09 Mar Ep. #115 Money March Pt. 2 – Your Spending Identity Statement
Last week’s episode taught you how to calculate your fixed expenses, your past three years AGI, and your total debt. Now, we are talking about how to evaluate your spending so you can accomplish your biggest, boldest, wildest dreams. Using a modified version of one of my favorite exercises from The Money Book (by Joseph D’Agnese and Denise Kiernan), you’ll learn how to use (very) basic math and mind management to make serious gains on your financial goals.
What you’ll learn:
- My 3 tier goal structure
- Your biggest variable expenses, and how much they cost you
- How to use thought work to save money
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Intro: Welcome to Words That Move Me, the podcast where movers and shakers, like you, get the information and inspiration you need to navigate your creative career with clarity and confidence. I am your host, Dana Wilson, and I move people. I am all about the tools and techniques that empower tomorrow’s leaders to make the work of their dreams and live a full life while doing it. So whether you’re new to the game or transitioning to your next echelon of greatness, you’re in the right place.
Dana: Good day, good day. Good people. Welcome to words that move me. I’m Dana. And this is week two of money, March, 2022. Um, yeah, we’re talking about dollar dollar bills. My friends and I am stoked about this topic and this episode, um, in this episode, I am going to walk you through maybe even dance you through, if we’re lucky that was kind of corny, but I’m serious.
Speaker 0 00:01:02 Well, we’ll move briskly and with rhythm and with style through one of my truly favorite exercises, I am borrowing and slightly modifying this exercise from my favorite money book, which is called the money book for freelancers part-timers and the self-employed. It is by Joseph D Agnes and Denise Kiernan. That is who wrote the money book. Um, anyways, I will link to the money book in the show notes of this episode. I strongly recommend it cover to cover it is so great. Um, check the show notes for the link to that. I will also link to my online store, which is where you can find a downloadable PDF companion to this episode. Thanks to Riley Higgins. Thank you. My friend, actually, every episode of money March we’ll have a companion PDF. Um, there will be fields for you to fill in. There will be fun for you to have, um, PDFs will be available every week, along with the episode.
And then at the end of Monday, March, we will put them all, any little bundle so that you can scoop them all at once. Okay. I think that does it money March bundles that Dana wilson.com/shop now let’s move right along. Shall we let’s get into some wins. We start every episode here with wins and today I am celebrating a really fabulous win. So rich, this win is rich. Um, today I’m celebrating an incredible visit out east to spend time with my seaweed sisters and our friends at C L I, we taught some seaweed sister classes. Uh, we taught some individual classes. We even set some seaweed, sister choreography on the CLI conservatory. Wow. Man, so much dance. I like to joke that Teddy Forance has like the greatest appetite for dance. And, um, we definitely had a Teddy Forance style week, so much dance, so much talent, so much fun. So thank you so much, CLA and thank you, seaweed sisters. And thanks, especially to the conservatory dancers who worked so hard and are so, so great. Y’all are winning and therefore I am also winning that’s me. That’s that’s that’s my win. Now you go tell me about what is going well in your world. Extra credit points, if it’s money related.
All right. Congratulations. I’m so proud of you. You are really doing it. You’re winning. You’re continuing your resilient. We’ll get you go. Okay. Now look at us go. This is what we’re doing today. Today, we will be drafting a spending identity letter. This is a letter to yourself about yourself and your spending. I tried to write a spending identity letter, so many teas in there at least once a year, uh, usually around my birthday, which is in July, just because that feels like kind of a good mile marker checkpoint moment. But really you can do this anytime. Uh, and why not start in money March? Let’s go. I can’t think of a single reason why you wouldn’t start in money March, actually. So we’re going to do it right now. This exercise is practically money in the bank, so let’s get into it. Um, start earning that interest, save up those pennies and I’ll let you buy me a drink someday.
All right. Step one. If you haven’t already listened to last week’s episode called three numbers, you need to know or something like that. I don’t actually remember what it’s actually called last week’s episode. The first episode of money March, we talked about three numbers. You need to know if you haven’t already listened to that. If you don’t already know by heart, your fixed monthly expenses, your average gross income for the last three years and your debt, like the number that you actually owe, the number of money you owe, even including those teeny tiny IOUs. If you do not know those three numbers by heart, go back, listen to episode one, and then come back here after listening and doing a little bit of that homework. Um, anyways, knowing your fixed expenses really is part one. Uh, but as we get into today’s exercise, you’ll want to have a pretty good feel for your variable or discretionary spending as well.
Um, if you are not already using a digital financial software like mint or QuickBooks, I really do encourage it. Um, I use mint, but there are plenty of others out there that really help you get a feel for, you know, what’s coming in and what’s going out and in which categories, which is important. So step one, know how much you spend both fixed and variable discretionary expenses. Step two, you’re going to want to know how much you earn that’s that average gross income for the past several years. Uh, I think very important to know that number. And then of course know how much you owe all of your debts. Okay, great. We covered all of those things in episode one, but for the work we’ll do today, it’s also helpful to know the following, how much you have in terms of assets. These are things that you own.
If you own your house, if you own your car, you could sell it. You could sell them. If you have expensive clothes or an expensive record collection, maybe I’m very new to vinyl. So I don’t actually know how much money is in that sort of thing, but, uh, anything of, of, of an exceptional value that could be sold, you want to count what are your assets know how much you have, and then of course know how much you need in order to accomplish your goals. So I like to talk about goals in tiers, tier one, a tier one goal is a goal that you could accomplish with the same amount of money that you have right now, the same amount of time that you have right now, the same amount of talent that you have right now. This is something like I could send. Thank you cards today.
I’ve already got the thank you cards. I’ve already got a pen like that is something it’s, it’s a goal. I want to be a person who sends thank you cards. I could do that today. That’s an example of tier one, a tier two goal is something that honestly requires a little bit more of any of those things. Maybe a little more time, a little more skills or talent, a little more money. Um, for example, maybe finishing a professional reel. Maybe you need time to collect all of your material. Maybe you need to, uh, learn how to edit or have enough money to pay someone else to do it for you. I think that’s a good exemplary exemplary example of a tier two goal. And then there’s the tier three goal or what some people call the impossible goal. The impossible goal is one that you might imagine is impossible to achieve.
Uh, I like to think of this one as if I lived in a world where no one ever told me no, where I had all the money and all the talent and all the time and all the support, what would I do with it? That’s my impossible goal. That’s my tier three goal. So I would encourage you to spend a little bit of time now in a daydreaming stage and just think about those three tiers of goals. What could you do now? What could you do with just a little bit extra? And then what could you do if you really took the lid off, like blew the ceiling off of what was possible, then choose one goal that really stands out to you and start studying it, find out how much that or things like that cost. If your goal is to open a dance studio, start looking at leases, get an idea for how much a down payment would be.
Start finding out how much you would need to pay your staff. Start finding out how expensive dance floors are. Holy smokes. If you want to go travel to Europe and tack on some summer intensives there, then go do your shopping. Total up flights, look at lodging, take a Gander at some tuition, daydream number one. And then number two, do your research get a good idea for how much things cost for this preliminary step. We haven’t even gotten to writing the letter yet that preliminary step can take a bit of time. It can take time to round all that up, especially if you aren’t already using some financial software. Um, so be sure to give yourself a little bit of time and to do this. And then of course, be kind in the process, um, having to search everywhere twice for your tax returns or your email to your agent, where you ask what your rate is, that sort of stuff, it can, um, you can get pretty hard on yourself during those moments, relax.
This is optional, take it easy. Uh, but the, the results of doing this work are fruitful my friend. So schedule yourself the time to do this, um, and, uh, enjoy it. Okay. Now let’s do this letter thing. Speaking of enjoy it really, this is the fun part, the fun part. This is the fun part for me. Um, you could, uh, download the PDF from the store, the Dana wilson.com/shop. The letter is already kind of pre-written for you there. Or you can hand write this. You can type it, or you can type writer it, or you can use a Quill pen if you are that kind of person. Um, the important thing is that you do it. Are you ready? Let’s do it. The letter is as follows as of date in parentheses put the current date. I have earned X dollars from performing X dollars from teaching or choreography and X dollars from enter the field of your field or fields, uh, of your choice.
Obviously this will be different from person to person then, right? My gross income for the year is, and that should be, and that should be a total, uh, for this year. So far then, right? My net worth everything I own minus everything I owe is X fill in, fill in the X. That’s kind of how this is going to go after, you know, your net worth, right? My monthly fixed expenses are, and you have this number memorized. I’m so proud of you now, right? I would like to save X dollars for X goal. I really, really encourage you to get specific here. This could be a personal goal, could be a professional goal. It’s anything that, that stands out to you after you’ve done your three tier, uh, daydreaming brainstorming a little bit. Um, and then of course you’ll want to do your research, make sure that you have a good idea for how much that will cost so that you can fill in those blanks.
I’d like to save X dollars for X goal. Then after evaluating past months of spending, you should be aware of your three biggest variable expenses now, right in the next X number of days or months, I want to monitor how much I spend on my three biggest variable expenses. Then list those three biggest variable expenses. And how much money you typically spend on those categories. For example, drinks at bars, $75 a month or week. I don’t know. I don’t really go to bars. So that’s not a, not an easy one for me to gauge. Um, non-essential vanity stuff like makeup or non-work-related apparel. For example, I think those are some of my biggest variable expense categories. Uh, once you have those three things listed, now you will write I’d feel really great if I could accomplish my savings goal by doing the following and list three things.
For example, making my drinks at home or going booze free for a little while I am now a huge fan of sparkling water, or sometimes tonic water with just a splash of bitters. And omarisha no cherry, holy smokes, no booze tastes like a million bucks and I feel like million bucks the next day. I wonder how many bottles or drinks you would have to drink before you drank a million bucks? We could definitely find out I’d aggress. I’d feel really great if I could accomplish my savings goal by cutting out fast fashion and opting for secondhand or thrift store shopping for a few months or a whole year. Even I did that once a whole year of surplus only, or thrift vintage, secondhand clothing, um, except for shoes and undergarments. I did buy new underwear and socks. And I think a few pair of shoes.
I can’t remember anyways, that year for that whole 365 days. I think my total on apparel was like 700 bucks or maybe less honestly previously. And today, if I went to the Grove, I could spend that in one trip. It’s it’s men, things are expensive these days. So anyways, that was a big win. Um, you know what I have, uh, I have a photo album in my phone. I took a, I took a picture of the price tag and every single item that I bought that year I’m, uh, I’m going to post some of those on the Instagram stories this week. So be on the lookout for that, man. Ooh, some favorite items that year. I got some serious mileage out of a few of those items, my combat boots, those are practically paying me to wear them. At this point. I also had a pair of Adidas pants that I must have taught 110 classes in. Uh, so that was like $9 well-spent anyways. Um, I was not intending to write a podcast about thrift shopping, but I guess I could, maybe I should.
Okay. Anyways, you see where this is going list three actions that you would like to take in order to accomplish your saving school. Boom, then right in order to do the above, I need to become a person who, and then list three things. For example, I need to become a person who understands mixology. I need to become a person who knows that buying booze does not equal having a party. I am a party. I need to become a person who can find value in unexpected places. I need to become a person who uses what I have to have a ball. For example, uh, after you’ve written about the person you want to become in order to accomplish those goals, then there’s only one more piece of the puzzle, right? In order to become that person, I need to think blank. This is where your anchor thought comes in or anchor thoughts.
I call them anchor thoughts. I think some people call them mantras or affirmations or power thoughts. I call them anchor thoughts because I like to drop them. When the waters get rough, they hold me down. They’re my anchor thoughts. Uh, craft yourself an anchor thought that helps you feel like you’re becoming that person, the person that you need to become in order to accomplish all of these savings goals. Um, here are a few of mine that might help you get started. Food and booze are nice, but they’re not the best part of my life. I am a person with unique values and vision.
I already have the tools that I need to make my visions a reality. I hope that these thoughts can be started. Write down a few anchor thoughts for yourself. Maybe you’ll hone in on one that really stands out. But I find that once you kind of get started with these, they, they kind of keep flowing. Um, okay, then, right. I’ll check on my progress on and then write a future date then of course, it’s very important that you sign off with love and sign your letter nice. After you’ve completed your letter and written it out or printed it out, put it someplace that you’ll see it. Occasionally not necessarily daily like this isn’t bathroom mirror stuff, or like front of the fridge stuff. Um, but maybe in a notebook that you use occasionally or top drawer of your desk, perhaps, um, I don’t actually have drawers in my desk.
Do you even have a desk? Am I unpopular for being a person who has a desk that has no drawers? I use filing cabinets because they are sexy me. Ooh, I love a filing cabinet. Adorable anyways. Uh, you will want to reference this letter probably quarterly, but definitely you, you wrote the future date for you to check back in with it, put that date on your calendar, look at it often or not up to you, but definitely on that date, go give this a visit. You’ll want to reference this letter. I mean, I can’t, I’m not your boss, but like maybe quarterly. If you’re becoming a person who looks at your finances regularly, look at this letter, quarterly, check up on how you’re doing and your progress. And maybe you’ll even have new goals to add to this letter. So you can always make a revised edit.
Um, oh also after digging up all of what was included in my letter, I had a pretty hefty web of, to do’s spinning off of this people to call checks, to follow up on gigs, to schedule all sorts of calendar items. Leave yourself a little bit of time, maybe this weekend to, uh, calendar your, to do’s. Yes. I’m asking you to calendar time to calendar your, to do either that, or you can just dump them all on a page right now. I find when I give myself an hour to put all of my to-dos on my calendar, then they actually get done. So give each item some time. I usually give myself too much time. Um, but sometimes not enough time. Anyways time after you’ve done that make a list of resources, man, this is a really hefty episode in terms of to do’s we’re going to be really busy this week.
Anyways, after you’ve done the to-do list, it’s on your calendar, make a list of resources like people or institutions that you know of people that are on your team, people who are on your side that might be able to help you, or at very least answer some of your questions. You are not alone, my friend, and you might not know answers to all of these questions, but I bet you know, someone who does so make a list of resources, people that you might be able to reach out to, um, and also post your anchor thoughts around the house. Um, or in a photo album. I personally have a photo album in my phone. Um, I use the, uh, the markup tool, nothing fancy, no Photoshop or anything, but I marked up the photos, a few standout photos that I felt paired well with my anchor thoughts.
And I keep them all in a photo album that I reference often. I do also love a good post-it note though. You could just write those anchor thoughts on post-it notes and post them everywhere. A big, big fan of that. Okay. Let me check. Did we cover everything? I think, Ooh, that was a lot. You guys good job on you. Good for you. You heavy financial lift. Are you? I think that is it. I think that is your spending identity letter to yourself, man. I hope this process is as helpful for you as it was for me. I know I’m overdue for a revisit on my letter, actually. Uh, thank goodness for money March for reminding me to do this work. Um, speaking of which money March next week is another doozy, but you’ll have less to do next week. More inspiration to be had, uh, less objectives, less to dues on the list.
Um, man, it’s next week is a good, is a good one. I’ll be joined by my new friend, Geri Brown, who is a fundraising expert and in general, just extremely spirited, intelligent and thoughtful person. She wears a lot of hats and man, she wears them very well. So please don’t miss that next week with Geri Brown. Um, yeah, don’t miss that episode, but do keep it very, very funky. I’ll talk to you soon.
Outro: This podcast was produced by me with the help of many; Music by Max Winnie, logo and brand design by Bree Reetz, and a big thanks to Riley Higgins, our executive assistant and editor, and also massive thanks to you. The mover, who is no stranger to taking action, I will not stand in the way of you taking action. I will not cannot stop you from downloading episodes or leaving a review and a rating. I cannot keep you from visiting thedanawilson.com to join our mailing list. I will not ban you from my online store for spending your hard earned money on the cool merch and awesome programs that await you there. And of course, if you want to talk with me, work with me and make moves with the rest of the words that move me community, I will 100% not stop you. Visit thedanawilson.com to become a member and get a peek at everything else I do that is not a weekly podcast. Keep it funky, everyone.