For a Virgo like me, the thought of a fresh start is exciting! It’s a time to get reacquainted with goals, assess progress and set the tone for the days ahead. I love a fresh start – whether it’s a new year, new month, or a new day! I think we can all leverage the power of the “fresh start” to get motivated and inspired to work towards our goals.
While taking advantage of a fresh start can happen in any area of your life, it can be a great catalyst for doing right with your money too! I’ve been budgeting (and teaching budgeting) for many years, and the start of a new month is a special time for your money. Keep reading for 5 money tasks to do at the start of a new month to set yourself up for success!
5 Money Tasks to Do at the Start of a New Month
#1 Outline your budget for the month
If there was any money task to do at the start of a new month, it’s this one: create your budget! I know it may seem like an obvious task, but it needs to be stated. When you start your month with a budget in place, you have a financial roadmap for the month.
You have an understanding of what needs to be saved and spent. You have an understanding of how much money should be coming in. These are critical things to know as you make spending decisions throughout the month. Ideally, you’ve already been budgeting, so each new month’s budget is a shell from the previous month. You’ll just want to tweak and tailor it for the month ahead.
Think about any events, special days or one-off expenses that need to be covered in the month. Make sure they’re included in the budget, so you’re not caught off guard when the time comes. I like to run through this exercise on the last day of the previous month.
#2 Set your financial intentions
What money goals are you working towards? What’s your financial intention for the month ahead? Just like you need a roadmap for your spending, you need a reminder of what’s most important to your money. Setting your financial intention at the start of a new month can help you overcome temptation.
You’ve set the intention to put any extra money towards your debt, so going out to an extra brunch event should be an easy “no”. While your goals and intentions may not help you fully fight temptation, they should be important enough for you to seriously think through your spending decisions. Check out the CGS Podcast episode, How to Be Intentional With Your Money, for more.
#3 Track any changes to your net worth
I started tracking my net worth a few years ago. I even documented what happened after a year of tracking my net worth. Spoiler alert: a lot of amazing things happened. I was closer to my money, more in control of my money and felt like I had a true understanding of what was happening in my finances.
Now, at the start of every month, I track my net worth. I track any changes to my checking, savings and investment account balances. I track changes to my auto loan. If I had credit cards, I would track the change in their balances. This tells me if I’m improving my net worth month over month or if I need to crack the whip and get back to business.
#4 Close out any outstanding items from the previous month
In true Virgo fashion, I love a fresh start. That means anything lingering needs to be handled and closed before the next month starts. As a new month begins, take some time to work on or close out any lingering or outstanding items from the previous month. If you have a bill that needs to be paid, pay it! If you need to get in contact with a CPA, start researching! You’ll feel so much better starting a new month without any lingering to-dos.
#5 Transfer any extra money to savings or debt
For me, I don’t usually have any extra money at the end of the month because I use the zero-based budgeting method. All of my money is usually accounted for down to the penny. However, I have clients who may end the month under budget and therefore they have extra money sitting in their checking account. I always recommend that they put that extra money into savings, towards debt or towards an extra goal they’re working on.
As you prepare for the month ahead, take some time to reconcile your budget and spending. If you’re blessed enough to have money left over, put it towards savings or debt! It’s a great way to start a new month and feel like you’re making quicker progress than usual.
Each of the money tasks listed above will make a huge difference in your finances and set you up for a great month financially. You don’t have to spend a lot of time on each money task, just make sure you’re intentional and know how you plan to proceed with your money and spending decisions! Do you have any money tasks you do at the start of a new month? Which one of these ideas sounds the most impact for you? Drop a comment below to share!