How to be your own money manager

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Becoming your own money manager is something that you should get used to especially if you plan to live as debt free of a life as possible.

I talked about the Money Box a few days back and that’s really where my passion for finance was born and the money manager in me came out.

Learning about finances is not so bad when you are watching television, reading the paper, online posts or even in magazines as long as it’s not about you.

Many people don’t want to learn about their own finances because they don’t want to know how far in debt they are and for some people, they simply don’t care about money.

They could care less if they have to claim bankruptcy over and over again. You may think it becomes a game when bankruptcy becomes the norm and to be honest if you can’t control your spending you really need to seek help.

Bankruptcy is not always the answer to the problem it’s more of a band-aid approach to solve the stresses of bill collectors knocking on your door. I know a couple at work who had it all, a nice house, 2 kids and they both hold decent jobs.

The problem with their relationship was not that they didn’t love each other it was that they loved spending money more than they loved being the money manager of their future. Buying cases of beer each week was more important than putting money away for their children’s education as was buying stuff they didn’t need when their house was falling apart and needed extensive renovations.

It’s much easier to block out what you need to do and put in place those feel good purchases so you forget all about what your real priorities are. Many people tend to forget that sure a new roof might cost $4000 and the $500 they have in the bank is not enough so they blow it without thinking maybe if we just keep saving we will have a new roof in no time.

What I notice from the people I’ve come in contact with in my life that are struggling with being their own money manager is that they put stuff before their life.

If money is owed to them whether it is government cheques, income tax returns etc. they have the money spent before it even arrives. The mere fact that “extra money” is coming into their hands sends them off into a spending frenzy. All those times they missed out on spending money and before you know it there is nothing left.

Better yet, the money is spent on things that for most would not be a priority. Life first, stuff second. If you can’t protect your life financially no amount of stuff will keep you afloat.

If you think about it money is a part of our lives no matter which way we want to look at it. Sure we can wipe our hands clean of debt by coming up with excuses like we’ll make more money, our wages will increase, I’ll find a better job, next pay I’ll pay that debt off. That day may never come for some people so the dream of debt freedom lingers on.

I have to question these people if they really do want to live a debt free life because if you complain about money on a daily basis and aren’t stepping up to be your own money manager then there really isn’t anything anyone can do for you.


Money manager


So how can you become your own money manager? Good question and to be honest it’s no more work than simple math. That’s right if you can add, subtract, divide and multiply becoming a simple money manager should be easy for you. It’s not so much that people don’t know how to do it they don’t set time aside to maintain the system they put in place to make sure they are following their money every step of the way.

Being a money manager in essence doesn’t mean you become an investor or stock broker either. I’m talking about simple budgeting, simple money management skills and following the money so you know where your dollars are going.

It sounds easy and it really is as long as you put some effort into it and stop complaining that life has dealt you a rough card. Sure, we all have problems that’s a fact, some worse than others but we aren’t going to move forward by sitting on the problem.

I know that not everyone knows where to begin when it comes to being a money manager and that’s why there are so many amazing websites and blogs on the web to help get you started.

I don’t admit to being a money manager pro but we’re both under 40 and living a debt free life including no mortgage living in the GTA and it’s not because we were handed money or got lucky every step of the way.

I also don’t make a 6 figure salary either but I’m working hard at making sure that I’m moving up in my profession so one day I can make the income I’ve always dreamed of.

I want to make sure if we have a child that we can afford to save for their education to give them a jump start in life while teaching them about money. I also want to make sure that our child doesn’t have to worry about us financially because that’s just a stress he/she doesn’t need. Financial freedom for us is about having the ability to make the best choices for our life as my friend Jason at Celebrating Financial Freedom says below.

It’s about having the freedom to make the best choices for your life because you don’t have to consider your debt situation first.

What we do is budget, straight up simple math and find ways to save money by living a frugal life by spending money on quality when we need to and buying generic in other areas.

We both struggled just like the next person but we did one thing I encourage all of you do… NEVER GIVE UP! You never know when opportunity is lurking so be ready to grab it and follow your money wherever you go.

Be your own Money Manager 101 …..




Planning the way your money is going to be saved and spent is something that most people shrug off as they view it as tedious and not necessary.

I disagree because we should have a money plan in place so we set goals and targets to achieve success along the way. You may want to put that new roof on like I talked about above but if you don’t plan how much you can or should save each month as well as a time-frame to have it saved you may just kill the plan and spend the money on something else.

What will happen is your roof will just continue to fall apart because you couldn’t be bothered to invest the time needed in planning out the savings to purchase that new roof. So before you go and laugh at your friends who say they can’t afford to do something because they are saving up for a large or even small expense make sure you look in your own money house and clean up areas you need to improve on.




Budgeting doesn’t mean you need to use a budget spreadsheet, paper budget, envelope system and so on… it means knowing where your money is going. Not everyone likes to budget and although I highly recommend it because its what has helped us to get to the point where we are now, it doesn’t mean it’s right for you.

Figure out what money manager system works for you but the most important part of your plan is knowing where the money goes. If you don’t track your money you will never know if you are spending more than you earn and what parts of your lifestyle you need or should be cut back on in order to stay on track financially.




I don’t know a household that can run on its own so if you think your finances can all be automated and you turn your head to say everything is taken care of you might be surprised one day to realize that there is more to being a money manager than automation.

Sure it’s great to pay all your bills automatically each month but that’s just a small part of being a money manager. Although we paid all of our bills manually aside from the fixed expenses we made sure we followed up with everything.

Fixed expenses are easy because you know they will never change but don’t think errors can’t happen. Just last week I noticed our home and vehicle insurance shot up by $12 a month and by sending off an email to our insurance adviser we found out an error was made in the automatic renewal. The account will be credited but if we didn’t follow-up with our expenses we wouldn’t have known.

Having a budget and managing your money for every day expenses requires that you follow-up whether it’s weekly, bi-weekly or monthly. We sit down once a week and input all of our receipts that we keep from every purchase made as well as automated expenses into our budget. We keep on top of things because if you don’t it’s easy for it to mount up and this is where people throw in the towel.

They view it as too much work. Try to dedicate even 15-30 minutes per week to stay on track so you don’t have a tonne of paper work to do with your budget at the end of the month. That’s just my tip but do what works best for you.

Becoming a money manager is not difficult by any means it’s getting started and staying on track that is the hard part. Whether you make enough money to cover all of your monthly expenses or not if you don’t know the numbers you will never get ahead financially, unless you win the lottery but even lottery winners go broke.

How are you a money manager of your life?

What other tips can you suggest to the readers?



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  1. Plan, spend, review. Rinse and repeat the cycle as often and as long as you can.

    I suspect most people have “spend” down pat, that’s much easier and takes less work 🙂


  2. To avoid overspending money you don’t really have, consider your spending/purchases in terms of after tax $ to determine the cost versus value. This could mean multiplying by 1.5x or 2x (if you want to be conservative, and include property and sales taxes in this) the price to come up with a full cost price. That $200 item doesn’t look like such a deal anymore at $400 full cost does it?

  3. I think money management is something that is so useful and relevant but is so under taught within the education system. Kids finish high school with a high knowledge of the periodic table but they don’t understand the basics of credit or mortgages. Both are very useful and practical but aren’t covered in most schools

  4. We have set up as many things as we could to a monthly bill. Taxes, house and vehicle insurance are now monthly instead of yearly. Union Gas(heating) is on the budget billing plan. The mortgage is weekly because back when, hubby was paid weekly and we were trying to get it paid down. Dates are staggered so things weren’t all coming off the same pay check.
    I liked that you mentioned to not give up….. It’s a learning process and it doesn’t stop. You mess up here or there, most will throw in the towel….Don’t….. Pick yourself up and keep on trying. Eventually things will start to look better for you if you keep trying, and trying, and trying….It’s not really a mistake if you can learn from it.
    Once I can get a better handle on the budget part of things I would like to be able to learn a little about the investing part of the plan. Baby steps all the way…….

  5. Mr. CBB, you are forgetting the most important thing about being your own money manager. You must start investing and learn how to manage your portfolio. The Canadian retirement system is quite different than ours in the U.S. but in both cases we are permitted to open online brokerage accounts to invest savings outside of a retirement plan. I really encourage beginning investors to check out my new book, “Every Woman Should Know Her Options: Invest Your Way To Financial Empowerment.” Despite the title, it is a good read for men too.

    1. When I wrote this I wrote it for simplicity sake because a good majority of people struggle just to get started with the basics in terms of budgeting and saving. Most people don’t come to CBB for investing tips but I can appreciate your angle. I may know how to budget well but investing is not my strong suit. Now I’m starting to learn. I think taking baby steps is important but certainly if people want to learn about managing their own portfolio then go for it.

    1. You are so right Jason and both you and I know that starting with the basics is important to the success of any financial plan. Money management can be overwhelming for so many people hence why they struggle with their finances.

  6. If you are married, get on board with your spouse and agree on common goals in relation to money. It makes managing it much easier when both parties come together on the issues.

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