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Set Yourself Up for Financial Success With a Budget Calendar

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As you hopefully know, a monthly calendar is an invaluable tool for keeping track of important dates and events. Many of us even rely on calendars to keep our entire lives in order. But have you ever thought about adding your budget to your calendar?

I’m sure you know how important it is to create a budget. But, at the same time, creating a budget can be daunting. And sticking to your budget even more so. I can tell you that when I first started budgeting, I nearly gave up in frustration.

Despite this, living paycheck to paycheck is no way to live — which is valid for 7 in 10 people. It’s stressful and prevents you from achieving your goals. While a budget won’t completely resolve your financial woes, it can help. After all, you can keep track of your financial goals, track your bills, and manage your cash flow with a budget calendar.

In short, if you want to be financially successful, then you need a budget calendar. And, to get you started on the right foot, here’s how to set yourself for financial success using a budget calendar.

What is a Budget Calendar?

Simply put, a budget calendar is a calendar that tracks payments and due dates. More specifically, it helps estimate how much money you have coming in and out each month. Your existing calendar, whether paper or digital, will work just fine. But, there are more than enough apps and templates designed specifically for budget calendars.

Whatever calendar you use, it should contain the following;

  • Income. You should mark your calendar once you know when your next paycheck is coming, or at least when to expect it.
  • Bills. Make a list of regular expenses. Examples would be rent and credit card, and cellphone bills. Don’t forget to include infrequent bills as well. These could be semiannual car insurance payments or an annual Disney Plus subscription.
  • Savings contributions. Saving up for an emergency fund, vacation, or car down payment can be achieved by regularly transferring funds to an account.

Of course, it wouldn’t hurt to log small or irregular transactions as well. Even so, it may be challenging to budget every single cup of coffee or grocery bill estimate.

Why a Budget Calendar Is Important

Did you know only 30% of Americans have a long-term financial plan in place? As a result, we can stay on top of our income, save money more effectively, and ensure that our money isn’t spent exorbitantly with a budget.

Furthermore, if you want to escape living paycheck to paycheck, then having a budget is essential.

The good news? Budgeting doesn’t have to be complicated. The key is finding a budgeting style that makes sense for you. You’ll be more likely to stay on track to reach your financial goals when you do that.

Choosing a budget calendar will benefit you in the following ways;

  • Assess your income
  • More accurately plan your spending by tracking your expenses
  • Get a better grasp of your living expenses
  • Identify where you can eliminate unnecessary costs
  • You will be able to tackle any debt more quickly
  • Make a future-oriented plan

The advantage of using calendars is that they assist you in seeing when things are due. More than a quarter of millennials had their checking accounts overdrawn, but a Calendar can be a solution to dealing with the anxiety of late payments. Your  Calendar will help you to avoid late payments. And in my opinion, a calendar has a much easier learning curve than most budgeting software.

How to Make a Budget Calendar

Hopefully, you’re sold on a budget calendar because of the benefits listed above. So, how do you actually set up a Calendar for your budget? You’ll first need to choose what type of calendar to use.

You need a blank calendar, and this could just be an old-school paper calendar if you prefer. But a digital or calendar app will likely work best for you. For example, if you already use Google Calendar, you can make a separate budget calendar. You can then access that calendar whenever and wherever you please.

Alternatively, if you don’t want to create a budget calendar, you can use a budget calendar template. 101 PlannersMy Money Coach, and On Planners are worth exploring.

However, there are dedicated calendar budgeting apps you can try. Some suggestions would be Virtual WalletCalendarBudget, or Moneydance.

What Should Be Included on Your Budget Calendar

Budget calendars are helpful regardless of how you budget or the tools you use. Whatever your budgeting method, either weekly, biweekly, or monthly — here’s what should be included on your budget calendar.

Revenue.

Be sure to include the dates you receive your paychecks when you prepare your calendar. If you’re self-employed, and you’re unsure when your checks will arrive, a budget calendar can still be handy.

In any case, if your income fluctuates, keep a careful eye on the rest of your portfolio to understand when bills are due. It can also help you get a sense of your overall financial health. Throughout the year, you can review past calendars so you’ll know when to spend more and less money.

Bills.

Write down the due date of any bill on the calendar. Monitoring your spending will help you avoid impulsive and unnecessary spending before a bill is due. More importantly, don’t forget to schedule a time in your calendar to review your bills periodically. For example, maybe you paid off a debt, or your electric bill has changed since the last time you checked.

Knowing your bills’ due dates will help you avoid common financial mistakes. For example, have you ever forgotten to pay a bill on the due date? Having your bills listed on a Calendar with an alert can also help prevent overspending since you know that you have enough to cover your fixed expenses.

Here’s another perk. I’ve noticed the majority of the monthly bills fell in the first two weeks of the month. For some people, this isn’t a big deal. But, if you have irregular income or live paycheck-to-check, this can be stressful.

When you see when each of your bills is due, you can make a plan of action—for instance, calling each company and requesting a more even distribution. You may also save a little extra every pay period if you spread your bills out so you can more easily manage other expenses such as groceries and gas.

Savings.

Note the days when you automatically withdraw money from your bank account on your budget calendar. It does not matter whether this financial goal is putting money toward a retirement plan, college fund, or emergency savings. If you are not saving money regularly, you should also designate a specific day as a saving day.

Special Events and Holidays.

According to the time of year, every month will look different. Budget calendars should include special occasions, holidays, and birthdays. Putting money aside for a family dinner party or buying a gift for a baby shower will help you remember to include these expenses in your budget.

Design Elements for a Budget Calendar

By incorporating the correct design elements into your calendar, you can significantly increase the likelihood of sticking to it. In addition, visual elements can be used to make your calendars more visually appealing, as well as effective tools.

Choose the right size.

Make it easy to stick to your budget calendar by picking a size that works for you. No one size will work for everyone. For example, say you are always on the run. It might not be wise to create a huge budgeting binder that you have to lug around. Instead, a digital calendar on your phone will work better. Have something light and easy to access.

Use color-coding.

Making your budget calendar colorful can help you stay on track more easily. Why? Because specific dates and entries will pop.

Here are a few ways to color-code your calendar;

  • Various paychecks. You can use different colors to identify which bills each paycheck will cover if you get paid multiple times a month.
  • To categorize expenses according to their type. For example, if you’re planning to transfer money to savings, you might highlight monthly bills in one color and monthly bills in another.
  • Assigning bills. If you have a partner or roommate who shares expenses, you can create a joint budget calendar and use color-coding to keep track of everyone’s responsibilities.

How to Maintain Your Budget

It can be challenging to devote consistent time to budgeting — especially if you don’t find numbers exciting. However, even if you don’t like numbers — budging doesn’t have to be troublesome.

In fact, budgeting can be a relatively easy task if you keep a calendar.

Invest one afternoon or morning per month into your budget. Preferably, this would be on the days that you get paid, such as on the first or fifteenth of the month. A calendar review with each paycheck enables you to adjust and adapt accordingly.

Regardless of the exact day, it’s easier to maintain a budget calendar if you have a set date. If possible, plan for a month in advance, but even more, is better.

If you’re using a digital calendar or app, then you can set reminders so that you won’t forget. You can, for instance, create a recurring calendar reminder for payday so you don’t forget to review your budget. To stay on top of your budget calendar, you can also use calendar reminders. Remember, follow-through is key to making your plan successful.

Do I Need a Budget Calendar?

Maybe you don’t have to have a budget Calendar — however, a budget is essential. I applaud you if you can manage your money in your head, but very few people can budget in their heads — even if they are good at math. While at that same time putting money away for a vacation, retirement fund, emergency savings, or just for fun is beneficial to your best self.

But remember it’s crucial to figure out how to manage your money to suit your needs. One tool that might be useful to you is a budget calendar. If you want to live well and reach your goals you must have some sort of budget, whether you keep track of the numbers in your head or on a budget calendar — or have your tax person handle this for you.

Set Yourself Up for Financial Success With a Budget Calendar was originally published on Calendar by John Rampton.

Image Credit: Tima Miroshnichenko; Pexels; Thank you!

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Food Is Medicine And What We Eat Is Important

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Your mental state is a critical component of your physical health. And when you’re under a lot of stress, you might not be eating the healthy food that provides nutrients for fighting anxiety and depression. So when we examine what we’ve been eating, most of us discover that the decisions we’ve been making in the name of simplicity, convenience, or saving time have been damaging to our total health – body, mind, and spirit.

A person’s diet is a direct reflection of their health. When a person does not eat the right foods, their body breaks down. This can lead to an overall decrease in quality of life and many other diseases linked to improper nutrition. In North America, our current diet mainly consists of an excess of grain, sugar, fried and fatty foods. As a result, disorders including hypertension, diabetes, obesity, Alzheimer’s, and certain malignancies are becoming increasingly widespread.

The science of food has always been discussed; however, with recent technological innovations in food processing and agriculture, people have enjoyed more convenient foods that are less expensive than ever before. Unfortunately, with every convenience comes a trade-off. Smart foods are often packed with sugar, salt, and calories, leading to poor health in some individuals. 

To understand what a person is putting into their body, it’s essential to realize that the small molecules in food are responsible for allowing our bodies to function. These small molecules are called nutrients, including vitamins, minerals, phytochemicals, and enzymes. A nutrient is not a value unless absorbed by the body through a specific pathway. For example, if you absorb calcium without vitamin D, your body will not use that calcium. 

Eating a balanced diet keeps you healthy, but it helps reduce your stress. For example, eat foods rich in vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants because they help augment your immune response and prevent toxins from damaging your cells. Vitamins A, C, and E serve as antioxidants that fight off free radicals in the body. Free radicals are toxic products of metabolism that cause damage to your cells. Experts claim that they are responsible for the aging process. Good sources of these vitamins are deeply-colored vegetables- green leafy, yellow, and orange vegetables, such as squash, broccoli, kale, spinach, and carrots.

Iron is one of the most abundant minerals in the body, and it mainly functions to deliver oxygen to your cells. Hence, an iron deficiency, medically termed Iron-deficiency anemia, is associated with weakness, easy fatigability, and pale skin. Tea, coffee, red wine, grapes, and berries are rich in antioxidants that function the same as your vitamins A, C, and E. 
You need a diet that’s healthy and balanced – and one that can fit comfortably into your busy lifestyle.

Here are some of the recommended dietary guidelines.

Eat a diet high in fresh vegetables, vitamins, and minerals. 

Exercise every other day to release endorphins, feel good, get the blood flowing, and reduce stress levels. 

Eat salt only when you need it, but not too much as your body does not need it. Many people with anxiety are hypothyroid or have low magnesium. When your body needs more sodium, it can indicate that you are not producing enough cortisol or are dehydrated. If you experience chronic anxiety, I recommend working with a physician to run tests on cortisol levels and then take salt supplements as needed. Use spices like turmeric, ginger, curry, and aromatic herbs like parsley, rosemary, sage, and basil.
Eat low-fat meals because they will cause a minor spike in blood sugar levels: think lean meats, eggs, vegetables, and nuts; avoid dairy if it makes you feel anxious. 

Drink lots of water — keep hydrated all day — ideally at least half a gallon if possible — your brain needs water to function optimally! 

Avoid foods that you know will make you feel bad, such as dairy, even with low-fat content. You can cut out dairy and not worry about it! 

Avoid sugar, caffeine, processed foods, alcohol, and any other substance that makes you feel bad or increases anxiety levels. Also, avoid coffee — drinking more than one cup a day can cause anxiety in some people. Coffee is also dehydrating and inhibits the absorption of minerals from food/water/supplements — try caffeinated water as a substitute for coffee if you like the caffeine kick. 

Find a natural health professional that you can talk to or work with to quickly get the results you want. 

Healthy foods and nutrition can help you stay fit, but they can also assist you in treating disease. When you nurture your body physically with these nutrient-dense foods, your mental capacities improve, as does your spiritual welfare. Moreover, because your spiritual health is at its best, it will radiate to the exterior world, causing others to notice you’re happier and more relaxed, and your stress levels have decreased dramatically.

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The Points of Light Civic Circle Offers Real Ways You Can Change the World 

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Sixty-six percent of Americans don’t believe they can make a big impact in the world. 

That figure is according to Points of Light’s research on civic engagement. But what if I told you there are actually many ways to drive change? 

Today’s political climate can feel divided or even stagnant, but the truth is, you really can make things better, starting with your own community, one act of kindness at a time. And those aren’t just words. I’m here to share real, practical ways for you to make a difference. 

The Points of Light Civic Circle helps people connect to opportunities and understand that doing good comes in many forms. It is a framework that represents your power to lead, lend support and take action for causes you care about and live your best civic life. 

The Civic Circle provides actionable examples of all the ways you can change your community to reflect the world you want to see around you. In fact, you’re probably doing some of these things already. Are you helping a neighbor by picking up groceries or chaperoning on your child’s class field trip? You’re volunteering. Did you vote in the last election or help others get to the polls so they could vote? Those acts of civic duty illustrate the “vote” element. When you buy a product, do you choose to support companies that reflect your values or advance a social cause? That’s called “purchase power.” There are nine elements of the Civic Circle, and countless ways to bring each one to life. 

This blog is the first in a five-part series that will help you find real and manageable ways to activate the Civic Circle through apps, documentaries, podcasts and books. 

We also offer other resources to help you connect with all the ways you can become empowered to be the change you want to see in the world. Check out our videos that provide an in-depth look at each element of the Civic Circle. And don’t miss Civic Life Today, our digital magazine series. Each issue takes a deep dive and provides materials, ideas and inspiration so that you can become civically engaged.  Get started today, and launch your own civic engagement journey with these tools. 

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Are you an Amateur or a Pro? 30 Differences to Help You Decide…

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My client, Sebastian, thinks he’s behind on “life”.

He thinks he missed the memo the rest of us received on how to live a happy life.

I know better.

Sebastian hasn’t fallen behind and there is no such memo.

We’re all just trying to figure it out.

Unless we’re not. And there are a lot of people who simply are not trying to figure it out.

My friend and Professional Coach, Elaine Taylor-Klaus, calls them Status quo-ers — as opposed to Growers.

Anyone who makes a serious commitment to working with a Professional Coach is by definition a “Grower” and Sebastian is no exception.

Growers want to know, feel and live more. They push every boundary and sometimes fall off cliffs. They say “yes” to way too many things and often feel overwhelmed and over committed. They have a congenital distaste of the status quo and will sabotage any situation if it feels like “settling” to them. They’re insatiable and often don’t know what exactly will assuage their hunger.

Growers often appear to the world as troubled, frustrated and critical.

Inside they feel unfulfilled and misunderstood.

The truth is that they can’t help but be driven by Oscar Wilde’s belief that,

“To live is the rarest thing in the world. Most people just exist.”

Growers will break every piece in the china shop when they find themselves just existing and not living as they see fit. And they suffer for it.

That is… until they turn pro and transform their life!

Steven Pressfield famously states in his book, Turning Pro

“Becoming a pro, in the end, is nothing grander than growing up.”

Sebastian thinks he’s falling behind because he’s still living life as an amateur at 34.

To put the above into context, I didn’t turn pro till well into my 40’s!

Best move I ever made! 

So what’s the difference between living life as an amateur vs. a pro?

Although there is no one size fits all manifesto on “how to turn pro”, here are thirty distinctions I’ve learned which apply to ANY Grower who is truly committed to living a life of purpose, fulfillment and ease.

  1. Amateurs look for hacks and shortcuts — Pros do the work.
  2. Amateurs speed up — Pros slow down.
  3. Amateurs are busy — Pros are focused.
  4. Amateurs sell first — Pros serve first.
  5. Amateurs think it’s about them — Pros know it’s never personal.
  6. Amateurs think life is short — Pros know life is actually really freakin’ long.
  7. Amateurs are reactive — Pros are responsive.
  8. Amateurs live with constant misunderstandings — Pros take the time to get clear.
  9. Amateurs don’t know what success looks like (to them) — Pros  know their definition of success and aren’t afraid to change it.
  10. Amateurs don’t know their core life values — Pros do.
  11. Amateurs want to feel happy — Pros want to feel alive!
  12. Amateurs play to “not lose” — Pros play to win.
  13. Amateurs are harsh — Pros are fierce.
  14. Amateurs secretly enjoy being in the “Victim Mindset” — Pros are a “Hell No” to that!
  15. Amateurs wonder what people say about them when they leave the room — Pros know.
  16. Amateurs have false and limiting beliefs around money — Pros don’t.
  17. Amateurs are constantly searching for life balance — Pros are living an integrated life.
  18. Amateurs think everything matters — Pros know what few things actually do matter (for them).
  19. Amateurs set boundaries defensively — Pros simply honor their “operating system”.
  20. Amateurs think help is a four letter word — Pros actively seek opportunities to help and be helped.
  21. Amateurs don’t have a relationship with their “Future Self” — Pros are best friends with their “Future Self”.
  22. Amateurs confuse knowing with doing — Pros receive knowledge and apply it (EVERY moment of EVERY day).
  23. Amateurs love information — Pros love insights.
  24. Amateurs have intentions — Pros have commitments.
  25. Amateurs have expectations — Pros have agreements.
  26. Amateurs compare — Pros create.
  27. Amateurs live from probability — Pros live from possibility.
  28. Amateurs are focused only on the “Goal Line” — Pros are focused on both the “Goal Line” and the “Soul Line”.
  29. Amateurs set goals with contingencies — Pros know contingencies are just excuses and NOW is the time!
  30. Amateurs create from the past — Pros create from the future.

Now that you are aware of the 30 differences between an amateur and a pro, where do you see yourself?

And I’d love to know why. Get in touch with your answer.

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