I make sure my bills are paid and I put money in a savings account, but I’m so busy running my business that I always put the rest of my finances on the back burner.

I have made more money than I’ve ever made before, but I have no idea where it is going!

Since I started working for myself, I haven’t stuck to a budget because I don’t have consistent income.

Have those words ever run through your mind when you start thinking about your finances? My guess is that you’ve probably found yourself in a similar financial rut. I also imagine you would like to ease the tension you feel around money and start making smart, intentional money choices so you can take control of your finances and enjoy a life you love.

For myself and my clients, being intentional means doing things on purpose and being deliberate about what we spend money on, where we spend our money, and how we feel when we’re making financial decisions.

If you want to want to learn how to do that, too, you can start with these three steps.

1) Create a vision.

When I started getting intentional with my money, what I wanted most was financial freedom. For me, freedom looked like being free of debt and having the freedom to use my money to fund future goals like retirement and saving for my first home.

It mattered because I wanted to start to build a legacy of my own, and I knew that financial freedom would play a vital role in allowing me to have choices in the future, whether that was the choice to travel abroad with friends or to spend time with my family.

Make it personal: Block out twenty minutes to write your own financial vision for where you want to be a year from now, and why it matters. Your “why” will be your road map for being deliberate when you’re making financial decisions.

2) Schedule money dates with yourself.

I started having money dates with myself in college and they’re still a part of my weekly schedule.

What’s a money date? A money date is a date with your bank account. I like to say that my bank account’s love language is quality time, so I devote at least thirty minutes each week to make sure my weekly spending habits align with my values.

I use this time to make sure that I’ve paid bills and prepare for expenses before my next money date. Being in my bank account each week means I know exactly where my money is going, ensures that I proactively plan for expenses, and helps me stay grounded in my goals.

Make it personal: Put thirty minutes on the calendar each week to check in with your spending habits, pay bills, and set intentions for how you will use your money for the week ahead.

3) Start tracking your money.

Everything changed when I started tracking my money. It may seem simple, but this practice has helped me develop a clearer picture of where my money is going.

It has helped me break free from the overwhelm and stress of being in a financial rut, because I’ve built a self-awareness of my money moves day-to-day.

Make it personal: If you want to get out of a financial rut and be more intentional with your spending, you need to build self-awareness of what you spend your money on in your business and beyond. Creating the space to be intentional with your money will open doors you never imagined.

Originally published on Ellevate.

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