Budgeting & Money Management
The WA Financial Coaching Network has compiled a list of resources and tools that are available to all coaches when discussing budgeting and money management with their clients, customers, or community members. While there are many budget forms and apps available online, we believe that it is vitally important to consider the individual's money beliefs, values, and goals before the actual dollars and cents.
Personal finances is much more personal than it is financial - and each of us must understand our motivations and habits in order to make lasting changes to improve our financial security and wellbeing. The following are resources and tools that financial coaches across the state have used and would recommend that may assist folks in doing so.
The Financial Empowerment Network does not endorse the products or services provided by the organizations or business on this list. Inclusion on the following list is for informational purposes only and does not imply any knowledge of or endorsement of the services.
The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) has many tools for financial educators, including the Your Money Your Goals toolkit. As a complement to those tools, you can find topic-specific resources, including a section on Money Motivators that includes their Money Circle Toolkit and a webinar that introduced the toolkit in 2019.
Also, check out the CFPB Financial Education Exchange (FinEx) for more resources and past webinars. Sign up to receive information and announcements from CFPB FinEx.
The Prosperity Agenda offers Money Mindset Cards to use as discussion prompts with individuals or groups. From their website: “Money Mindset Cards are rooted in the belief that all people are good with money. Choose a card and start a conversation that leverages strengths, develops financial confidence, and builds financial control. With a deeper understanding of unique needs and desires, people can connect to relevant financial services and education.”
Looking for a simple handout that can prompt discussions with your staff/team or with your clients/community members? Check out this “Thoughts on Money” resource developed by Solid Ground.
Money and Values
The YWCA of Seattle | King | Snohomish has put together this values activity that addresses the connection between the financial decisions we make and how they might be aligned or misaligned with our personal values. This activity is completed in a classroom or group setting, with folks working in small groups of 2 or 3, then coming together to discuss the implications.
Acknowledging the Connection Between Poverty & Institutional and Structural Oppressions
Tracking Your Spending
Tracking where your money goes each month is key to understanding your money habits and to identify any possible changes you'd like to make to your spending. There are many tools out there for folks to track where their money is going, and its important to find a routine that works best for you. Daily is probably best - you may forget if you wait more time to track your money! This is a really helpful activity to try for a month or two - or to revisit periodically to see how your spending habits change.
This spending tracker was developed by the University of Wisconsin Extension and asks people to connect their spending each day with how they are feeling. This can help folks start to identify the ways their emotions are connected with their spending.
Managing your Budget
The CFPB Cash Flow Budget is a tool to help people think about their income and expenses week to week, which is often more realistic when someone is living paycheck to paycheck and money is tight. This excellent short explainer video from American Financial Solutions is really helpful to understand why a weekly cash flow budget is so important.
Many people prefer a digital way to manage their spending. As a coach, its never our role to tell people what tool to use, but rather to provide them information to make an informed decision that will work best fot them.
When evaluating an app or FinTech product, some questions that are good to ask include:
- What is the initial cost? Is there a monthly fee?
- How does the provider make their money on this app? Most are not nonprofits and have some sort of revenue
- Who regulates this app? Is it a product through an FDIC-insured financial institution? Does the Department of Financial Institutions regulate the provider?
- What are the security practices and policies?
- What about privacy and information sharing? Who will the provide share my information with, and what will be shared?
- What is my recourse if I have any issues? Who can I contact? Is there a phone number to speak with someone, or will I need to use a chat feature or email?
For more thoughts about using apps to manage finances, you can watch our August 2022 workshop, “Using Fintech to Drive Equity and Support Financial Well-Being” with Megan Bolado from Change Machine. Change Machine is doing a lot of work in the area of FinTech and equity - read more of their series, Engaging with FinTech to Build an Equitable Economy.