Setting Budget Priorities to Achieve Your Personal Finance Goals



Tiana Clewis: Do you know what's the biggest mistake folks make when setting money goals?

Not making it a priority.


And before you clutch your pearls, claiming that you always make your goals a priority, let me ask you a question: how many times have you said something like "I'm going to save $300 this month" only to get to the end of the month and realize there's nothing in the bank account left to make that happen?


Yeah, that's pretty much what I thought.


And we're doomed to keep repeating that frustrating cycle if we don't make one simple change: making your goals a top priority in your budget.


And it really doesn't have to be as complicated as you think it is.


So if you're sick of "setting a goal... oh wait, there's not enough money to make it happen," then stay tuned.


Hey, Dreamers and welcome back to my channel, where we break down all things money, so it can stop being an obstacle and start to finally act like what it was designed to be: a tool to help you create a life that you truly find worth living.


Now, before we start walking through how you can budget your money goals, let me first introduce myself. I'm Tiana B. Clewis, an author, speaker, and coach who's dedicated her life to helping women entrepreneurs transform their relationship with money, so they can save money, dump debt and finally step into financial freedom. And we do all that while still having some fun along the way.


Now, believe me, when I say yes, you can pay off your car and buy your dream reading chair... yeah, I know I'm a total nerd... at the same time. I've done it and so have many of my clients.


If you want to join me on this journey, like this video and follow my channel by clicking that big red subscribe button. Then hit the balance and make sure you're notified when I drop brand new money tips and strategies each and every week, that'll help you find your path to financial freedom.


Okay. So if you have been following my channel and this goal-setting series, you just need to sit back for a little bit, cause I got to talk to the newbies real quick. Now, if you want to jump ahead to the program, go ahead. Use the timestamp. Move ahead.


So new folks, I want to make sure that you're going to get the most out of the video and that you're not wasting your time because yeah, there's great insight in this video and at some point you're going to need it, but the people who get the most value are the ones who have completed the following two steps.


First, you need to have a written goal, or at least a goal with the financial impact, that specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, and time bound. Yeah, you figured it out. I want you to have a smart goal that you've written down and you've committed to completing over the next several months.


An example would be something like "I want to buy a $10,000 hot tub for my backyard in the next six months."


But if you don't have a smart financial goal yet, I want you to go and check out episode 116 of the Dreamers Financial Playbook podcast, or for my YouTubers, go ahead and just click the link above my head to learn how to create one.


The second thing you need to have is a detailed action plan for how you're going to make that goal a reality. For some goals, it can be as easy as "transfer $150 from every paycheck to savings." But for others like launching a new business, you may have a lot more steps, like so many steps that you had to create a Trello board.


This smart financial goal and the action plan for that goal are going to be the basis for what we do in the rest of this episode. So you really, seriously need both.


If you have the goal but not the action plan, listen to episode 118 of the Dreamers Financial Playbook podcast, or from my YouTubers, you know what to do.


Now for my people who happen to have both of those things already... well, let's get going.


So let's talk about how adding your goals as a top part to the budget helps you avoid that "there's not enough money at the end of the month" frustration that all of us have experienced.


The thing about budgeting is that it creates this thing called clarity? And it's clarity on what you can and you cannot afford. Once you've taken the time to create the budget, you can look at it and instantly know if you can actually afford to spent $400 on that monthly grocery order because the budget tells you how much is available for groceries.


Either you have the $400 available or you don't.


And if you do have that $400 allocated, then when you click that "Order Now" button, there's no worry or concern about whether it's okay, because you already know it's okay. Your budget says so.


But what most of us do as we work towards achieving our goals is we allow ourselves to hesitate. We know we said we would save the $300 or pay off their credit card balance, but we don't actually pull the trigger when the paycheck comes. We worry that an expense will pop up, so we tell ourselves we'll just wait until the end of the month and see what happens.


The problem is our hesitation allows other less important things to grab hold of that $300 that should have been going to the goal.


Think about it. You're living your life and someone invites you to a drive through birthday party. So you decide to get a $50 gift card for the birthday girl. And then your hairstylist announces a sale on sew-ins, so you move next month's appointment to this month, so you can pay $85 instead of the typical $125.


And with virtual learning taking over your day and work dominating your nights, you don't want to cook. You don't want a meal prep. So you're easily spending $50 more per year, week eating out.


At this point, just from everyday life, you've spent that $300 on things that were, well, less important.


However, if you build your budget with your goal as a top priority, you can eliminate that through clarity. Since that $300 is built into the budget, you're far more comfortable moving the $300 in the middle of the month, or even the beginning, instead of waiting until the end to just, you know, see what happens.


So now those less important things get completely cut out the equation because the money for that goal, it's been used for the goal already.


That being said, I really need to show you how to do that, but we gotta be clear. This is not a detailed walkthrough of how to create a realistic budget for your life. For this breakdown, I'm going to have to just assume that you already know how to budget.


Now, if you don't know how to budget, don't worry, I got you. I have an easy to follow guide that I'll show you how to create a realistic budget that reflects how you live. Not one of those made up budgets that you blow in 48 hours because it really wasn't based on the realities of your life.


So to get your hands on that guide, simply head to my website at tianabclewis.com/beginnerbudget, let me know who you are and it'll be in your inbox in just a few minute.


Now that you know where to find the guide, let's get started.


When we budget with our goals in mind, we have to be careful to give the appropriate level of priority. We don't want to make it less important than things that don't matter, but we also don't want to elevate it to "the most important thing in the world" kind of status. There are things that are simply more important than your goal, like basic survival.


So before you can start worrying about your goals and your budget, you first need to make sure you've covered the basic necessities. Those are things like your rent and mortgage, groceries, utilities, transportation to and from work, basic clothing, even childcare.


Essentially, we're talking about anything that keeps you either alive, it allows you to go to from work or it keeps you out of jail. Think public nudity, child neglect. Bad things.


If you can't successfully cover those things on your income, the goals just don't matter. So we always have to be sure that those things are in the budget first.


But here's the reason why I want to bring this up. When you're done budgeting for the basic necessities, you should still have enough money available to achieve your goals.


Sticking with that $300 example, if you budget for necessities and have, say $2,000 leftover, then you're good. You're in a good spot. But if you only have $200 leftover, you got a problem. Your goal is no longer attainable.


So now you've got decisions to make. Either, you're going to find a way to cut expenses so the goal becomes attainable again, you're going to have to move back the timeline so you have to save or spend less on the goal, or my least favorite option: you have to temporarily take on another job or another side hustle to bridge the gap.


And yeah, I don't want you to do it, but it's an option, so I had to bring it up.


But really that's our first thing. We have to be sure to budget for necessities first, because they're the most important and it'll help you see if your goal really is as attainable as you thought it was.


But wait, there's something else that needs to hit the budget before your goals. It's what I like to call your obligations to others.


What I'm really talking about here are the minimum monthly payments on your debts and, for my fellow Christians, your tithes and your offering. At the end of the day, it's not right to cheat the people that you owe money to or to cheat the Big Guy, just because you have some things that you want to accomplish.


So add these things to your budget as well before taking your goals into consideration. And just like what we did with the basic necessities, we're going to have to double check whether or not our goal is still attainable and make any necessary adjustments.


All right, the time has finally come. Now that our basic survival is covered and we're actually paying what we owe, we can finally add our goals into the budget.


But don't get too excited because this can get kind of tricky. Like I mentioned in the episode about creating an action plan for your smart financial goals, some goals have more complicated action plans than others.


If you're simply trying to grow your emergency fund, all you gotta do is divide the amount you want to add to the fund by the number of months and boom, you have the amount that you have to add to your budget.


If you're using a snow well to pay off your debt... you should definitely be using a debt snowball to pay off your debt... simply adding the snowball payment to the current debt on your list. Super easy.


But what if you're pursuing a goal that requires various payments throughout the process? You need like $2,000 in three months, $500 in four months and another 6,000 in six months.


So I want to go to my favorite example, buying a house. It's a super common goal with a ton of action steps, lots of moving parts, various due dates and periodic expenses. So I'm going to I actually grab my tablet and I'm going to show you how you can quickly budget for a goal this complicated without completely losing your mind.


Now let's be clear, in real life, I would do this in Excel, but some of y'all hate Excel. So I'm just going to do it by hand to show you how simple it can be.


So, as you can see here, I've got my little notebook out. I'm using my favorite app, which is GoodNotes 5 to do it by hand on my tablet. And at the top, you see where I have a goal of "purchase and move into a $200,000 house in North Dallas by January 31st of 2020."


Now, if you remember from the episode about taking action steps, creating an action step, we have to get due dates. We got to get the timelines. We got to know about, roughly about how much money we need.


So you've talked to your realtor, you've talked to the bank and you've discovered that most of the time people are using earnest money of $3,000 to get that offer. And most people are taking about, you know, two, two and a half months to find their place. So that means you're probably gonna need that $2,000 [$3,000] by, say, the end of October.


You're also told that you're going to have to get an appraisal. And since it usually takes about two months to close, they usually need that in like the first 30 days. And let's say in your area that appraisal costs about $500. So that's another amount that you got to take into consideration.


Now, if I spelled the appraisal wrong, don't judge me. It's one of them days.


Okay, remember I said 60 days to close, so if you found it in, in October, in 60 days you're going to be in December. So you're going to need the money to close. Well, you have closing costs and you have your down payment.


Now in this case, a lot of people are actually using, what's called an FHA loan, which is material for a totally different video. But let's say with your FHA loan, instead of having to put down 20%, which would be $40,000, you only have to put down $20,000 and you're going to pull $10,000 of it from your 401k. So technically you only need to save $10,000, right?


But your savings account already has $6,000 in it because you're responsible and you started planning ahead. So $4,000 is what you need to save for your, um, for your down payment. So let's write that down... and that's in December.


And your bank said closing costs is probably going to be roughly $3,000. So we got to add that in: closing another $3,000... december.


Which means in total, in... by the end of December, you're going to need $7,000.


Oh, and we said, we want to move in by the end of January, right? Well, how much is it going to cost to move. Maybe $400? So move $400 in January.


So as you can see, we have a bunch of different amounts. We've got different times when you need them. And yeah, that's just hard to budget for. How do you do that?


I'm going to show you this little grid thing that I like to put together that helps me figure out how much money I need to have saved at that point in time to hit my milestone. Okay?


So the first thing I want to do is I'm actually going to write down a column that actually has the months. So, August, September, October, November, December, and January, right?


And so then in the second column, I'm going to write down how much money I need to have saved in that time period. So in October I need $3,000. In November, I need $500. December, it's $7,000. And January, it's another $400.


So at this point, we're actually going to create a, a row across the top for each of those numbers. So you're going to have a row for the $3,000. Well, a column for the $3,000 on the top row. You're gonna have a column for the $500, the $7,000 and the $400.


So with this grid, you can actually see how long you have to save up each amount. And what I want to do is, I'm going to look at, "Okay, what day do I need it, need that money by?" And I'm just going to divide that total that I need by the number of months.


So for the $3,000 I need by October, I have three months to save it. So that's a thousand dollars a month. When you look at the $500, I need that by November four months, that's actually $125 a month.


The $7,000. That I have a total of 5 months to save it up and that's a total of $1,400 a month that I need to set aside.


Don't judge me if I'm writing slow. Okay.


And now the last number is the $400 that I need. I got six months to save it. That's technically $66.66666. Yeah, we just gonna say $67, Sis. And we're writing that all the way down.


So now you see, you have, in this case, four columns that have numbers. You have some blank spaces, but ultimately if you go across the four columns, what we're going to do now is we're going to add up. Because to hit each of our markers, all the money that's shown on that row for that particular month is the amount of money we need to save for that month to make sure we hit all the markers on time.


So literally what we're going to do is we're just going to add up each row. So the first three months we need $2,592. Y and then for the month of November, we're at $1,592. For December, we're at $1,467. And for January, we just need another $67.


And if you save these numbers right for each month, the way that you've mapped out, that means that by the time you hit October, you have at least $3,000 in savings. By the time you hit November, you at least have $500 available to spend. By the time you hit December, you at least have that $7,000. And by the time you hit January, there's just $400 left to get you exactly what you need.


So, yeah, it seems a little complicated, but once you can just kind of write it out, it's really easy to do.


And like I said, I'm an Excel girl. I would not typically do this by hand, but as you see, it's really easy to do by hand. Well, at least if it was a really short.


Now, if you were in a situation where you were trying to do something over 18 months and you have, like, 12 different milestones to hit, you might want to go ahead and learn how to use that Excel, Sis. But at the end of the day, you could still do it by hand and that's what I really wanted you to know.


Now that you've added these numbers to your goal for the budget, it's time to once again, ask that question: is your goal is still attainable. In our example, the person needs to actually save $2,592 a month for the first three months to achieve their goal and for some folks that is completely fine, but for others, it can be totally unrealistic with their current income.


So, whether you have to tweak the goal or find additional sources of income, be sure to figure out how to modify your goal and your action plan so that it fits into your budget, if it doesn't already.


Otherwise, you can just finish up the rest of your budget by adding all the other stuff: your monthly hair appointments, your kids' extracurriculars, date night funds, really just whatever it is that you spend your money on.


If you're having trouble figuring out what else you spend your money on, so you can actually complete your budget, remember that you can download my Beginner Budget Checklist to help you get that figured out without pulling out your hair. Just head over to tianabclewis.com/beginnerbudget and it'll be in your inbox soon.


Now that you know how to align your budget with your personal finance goals so you can completely knockthings out of the park, are you ready to do this? Let me know in the comments, when you plan on having your next or your first budget session so you can incorporate your goals.


By the way, have you heard about that? The community of goal conquerors who are dumping debt, saving money and pursuing financial freedom with a vengeance? It's called the Dreamers' Financial Sanctuary and we would love to see you in the group taking action and pursuing your financial goals right along with us.


It's also one of the fastest places to get me to answer your questions, especially if you use the hashtag #asktiana. So become part of the community by heading to tianabclewis.com/sanctuary, clicking that "Request to Join" button and answering the questions. Please answer the questions.


As a free gift, I'll give you access to my "Start Here Now" guide, which will help you pinpoint exactly what your first milestone should be on this ambitious, I'm living my best life, financial journey. You'll find the link right there in the welcome post.


Before you head over to the group, let me know that you found this video useful by hitting that thumbs up below and subscribing to my channel. Don't forget, hit that bell so you're notified each week when I drop new money tips and strategies to help you use your hard-earned cash to dump the d, save the money and yeah, start building your ideal life without sacrificing all the fun along the way.


Finally, if you're looking for more information, that'll help you rearrange your budget to help you achieve those goals faster, these two videos are exactly what you need. With that, you get to watch new videos and I'll see you next time week. Bye Bye.


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Did you know many fail at achieving their personal finance goals because they their budget setup doesn’t make those goals a priority? Success in personal finance is all about knowing how to budget your money with your personal finance goals and better money habits in mind! So we’re breaking down key budgeting tips that will show you how to make a budget with your money goals as a priority!

For Goal-setters with Action Plans: 03:34

Live Demo on Complicated Goals: 10:00

Ever tried to budget and felt like you didn’t know what the heck you were doing? Let’s make budgeting easy! Download my step-by-step Beginner Budget Checklist today at https://www.tianabclewis.com/beginnerbudget

Get more tips and strategies on creating a stellar budget here:

https://www.tianabclewis.com/learn-to-budget

#settingbudgetpriorities #personalfinancegoals #tianabclewis


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COMMUNITY: Looking for a safe place to get the strategies and insights you need to dump debt, save money and step into financial freedom? Dreamers’ Financial Sanctuary is that safe haven you’ve been looking for: where you can conquer your money goals surrounded by others women reaching the next level with their money. JOIN US AT https://www.tianabclewis.com/sanctuary


BOOK: Ready to stop suffering under the weight of debt or living trapped in the paycheck to paycheck cycle with no hope of making your dreams come true? In “That Tool Called Money”, Tiana equips families with a step-by-step plan to discover and create the lifestyle that they have only dreamed about. Grab your copy at https://www.tianabclewis.com/book


COACHING: You may know what you need to work on or you might have your financial goals, but you still need help getting there. Let's hop on a video chat and talk through what's getting in your way and how to knock it out of your way! Best part is… the first session is on me! Grab your Rapid Strategy Consult today at https://www.tianabclewis.com/bookonline


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