After the Webinar: Take the Stress Out of Your Money Q&A with Courtney from Heroes Financial Coaching

Webinar presenter Courtney of Heroes Financial Coaching answered a number of your questions after her webinar, Take the Stress Out of Your Money: Life Lessons for Criminal Justice Professionals. Here are just a few of her responses.

 

Audience Question: So many people are living paycheck to paycheck these days. What is the very first thing you recommend that we do to stop that cycle? What’s like the babiest of baby steps? 

Courtney: Honestly, it all starts with that budget. With knowing your money situation and knowing what’s coming in, what’s going out. Then for those of you who master that, then teach it to others so that they’re not living that way. And it sounds so basic, and most people again will say to me, “Okay, well, I’m already living paycheck to paycheck. How is the budget going to change anything?” I can guarantee you; it will at least bring clarity to you. And if you do budget and maybe you’re really good at that already, and you’re still living paycheck to paycheck, see what expenses you can get rid of. Or see what income you can add. And there’s so many, again, easy ways to make money from home or side gigs. Even like Uber Eats, people can make $25 an hour doing that, which might be more than some of you are making from your normal job. Do your best to find ways to either decrease your expenses or bring in more income to balance that out.

 

Audience Question: You talked about being a team with your spouse or partner when it comes to managing your money. Can you talk a little bit about what your thoughts are about involving your kids, whether they’re younger or maybe they’re middle school age or even high schoolers, in helping them be part of the team and helping them understand how you as a family plan your finances? 

Courtney:

: I love that question, because I have two little ones, and we’re always talking about finances in a positive way. And so, I would say first start by, learning how to manage your money. Because if you’re feeling out of control, your kids are going to feel that even if you don’t talk to them about it, they’re going to hear it when you say, “We can’t afford that.” Or they’re going to hear it when you say, “That’s too expensive.” And so, first, start with your own money mindset and learn how to be thankful for the things we have. And practicing that gratitude in front of your kids as well to say, “Hey, bud, you know what, we can’t get that today, but I’m so thankful for all these things that we already afford.” I know a lot of people don’t like allowances and giving their kids allowances but I think it’s a great way to teach your kids how to manage money. And so, if you have little kids, I actually have a tool online, you can go to my website and find that, or my Instagram, but it’s basically a chore chart, and then a budgeting tracking sheet for your kids too. And it teaches you how to help them save and give.  And so, I would just begin those conversations with your kids saying, “Hey, you know what? We’re not buying this today because we choose to afford our vacation.” Or “We’re not taking that vacation, because, you know, instead of choosing to give that money to others right now,” And really finding as much as possible a positive bent and a positive spin on your money. Your kids don’t need to know if you’re struggling immensely with your finances. I think it’s better to maybe protect them from it, but as they get older, to bring them in and say, “Hey, you know what? I’m going to teach you how to do that. I’m going to give you an allowance every month, and I’m going to give you this budgeting app, the free one, and you’re going to use this on your phone, and every month when you earn, you know, you’re $50 a month, or $30 a month. I want you to set aside a portion for spending, a portion for saving, and a portion for giving to others.” So that we always remember that giving is such a blessing to be able to do. So, that’s where I would start, as they’re getting older heading towards college, I would say, as they’re getting a job, again, really digging in when it comes to learning how to budget and learning how to save. Because a lot of kids don’t understand the need to save for the future. They don’t look and see, “Oh, my car could break down some day so I better save an emergency fund.” So just having those conversations with them when they’re young. “Hey, you know what, our car broke down, but it’s ok. We have money saved up to cover that.” They’re going to quickly learn your language, and they’re going to adapt that to themselves too.

 

Audience Question: What are some of your favorite other books or resources about managing or planning money? So, if people liked the webinar today, and they want to read more about it, What are some photos some of your favorite books? 

Courtney: So, one that I’ve really enjoyed is called Rich Dad, Poor Dad by Robert Kiyosaki, and he’s a brilliant guy when it comes to all things personal finance. If you’re looking more basic, really just getting started out, Dave Ramsey’s, a big one that’s out there, my only caveat I’ll say, is he can tend to be very critical. And so, if you’re reading his book, don’t take it with offense because he can be offensive sometimes. Those are the two that I really recommend. If you own your own business, the book, Profit First, is a must-have.

 

Audience Question: I think a lot of people don’t like the term budget. It’s kind of just as triggering is, for some of us who hear the word diet. Is a better term maybe, or a less triggering word, for lack of a better way of saying it than budget is maybe spending plan? Is that a better way to approach this? 

Courtney: I would just say, my money plan, if you really hate that word, or maybe if you want to bring it up to your spouse, and you don’t want to use the B word budget. Then to say, ”Hey, can we create a money plan together with what we’re going to do with our finances?”

 

Audience Question: How secure are the apps that you’re recommending? I struggle with being worried about data security when it comes to dealing with finances. What are your thoughts on that? 

Courtney: You know what, so many people nowadays use them, but I am not a cyber technician or anybody who is skilled in that. So, I don’t feel comfortable giving you my advice on that, because I am not someone who’s skilled and knowledgeable in that area. I just know millions of people use budgeting apps. So, my husband doesn’t like that personally and so we don’t link our bank accounts, we just enter everything in manually by hand. And so that’s another option. Like again, if you use that free app and you don’t want to link up and pay the extra to attach your bank account, you don’t have to, I just enter everything manually and that’s the way I get around that. So, if that’s a concern, that would be my recommendation for you.

 

Audience Question: You mentioned working from home as an option to bring extra income in. It seems like there are so many fraudulent companies and scams out there. How do you know what’s legit? 

Courtney: Yeah, I just do a lot of research. So, one of the things that I’ve done is mystery shopping too, and that one does have a lot of scams behind it. So, I did a lot of research before really searching online to check the reliability of the companies I’m applying for. I also worked for Varsity Tutors. So, if you have any sort of education background or you have a degree, you can teach on Varsity Tutors and make I think like $15 an hour from home. I did that for a while, and that is very legit, So yeah, I would just recommend doing your research to find out which things are real, because the more you look it up, I think the more we can find holes in those things. So that’s my recommendation.

 

Audience Question: Some people say you should have his, mine, and ours checking accounts so that each partner has their own money. But then, there’s also an account where you put all that money that covers all of the typical household expenses, like the mortgage or the rent, or whatever. What’s your take on this strategy? 

Courtney: You know what I’ve seen this method be so successful for some people. I’m the person who thinks you should do what works best for you. And so, I’ve seen some people be really successful, they put all the money, basically, all their income into one joint account, to pay all the bills, and then maybe they split up their fun money. And, again, you add that into your budget. So maybe you give yourself $200 a month on fun things, and you put that into your own separate bank accounts, You never worry about going over. I’m a big fan of joint accounts because it helps increase the transparency in marriages. I think you just have to do what works for you, and if that’s something that you feel successful in, keep doing it. And if you think that maybe you guys are not working as well together and you need to have everything be joint, then discuss maybe working down that process too. I like to have a lot of flexibility when it comes to those types of things.

 

Audience Question: I’ve been using credit cards for all things for a few months now, because I appreciate the points and the cashback. If I begin using the app, like you were talking about, how does it work when you enter it into the budget for daily spending, but you’re using credit cards for the purchase? And, by the way, she does note, I pay my cards off in full at the end of the month. So, would those charges be in the variable monthly payments, and daily spending? Or how does that work? Or do you have to literally go item by item by item to categorize those individual charges? 

Courtney: That’s a great question. That’s what I do too, because I love free vacations. So, I might  when it comes to paying it off every month. I would recommend,as you spend money, you just enter it in to the budget. And so, what I do personally, is if I’m spending $60 on gas, I enter it in, and I pay my credit card off every single week, it doesn’t change the points you get or anything like that. It doesn’t have to wait till the end of the month to pay it off. For me, it helps me stay on top of my budget so much more when I said, this is what I know I spent for the entire week, I’m just going to go pay it off right now. But, yeah, I just track everything manually into the app, and I would just do it as soon as I spend again, because then you’re able to see, even though that’s not what’s in your bank account, since you put it on a credit card, you’re able to see that you’re living within your means, still. It’s so easy with a credit card to overspend. Sometimes, even if we can pay it off at the end of the month. I’ve been guilty of that, like, “Oh, well, I only have $300 in my bank account left, but I’m going to go spend $450 on groceries and gas and all these other things.” And so, it just helps us to be mindful of our situation even though we’re not going to, like overdraft on our bank account or anything like that.

 

 

Audience Question:  You talked about doing things that you even enjoy, cut those items out of the budget in order to be able to get to a balance? Could a baby step or an interim step B, instead of going out to eat once a week or every other week? Focus on going out only on special occasions so that you basically you don’t, write what you enjoy completely out of your life, but you heavily curtail it. Would that be a good interim step? 

Courtney:

Yes, And I honestly think, again, once you really enter your numbers in, if you haven’t budgeted before, most of the time, everyone, again, that I’ve worked with, has extra money left over. And so instead of cutting out eating out altogether, I’m not going to do that. I can tell you that right now. I would say instead of spending 400 a month on eating out, I’m only going to spend 100 or yeah, maybe cutting back to just for special occasions. But if there’s something you enjoy in life, like you should still do it in a way that doesn’t cause stress to your finances. So, whatever it is, you enjoy, find something, and do it in a way that you can afford, but still brings you joy. And so, yeah, maybe you don’t go to the fancy restaurants. Instead, you go to somewhere a little less expensive. But never take away the things you enjoy when it comes to your finances. That’s my personal opinion. I think I might have said that wrong earlier, because I really think that when you’re working so hard to earn money, you need to enjoy some of it, otherwise it feels like your work is worthless. So, I really want you to find something you can enjoy, whether it’s free or cheap or  just cutting back a little bit, but still find a way to fit it in.

Host: Yes. it’s amazing once you start telling other families that you are being more cautious about your budget, etc. It’s amazing how suddenly, “No, we don’t have to go out to eat. We can all get together and have a barbecue in the backyard and it’d be far more affordable.” It’s just amazing. Once you start sharing that information with other families, how it can alleviate some of the concerns about having to keep up with the neighbors or keep up with the Joneses. You know what I mean?

Courtney: Yes. Finding those affordable things that you still enjoy.

 

Click Here to Watch a Recording of Take the Stress Out of Your Money: Life Lessons for Criminal Justice Professionals. 

 

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