Do you know where your money is going, from the time it comes into your life to the time it evaporates into thin air? (A short time, in my case!) I was inspired by Apathy Ends and Budget on a Stick to create a map of my money – where it goes, how it’s spent, and my financial priorities.
My money map is relatively simple. I have one salary from my full time job in the form of a predictable bi-monthly direct deposit. My partner and I keep our finances separate, and we don’t have children. All of my bills are automated and withdrawn like clockwork. I’ve cut my spending down to the point that I could probably tell you almost to the penny what I’ve spent in each category at any given time. Boring! Hopefully my money looks more interesting in visual form..
Before that cash lands in a chequing account, a few things are taken out: taxes, deductions, and my pension (I refuse to ever miss out on an employer match!). After everyone takes a piece, my net income is roughly 70% which is almost entirely spent the day I receive it!
If you’re not familiar with my budgeting system, check out my post on it: The F*CK YES Budget: If It’s Not A F*CK YES, It’s EXCESS. I split my spending into three categories:
This is my number one financial priority and where I direct most of my attention (and money!). I’m focusing on paying back my student loans right now, ideally cutting my payoff timeline from 11 years to 5. When they’re gone, my new F*CK YES will be saving for financial independence!
My LIFESTYLE category is for the usual monthly expenses: rent, bills, groceries. I don’t fluctuate much here. If you want more details on my spending with the actual amounts, you can read about how I save 50% of my income in the most expensive city in Canada.
Here’s the fun part! EXCESS is the money left over from paying debt and ensuring that I have food, a place to live, and most importantly – Internet access! In this I include all other categories like restaurants, entertainment, shopping, etc.
This is how I visualize my money:
I like to keep my accounts simple, and let You Need A Budget (YNAB) do the granular organizing for me. I re-arrange the amounts in different categories constantly, so doing this in budgeting software rather than transferring the actual money works better for me.
This is where the money comes in! A few things like rent and some bills are automatically taken out of this account, as well as manual student loan payments. As you can see, it’s more of a transitional space – not much stays in here for more than a few days.
Money burns a hole right through my pocket, and then eats away at the floorboards too. I am terrible about leaving money alone – if I can see it, I will either spend it or pay down debt with it. Since I can’t trust myself to save money, I have a $1,000 emergency fund in a separate credit union from my chequing account. I just pretend it isn’t there. Now excuse me while I wipe that from my memory.
What were we talking about? Oh, pensions!
I am very fortunate to work for a company that has a pension plan with a match. Automatic, matched contributions for the win! These retirement savings are deducted before I ever see my salary, and I can’t access them before a certain age without losing the employer contributions. My pension is another way I hide money from myself – it’s all about playing to your strengths and accommodating your weaknesses!
I started a Wealthsimple account with an initial $500 investment into a TFSA (for the non-Canadians, a tax free savings account – it’s similar to the US Roth IRA) partly because I’ve been curious about robo-investors, and partly because I can’t have extra money sitting in my savings account. I’m able to withdraw at any time, but transferring the money from Wealthsimple to my chequing account is enough of a barrier for me to keep it there. My TFSA and other retirement accounts will become my new F*CK YES Budget priority when my student loans are finished.
I do have a couple of credit cards that I use for cashback rewards and automatic bill payments like cell phone, transportation, internet, insurance, etc. It’s easier to have these bills automatically paid on different dates throughout the month and then pay off my credit card once a month. I’m still on the fence about using the credit cards so I didn’t include them in the map – the cashback and convenience is nice, but they do have a tendency to encourage overspending. I’m keeping the system I have now until the end of the year, but I may try something new next year.
I’m all about ditching that debt! My two loans total $101,000 with interest rates between 3-5%. The objective is to pay them off completely within the next three years! Aside from the risk of variable rates in an environment where rates are rising, there are psychological reasons I’m choosing to be debt free before concentrating on investing.
My goal is to reach financial independence in approximately fifteen years. I plan to re-evaluate this timeline when I reach my goal of debt freedom. For now, having my pension contributions tick away in the background is a nice boost!
During the past year I’ve cut my spending dramatically. I’m still working on overcoming the fear of missing out, but checking my statements from last year is like looking into the finances of a completely different person. This priority is still a work in progress!
What does your money map look like?
For inspiration in creating your own money map, check out all of these other awesome posts:
Apathy Ends – How Complex is your Financial Map?
Budget on a Stick – Money Map
The Luxe Strategist – My Financial Map: Exactly How I Manage My Money
Adventure Rich – Money Map Musings
MinaFi – The Minafi Money Map
OthalaFehu – My Money Map
The Frugal Gene – Our Financial Map
Working Optional – The Working Optional Money Map
Our Financial Path – Our Money Map
Atypical Life – The Rich Know Where Their Money Goes! Map Out Your Money
Eccentric Rich Uncle – Our Money Map
Cantankerous Life – Money Map
The Retirement Manifesto – The Retirement Manifesto Money Map
Need2Save – Our Money Map
Money Metagame – Mapping Out Our Financial Rube Goldberg Machine
CYinnovations – Visualize Your Finances With A Money Map
Spills Spot – Money Map: How We Manage Our Finances
I Dream of Fire – The I Dream Of FIRE Money Map
Stupid Debt – A Debtor’s Money Map
If you want to join the chain and write a post about your own money map, here are the guidelines:
- Write a post in which you create your own map, explain how you did it, and talk about anything you discovered about your finances using the map.
- At the bottom of your post link back to the other bloggers before you in The Chain.
- When you tweet out your post tag the other bloggers. (You may have to do a few replies to your post as the chain gets bigger)
- Try to keep your list of chain members up to date. This helps encourage others to keep their back-links up to date and in turn helps you.