One of the most positive things that I learned how to do in 2020 was create and stick to a budget. With my student loans in forbearance, I had the opportunity to practice saving money like never before- because previously I just took whatever money I had left at the end of the month and paid it on my loans.
Now, I saw an opportunity to look at my finances differently and practice saving money. Here are the steps I followed to get started…
- Track spending- get an idea of where my money was actually going
- Make a plan- what expenses do I need/ want to keep? What expenses do I need/ want to remove?
- Plan for things I’m not planning for- that is I wanted to make room in my budget for emergencies- or simply unplanned things that I wanted to be able to do!
- Communicate to my friends and family what my goals were so they could have the opportunity to support me!
- Celebrate progress. Saving money and sticking to a budget feels good. I’m really proud of how disciplined I’ve been this year and am looking forward to meeting my end of year savings goal!
As I was reflecting on these steps- I was like wow- these all feel very familiar- this is the same process that I go through with people when they start coaching with me… we get an idea of what is actually going on- we make a plan- we prepare for some bumps in the road- and we celebrate progress. I’ve written some more detailed steps below :))
- Get an idea of what your calorie intake is (using a tracking app like Cronometer) and what your calorie expenditure is (tdee calculator for a ballpark number)
- Make a plan- this is more complicated than the budget example. Lols. Here’s an example… let’s say our energy is low, gym progress is slow, sex drive sucks and sleep is poor. We’re like I probably need to eat the freakin food and be at maintenance calories for a minute. We started tracking and realize we’re currently eating 1500 calories- and we find out projected maintenance is 2000. So our plan might be to increase calories 100 every 2ish weeks until we get to maintenance. Then we commit to 8-12 weeks at maintenance then we can consider a diet phase after that assuming the biofeedback we were trying to improve actually did improve…
- Plan for things you’re not planning for- how are you going to handle situations where you don’t want to track your calories? How are you going to handle situations where you over/ under eat? How are you going to handle skipping a workout? Or pushing yourself too hard in the gym? You don’t have to have a written out plan for every imaginable scenario- but it is useful to think through how you will handle these types of things- because they will likely happen.
- Communicate to your friends and family what your goals are so they have the opportunity to support you
- Celebrate progress. Understanding our bodies is freaking cool! And making progress toward our health/ performance/ aesthetic goals is also cool! Just remember that progress looks different for everyone at different phases of the journey :))
I guess the other thing that I want to say to bring this full circle is that I don’t think the point of having a budget is to make us miserable. Just like I don’t think the point of having a schedule is to make us miserable. Just like I don’t think the point of tracking our food is to make us miserable. I think the point of all of these things is to improve our self awareness.
Its like hey- what resources do I have? Where are they going? Am I spending my resources in a way that is in alignment with my vision for myself? What changes do I want to make?
That’s it- its really just those questions over and over and over again :))
Love you all and hope this made you think!
PS. Favorite food tracking app is obvs Cronometer