"Plan your work and work your plan." -Napoleon Hill
What does your system look like?
This used to be how I would track our finances! I would take out a piece of paper and start writing away with thoughts hoping that the numbers and our goals would magically sync up into a perfect formula. I stumbled across this piece of paper tucked away inside of one of my finance books next to my bed. It made me really laugh of how caveman it appeared, but more importantly it made me reflect on where I have been with my own personal finance and where I am today. Don't get me wrong, I still love writing out my thoughts on random pieces of paper and notecards, however the majority of my system involves planning, tracking, and interactive-based applications.
Building your own system
What you need
Having a financial game plan tied to short and long term goals.
Creating positive momentum within a structured environment that has set routines/habits when you engage with your money as you earn it, save it, spend, and track it.
How to do it
It all starts with organization! The organization of your thoughts and behaviors towards achieving your financial goals. You must begin to arrange things in a systematically structured way so you can begin to create an healthy financial environment.
Where do you put your checks/bills? How do you save important emails? Do your receipts get rolled up and placed in your cup holder? When and how do you pay your bills?
These are the questions that you need to ask yourself so you can turn financial chaos into financial clarity.
Ask yourself the right questions and you will begin to start organizing your thoughts and then you can start to clean-up/fine-tune your actions.
The right resources/tools
When animals use tools in nature it is a sign of intelligence.
When humans use the right resources and tools in their financial life it is a strong indicator of financial success.
Your resource arsenal should be used to help you with the following: 1. Where you keep track of your account info, login/passwords. 2. How you keep and structure your checkbook/keep track of your cash flow. 3. How you ensure that your money is going where you need it to (savings, bills, etc.) 4. How you track your overall wealth.
What would the right tools and resources give to you and your financial journey?
Really focus on your breath. Take a deep breath. And another and another. Eventually, you begin to take your focus away and you naturally breathe. A system in place is about automation and habit.
Finding what types and what amount of automation you need and want is the key.
Do you enroll in direct deposit or do you go to the bank to cash your check? Is your money withdrawn to pay bills or do you write checks? How does money get into and leave your accounts?
There is not a one-size fits all approach to automation, however it is a great way to take choice and effort out of things to help you minimize stress.
You will find a lot of recommendations and services out there (like fad diets and quick schemes), however remember it is about finding what works best for your needs and goals.