay? And so if your lifestyle number is too small, we either need to work on decreasing the expenses, or increasing the income, or shifting the goals. Those are the three options that we have. There is a fourth option, which is throwing the whole thing away, putting our heads in the sand, staying on the hamster wheel and wondering where all our money is going and why we have this stress and anxiety and this burden hanging over our head. That’s another option that I absolutely do NOT suggest that you choose. So go and get your needs and your wants into the monthly expenses area… all of your future you numbers into the future you categories… all of your net income… and come back and look at that lifestyle number. If it’s too big, we want to bulk up the future you categories. If it’s too small, we want to decrease expenses, increase income, and/or shift timelines on our goals. It’s important that this concept works well for you, because you won’t use this budget and not achieve your goals and the last four days will be a complete waste of your time. So ask your questions. Let me HELP you get this budget in place in a way that’s going to work for you this year to help you achieve your goals.

Alright, go find out your lifestyle number. See you soon!

5 Day Budget Makeover Series Transcription – Day 3 – Future You

Alright, welcome back to the next lesson. Let’s keep rocking and rolling. I know that at this point I usually start to get messages from you saying “When the heck are we going to put the budget together?” Have you started to think that? If you have, it’s totally fine. That’s normal, because I bet that when you have budgeted in the past, you have not taken the time to find the facts, figure out your needs and wants, or do this next step that we’re going to do. But I promise you that we are going to get to the budget and these are the things that are going to make a difference this time. Doing this work is what’s going to have your budget stick this time and why you’re going to achieve your goals with it. Sound good? Are you still on board? I hope you’re excited to see how this all comes together over the next couple of days. Alright. The next lesson we are talking about a concept that I refer to as “future you.” Inside of the pretty money club, my members hear me saying all the time “future you needs money too.” So we are going to plan for “future you.” What do I mean by “future you?” I mean all the things that have thrown your budget off in the past and all the things that you probably haven’t been thinking about when budgeting in the past. So here’s what I mean. I am told every day that budgets don’t work, or that the budget didn’t work for whoever I was talking to because of unexpected expenses. And I say “Oh! Really? What was the unexpected expense?” and they say “Car maintenance. I had no idea that my car was going to need a brake job!” Then I ask them… “Well, do you know that you drive a car?” and they say “Yes.” and I say, “Do you know that cars need maintenance on a regular and irregular schedule?” and they say “Yes.” and that’s when I tell them that is actually an EXPECTED unexpected expense. It is absolutely 100 percent expected that our car is going to need maintenance. It is absolutely 100 percent expected that our house is going to need maintenance. It is 100 percent expected that our kids are going to need clothing, go on field trips, and have registration fees for activities and sports come up. Those are not unexpected events. What is unexpected sometimes is the schedule, but not the fact that this expense is going to come up. So inside the concept of future you, we are also going to be talking about the expected unexpected’s. In this budget, I want you to have a future you category. But before we go there, we are just going to start by listing those future you categories. So here are some ideas for you, and fill some in that are important to you in making your life work. Things like house maintenance and car maintenance, kids activities, healthcare, Christmas and birthdays. All of these things that come up on an annual or semi annual basis are for future you. What about goals? Goals are going to be achieved by who? Future you! So this is where the goals are going to come in. We are going to list goals like vacation, kids education, new car, renovations… whatever it is for you, list down all the things that future you is going to need, like car maintenance, as well as the things that are really near and dear to your heart and important to you of the things that you want. I will be providing some examples. I will be providing some tips on how to do this within the worksheets and I want you to take the time to list out all of those things for future you. Talk to you tomorrow! 

Future YOU needs money too!

Lindsay Plumb, Founder of the Pretty Money Club

5 Day Budget Makeover Series Transcription – Day 2 – Needs vs Wants

Hey, thanks for coming back, I love budgeting so much, I hope you’re starting to love budgeting just as much as I am. I promise that when your budget works like a well oiled machine and you are reaching your goals, you will think budgeting is this cool too. I promise. Okay, so the next thing that we are going to do, now that we know the facts, we’re going to split those facts into needs and wants. Now, just because you spent $200.00 on clothing last month, that’s a fact, but that doesn’t mean that we necessarily need to put $200.00 into the budget for clothing moving forwards. So we’re going to dissect your list of facts into needs and wants. I want you to get two colors of highlighters. Or, if you don’t have that and you’ve got kids around, find some crayons. You know you can find those, right? And I want you to decide which color is for needs and which color is for wants. Go through your list and highlight the needs and wants. Now, in this lesson it’s very important for you to look through the lens of someone else when deciding if something is actually a need. People will tell me all the time that they NEED this or they NEED that… but they don’t. They have created their life to WANT things SO BADLY that they NEED it… but they don’t actually need it. So be careful when going through this list. I would also encourage you to share your results with a friend or a family member, or maybe your partner and see if they agree with the needs and wants. Now you know what’s going to be coming next. We may have to take out some of those wants. So be very clear when you are choosing what’s a need and what’s a want? This should take you no more than ten minutes.

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