One part of setting yourself up for success is having a financial toolkit that works for you.
Everyone needs a financial toolkit – an arsenal of financial products and accounts to help you meet your end goals. Regardless of your financial standing in life, these products are so important, especially if you want to take control of your finances.
What is a Financial Toolkit?
A financial toolkit is everything you need to get your finances in order. Basically, it’s your budget or financial tracking system, spending accounts, and saving accounts.
Financial Toolkit Examples
The first step to building your financial toolkit is to start using a budget.
Get the printable Organized Motherhood Budget Binder to use a done-for-you budgeting template (with step-by-step instructions).
More tips to create (and update) a budget that works for your family:
- Practical Steps to Get Started on a Family Budget
- Why Do You Need a Budget?
- 3 Tricks to Simplify Your Budget
- 5 Budgeting Programs: Which Ones Are The Most Effective?
- How to Improve Your Budget So You’ll Sleep Better
- How to Create a Vacation Budget for Your Dream Trip
- What to do When Your Budget Fails You
- How to Start Creating Your Dream Budget
- 3 Things You Need to Include in Every Budget
Once you have your budget nailed down, you need evaluate your spending.
Spending tools are methods to spend your money (yes, I’d much rather save my money and work by candlelight, but even candles and food cost money).
Cash is one tool you could use to spend money, but you can’t use cash for everything (and do you really want to?).
While I understand the desire to carry cold, hard cash with you at all times, after having my wallet stolen on multiple occasions (and hearing horror stories from people who lost huge sums of money when their house was broken into), cash isn’t a perfect solution.
Not only are you unable to pay cash for everything, like utility bills, but cash is so dirty (I have “dirty cash” stories from when I worked in a bank that would churn your stomach).
However, many financial experts recommend using a cash envelope system for budgeting to make it impossible to overspend.
If you’re interested using an envelope system for your budgeting, I highly recommend the Cash Fueled Life course. You’ll learn everything you need to stop overspending, start saving, and create a budget that you can actually live with.
When I worked at a bank, I was shocked by the number of people who didn’t have a checking account (and had no desire to open one).
Instead, many people used a savings account and paid fees every time they withdrew funds.
Sometimes, people refused to have any account at all, and instead paid for everything with cash or with money orders that they purchased (for a “small fee” that quickly added up over time).
By opening up a simple checking account (most banks offer a free account), you have peace of mind knowing that your money is safe.
You also can safely send a check as a gift for things like weddings (again, I’ve heard so many horror stories about cash getting stolen or lost). Even sending cash through the mail can be scary. Have you ever mailed anything only to find out that it never reached its destination?
As long as you faithfully make your payment (in full) each month, credit cards can be a wonderful addition to your financial toolkit. In fact, they’re my favorite part! I love knowing that every time I pay for something, I’m earning cash back and “making my money work for me.”
Credit cards can even be used to help finance large household projects. For example, when we remodeled our kitchen, we put the majority of our expenses on a store credit card. We had a year to make payments with zero interest charges, and then we paid off the balance in full at the end of the year.
We used the credit card like a savings account to pay for our kitchen. We planned our kitchen remodel with our budget in mind, and each month we used our remodel funds to pay down the credit card until it was paid off at the end of the year.
Do you use these “spending tools” in your financial toolkit? Check out the second part in this series for more tools to include in your financial toolkit!