It's a Saturday night, spent chatting with two of my closest girlfriends. We're a bottle of rosé in, and the kids are in bed. Life is pretty sweet. Our conversation is veered toward budgeting. To my surprise, I realized neither had any clue what their budget was. In fact, they weren't even sure what their bills looked like. However, both had financial goals they wanted to meet.
We poured another glass.
Ali eventually wants to enroll her second-grader in a private middle school. We did some math: Ali's daughter completes daycare just as her son would be entering middle school - problem solved. They simply would not "see" the money back (does anyone ever see that money back?).
Tracking and Visualizing Money
Saana is going through a divorce and paying bills for the first time in a long time. We talked strategies, such as paying her bills out of a separate "bills" account for easy tracking; calling the energy company to request that they average her bills; and the big one, starting a spreadsheet. Creating a spreadsheet with an "actual" column and an "average" column will help Saana see what she's spending vs. what she estimates she will spend. Until she has a good idea of what her output is, I told her to guess high (better to guess over than under!).
Call in Backup - Financial Health Check Specialists
I like to imagine my advice is helpful, but you know what is really awesome? An entire team of specialists who give budgeting advice for free. BECU rolled out something new this year called Financial Health Check, where specialists provide free budgeting assistance over the phone. They help you set financial goals and take action.
Don't Forget the Fire-Fighters
This same power of women getting together is repeating itself in a much bigger way: So Northwest Women's Show. BECU is the title sponsor (members can even get $3 off admission). Visit for the food, the fashion, and yes, even the fire-fighters. Most importantly, visit for your financial health. Stop by the BECU lounge, and enter to win a trip for two to meet and see Andy Grammer perform in San Diego at the House of Blues.
Ready to sign up for your free financial health check? Want more info on the So Northwest Women's Show admission discount? Just click the links!