You’ve heard the old adages before:
“Live authentically.” “Time is money.” “Treat every day like a celebration.” “Don’t spend your money before you’ve earned it.” “Be in the moment.”
Those Insta-worthy tidbits are simply advice on how to live your best life.
But living your best life isn’t as simple as posting a photo with a witty caption. Societal pressure to “be perfect” or “have it all together” is coupled with the reality of a never-ending to-do list: paying off debt, saving for the future, affording everyday living expenses. Sometimes it might feel easier to say “YOLO” and sweep finances under the rug rather than dealing with them head-on.
That’s where we come in.
Who WellStreet is—and why we care about your finances
We’re Anna and SJ, the gals of WellStreet. We aren’t your typical Wall Street bros (we don’t own Patagonia vests). We’re two women who have a passion for numbers and helping you navigate them. Because, frankly, the numbers matter.
We both went to business school, earned our CPAs, and worked at Big Four accounting firms. While we kept our love for numbers, we quickly learned that finance and accounting do not define us.
Outside of the office, we discovered our love for health and fitness: Anna is a certified yoga teacher, and SJ is a certified personal trainer. We’ve also been Chicagoans for the last six years, exploring all the city has to offer. Combining our knowledge of finances, health and fitness, and the city, we’ve definitely picked up a few tips and tricks along the way.
Throughout this month-long series, our goal at WellStreet is to provide you with an approachable resource guide to help you save money and still have fun. No cliche one-liners or overly complicated financial models. Instead, we’re sharing our been there, done that strategies to savor the moment and still save that dough.
Budgeting 101 (plus, a super-simple template)
Our first order of business is the dreaded b-word: budgeting. We know it can be terrifying to think too deeply about where your money goes, but the basis of all financial wellness begins here. Just like you’d put together a plan to achieve your fitness goals, the same goes for achieving your financial goals. So, we’ve created a WellStreet template to simplify the process.
Over the coming weeks, we’ll dive deeper into three sub-categories from the budget: Savings, Fitness, and Food+Fun. Before then, take a shot at completing the budget template. A few tips and things to consider:
- Data accuracy: Make sure you are looking at your pay stubs, credit card bills, and any wealth management apps (like Mint) that you have. It’s important for the budget to reflect your actual life. If you want to see how you’re currently doing, use the prior three months to get a solid average of what you’re actually spending, and where.
- Data input: This budget shows your expense buckets on a monthly basis. If you have annual expenses (vacations, medical costs, etc.) then make sure to take your estimated annual amount and divide it by 12.
- Watch for lifestyle creep: Additionally, the guidance column is not a hard and fast rule. It does not mean that if you get a 20 percent raise, you should spend 20 percent more on your rent (let’s refer to this as “lifestyle creep”). If your earnings increase, try to shift your spending mix to favor your savings.
- Personalization: The line items in the budget are not all encompassing. If there are items you want to add (like, if you have a pet that you have to buy food for or pay for regular boarding or walking), feel free to add them to the “other” bucket or add your own line in (just make sure the formulas are working)
The budget is based on common guidelines that we’ve researched and use in our everyday lives. That being said, you know your own situation and needs, so you do you girl, but try your best to be as realistic as possible.
What you should end up with is a plan that will help you flex your financial muscles for the year to come.
We know you’ve got this under control, but if you have any questions or comments, feel free to drop them below or DM us at @theWellStreet and come back next week to talk more about saving, why it’s so important, and non-cheesy tips on how to *actually* save your cash. Until then, keep crushing it!
Disclaimer: Anna and SJ of WellStreet are inactive CPAs, not professional financial advisors. This budget is a guideline based on their own experience, research, and advice from others. At the end of the day, you know your financial situation better than anyone.