A Job for Every Dollar

Money - EmilyMarko.com

Earlier this month I shared some tips on being proactive in my newsletter. One of them was on the topic of maintaining finances.

I believe there are two types of people when it comes to money – spenders and savers. I fall under the category of saver; my husband is a spender. So it makes for some heated discussions when finances are brought up. We struggled to compromise on our finances for years and then I found YNAB (You Need A Budget).

I have always believed that in order to maintain financial stability, one must know where each dollar is going. I just never had a good tool to keep track until this program. It changed everything for my personal and business finances.

The philosophy is to assign one job for every dollar. It is simple and effective.

For monthly and day-to-day expenses, budgeting is easy for me, but when those yearly or random expenses pop up it can get tricky. I know every year my car will need inspected, an oil change and new tires and in the past I would deal with it when the expense already occurred. I now budget for all anticipated expenses by estimating amounts, dividing it by the number of months remaining and save a little each month. This way I cannot forget or use the money elsewhere.

I feel more in control of my finances because I know what I am saving and spending for. I might not be in the financial position I would ideally want, but I know I have a plan for future finances; which will help move me to a happy money place.

I even set my daughter up with her own budget through the program. Although she is a saver as well, she still needed a tool to track everything. it is a great way to teach teens how to manage money.

No matter if you use YNAB or another program – establishing a budget and assigning a “job” for each dollar is key to proactive saving and spending.

Disclaimer: YNAB has a referral system. If someone signs up through my referral link, they receive a discount on the software and I receive a certain amount in my account. I am not one to partake in referral systems normally, BUT this program is so fantastic I recommend it to everyone. Whether you sign up through me or not, I strongly recommend trying out the trial. It is life changing.

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What is your biggest challenge when it comes to finances?

How do you stay proactive in your spending and saving?

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Maintain You

maintain - Emilymarko.com

Just over a year ago, I was writing about throwing out my bucket and realizing the importance of life maintenance. Although, that was clarifying, I still don’t necessarily feel like I am in control of the daily maintenance of my life. It is sneaky – the gradual build up of ‘stuff’ or things to-do and then BAM! – I have slipped into a state of scrambling. Until I fall behind on the dishes or making time for myself I don’t notice the benefits. Maintaining doesn’t seem super fun – it is redundant work and not immediately rewarding, but it is key to living a proactive life.

So how does one remain in control of the day-to-day? It seems easy to do something just once, but how to infuse into your daily life is tricky. I think it is a balance of focusing on the present and making choices for the future. The best way to do that, is to focus on what is most important to you.

I really like the term from this article about channeling your inner “CEO of Self.” We should focus on the tasks that only we can do. While we are maintaining we should also be delegating. I find this to be an excellent reminder to not do the easy or quick things – if I am always focusing on that type of task I will never get to the “Great Work” – like writing my newsletters and other business.

This month I am going to practice doing what I do best and being sure I make proactive decisions so I can have the time and space for the practice. I will let you know how it goes.

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How do you stay on top of maintaining your day-to-day life?

Please share your suggestions here!

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Interested in receiving updates about how you can become a Passionate Do-Gooder – Sign up for the e-newsletter here.

Throw Out the Bucket

Over the summer I had a strategic session with the very talented artist, Jill Lena Ford. Jill also happens to be a part of my Awesome Family – she is my little sister. When I say “little” it isn’t by much since we are only 13 months apart – Irish Twins!

Something always seems to happen when we put our heads together – it must be the (Irish) twin synergy. This session for Jill was just as clarifying for me. It did take ALL summer to reach the clarity, but I got there. The Idea Seeds needed some time.

Just last week Jill showed me one of her new paintings that formed after our session and its amazing how her vision mimics mine – or is it visa versa.

What was so clarifying? My Bucket.
You know the one you are supposed to fill with the right mix so you can have a balanced, meaningful and stress free life. This is what MY bucket looked like.

My Bucket Before - EmilyMarko.com

So how did this happen?!

I was drowning in the daily maintenance of life – we all do it…right? (please say you do this too!)
Whether it is the physical maintenance of keeping the garage clean and free from the piles – For Donation, No Use For This But Refuse to Part With It, Will Get to This Next Weekend, etc. Or the maintenance of taking time to reset your mind and body through exercise, meditation or even a 5-minute Me Time break. And don’t forget about all those relationships to maintain – husband, children, family, friends, community, etc.

My bucket was being filled with important things, but I had so many that I couldn’t see them and was drowning – not to mention taking everything (and everyone?) down with me.

So I threw out my bucket.

After - EmilyMarko.com

Now I stand in the middle of my life with the contents all around me – organized rather neatly, but with room to move.

It may not sound very glamorous or fun, but I realized that everything which is part of our lives requires maintenance – it is essential to surviving, but more importantly to thriving. Hmmm…there definitely wasn’t any room in my bucket for thriving. Or it was hidden at the bottom somewhere. Now I know what needs maintained in my daily life, but I also am able to see out further in the distance.

For me thriving wasn’t choosing more things to go in my bucket, it was about taking a look at the things in my bucket and finding ways to expand what was there. As I maintain, ideas form for easier, better ways to do things and are put into practice. I feel life expanding. It starts small but grows quickly – an app to track expenses easier, an inquiry to partner on a project instead of doing work I don’t like, an overdue chat with a friend, etc.

I have started to let go of old ways or tasks that do not serve a purpose and improve what is already there. This allows for space – to reflect, to fill with a meaningful new thing or to leave it alone. Beyond the ability to refine what already exists are strands of ideas – not even tangible enough to create a verbal description. I have given myself enough space to allow those idea seeds some growth – maybe a new business idea or starting a new family tradition.

Idea Seed - EmilyMarko.com

I can give it some time to grow and before I know it those seeds will drift into an area I can expand on and then it may find itself in the normal maintenance of my life. And it will begin again, but everything is out in the open where I can see it, nurture it and know when its ready to move to the next level.

This new perspective and clarity is refreshing!

Is there something you can expand in your daily maintenance to make it easier, more efficient or maybe obsolete it?
How do you leave room to let those idea seeds grow?