After years of planning, budgeting, and saving, Shane and I finally got to go on our dream trip around the world. It all flashed by in a blink of an eye and now it’s back to reality, starting over in a new country, in a new home, and with new jobs. Between upfront rent, visa fees, and furnishing a new apartment, our spending has really gone through the roof since the end of our trip and on top of everything, we have decided to make things official and get married next fall. So, it’s time to get back on the savings wagon! Always easier said than done.
You would think that after the ultimate savings journey that I went through for the trip I would be a pro at watching my spending. Sadly, I think this will be a forever learning experience for me. This time around I plan on using some outside resources to help and I have turned to Bravely to guide me through it. Bravely, an amazing company started by a badass friend of ours, is all about helping people, and especially women, take control of their money through online tools, guidance, and in person financial literacy events. I’ve started using the Bravely Budgeting Workbook to help define my money goals (mainly replenishing our emergency fund and saving up for the wedding) and find ways that I can achieve them.
The package comes with a custom budgeting spreadsheet and an accompanying workbook to guide you through the daunting process of managing your money in an amusing and easy to understand way. It will force you to take a hard look at your spending habits and what you want versus what you truly need in your day to day life. I wouldn’t suggest rushing through this in one sitting. You will get out what you put into it and that takes a lot of time, patience, and most importantly accountability on your part. Thankfully though, it uses really simple, funny, and encouraging language throughout the process, which makes it much more enjoyable to use than some of the other overly-complicated and boring financial guides I have read.
Some of the things that I have found incredibly helpful are the Identifying Your Spending Values section and the Getting Financially Organized section. In the Identifying Your Spending Values section, it breaks it down why most budgets fail: “People go from overspending to over-restricting themselves”. I can attest to this whole heartedly. I go on a shopping spree at Target and look at my receipt afterwards and then promise myself I won’t spend anything for the rest of the week. Yeah, that never goes according to plan. Instead, I should learn to control my spending by changing my mindset on what I value above all else. It can be hard to pinpoint what exactly you value in your life but, seeing it written down in the workbook can help you identify and prioritize the right things. Another section in the workbook that I have found helpful is Getting Financially Organized. When I was saving for the trip I would put all of my money into my standard savings account. Occasionally I would dip into it thinking to myself I would pay that money back eventually. As the trip approached I was scrambling to put that money back in my account causing a lot of internal anxiety if I would hit my savings goal. Bravely suggests having several separate saving accounts within my bank to keep you accountable and ensure that you can’t dip into those accounts. Label them “Wedding” or “Rainy Day Fund” instead of their assigned account name so you will then know what these saving accounts are helping you to accomplish and you are encouraged to contribute to each one.
This workbook would have really came in handy when we first started planning our trip back in 2016. Back then, my finances were all over the place and being spent on things I didn’t value. Thankfully, I now am getting a firmer grip on my savings and financial goals with help from the Bravely Budgeting Workbook. I would highly recommend it to anyone looking to save for a big event like a wedding, for a trip, or to anyone just hoping to make a financial change in their lives!