Jump your mental hurdle

When you think about balancing your checkbook does your stomach do cartwheels? Would you rather go to the dentist than spend time thinking about your finances? Your negative emotions about money could be one key factor holding you back.

Like most problems in life shedding some light on your finances can help you overcome your mental hurdle. One great way to shed light on your finances is through the creation of a budget. In my previous post Your finances are a mess, now what? I included a couple links that might be useful to help you overcome your negative money associations. In the next few posts I’m going to introduce you to a budgeting tool that I’ve used for more than a decade. If you adopt a periodic budgeting process you will be forced to keep your finances top of mind rather than hiding in the shadows where you can’t fix anything. After working with a budget I’ve found that when money fears stir my emotions, sitting down with my budget takes a great weight off. Budgeting doesn’t have to be a painful or time consuming process.

This is an action oriented process, your first action item:

Over the next few posts we’re going to work on building an Excel based budget. Before you move on to the next post I would like you to create a bank account ledger in excel, this is the first step in creating your budget. Ditch your paper checkbook ledger, I personally use google sheets so that I can access my budget anywhere. I suggest that you also look at ways to simplify your financial life, I included a few tips in the final post in this series Your Budget is Complete!!, including automate the process, ditch the checks and automate payments online, use online banking to update your check ledger, etc.

Your excel based bank account ledger should look very similar to the old paper version. Start from the last time you reconciled your account, or if you have never reconciled your bank account then start a few weeks back by plugging in the beginning balance.

Here’s how it should look:

Check Ledger Example 1

There’s nothing complicated about this and it shouldn’t take you very long. So no excuses, do it as soon as possible and check back in a few days. Now that you’re finished with the first step in the process please visit the next step Getting a grip on your monthly expenses, creating your budget.

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