Cleo's Survival Kit: Personal Budgeting Tips
Do I Really Need to Budget?
How Do I Get Started with This Whole Budgeting Thing?
How Can Cleo Help?
We’re gonna cover it ALL. Learn How to Manage Your Money With The budgeting tips coming up.
We are either living in a Matrix or 2020 is one of those cruel character building opportunities. Regardless, all of this uncertainty has definitely ignited a fire within us to take control of the things that we can. From impact via action from our own lives and communities, to thinking about the future of our nation and the economy. That’s great, and it all plays into this in one big scary circle, but right now let's slow down and focus attention back onto YOU.
DO YOU REALLY NEED TO BUDGET?
Short answer? Yes.
Long answer? Yesssssss.
No one’s exempt from benefitting from a budget. Just like we should all (in a dream world) go to therapy before we n e e d to go to therapy, we should all budget before we n e e d to budget. Fun fact: Amazon spending on the whole has increased 39.64% in the recent months which is an absolute scene considering the state of the economy. Doordash loves you all too because their revenue has seen a 95.99% uptick. Short story short yes, you need a budget. And possibly reconsider your weird love of billionaire Jeff Bezos, the king Amazon of not redistributing wealth. But hey, we’re just here to talk about managing your bankroll, and to help you ball on your budget. Zero judgement.
BUDGETING FOR BEGINNERS
All of the uncertainty that’s just lingering around is likely affecting your income and/or spending habits. We see you stress spending on takeout (fair) and doing an impressively shocking amount of retail therapy. Though it’s what we do better than anyone else out there, we’re not JUST here to plate up tough love. We’re your financial advisor (but less dry). Sometimes, we see you at your worst. And we exist to see you at your best.
Let’s get Budgeting, here’s your 101.
- Set a budget, period. You might ask “Well, what’s my budget?” Start with the necessities: food, shelter, utilities, clothing and transportation. What’s left? Allocate those funds to savings, paying off debt and a little for yourself.
- Budget for those treat yo’self moments cuz you’ve earned them! You can save AND splurge at the same time. If you’re regularly keeping up with your bills like you are with the Kardashians, budget up to 30% of your income to do you.
- Consider going on a cash diet. It’s crazy easy to swipe and add-to-cart your way off track. Play some reverse psychology on yourself. We think twice before we have to part with cold, hard cash. It’s human nature.
- Take a minute, every day. Let’s be real: one of our most committed relationships, if not the most, is with our phones. Check in with Cleo every day and stare at your money in the face. Stay on top of your spending habits. It might bring up a load of mess at first, but it’ll all clear out and actually get you seriously improving the more you do it. No one mended something by ignoring it.
- Create your own spending mantra. What do you want? A dream vacation? A down payment on a home? To just feel calm and way less sweaty when you check your bank account balance? Before you swipe or hand over your cash, ask yourself “Is this (insert purchase) better than (insert goal) and if not, is it necessary?.” If the answer is no, no is the purchase.
- Cut up your credit cards. Did that sting? It should. They trap you, but so do those huge interest rates and fees they charge you. Consider that cancelled.
HOW TO STICK TO A BUDGET
Welcome to Money Management: 201!
- Adapt a zero-based budget. WTH does that even mean? Simply put, it means that you have a plan in place for every dollar that you’ve got coming in on any given month (or even week). This requires a next-level understanding of your expenses and a clear grasp on wants versus needs. (And, of course, you know we already support set aside a specific budget for treating yourself where you can)
- Understand that every month is different. Your spending will ebb and flow. Birthdays, holidays and vacations – yes, even in 2020 – will require you to plan ahead and make adjustments to your cash flow sitch.
- Pay off your debt as soon as you can. Look at it like this: your debt is costing you money and opportunities. Get mad about that shit. It’s on sight.
- Track your progress.
HERE’S A FISCAL HOT TAKE FROM A MEMBER OF OUR SQUAD
“My bank account is, to say the least, terrifying at the moment. But still I spend most days thinking about what I’m offering for lunch/food, or about the money that I just spent on ordering said food.
It was Sunday evening when I got the message from Cleo. 'Is it time to activate your survival kit?'.
I think so, yeah.
I went in-app and typed 'survival kit'. Here’s how the first five days went.
Cleo gave me a quick breakdown of how I used my money last week. Easy, only slightly painful, and it meant that I didn’t have to open my actual bank account and deal with the existential crisis that comes with that.
She asked me to set a target for how much I wanted to spend this week – I'm making a real effort to lay off the online shopping, but I wanted enough for groceries, an upcoming phone bill, and a takeout for Friday night because I’m not out here trying to make myself cry. I set it at $100.
Not my finest of days. Accidentally spent $10 online on hand cream because my cuticles were threatening to collapse. Not an essential, and I broke my no-online-shopping rule but DW, Cleo was watching.
She hit me up with some self reflection and asked how I felt about my money today. Deep breaths. She also came through with some useful stuff about how to negotiate rent with my landlord. Cleo knowledge: check. Cleo sass: working on it.
*If you want rent info, literally just type ‘negotiate rent’ to Cleo.
Today, I really glowed up. I didn’t spend anything online (thank you) and I had an update from Cleo on my weekly spending that didn’t make me want to shave my head. I also played Spendr which is basically rating your previous buys so that Cleo can help you get rid of your toxic spending behaviours going forward.
Nothing from Cleo today. Kinda missed her so used Hype mode just before I worked out in my living room. I did some grocery shopping – it set me back about $40 but got me a lot of chips. Salty self-care is important right now.
Heading into the weekend, I feel OK about my money. Cleo sends me a category breakdown of my weekly spending so far – it’s looking pretty slim, and given the sheer amount of time I’ve had to online-shop, I’m pretty proud.
I have a $25 phone bill to pay off this morning and concrete plans to order takeout tonight. That means I’ll have $15 left in my budget for the weekend. I’ve got my groceries and some absolutely huge Netflix plans, so I’d say I’m pretty well set up.
I find myself jumping between calm and utter panic at the moment, so it’s nice to have Cleo regulating my emotionally-charged hand cream buys. It also feels good to step away from the big picture and focus on what I can control right now: my week-by-week spending.
Was also nice to have someone checking in throughout the week now that my friends have all taken to sleeping through the days.