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HerMoney Podcast Episode 248: How To Budget (Even If You’ve Never Budgeted Before) 

Kathryn Tuggle  |  January 13, 2021

We’re talking about (finally!) getting your financial priorities straight for 2021. Consider this budgeting 101 for the New Year.

We’re now a few weeks into 2021, and before this New Year started, we heard from many, many members of our community that budgeting was going to be a top priority for you this year… Some of you said you were going to be revising an old budget due to 2020’s financial hardships. Others were planning to create a brand new budget in order to prioritize retirement savings, or to buy a home. And some of you have simply never had an “official” budget before, and you’ll be creating one for the first time so you can start getting a complete picture of where your money goes. (We hear from most of you via our private HerMoney Facebook group! If you’re not a member yet, please join us!) 

And although we don’t want to dwell on the past, this last year reminded us that there is so very much we cannot control. Many of us lost income or lost jobs entirely, and had unexpected headwinds of all kinds. But amidst these challenges lies an opportunity to look at our spending and make truly meaningful decisions about our money. Where are we spending? Are we making progress towards our bigger goals? Where do we want to be in 12 months? What about 12 years? 

On this week’s episode we’re joined by Peter Polson, founder and CEO of Tiller Money, to help us talk through budgeting decisions both large and small. Tiller Money is a spreadsheet integration program that automatically updates Google Sheets and Microsoft Excel with your personal finances each day — so no more manual data entry, and you know we love that automation! Tiller Money has tens of thousands of clients, all of whom have made the decision to take charge of their finances and choose a budgeting system they can really stick with. 

Listen in as Jean and Peter break down budgeting basics, including what a budget really is (and what it tells us) and where to get started. We talk about why more people start budgeting in the New Year, and what it means for our finances when we’re ready to make a “fresh start” after we’ve assessed what worked well and what didn’t last year. 

“It’s really a chance to be intentional,” Peter says. “Where do I want to put my money to work over this next month, and how do I want to end up?” 

We also talk about budgeting technologies and how they’ve improved vastly over the years — but guess what? Spending technology has kept up with the pace, too. “We can tap, we can click, we can subscribe, and things will just run without us doing anything. It’s so easy to spend money. And unless we have a practice that’s intentional, around paying attention, managing and controlling, that hard earned money that you put in your bank, it’s going to be really easy for that money to find its way out. And so that’s really what a budget is. It’s an intention around one’s money,” Peter says. 

Jean and Peter break down the importance of visualization in a healthy budget, and how we can set ourselves up in a way to make it more likely that we’ll stick with it. Because the concept of tracking your money to see where it’s coming from and where it’s going may sound so obvious, so simple, but it’s actually profoundly important. 

Of course Peter also walks us through a step-by-step process of creating a budget if we’ve never created one before, and the pair discuss the most important elements that go into a budget. 

In Mailbag, we tackle questions on making donations to people who need it most right now, buying a new home for a nervous buyer who overcame homelessness, and getting pre-approved for a mortgage. In Thrive, 2021’s new rules of job offer negotiation. 

This podcast is proudly supported by Fidelity Investments. Life is full of big moments—both the planned and the unexpected. Fidelity can help you navigate both with confidence. Learn more at Fidelity.com/HerMoney. Fidelity Brokerage Services LLC Member NYSE, SIPC.

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