makeunder my finances: step four

Today I’d like to share a series my good friend Cathy of Fiscally Chic did on her blog titled Makeunder My Finances. She took my four step makeunder process and applied it to money.

Step One: Create a vision

Step Two: Exfoliate stuff

Step Three: Identify Intentions

This should be the “easiest” step of a financial makeunder. The real work goes into creating a vision, exfoliating stuff, and identifying intentions. Once your budget, savings plan, and automatic deposits are in place, it’s a matter of evaluating your progress. Are you being too strict in some areas or too lax in others? Does your budget need a little tweaking? Can you sock away some extra money to meet your goal early?

How often should you be evaluating? Part of that depends on your time frame and if you’ve made dramatic changes. I would also take a closer look at things in the beginning to set a good foundation. Remember, you’re setting yourself up for success. Don’t set unrealistic expectations. In general, a weekly update and monthly review should suffice.

It’s also a good idea to check in on your vision and intentions. As you grow and mature, you might realize that your vision and intentions have also evolved. As Jess says, “The more regularly you reflect on the vision the less you will need to create major changes going forward.” For example, when I married John, I felt a shift in priorities. Our finances also merged, so my decisions didn’t just affect me anymore. And as you achieve one financial goal, you’ll have the confidence to save for something else.

Tote from dearcolleen on Etsy

Real Life

John and I started to think more seriously about down payments back in the summer of 2010. We had already saved a good chunk of change, but really wanted to buckle down if we’re going to take advantage of low interest rates and high levels of inventory. I signed up for Mint in August 2010 and created the goal shortly thereafter. It’s January 2011 and we’re still making changes to our budget. In the beginning it was a matter of watching the money. Now that we have a better grasp of our spending habits, we’ve implemented some changes (i.e. bringing lunches to work and making coffee at home). After a month or so of the changes, I can then adjust the budget further.

Good luck with your own financial makeunders. Small changes here and there can really add up. And send me an email at if you have any questions.

Have a great week!

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  1. Maggie Rose

    Just finished reading all four posts. Thanks so much for sharing, and I can definitely see how the making-under ideas apply to finances. My boy and I met with a financial planner just before the holidays to set some goals for 2011. The “visioning” step was the biggest step for us, as we had loosely spoken of getting married, buying a house, having kids, etc but never had any sort of specific timeline. When we really started putting dates on things – wedding in two years, house in 5-7, kids in between- it was eye opening that we needed to be saving aggressively NOW to meet those goals. We went through a year of Ryan being unemployed and I don’t ever want to be without an emergency fund again.

    Thanks so much for sharing your tips and and advice! Good luck on your house-buying, and I’ll be sharing these posts with Ryan for ideas when we get stuck!

  2. cailen

    my fiance swears by awesome site! great to keep you fiscally organized : )

  3. Sassy Molassy

    This series has been awesome! Cathy, thanks so much for spelling your process out for us and Jess, thanks for sharing! I will definitely be signing up for a account. I’ve heard so many good things. It’s time to get serious about my budget and saving in general and this will keep me and my boyfriend accountable. Now if only I could manage his savings account… ūüôā

  4. 17Perth

    Great series of posts! I have really enjoyed them! Thank you. I also love Dave Ramsey’s plan. Very similar to this!

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