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. To my surprise, not only did her techniques work but they also increased my understanding of debt planning and credit improvement. Learning her system also gave me the confidence to finally take control of my finances.
'Budgeting can be horrendously overwhelming, particularly when living on an income that barely covers your rent and bus ticket each month.'
Keep in mind that Jordan Page’s advice isn’t full proof and after studying and practicing her techniques for the last year, I’ve had to make some changes. 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.
MY PLAN FOR FINANCIAL SECURITY
To increase the success of becoming financially stable with an income of $15,000 a year, I wanted to create something that helped me capture:
what/where I am spending my money
how often I’m attempting and hitting my savings goals
and what needs to change for me to continue to improve my finances.
To assist me in tracking and re-evaluating my finances based on the goals above, I created the 'Eazy Peezy' Budget Templates. Simple and to the point budgeting sheets that grow with your financial goals but don’t overwhelm you.
Using The 'Eazy Peezy' Budget Templates
These printable budget sheets were created using the tried, failed and tried again method and are designed to allow you to edit them as your life and finances change.
Setting up Accounts
Let’s look at the first step of Jordan Page’s 7 Bank Account strategy and how I use my 'Eazy Peezy' Budget Templates to organize my accounts even when making $541.00 a paycheck.
The 'Eazy Peezy' Budget Set-up packet consists of three pages and is the foundation of creating dedicated accounts to organize your finances. Before setting up your budget, you’ll need:
to have an idea of your financial goals,
how often you receive fund (monthly, bi-weekly, annually)
and the account and/or banks those funds are deposited to.
I am using 6 accounts and designated my accounts based on the following: spending, bills, short-term savings, long-term savings, emergency savings, and investment savings.
A few things to remember:
For me, debt budgeting is my short-term savings. This strategy of designating a specific account for debt, helps me keep up with payments.
One thing I learned through trial and error with Jordan Page's system was that I don't like cash, so I prefer to do all my finances electronically.
There are several online savings options where you can choose not to have a physical card, like credit unions.
Visualize those budgeting goals – remember that this is what you’re shooting for, so shoot for the sky!
Bills: Focus on defining ‘what is a bill’?
Begin by asking yourself:
what is necessary to be paid on time?
what can be put on auto pay?
and what will create a hardship for me if I begin to miss payments?
what maintains the sanity in my house?
Savings/Investments: Once you've defined your bills, now you have to make the decision of 'what is a luxury'?
Is this necessary for my mental health?
is this something that improves my soul/life?
is this a priority? would I make it a bill?
Does this contribute to me living beyond my means?
Could I somehow get this free if I really tried?
Savings/debt: Distinguish what your savings is actually for.
Do you want to pay off debt?
Clean up your credit?
Save for a vacation?
Spending: Expenses not considered a bill or savings can be regulated to either your spending or emergency account.
'Try not to think in terms of what is necessary and what is not, humans are complex and so are our needs.'
Emergency: These funds get their own breakdown because they may or may not be a monthly recurring bill. How much I add to this account, all depends on my goals. What do I usually need emergency funds for?
I tend to use my emergency funds on things like co-pays for doctors and dentist appointments because I rarely go to either. I also use emergency funds for preparation of the worst case scenario if I decide to take a chance or make a risky deal that I am hoping will prosper but requires me to keep realistic expectations.
GIVING YOURSELF SOME GRACE
Give yourself a break, budgeting isn't as easy as the financial gurus make it out to be. What's important is that you are trying. Start the process of budgeting by making your first goal, detail what you’d like to save and/or pay off and don't give yourself too many constraints. If right now you can’t afford anything, then when you have a surplus (like if you get a tax refund or receive extra income), refer to your 'Eazy Peezy' Budget Sheets to see what your goal was and pay it then.
I now have a clear picture of:
what/where I am spending my money? Mostly bills but too much of my left over money goes to luxuries.
how often I’m attempting and hitting my savings goals? Rarely but that may mean I need to update my goal by lowering my savings goal and simply focus on consistency.
and what needs to change for me to continue to improve my finances? Use moments of surplus to my advantage and save or pay off debt when I have the extra cash.
There is no universal savings formula that works perfectly for everyone.
Tips & Tricks to Get Started
Tip #1: Just start.
The example page 1 of the 'Eazy Peezy' Budget Set-Up Template shows me using several different banks, however you could certainly use the same bank and just open several accounts or even prepaid cards if that is your only option right now. Use what you have and make a plan even if you can only start with two accounts – one for spending and one for bills.
Tip #2: The short-term savings account funds I set aside for large purchases or complex debt arrangements. This account could help save to pay for delinquent bills that haven’t gone to collections yet, upcoming one-time bills that aren’t an emergency and planned larger purchases.
Tip #3: The investment savings account is actually Acorns! This account is a mix between a supplement for my retirement plan and long-term savings. What’s most important about this account is that very little money goes into it but I can’t access the funds which means, it is essentially ‘a penny jar’.
Tip #4: Something that often used to trip me up in previous attempts to organize my bills - forgetting when annual bills were due and how much they were. Problem Solved. ------------ >
Tip #5: Add your completed sheets to the front of your budget planner, or attach it somewhere you can see and refer to easily so you can use it as a reference every time you do your monthly, paycheck and debt/saving budgets.
Tip #6: The 'Eazy Peezy' Budget Set-up sheets are just the beginning. These budgeting Templates start with the Budget Set-up but there’s more:
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!