Back to School Season = Time to Regroup

August 5, 2022

August will always remind me of back to school season. Even though I am years (check that, decades!) removed from having to buy school supplies, pick out a locker, and review my class schedule, this month always puts me right back in that mode. Time to say goodbye to summer fun and get back to class.

Given that the calendar automatically puts me in that mindset, I take advantage of the bump in motivation and use this month to reset and reflect on my goals for the balance of the year (and beyond).

I’ve used different approaches/frameworks in the past, but this year I decided to use a simple Start, Stop, Keep model and apply it to life in general, as well as my own financial journey.

The model is pretty self explanatory – but I came up with one item in that I want to start doing, stop doing, and keep doing. Here’s what I came up with!

Life in General

Start: Reading more non-fiction books

I love to read. Lately, I have been reading a lot of fiction books and have been neglecting my stack of non fiction books. Time to change that! I’m going to start reading at least one nonfiction book per week. Perhaps I can share some takeaways here.

Stop: Using electronics 3 hours before bed

I’ll be honest, I have had this goal before and have only marginally succeeded. It’s a challenge for me. I’m so accustomed to staying connected (with the news, with clients, with family) that I find myself using my phone WAY too much. Plus, sometimes I need to work late into the night which extends my screen time on my computer. This screen time (in whatever form) before bed is not healthy and it doesn’t give me the time to fully rest my mind and spirit, allowing for a peaceful night’s rest. So, time for a change! Goal will be to put down 3 hours before bed.

Keep: Daily time outside

I have quite a few daily habits that I can’t live without. This is one of my favorites. I love taking a walk each day and just observing the world around me. It allows my mind to wander – free of distraction and my constant inputs (see challenge with phone above!). So, I plan to keep doing this – even as the weather changes. No such thing as bad weather with the right gear.

Personal finance

Start: Compile home inventory for insurance purposes

This has been on my list for years. A discussion with a family friend who tragically lost her cabin to a fire reminded me that it needs to be done – now. Best practices suggest taking videos of each room (and its belongings), and then compiling a detailed inventory of everything by room. These records can then be stored on the cloud for safekeeping. I hope I never need these files – but I’ll feel much better once they are completed

Stop: Overpaying for services & subscriptions

I’m sure I’m not alone in paying for various services and subscriptions monthly (cable, cell phone, software for work, etc). I have a feeling I am overpaying a few places – either I’m subscribed to something I don’t really use anymore or I could make adjustments to my service to reduce my fee. I’m going to review my credit card statement and work thru the list of recurring charges, ensuring that everything is in good order

Keep: Diligent cash flow planning & saving

I confess – I love a good spreadsheet! Being self-employed, I have several of them to track my business income, cash flow, estimated taxes, high-level budget/spending, and progress on my savings goals for the year. This is an important practice for me and helps me keep all the moving pieces in order. I’m going to keep doing this work, as it allows me to maximize my cash flow and accelerate savings (two of my favorite things!)

Phew, that list sure does make it feel like back to school season around here. I have my work cut out for me but I know I can do it – and I know the remainder of 2022 will be all the better for it.

Let me know what you want to start/stop/keep doing. And for all of you either going back to school or with family going back to school, here’s to a fun & successful year ahead!

All my best,

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