Tempus fungit. It’s a Latin phrase that means “time flies”. Truer words have never been spoken, in any language. It’s already the middle of 2022. How is your money doing? Are you on track to meet your financial goals? If you don’t know the answers to these questions, then it’s time for a mid-year check-up.
You need not share your answer with the class. However, you definitely have to be honest with yourself. Have you had to dip into your emergency fund this year?
If yes, then I hope you’re taking steps to refill it. Trust me when I say you’ll have another emergency at some point in the future. Emergencies don’t do your the courtesy of giving you fair warning. They happen unpredictably so you need to replace any monies that you’ve used from your emergency fund this year. Make it simple on yourself. Set up an automatic transfer so that you’re sending $50 or $100 (or whatever your budget will allow) to your emergency fund every time you get paid. If you already have an automatic transfer in place, increase it by $50-$100, or by whatever amount your budget will allow.
If no, then add another $1000-$3000 to your emergency fund. In case you’ve been living on another planet for the past few months, allow me to be the first to say “Welcome back! We missed you! Oh, and you should know that inflation is up 7%-8%. This means that your emergency fund needs to be a little bigger since paying for your emergency just got a little bit more expensive.”
Achieving Your Goals
Cast your mind back 5.5 months to early January. What were your financial goals for 2022? Are you on track to achieving them?
Assess your spending for the past 6 months and determine if your money choices got you closer to, or further from, meeting those goals. Congratulate yourself if you’ve met some or all of those goals already. You did the work so you deserve some recognition of your efforts.
On the other hand, maybe you haven’t been able to meet your financial goals. Do you have any idea why? To answer this question, you must assess your spending to date. The most efficient way to complete this assessment is to review your expenses.
I hope you’ve been tracking your money, whether on a spreadsheet, via an app, or with a pen & paper. Myself? I’m a spreadsheet person. The method really doesn’t matter. Tracking your expenses clarifies whether your spending habits are aligned with your priorities.
And if you haven’t been tracking your expenditures until now, then you should start. Every time a nickel leaves your wallet, record its destination. No one has ever been harmed by knowing where their money goes. Information is power. Seeing a written record of where you’ve spent your money will assist you to align your money with your most important objectives. At the very least, you’ll be able to determine if you’re sacrificing your goals by spending money on that which you’ve decided is less important to you.
You can only spend each dollar once – either it goes to your goals or it goes to your not-goals. The choice is yours.
Check your subscriptions
Summer is here. And it will be gone far too soon. Maybe you’re spending more time outside. If that’s the case, maybe you want to eliminate some of your subscriptions for the next few months. I cut the cord several years ago, but I continue to use other streaming services. Now that I’ve got my garden going, and have many little chores to attend to after work, I could probably cut those services from my budget for a few weeks. It wouldn’t hurt me. I’m very, very, very confident that the service providers will happily take my money in the fall when I move back inside.
You know yourself better than I do. Could you live without some of your subscriptions for a few weeks? No one is telling you to give them up forever. I’m simply suggesting that you live your life without them for a few weeks while you’re doing other things that don’t involve staring at a screen and scrolling endlessly for something to watch. Again, it’s your money so you get to decide how to spend it. I’m simply nudging you to consider whether it’s a waste of money to pay for those subscriptions during the summer if you’re going to be outside soaking up the nice weather while it’s here.
Cut yourself some slack.
No one is perfect. And this goes doubly so for money decisions. You’re doing the best you can with what you know. There are other things going on in your life and they’re probably taking up a lot of your time, energy, and attention. It’s not always easy to pay attention to your money, even though you know it’s important. I get it. I’ve been there too. However, I promise you this – when you know better, you do better.
This mid-year check-up is meant for you to identify any areas that might need some effort. If you’ve veered off-path, then you can course-correct sooner rather than later. Make tweaks as needed, then go back to the business of building the life that you truly want for yourself.