Before you even begin to think about budgeting or tracking your money, you first have to do a Money Discovery.
Once you have the mindset that you are going to take control of your money, the next logical step is to do a Money Discovery.
You’re probably saying, “what the hell is a Money Discovery?”
Imagine you are a detective at a crime scene. You can’t just jump in and start questioning people. You don’t even know who to question!
The first step is to take photos, search for fingerprints, and collect evidence. You need to gather all the info you can before you can begin getting into the details.
Money is the same way. The first step is to gather all the info before you even begin to consider budgeting, bills, and investing.
Luckily for you I’ve got a sweet spreadsheet I’m giving you for free to help you do your own Money Discovery.
Grab the spreadsheet here. It’s in my Badass Money Bundle I give away for free to the community. On top of the Money Discovery spreadsheet, I’ve got TONS of other stuff in there for you, totally free.
Grab the spreadsheet and follow along. By the end of this guide you’ll have a complete Money Discovery and be well on your way to understanding and organizing your money.
Note: You can do this as an individual or if you share your accounts as a couple you can do this together.
STEP 1 - LIST OUT ALL OF YOUR MONTHLY INCOME
First off, let’s talk about your income. This is one of the easiest because I bet you know all the money you have coming in don’t you?
To help you get rolling here are some examples that may apply to you:
Side Hustle Income
Rental Property Income
There’s plenty more out there. Just think of anywhere your money comes from monthly.
In the spreadsheet list out all of your income. Here is a screenshot of the spreadsheet as an example.
NOTE: The annual amount column is calculated automatically by a formula in the spreadsheet. No need for you to fill that one out.
List out each source and the monthly amount you get. If it varies, it’s better to estimate on the low end rather than the high.
For a Money Discovery just focus on your NET INCOME. That basically means what you take home or what is deposited into your bank account. Forget about the GROSS INCOME which is what you get before everything is taken out like taxes and health insurance.
STEP 2 - LIST OUT ALL OF YOUR MONTHLY BILLS
Let’s talk about where your money is going. This is a huge eye opener for most people.
A lot of times, we feel overwhelmed without financial situation and begin to ignore our finances. If you remember my guide to Creating a Badass Money Mindset you will remember that one of the key values is to BE AWARE OF YOUR MONEY.
That’s the whole point of a Money Discovery. You are going to understand everything about your money. What’s going in. What’s going out. Etc.
This is where you get a handle on what’s going out.
I want you to list out all of your monthly expenses. Sit down and really think about everything you spend money on monthly. Everything.
It will be helpful to pull up your transaction history from your bank account from the last few months and review each transaction.
To get you started here is a list of possible categories of expenses.
Real Estate Taxes
Maybe you have more ideas than that. If so, put them on your list. Anything you spend money should fall into some category on your list.
Here’s a screenshot of what it will look like in the spreadsheet:
Hopefully this will give you a “a ha” moment once you realize where all of your money is going to.
STEP 3 - LIST OUT ALL OF YOUR BANK ACCOUNTS
This step will be a bit easier. Think of all your bank accounts. Let’s get a handle on everywhere you have money right now.
Do you have checking accounts? Savings accounts? Joint accounts? List them out on the spreadsheet with their current balance.
Sometimes people will have old accounts they haven’t checked on in a while. Try to think of any you haven’t used in a while as well.
Here are some possible accounts you may have:
Health Savings Account
Here is a screenshot of my examples in the spreadsheet:
STEP 4 - LIST OUT ALL OF YOUR DEBTS
You may have a bunch of debt accounts or no debt accounts. If you’ve got 0, keep on moving to the next section. Congrats, by the way that’s awesome!
More likely, you do have some debts though. The less the better, but most likely you are going to have some and if you’ve been ignoring that debt it’s now time to stare it in the face and take the first step to tackling that debt full on.
Pull up that spreadsheet again and fill in every debt account you can think of. Here is a screenshot with some examples I put in:
Here are some common debts that people have to help you brainstorm all of your debt accounts:
Rental Property Mortgage
Misc Vehicle Loans like RV’s, motorcycles, and off road vehicles
Lines of Credit
STEP 5 - LIST OUT ALL OF YOUR PHYSICAL ASSETS
Moving right along, now let’s list out all your physical assets. This is anything physical you own that has value.
Lots of items you own probably have some value, but for Money Discovery purposes it’s best to focus on high priced items like your house or cars.
Here are some examples of physical assets you may have:
Off road Vehicle
Enter each of your physical assets into your spreadsheet. Here is a screenshot with some examples:
STEP 6 - LIST OUT ALL OF YOUR INVESTMENTS
The last piece of this Money Discovery is your investments.
Think of every investment account you have. If you’ve worked at several companies over the years do you have multiple retirement accounts?
Do you have private investment accounts like a Roth IRA or Robinhood stock trading account?
Here is a list of some example investment accounts to get you started:
Stock Investment Accounts like Robinhood
App Investment accounts like Stash
Here is a screenshot of the Investment tab in the Money Discovery spreadsheet with some examples already in there:
WHAT DO I DO WITH MY MONEY DISCOVERY?
Once you’ve got everything listed out you have the whole picture of all of your finances.
This should be a mind opening experience if you haven’t been tracking your money in the past. Now you know where all of your money is, how much you have, and how much you owe.
This is good to see and know, but this is only the first step. This is a launching point to the next steps in becoming a Money Badass.
From here you can now begin to build a budget, track your net worth, pay down your debt, increase your income, reduce your expenses… The list goes on and on.
You’ve taken a solid step further on the journey.
Remember, taking control of your money is a journey, but you don’t need to focus on the whole journey. Start with the first step, then the next, and so on.
In the end you’ll get there and you’ll be happy you did.
List out all of your monthly income
List out all of your monthly expenses
List out all of your bank accounts
List out all of your debt accounts
List out all of your physical assets
List out all of your investment accounts
CREATOR OF MONEY BADASS