Monday, September 29, 2008

Money Mission for Monday: Start Over

As you may have figured out, I've been busy lately. And while I've been out earning a ton of money, and my balance sheet should be much better than it was, I honestly have no idea how I'm doing financially. And so I'm giving you the same mission I'm giving myself this week: wherever you are, however you're doing, take a few minutes and start over.

Take stock

Figure out how much money you have and how much debt you have. This may mean going through your files and checking several account statements. If you don't know how much money you have, there's no way you can set goals for it.

Also, take a few minutes and go over your check book register, bank statement, and credit card statement to figure out what you spent in the past month. This will give you a good idea of how much you should budget for this month, as well as giving you the chance to start to notice any leaks in your purse.

Make a plan

October starts in two days, which is a great time to start over from a budgeting perspective. Based on what you spent last month, develop a loose budget for next month. Even if you always make a budget, try starting from scratch this month. You may find a different perspective or technique helps you find new ways to cut.

Set at least one goal for what you want to do with your money this month, this year, or this decade. Start working toward it, even if it's just in little steps.

This is a much bigger mission than most, but it's also got a lot of bang for its buck. By starting over, evaluating, and making a plan you'll start to feel more in control of your own money even before you make any changes in your life.