Long Way Round Blog

Discussing social and cultural inequities and advocating change.

The saga continues! To recap, last year I studied the financial guru and YouTube star Jordan Page, to see if her tips and tricks to financial freedom could work for someone living on less than minimum wage. Short answer – yes, long answer – it required a few tweaks.



If you’d like to learn more about my review of Jordan Page’s Fun, Cheap, or Free blog and YouTube channel, you can read my blog here or read my Budget Set Up blog here.


PAYCHECK SET UP & GOAL TRACKING


My overall budgeting goal was to increase my success of becoming financially stable with an income of $15,000 a year. I created the Eazy Peazy Budgeting Templates to help me capture three things: 

  1. what/where I am spending my money

  2. how often I’m attempting and hitting my savings goals

  3. and what needs to change for me to continue to improve my finances. 

My Budget Set Up assisted me in tracking and re-evaluating my finances and gave me a foundation to begin monthly and paycheck budgeting using Eazy Peezy Templates.


This system includes simple and to the point budgeting sheets that grow with your financial goals but don’t overwhelm you. These printable budget sheets were created specifically on the tried, failed and tried again method and are designed to allow you to edit them as your life and finances change. 


Step 3: Paycheck Budgeting

In Step 1, we used the Eazy Peezy Budget Set Up packet to organize 5 accounts to label where my take-home income is distributed. My take-home income totaled $541.00 bi-weekly; this comes out to $1082 a month after taxes.


In Step 2, we used the Eazy Peezy Monthly Budget packet to organize and prioritize your bills, spending and savings for the month.


In step 3, we are using the Eazy Peezy Paycheck Budget packet, a three page organizing tool to help you see exactly where you're money is going from each paycheck to help you keep track of your monthly goals.


Every paycheck is an opportunity to increase your financial stability - it all starts with a plan. Tracking your expenses based on what is actually coming out of your paycheck is the best way to start budgeting if your new to budgeting or trying to practice good financial habits.


Make sure to have your monthly budget sheet and the EXACT amount of your paycheck ready.


Organizing your Bills

Add your exact due date to the first page of the paycheck budget and organize your bills by their due date. Add bills in order starting from your paycheck date and end it by the following paycheck date.


If you are paid bi-weekly, your due dates should include the first bill due within that pay period and the last bill due either on or before the next pay paycheck date.


Knowing exactly how much money you’ll need each paycheck for bills, savings and investments, will inform you on which paychecks you may have a surplus of income vs the expenses due and vice versa.


This doesn't mean that when you have a surplus you should go out a buy a Maserati. If you want that new car or new phone, than get in the habit of saving for it.


Get into the habit of saving for EVERYTHING! – whether it's a the newest cell phone or a new desk lamp.

Make a list of everything you want to buy and add them to your savings goal. As you continue to work on your paycheck budgets, you'll get closer and closer to buying that item.


Spending your Money

You should experience a sense of ownership over the money you earn. No one wants to just live with their head buried in bills and their pockets empty.


The best way to spend your money is to spend is safely. Developing safe financial habits, budgeting and being accountable for the expenses you take on and the luxuries you choose to buy is all part of being an independent human.


Start by seeing where your priorities are and try to expect where extra expenses may pop up. Organize your spending account by most important to least important. Take stock of what you already have and list those needs first.



Tracking Savings & Changes

There may be some paychecks were you aren't able to add to your savings but don't forget, your savings accounts are used for much more than just emergency saving.


This is especially important if you have debt you are trying to pay down. After completing the first two pages, if you haven't already added your debt as a bill, add you debt payment to your savings account.


If you have a large collection debt to pay, you can save up by adding a small amount of money every paycheck or every month. Track any changes or additions you want to remember but aren't applicable to your current paycheck.


What's the Point?

At this point you may be asking what exactly is the purpose of all this budgeting and planning?

Accountability

Saving money is difficult, even more so if you usually don’t have enough money to pay for your basic needs. Conversely buying items is the easiest thing in the world to do. Make your purchases carry weight by planning to buy luxury or extra items after you've paid for the necessities. Rework your budgets frequently, try to buy sustainably, and get in the habit of putting something into savings.


Financial Habits

There are so many bad habits we learn as consumers, habits that often begin early in our lives. What you aren’t told is that some habits can severely damage your credit, effect your buying power and create a serious issue for the financial security you'll want in the future.

"Financial stability alleviates some of the strain of our everyday struggle; it's not a cure by any means, it is just one less thing you need to worry about.”

The Eazy Peezy Paycheck Budget sheets are meant to be so easy that you could pull out a piece of paper and start budgeting even without the templates. Just start; wherever you are in life and whatever your working with, start budgeting towards a financially stable you today.



The Eazy Peezy Budgeting Templates include Monthly Budgeting but there’s more:

Step 1: Budget Set Up

Step 2: Monthly Budgeting

Step 4: Debt / Savings Budgeting


Future posts will debut the rest of the Eazy Peezy Budget Templates AND subscribers of the newsletter will receive blank printable versions!

Updated: Oct 8

The saga continues! To recap, last year I studied the financial guru and YouTube star Jordan Page, to see if her tips and tricks to financial freedom could work for someone living on less than minimum wage. Short answer – yes, long answer – it required a few tweaks.



If you’d like to learn more about my review of Jordan Page’s Fun, Cheap, or Free blog and YouTube channel, you can read my blog here or read my Budget Set Up blog here.


MONTHLY BUDGET SET UP & GOAL TRACKING


My overall budgeting goal was to increase my success of becoming financially stable with an income of $15,000 a year. I created the Eazy Peazy Budgeting Templates to help me capture three things: 

  1. what/where I am spending my money

  2. how often I’m attempting and hitting my savings goals

  3. and what needs to change for me to continue to improve my finances. 

My Budget Set Up assisted me in tracking and re-evaluating my finances and gave me a foundation to begin monthly and paycheck budgeting using Eazy Peezy Templates.


This system is includes simple and to the point budgeting sheets that grow with your financial goals but don’t overwhelm you. These printable budget sheets were created specifically on the tried, failed and tried again method and are designed to allow you to edit them as your life and finances change. 


Step 2: Monthly Budgeting

In Step 1, we used the Eazy Peezy Budget Set Up packet to organize 5 accounts to label where my take-home income is distributed. My take-home income totaled $541.00 bi-weekly; this comes out to $1082 a month after taxes.


In step 2, we are using the Eazy Peezy Monthly Budget packet. This packet consists of four pages and is meant to be used after completing the Budget Set Up. Before setting up your monthly budget, you’ll need:

  1. Your Eazy Peezy Budget Set Up sheets already completed

  2. A live view of your account balances

  3. And a calendar listing all of your bill due dates for the month

  4. Blank Eazy Peezy Monthly Budget sheets


Make sure to have your Spending and Bills Account balances readily available.


Bills Account

The bills account sheet should look familiar, this is where you’re going to list all of your expenses for the month in order of due date. 


Try to be as exact as possible; this is also a good time to check your bills account statement or mobile app to confirm that the correct amounts have been charged.


The date a bill is due may not be the same as when it is deducted from your bank account. This information will give you a better understanding of your bills accounts' behavior.


Keeping a close eye on how your expenses are deducted assists you in identifying red flag charges. Discrepancies in the amount, date or provider being deducted from your bank account is a sign to check with your bill provider.


Keep in mind that you can fill out these sheets in any order. You could go straight to the spending account sheet and see all of your expenses before doing your balances.

However, when living on so little, sometimes you don't really have a choice in what your spending budget is. This is because generally, whatever is left after my bills are deducted - is my spending money.


Income Balances

When you are living with a deficit; where your bills take more than one paycheck. It's best to complete the bills sheet, then the income and end balances sheets. This will give you the total of how much spending money you will have left so you can divide the total in the spending sheet.

I use the bank account balances from the day I receive my funds in my account and before spending any money. I manually move cash around in their appropriate accounts but you can set up automatic transfers.


The plus amounts are being added to a bank account from my spending account. Once I feel like I know where all of money needs to go, I make the necessary transfers using Zelle so that the transfers are immediate.



End Balances

The debt plan and debt tracker boxes are optional but I’ve found them extremely useful. Every three months I complete a debt/savings budget where I follow my credit scores, debts in collections, and student loan payments.


Having these boxes in my monthly planning, helps me make realistic goals on what how much I can put towards my debt that month. It also helps me see an 'at a glance' review of how my debts are disappearing or how they aren’t disappearing. This way I can change my tactics or savings goals.


The End Balances sheet where you get to see what will be left in all of your accounts after everything is paid.





Spending Account Sheet

Your spending sheet will most likely be the most difficult one to complete as this one supposed to be in perceptual work in progress.


You may have an idea of some common expenses and their amounts but what’s important is that you check this sheet as you fill it out to see where you are spending your money and if it aligns with your financial goals.


I can’t be the only person whose spent all my grocery budget on ordering in for a week straight. After noticing that an entire month of grocery money went to only one week of food, this really changed my perspective on how I spend my money.





‘There’s no such thing as extra money; all money belongs somewhere.”

The Eazy Peezy Monthly Budget sheets aren’t meant to scare you off; I know it can be intimidating or discouraging sometimes to see all of your assets laid out on a single sheet of paper.


If you are truly wanting to make a change in your finances and reach your goals, there are three gifts you’ll need to give yourself.


Gift #1: Accountability

Budgeting can be difficult, budgeting is difficult. Spending money is fun and saving isn’t as fun as people who have lots of money make it seem. Take this for what it is, this is you trying to develop better financial habits and in order to achieve this you have to take responsibility for what happens to your money. This means reviewing and re-reviewing every last penny you earn on a consistent basis.


Gift #2: Grace

I shouldn’t have - this expression is detrimental to your mental health when it comes to budgeting. If you hadn’t done this or spent money on that; there is absolutely no way to guarantee that if you could have gone back in time to change a decision it would have panned out better for you. Allow yourself to make mistakes and make wiser decisions next time. 


Gift #3: Satisfaction

Saving $20 in a month or paying off a $100 debt is a BIG DEAL! These aren’t small steps; you are making progress. Find a way to congratulate yourself for a days work because budgeting is work. When you see your labors manifest into something that is going to make you a more competent and stable financier – even if it’s just your finances – budgeting no longer becomes a chore, it becomes something you are proud of.



The Eazy Peezy Budgeting Templates include Monthly Budgeting but there’s more:

Step 1: Budget Set Up

Step 3: Paycheck Budgeting

Step 4: Debt / Savings Budgeting


Future posts will debut the rest of the Eazy Peezy Budget Templates AND subscribers of the newsletter will receive blank printable versions!

5:30 am – Feed ChiChi

6:30 am – Get ready for the day

7:00 am – Coffee and maybe breakfast

8: 00 am – Start work

12:00 pm – Lunch

5:00 pm – Off work

What an exciting day....


DESIGNING A DAILY SCHEDULE


Don’t get me wrong, a good simple daily schedule is sometimes all you need, however, if you want something with a bit more pizzazz! You're going to need to capture not only your general tasks and workflow but those in-between moments which turns a simple daily schedule into a functional one.


There are many ways to go about creating a daily schedule but in general, there are usually three types of schedules.


The Meticulously Planned schedule, the Long Game schedule, and the Creative Mess schedule.


You may be able to guess which schedule I prescribe to just by viewing the list of necessary planning items I use for my annual, monthly and daily planning and scheduling.


I have a Day Designer Daily & Monthly Planner,

a Poketo Project Planner,

two small line paper notebooks,

a Creative Year Wellness journal,

a Creative Year Inspire journal,

and finally a Creative Year Gratitude journal.

*The Creative Year Collection from Michaels.


I believe the best word to described my planning style is meticulous - an adjective meaning to show attention to detail, being very careful and precise.


This may be a bit much for you or just right, it really depends on what is most useful to you. For daily planning, I use my Day Designer Daily & Monthly Planner and my Work & Play Daily Planner sheets.


The Work & Play Daily Planner Sheets


The Work & Play Daily Planner sheets were designed to focus on daily achievement and separate the work days from my days off. While my Day Designer planner is very useful for keeping up with my daily tasks, I wanted to make sure I had some accountability for the level of productivity I felt I was lacking.


The Work Daily Planner sheet encourages me to make a detailed plan around meetings and appointments so that I use every available moment to get things done. While the Play Daily Planner sheet encourages me to limit my screen time and practice a self-care, so that I don't end up wasting my entire day off.


Detailing my tasks in several different schedules that all essentially say the same thing helps me remember them and also keeps me accountable. I review my schedules at the end of the day and check off ones I've completed or move tasks to another day, all while keeping my projects, work and play tasks separate.


What Type of Schedule is Right for You?


It takes me 10 minutes to get ready for the day, maybe 20 minutes if I decide to add Chap-stick to the mix. For me, I get the most joy out of my mornings by sitting in silence with a fresh cup of coffee for about 10 minutes before I do anything productive for the day. Which means I have an entire hour between 7 am and 8 am and that extra 10 minutes, to do whatever I want with no one to bother me.


The Meticulous Planner

If you are a detail oriented planner, it doesn't mean you have to have twelve different schedules sitting on your desk like me. However, it may mean that a schedule that shows a clear separation of tasks or projects would help you keep track of everything you're doing. It may also mean that you prefer to schedule tasks at specific times.

“My daily schedule generally stays the same every day but what changes are the in-between moments.”

I use alarms to keep me on schedule, I have an alarm for feeding ChiChi breakfast in the morning, an alarm for getting ready for work and an alarm for when my workday starts. This way, I can whilst away the in-between moments not really thinking about what time it is or what other responsibilities I have because I’m completely free until I hear the ring of my alarm bell.

Ideas to fill in-between moments:

  • 10 minutes of mindfulness

  • Cook a quick breakfast

  • Pack or prep a lunch

  • Work on a painting project

  • Update my budget

  • Watch an inspirational video

  • Read a few pages of that book I still haven’t finished

  • Have two cups of coffee!

  • Check my work calendar and plan out my day

  • Cuddle with ChiChi

  • Clean the counters – because COVID


The Long Game Schedule

If you prefer to see the overall picture instead of the details, then a block schedule might work best for you. Block schedules help you orient your day around tasks to be completed within a certain time of day. Instead of making the commitment to start a task at 9 am, you add it to a task list where you know that you want to get all of those tasks completed sometimes between 12 noon and 2 pm that day. This type of schedule gives you more maneuverability with your chess pieces (tasks), where it won't mess up your entire schedule if you have to move tasks around.


My work day morning routine follows a block schedule because mornings are the most important part of my day, my routine consists of a list of tasks I want to get done before I start work. I am what you might call ‘a morning person’. I do truly enjoy waking up early and getting my day started as the sun comes up.


My entire mood for the rest of my day is often based on how my morning has gone, so it is imperative that I do everything in my power to start my day off right.


The Creative Mess Schedule

My two lined notebooks are creative mess schedules, they are readable and understandable to me but another set of eyes might have a lot of questions. This is because creative mess schedules, get the job done without any of the fancy features of planner or organization of template and they constantly change from one day to the next. You can add some structure by using the bullet journal method, which outlines techniques to help you capture your daily tasks.


If you prefer a running task list, using a simple piece of line paper and using colorful pens or markers to denote headers or highlight important tasks, then this is the schedule for you. My notebook have everything from grocery lists, to ideas for projects lists, to general notes with no real organization or sectioning, yet I know where everything is most of the time.


As you can see I like to utilize different aspects of these types of schedules because it works for the way I like to schedule my days. Hopefully now you have an idea of how you might be able to start your own daily schedule.


Creating your Own Daily Schedule


Start with what you know needs to happen for the day based on: when you wake up, when you normally get ready, the time you need to start work, etc. and delineate those tasks first on the schedule. Then figure out what works for you by trying it all!


Try one style for a week and if you find that scheduling based on specific times, eliminate it and try a different style next week. Take a month to just see what works for you and what doesn't, it is most likely that you will need to combine features of the styles into a unique scheduling type that's all your own.

“If you only have one goal, make it ‘to life my best life’ for as many days as possible.”

Tips for a Successful Schedule

Tip #1: Consistency is key when it comes to success. Goals can stretch over several weeks or even months but if you are scheduling tasks and activities that will bring you closer to your goals almost every day, you will be much more successful in tracking your progress.


Tip #2: The simpler the better when you’re just starting off. A to-do list, an area for appointments and your everyday routines is all you need.


Tip #3: A work day looks different than a non-work day but my determination to have a good day is still the same. We are all busy so there isn’t a day-off I really consider a 'day-off', I’ve still got errands to run and bills to pay but you need to make sure that you always make time for fun.


Tip #4: For me, self-care is fun. Fun-days are also days where I like to reflect on how I’m feeling, what I’m grateful for, and use whatever time I have available to me to increase my own well-being.


Tip #5: I’ve skipped an entire week in my planner and I’m sure there have been more than a few days where my productivity for a day was mostly sleeping and eating potato chips on the couch. We’ve all been there and we’ll probably be there again someday but that’s okay. What’s important is that you understand where you want to be – emotionally, professionally, physically and that you make a conscious decision to try to get yourself there.

 

Tip #6: While you may miss a few pages or give yourself a veg day, if it feels like you can’t pull yourself from this low productivity or are having issues being consistent on planning your goals, every day planning might be very helpful for you. You’ll get that instant gratification because your goals are usually smaller which means you are more likely to see movement and you'll provide some accountability for yourself as you review and track your tasks.

Tip #7: Daily scheduling will also help you see what works for your mental health or what you may need assistance with as you figure out what tools and techniques are right for you. You may even find out you have a new talent or skill but most importantly, you’ll realize that you may have 10 minutes completely to yourself.




Construction, chess pieces, and creative mess photos from Wix.com

Watch, and notebook photos from Wix.com


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Wondering who ChiChi is?

ChiChi is my two year old pet bunny.


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