I want to let you in on some behind the scenes work I do to create my annual financial plan!

I am going to share with you exactly all the steps that I take to set up my financial year for success. You can nab these ideas and add them to your financial routine and take control of your finances for this year!

My beginning of year routine…..

Step 1: Review last year
I use Quicken throughout the year to track all of my household income and expenses. It has all my bank accounts, credit cards and other financial cards synched with my financial institutions and I update them weekly during the year. Then, at the end of the year, I can quickly and easily run a report that shows the income I earned and expenses I incurred each month of the year

I review the numbers to see where I spent my money. I really like the colored pie chart that breaks all the categories for a quick reference!

What am I looking for when I review my spending:
• Am I happy with how much I spent in each category?
• Are there any categories where I wish I had spent more or less?
• If I could go back in time, what would I do differently with my money?

Step 2: Create Financial Plan
Armed with all my notes from reviewing my numbers in step 1, I now think about 2018. I think about what I want more of in my life and changes I would make based on my last year’s numbers. I use this to create my financial plan for the year.

Since I use Quicken to track my spending, it has a feature that allows me to use the last year numbers as the budget baseline. I accept this and import them into the budget window and then manually increase or decrease each category based on my notes and plans.

Now, I have a complete budget that I can use for the upcoming year.

Step 3: Automate the Plan
Now my budget is in Quicken and each month when I categorize all my income and expenses I can quickly and easily compare them to my budget. I can see how I am doing every day, every week, every month! It is completely automated so it doesn’t take more than a few minutes to know where I am in comparison to my plan!

Summary:
I spent a total of 90 minutes on all the steps above. That is time very well spent to have a complete and total plan of my upcoming year. I am armed with knowledge of what level of income I need. If I fall short, I know exactly what I can change in my plan. I also know what I want to spend less on in this coming year so I can consciously say no. I feel ready to make a new decision and one that will allow me to use that money to create more of other things in my life.

Did you create your financial plan for 2018? Are you ready to conquer your finances this year? Drop a comment below and tell me about your plan for 2018!

xx,
Katie

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