Financial journaling is a thing now. Here’s how to get started
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Chances are you’ve read up on Gratitude or Productivity Journaling – or maybe you’re a big fan of journaling. Well, financial journaling is an offshoot of journaling for your well-being. If the concept sounds strange to you, just ask yourself: how good do you feel when your money is in order… and when it really isn’t?
Money is about well-being. At the start of each month you may feel like you have an endless supply of funds, but in just a few days it can become very clear that you don’t and you wonder where it all went.
The idea is that by keeping a journal of your spending, you start to see trends in terms of where your money is going. Done regularly, it should make it easier to stay on a budget and improve the health of your finances and your free space.
The truth is, bad budgeting – and mismanagement of money – can have a big impact on your financial health. A lack of control over your spending equates to a lack of control over your life and can make it difficult to manage daily, weekly and yearly life decisions. For many, starting a financial journal gives them a clear view of their finances and the ability to take back control.
How can you begin to keep a journal on your finances?
Financial journaling is the process of using a journal – a blank journal or a specially designed financial journal – to chart your finances. From your current spending and budget to your longer-term financial goals, you can track every aspect of your finances.
To get started, you need a specially designed financial planner or a blank notebook or bullet journal. A journal designed for financial planning tends to come with pre-designed financial tracking tools, ranging from an expense tracker to a savings goal monitor.
If you choose to use a simple notepad or a bullet journal, you will need to create the “spreads” (also called “layouts”) yourself. You can purchase stencils and stickers to make them easier to design. Take a cue from Pinterest, where there are plenty of planning boards, and Facebook journaling groups.
Financial journaling doesn’t have a one-size-fits-all approach – it’s a process that tends to differ from person to person. Some popular approaches include a budget planner, expense tracker, income recording, invoice tracker, savings goal page, and debt tracker in your planner. But you should feel able to mix and match them to create your own personalized approach.
How Can Financial Journaling Help You?
Financial journaling can make your finances on track an easier task to tackle. Regular journaling can help you determine your worst spending mistakes by allowing you to review your purchases and determine if they were needed. If you notice a spending incident, you can use a journal to focus on what you would do differently in the future and how you would make a smarter decision.
Journaling can also help you determine your financial goals and how you can achieve them. You might have big dreams for the future, but you might not have thought about what it will actually take to make them come true – a financial journal can help. You can use your journal to break down your financial goals into smaller, more manageable goals, making a plan as you go.
Financial journaling is also popular as a way to tackle debt. Katy *, from Derby, says financial journaling has helped her regain control of her debt. “A year ago my debts had become too much to manage, I was basically only paying the minimal amounts on my cards, I had tried to consolidate but it was too much,” she told HuffPost UK .
Katy entered into an Individual Voluntary Agreement (IVA), a formal, legally binding agreement between you and your creditors to pay off your debts over a period of time – then got a journal.
“My financial advisor told me to record everything I spent, color-code it into different types – purchases, fuel, take-out, general purchases – and from that I could then determine how much. of my money was going to what, ”she says. “It’s good to see what is spent and it has helped me re-evaluate what I am spending money on.
Keeping a financial journal can open your eyes to your spending habits, whether you are making smart choices, and how you can improve your approach to money. Here are some products available on Amazon that will help you get started.
Parker Jotter ballpoint pen
STAEDTLER 185 C24 Noris colored pencils
iBayam Journal Planner Pens Color Pens Fine Tip Markers
Happy Planner Sticker Value Pack
Clever Fox Budget Planner & Monthly Bill Organizer
Gukasxi Ultimate Productivity Journal Stencil Set
Yop & Tom Dotted Journal A5 Notebook – Moon and Stars
* Last name has been omitted for anonymity.