Are you one of the 63 million Americans who now banks online? I am known to snark a bit about online banking and how I think that it’s the reason many people live paycheck to paycheck. Don’t get me wrong, I love the convenience of checking my account balance anytime just as much as the next person. However, online banking has, in many people’s eyes, done away with the need to keep and balance a checkbook because they can just look online to see their balance then make spending decisions based on the number shown. That is a misconception.
Image courtesy of Grant Cochrane /FreeDigitalPhotos.net
Your online bank balance does not reflect checks that haven’t yet been cashed, automatic payments that haven’t yet been processed or money you’ve spent at places like a gas station, where swiping at the pump puts a $1 hold on your account until the gas station process their payments and withdraws the full amount that you put into your tank, which can take several days. Neither does it verify that the amount you entered for a tip at a restaurant is the amount that was actually charged. Relying solely on your online balance to tell you how much money you have available is a first-class ticket to overdraft fees and bounced checks. Not fun!
I am realistic enough to realize that saving receipts, and recording spending in a checkbook register, Excel spreadsheet or another software is a habit – it is not the kind of thing that someone is just going to suddenly start doing. However, I do think that it is important to use some tool to keep tabs on your bank balance outside of just logging in online.
Cash Flow Projection
To help with this, I teach my clients a different kind of tool to help them get a better sense of how much money they’ll have available today and in the future. I call it a “Cash Flow Projection.” However, don’t let that fancy finance term scare you - it is just a Futuristic Checkbook Register.
The Cash Flow Projection gives a hard dollar look at truly how much money you have available to spend on any given day, today and in the future. It allows you to plan ahead for big bills, see when you might be able to afford a large expense like buying a plane ticket or booking a pet’s veterinary service, and tells you when you might run out of money, giving you a chance to make some adjustments in the meantime. It also gives you a sense of how much money you could really have if you kept your spending in check for a few months.
Yes, it is an Excel spreadsheet. However, you do not have to be an Excel wizard to do it, and you don’t have to update it on a daily or even weekly basis. Depending on what your bill paying habits are, you may only need to update it monthly.
Here’s how it works:
I want to take the business of me to the next level! I’m looking for an executive coach that will provide hands-on instruction, feedback and counseling to help me move my career and business forward. I need someone who will check in with me on a regular basis! I want to make more money!
"Diahann is a wonderful resource and an expert in assisting highly motivated professionals focused on growing their career. Diahann has the experience and instincts to provide thoughtful guidance in helping any professional expand their ability to effectively produce results. She is creative, analytical, professional and personable at every step. I highly recommend Diahann to any professional motivated to reach the next level." ~ Jonathan