Congratulations! You have reached step four of improving your finances. You have received clarity on your financial situation, you have determined where to allocate your income to appropriately cover your expenses and you have tracked your spending activity to know exactly where your money is going.
The last step serves as a time for self-reflection. Your eyes will become bright with awareness. You now will come to understand what is happening with your financial situation. For some, you will see light at the end of the tunnel. You now realize that you are on the right path to truly improving your finances. For others, you will see why the light is still dim in your tunnel.
Step four involves reviewing the results of the actual month's activity. I encourage comparing your initial plan that was designed in step two. Typically, step two is completed at the beginning of each month as it is your guide to follow throughout the month. When you compare the initial plan to the actual end of month results, you will identify what adjustments are necessary.
Maybe you did not allocate enough income to cover groceries for the month and you over spent in that category. When planning for the next month, determine if you will need to allocate additional income to that category or if you will keep the same allotment but be more conscious of your spending so that you remain within the plan.
Another example, maybe you exceeded your entertainment amount allocated for the month by attending too many girls/guys night out events. Instead of increasing the entertainment amount, become creative in ways to be entertained, like potlucks instead of meeting at the restaurants.
One last example, maybe you exceeded your clothing allotment for the month. Again, instead of increasing the clothing amount, take an inventory of your closet. You may have clothes pushed to the back of the closet with the tags still on. Or maybe, you can just buy a new shirt to go with a pair of pants that you already have. There may not be a need to buy a whole new outfit, right? This is where you will need to have a clear understanding of needs versus wants.
Improving your finances is 100% dependent upon YOU! You have complete control in changing your financial situation. Stop searching from article-to-article, book-to-book or webinar-to-webinar. You will not find a secret or a miraculous formula that has been hidden from you. Improving your finances depends on your self-control and the strength you have within to make a change.
There are three important values you must have if you truly want to improve your finances.
Let's take these values and relate them specifically to improving your finances:
Dedication - Committing yourself to changing your
Discipline - Monitoring your activity and adjusting bad
habits and poor decisions accordingly.
Diligence - Be persistent and stick to your plan as if it is a
map to the fountain of youth or a pot of gold
(whichever makes you understand the
Implementing these values in your value system will not just help you improve your financial situation but give you a lifestyle that you truly desire.
If you are looking for a tool to assist you with improving your finances, visit www.lifestyle-checkup.com. This tool will provide all the details needed to help change your financial situation. The above images are taken from the Financial Lifestyle Management System.