Christine Moriarty on Personal Finances: Get Real in 2017!

Thank you to Christine D. Moriarty for this overview on spending:
Get Real in 2017!
Did you notice it is a month into the New Year! How is it going? What are you focusing on? What is new or different or has changed in your life? Have you stuck to your New Year’s resolutions? Did you have any? Have you changed anything?
Okay, too many questions? Well how about some answers for you. Or should I say for those of you planning to improve your financial situation during the course of the year.
The number one planning tip? Track your spending. Yes, write it down. Sure you can go back and look at your credit card and debit card receipts and statements. Information after the fact is knowledge, but nothing is more enlightening than writing down. Hand writing. Your phone does not count. Yes it is easy but raising your consciousness around your money is the best way to change your financial situation. So first you write it down for a month. Then, you total what you spend in categories. Use this to plan ahead and make changes to your spending. Old fashion advice? No denying that fact. But sometimes the old techniques are tried and true. Do not dismiss something that works.
Remember, you are only doing this for one month. The goal is to raise your consciousness around your money and how you use it. Let me stop you before you say, “This was an atypical month! So I cannot really use it for an example.”
There is no typical month for your spending. Let me show you the atypical months in the year:

New Years Day events Credit Card from the holidays
Valentine’s Day School Vacation, Long Weekend
Is there a holiday in there for you? There is for me – St. Patrick’s Day Also depending on the calendar – Easter and Passover fall in there
Spring Break     Spring Clothing Summer Camp Deposits often due
Memorial Day Mothers Day
Graduations Fathers Day
Fourth of July Summer Clothes Sale
Summer Vacation Coinciding with Back to School Spending
Books and School Supplies Labor Day Weekend
Canadian Thanksgiving Long Weekend for some Sports, School, Real Estate Taxes
Thanksgiving Holiday Spending Begins
Gift Giving in Full Swing Social Events and Engagements

Perhaps the best way to plan for the year is to also plan for the atypical months. Plan for the once a year or the discretionary spending that you always spent, but have not noticed or accounted for until the end of the month. In addition, think ahead for the car repairs, license renewals, and home maintenance that are inevitable.
Then create an account that you can save in to take care of back to school spending, vacation or Thanksgiving dinner for twenty and another for the necessary and unpredictable expenses. We all have them, so we all need to account for that spending. This is why I advocate a spending plan, not a budget – budgets too often put constraints on us. They cannot be realistic and consistent every month because that is not how we spend money. We too often blow the budget because of an expense we did not include. When truly what we need is permission to spend how we want within our means.
We need to acknowledge reality. Reality is real spending. Getting real with money means we know how much we have, not how much the bank says we have. We know how much we spend. And we plan for our inconsistent, discretionary needs, without using reserve credit or carrying a credit card balance.

Get Real with Real Time Money! 
  • Create a Raised Consciousness around your Money
  • Track spending for one month
  • Remember, no month will ever be “typical”
  • Do not wait for an average month. No month is average
  • Create a Spending Plan based on what you truly spend
  • Create a regular reserve of cash that is set aside for the discretionary monthly spending
  • Live more consciously by living within your plan

C.D. Moriarty is a financial speaker, writer and coach. She is dedicated to empowering others around their money so they can achieve their dreams. She is living her dreams by residing in the Green Mountains and helping others through her work. She can be reached through her website at
Christine D. Moriarty, CFP
Choose Consciously, Plan Attentively, Live Peacefully
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