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A Week in the Life (7 Days Behind-the-Scenes with Jess)

I’m excited to introduce a new type of episode I’ve been wanting to try which mixes personal finance teaching with some of my personal life. I normally try to do a blend of step-by-step guidance with personal finance and where I dig into the weeds, but I also enjoy sharing about my personal life and I think you might enjoy hearing about that, too!

In this episode, I do a morning and evening check-in with you every day for a week. This means I’ll be popping in first thing in the morning to discuss what my day’s going to look like in general, but also from a financial perspective, what’s on my list, and what I plan to do. In the evenings, I’ll return to let you know what was accomplished, specific numbers, habits, and things that came up or happened throughout the day.

So let’s give this a shot, I’m excited to see how it goes. Let’s jump in!


Good morning and welcome to day #1! Today I have a lot on my plate.

Every morning I try to start with a quick workout just to get my mind right, and I’ve been working on my Spanish because, as you may know, we recently moved to El Salvador, a Spanish-speaking country, so I’ll spend 15-30 minutes doing a Spanish lesson, which I do via a free app called Duolingo. That’s how I plan to kick off my day.

As far as my business, I set 3 goals per day. So my big 3 goals for today are, #1, I have a client meeting this afternoon for which I need to prepare. I need to review my notes on what my client and I discussed in our last meeting, look at the homework she was supposed to do, prep the different subjects I want to cover with her today, and get her financial dashboard loaded and ready to be filled in because that’s where we’re at with her financial journey. #2, I wanted to kick off this first check-in for this podcast episode. And #3, I need to send a promotional email about the last episode I released.

Because this is a personal finance podcast I want to make sure you know those are some of my business goals, but as far as personal finance goals, something Cory and I have been doing every single day for the past 2-3 months is tracking our daily spending because, essentially, we need to understand what it’s costing us to live here.

When we were living in the US, I had a good handle on what we were spending, however, we’re new in El Salvador so we have to track to figure out our new monthly spending number here. Theoretically, it should be less expensive, right? Well, what we found in our first month of tracking is we spent 3x the amount we estimated we would on eating out at restaurants (it was our first month so we kind of acted like we were on vacation!). We’ve been good about tracking ever since – specifically eating out, but in general, our ‘fun’ activities.

From a financial perspective, that is what I want to make sure we get done today: have a quick conversation about what was spent today and, since we run businesses, decide which of those expenses can be written off.

There you have it! That’s my list for today: Spanish lesson, workout, my 3 business goals, and my finance goal. I’ll check back in with you tonight and let you know how the day went – have a good one!


Good evening! It is about 9 pm local time and we just got home from a meeting with a friend of ours, who's also signing up to be a health client with Cory. We were at his apartment down the street, where he prepared chicken, rice, and salad, and we hung out with him and some sweet street dogs who live nearby.

Now, for my check-in: Today was busy, but it was a successful day. I got a quick workout in as I promised - it was 15-20 minutes, nothing crazy. Most of the time, my workouts are more for my mental state—the physical perks are secondary to the mental clarity that a quick workout brings me in the morning. I did a ~20-minute workout with some weights and body weight this morning. I also completed my Spanish lesson. I love Duolingo; it makes learning fun because it’s like a game, so I honestly look forward to it every day.

I was also successful in my 3 business goals for the day: just before we had dinner with Cory's new client, I was in a town nearby called El Zonte meeting with my client. I was able to prep for that meeting with her, so that was successful. My second goal was to kick off this podcast episode, which I’ve done, and I also did my promotional email for the last podcast episode.

As for the financial goal, right when we got home from our dinner with Cory’s client, we had our nightly talk about finance. It was just a quick conversation that went like this, “hey Cory, what money did you spend today outside of our normal bills?” For us, usually, this means food of some sort—that's the big thing we have to be careful of when it comes to overspending. That's usually what our conversations are about when they're these quick conversations.

Today Cory spent $104.33 at the grocery store, another $9 with the local street vendors who sell fresh produce, and I spent $15.60 at my client meeting (we split a pizza and I had a coffee + yogurt). Again, we're very active in our tracking. It's something I recommend. It's very manual for the 3 months you're first creating your budget or if you move and you need to redo your budget like we're doing, but it works and it makes you very present in your spending and very conscious. There you have it—there's my nightly check-in. I hope you enjoyed this and I will see you in the morning!


Good morning and happy Saturday from cloudy El Salvador! It’s been cloudy here lately, which I’ve enjoyed because it's a nice break from the hot sun that we normally have. There's a nice breeze today and I'm looking forward to enjoying some time in our outdoor space with the dogs while I have coffee. But first and foremost, I wanted to check in with you. As I mentioned I normally try to work out in the morning, but my schedule is 2 days on, and 1 day off, meaning today is my rest day. My muscles are telling me they need a break, so instead of a workout, I plan to spend 30 minutes doing something else that's good for my mindset, which is reading a book. So I plan to do my Spanish lesson and then read for a while, and that’s how I’ll start my day.

My big 3 goals for the day are #1, as you know, I had a client meeting yesterday, and I owe her a couple of things: a list of her written homework, an update to the permissions on her financial dashboard so she can edit everything she needs to, and a voice memo that covers her weekly mindset work. #2 is to update my free budget template to be more user-friendly because I'm learning through my client work that the spreadsheet version of my free budget template is not as self-explanatory as I’d like it to be; it takes me sitting down with someone for them to understand it, so I want to make it more user-friendly. And goal #3 is to build out my Learn with Jess web page to make it a more clear about how to work with me. Those are my big 3 goals.

In terms of our financial goal, today is another normal day of our daily financial check-in. Similar to last night, we’ll talk through any spending we had throughout the day. From the financial perspective, things should get a little more interesting later this week when Cory and I do our monthly deep-dive into our finances. With that said, I'm going to go have coffee and get my day started. Happy Saturday!


Good evening! It’s Saturday night, just past 6 p.m. local time and I had a productive day of work. I don't love going to the beach on the weekends because it gets crowded and, as you may know, I’m more of an introvert – I like peace and, generally speaking, less stimulation. As a result, I prefer to work on the weekends and take days off during the week when I can go to the beach and it's quiet and calm.

As for tonight’s check-in: this morning, I did my Spanish lesson, and I spent some time reading my novel. I took my rest day today from my workouts, and as far as my 3 goals, I was able to send my client her homework and update all her budget dashboard permissions. I also was successful in updating the budget dashboard that I offer as a freebie on my website. When you sign up, you get a pdf version and a spreadsheet version, and, today, I worked hard to make the spreadsheet version more self-explanatory and user-friendly. Last, my third goal was to build out a web page that better explains how you can work with me... I had a feeling that I wouldn't make it too far on this one; website building takes a lot of time! But I did get a start and made some progress – I just didn’t finish it today.

And I still need to have a conversation with Cory about what he spent today (I didn't spend any money today), so when he gets home I’ll ask him about that and get it documented. Now I am going to go listen to a podcast episode and relax, maybe read a little bit more and enjoy my evening. Hope you had a good one!


Good morning! It's a sunny Sunday morning here in El Salvador. Cory and I just got back from walking to the neighbor's house to get a gallon of raw milk, which was my first time going with him. It was a cool experience! You just take an empty gallon jug and $3.75 in cash, walk up the street, hand them your items, and they come back with the jug filled with fresh milk. What a super awesome way to start the day!

As for this morning’s check-in – I have an update from last night. After I recorded my update, I got a call from Cory and he told me that our friends got tickets to a party down at the beach. Now, you know me, I'm already in the hammock winding down—like I said, I was waiting for him to come home so we could have our financial talk. But I rallied, which is unlike me, but the reason is: there are not typically parties that require tickets here in El Salvador… usually things are verrrry casual, so I was curious. So I got ready and rode my dirt bike down there and we checked out this party. We had a good time, although we didn’t stay super late. It was more of a party vibe than most of our evenings here, but it was neat to experience.

All that’s to say: we did not have our financial talk yesterday. But we did this morning—so I just asked him, “OK, how much money did you spend yesterday?” All he bought yesterday was a $2.50 cup of coffee at the beach, and at the party last night they had a buffet-style set-up, so we each got food for $5 each, and soda waters for $2 each. So that's $14, plus his coffee at the beach, which was $2.50 = $16.50 spent yesterday. So that was our financial conversation —a bit late, but it got done.

Now as for today, it’s Sunday and I have another client meeting today with a different client. So my three goals are #1, to do this check-in, which I’m taking care of now. #2, I need to prep for my client meeting, which starts in about an hour and a half. So I need to review my notes to make sure I remember what we talked about last time, what she's supposed to be accomplishing, and what we need to cover together today. This is the end of our month working together, so we need to just make sure that we're on target and we'll see if she wants to do another month together. And goal #3, once I’m done with my client meeting, is to work on our corporate taxes which are due in 4 days. Honestly, though, I might just say my third goal is to relax. I'm feeling tired today and I don't want to burn out, so I might just take the day to read a book at the pool or the beach. But if I find myself wanting to work, I'm going to start gathering the tax stuff that's due this Wednesday.

Beyond that, as usual, I need to get my Spanish lesson done, I’m going to do a gentle workout—maybe stretching and yoga this morning—and that is what my day will look like today. As always, my financial goal will be touching base on our daily spending today ahead of our monthly check-in which will happen in the next couple of days. I'm looking forward to talking you through exactly what our monthly check-in looks like because that's the biggest financial thing we do every month. We normally do our big check-in around the 15th of the month, so I intentionally planned this episode around that because I want to share more with you about what we do there. So stay tuned! Have a beautiful Sunday, I'll check in with you tonight.


Hello again, it is now Sunday night here in El Salvador, and it’s been a pretty nice day — not as busy as I anticipated. As far as what I wanted to get done, I did get my client prep done because I was supposed to have the client meeting, but unfortunately, my client was not able to make it due to unforeseen circumstances, so ended up getting a little bit of work done at a coffee shop, but I did not work on taxes (whoops!). I don't know about you, but taxes are not my favorite thing, so I've been putting them off. I officially have 2-3 more days to get all of our stuff to our accountant so in the next couple of days I will have to do them, but today was not that day. I honestly a bit like I was getting close to burnout, so I got some rest. Once I came back from the coffee shop, I cooked a little lunch then laid in the sun and read my book.

As for our finances, we did do our daily check-in. Cory spent $12 at the market today, and I spent $9.50 at the coffee shop where I worked. We also ended up having a bit of a deeper financial conversation today, as well, due to the news about the Silicon Valley Bank collapse, which happened the week that I'm recording this episode. We're trying to decide if we should move forward with turning our investment property into a long-term rental (and quitting the short-term rental we’re currently using it for).

And here's how this ties into the Silicon Valley Bank collapse: this collapse is one of the biggest since the 2008 recession, and there is some speculation that this will result in potentially a recession or depression. Now, in general. I think those words are overused. I normally don't give a second thought to those words because I feel like we see them in the news all the time nowadays. But this is a really big bank that a lot of tech startups in California were using, so I’m concerned, due to the magnitude of it.

Now I don't want to cause panic, and we're not selling any stocks as a result of that, so let me just put that out there. We're not selling investments, we’re not panic selling. I don't believe in that. But we were thinking longer-term as far as our real estate investment. We have our house in Austin that we're currently running as a short-term rental on Airbnb. And if we are facing a potential recession where there could be layoffs and a rise in unemployment, we're trying to consider whether or not people are going to be traveling as much, and whether it might make more sense for us to get a long-term tenant instead of relying on travelers and people seeking Airbnbs. So we were just kind of talking through that a bit and we decided that tomorrow we're going to dig a bit deeper and discuss what that would look like.

Beyond that, we're also playing with the idea of selling our house in 2024 when we would qualify again to sell our house without paying capital gains tax. So just some brainstorming tonight and we agreed we'll talk tomorrow a bit deeper because we want to relax tonight. We're about to finish a movie we started the other night called Seven Days in Tibet with Brad Pitt — it's an old one, but so far it’s been great. We got about halfway through, so we're going to finish that now and head to bed. Hope you had a great weekend and I'll touch base with you in the morning!


Happy Monday morning from a busy morning here in El Salvador. The birds are OUT! The parakeets are flying around like crazy this morning. One of my absolute favorite things about this country is the birds.

Today I have a coffee date with a friend, but I do plan it in my Spanish lesson before I leave to meet her. And today, we're going to take the day off “work” to enjoy the beach now that the weekenders are gone, and we made a list of topics we're going to discuss. Here are the 3 things we're going to talk about and work on #1, we need to make some movement forward on deciding if we’re going to proceed with long-term tenants in our investment property because we have a company currently managing our house in Austin and, according to our contract with them, we have to give them 90-days cancellation notice.

As I’m recording this, it’s March and I have the plan to go to Austin in June for a bachelorette party, which aligns perfectly with the 3-month mark. So if we decide to cancel with our Airbnb management company, we need to do it soon so that way it'll line up with my trip home so I can deal with anything that needs to be dealt with in person. #2, if we do decide to cancel, we’ll also need to decide if Cory will come with me to Austin in June. Originally, I’d planned on going alone since the sole purpose of my trip would have been the bachelorette party, but if it turns into a trip where we also need to do some work on our investment property, it’s likely Cory will need to come, too. So we need to decide that and then start looking at flights for me, or for both of us.

And #3 — I need to set up my SIM card on my phone. We have these phones that have dual SIM cards. I have one local phone number and one US phone number and we recently found out that our phone provider in the states only allows us to use their service if we’re “predominantly in the US” — which we’re not. So we had to switch to another provider that will hopefully work better, and I need to set up that SIM card.

Beyond that, that’s already a lot of financial talk for us today, so I don't know if we'll do a whole lot more other than our normal daily tracking of spending. But our big financial conversation today is going to be around our investment property and what we want to do with it longer-term. So there you have it. I'm going to go knock out my Spanish lesson and get ready to have coffee with my friend. Happy Monday!


Hello and good evening! It is Monday night, and today was a weird day. I did not get anything done that I was supposed to, BUT I was productive in other areas! As I mentioned, I went and had coffee with a dear friend of mine and she and I had a beautiful conversation about health and how she might be working as a health client with Cory moving forward which is fantastic. Afterward, I went down to the beach to meet Cory and we did attempt to move forward on our decision about long-term tenants, however, we needed to have a phone call conversation with our main point-of-contact at the company who is managing our short-term rental. We have a bunch of questions around: If we do cancel, what do the next three months look like? Are you going to stop promoting our house? Can you guys do something to change our minds? For example, can you guarantee a certain occupancy rate? Those kinds of things.

However, when we texted the woman that we needed to talk to, she said today was her day off so we did not get to talk to her. Hopefully, we can do that tomorrow, but it threw off our ability to move forward with our second goal, which was to decide if Cory needs to come home with me in June. We also didn’t look at flights for the same reason. And the cherry on top? I realized I forgot to bring my SIM card with me to the beach. So literally none of my goals got accomplished today, but it’s not for lack of trying. However, what ended up happening is I made some good progress transcribing a podcast episode, and I also worked on taxes, which I’m now 99% finished with!

And in terms of our daily financials, I’m here at home now but Cory’s not home yet (he’s grabbing a pizza), so I’ll need to talk to him about what he spent on the pizza, and he got some fruit and stuff from the market again. I spent $8.50 on breakfast, and the lunch Cory and I had came to $16.80. So that’s my check-in and I'll get the rest of the numbers from him tomorrow.


Good morning and Happy Tuesday! I am checking in later than normal this morning because Cory and I spent a few hours discussing some things I’ll share with you here, but as always, let me start with my normal morning routine. I’ve already completed my Spanish lessons for the day and I went ahead and got in a quick workout—literally 15 minutes of weights, so if you're on a health journey and you think you need to be working out an hour a day, that’s not necessary. Of course, an hour is better than 15 minutes, but, to me just building a habit around making space for daily workouts in your schedule is the most important. So what that looks like in my life right now is I just do 15-30 minutes of workouts, usually in the mornings—just a quick weighted workout to get my blood flow going and my mindset right.

Now, the reason I'm late to this check-in is that Cory and I had a deep financial conversation this morning around our house in Austin. That was something we were supposed to do yesterday but, as I said, we didn't get to because the woman we needed to talk to was not working yesterday. So what ended up spurring this conversation is I was curious how much money we've lost on our rental house so far doing the short-term rental through this management company. To be fair, we've only been running it since November and, of course, rentals are slower in Austin in the winter than they would be in the summer because there aren’t many winter activities to do. So it does make sense that the rentals are slower, however, we pulled up the projections our property management gave us, and we're so far off the mark it's almost laughable.

First of all, even with the cash flow that the rental house has been providing to us, based on the expenses of the mortgage and everything else, we're down more than $9,000 overall since we've since we left Texas in November and the entire POINT of renting out our house was to provide cash flow that covers the expenses of that house and gives us money to live on here. So that has not been going according to plan and, although I'm tempted to see this through (we had planned on giving it a year so we could see how the summer goes), I keep remembering something that many of the successful leaders in our lives have told us which is: if you're going to fail, fail fast.

Now I have this mantra stuck in my mind which means: don't be afraid to try new things, but as soon as you can see that it’s not working, move quickly to course-correct. So we had a more serious conversation this morning and we looked at the numbers. Again, I calculated that we are down about $9,000 and we are not hitting our winter projections, so I don’t see how we're going to hit our summer projections.

Something that just happened this week, is that, as I'm recording this, it's a big week in Austin; it’s South-by-Southwest, which is a huge music and tech festival and it’s one of the busiest times of the year in Austin. Based on our projections from our rental company, March should be our best month, however, as it stands, we are at one-tenth of the revenue they’re projecting. As a result, we're looking more seriously into a long-term rental. Cory reached out to some of our realtor friends to see about getting comps so we can see what similar houses in the neighborhood are renting for long-term tenants. We’re also talking to them about finding tenants and I calculated what we would need to at least cover our costs for that house so that we can make some kind of a profit. Again, we hope that the profit from that house is what we use to live on here, which isn’t much because this house here in El Salvador is paid off. So that was a deep financial conversation we had today.

As promised, I did ask him about his spending yesterday. He spent $9 on different fruits and snacks at the market (he's always at the market if you can't tell — he loves it!). He spent $3 on gas, which is one of the beautiful things about using our dirt bikes to get around… when we get gas it’s like $5 or less every time, so that's amazing. And then he spent $10 on pizza. So as always, we're doing our daily check-in. Now, that's enough financial stuff for this morning and, tonight, I’ll check in with him about today’s spending.

As for my big three goals for the day: #1 is tax stuff. Our accountant has prepared our corporate taxes and I need to review what he sent me and sign it. That's a really big goal for today. #2, I publicly made a promise on Instagram that I’d have a new episode released on The Goodbye July Podcast tomorrow, so I need to get that done. And #3, I want to continue working on my services web page.

That was a lot for this morning, but I want to be transparent with you and what my days look like, and that is what happened this morning. I’d better go get started – I hope you have a beautiful Tuesday!


Good evening! It is 9:00 p.m. this Tuesday evening, and I had a very busy day. Unfortunately, I did not get through all three of my tasks because one of my tasks took up a lot of my time—that one task being our taxes, which as you know, I've been avoiding. But today was the day our corporate taxes had to be finalized for Cory’s health business, which is a corporation, meaning our taxes are due for that tomorrow. It was my responsibility to work with our accountant and make sure all of those forms are filled out correctly and to get them signed and returned to him so he can submit them tomorrow by the corporate tax deadline. Additionally, I owe him all of our other information for our personal and LLC taxes tomorrow so he can have about a month to work on them before they’re due in April.

The taxes took a lot of time, but I was also able to finalize the podcast episode that’s dropping tomorrow. And the thing that I did not get to was I did not get to work on my services web page, so that is a top priority for tomorrow. Other than that, I did not leave the house today so I did not spend any money, and I just had a quick conversation with Cory who spent $19 today getting a haircut for $3, and the rest was used for food. Now that our nightly check-in is complete, we're going to go relax and maybe watch a little documentary before bed. I’ll touch base with you in the morning. Have a good night!


Good morning! It's Wednesday morning and Episode 15 of The Goodbye July Podcast just dropped. It's about my story and how Goodbye July got its name so if you're interested in knowing my big financial milestones, my high highs, my low lows, and where the podcast got its name, be sure to check it out. As for today, I'm about to go downstairs to do my Spanish lesson and, since I worked out the last 2 days, I will be taking today off. My muscles are sore so I'm going to let them rest and stretch a bit, then I will come back upstairs and get started on my big three items for today.

Today’s big goals are: #1, I need to get some of the promotions done for the podcast—I want people to know Episode 15 is available so I need to do some social media promos and I’ll send an email to my email list, as well. #2 is my biggest goal for today, which is to make some good progress on the services web page we've been talking about. I haven't been able to make much headway with that this week, so I want to buckle down and get it done today. And #3, something else that I publicly promised the internet earlier this week is that I would be doing an Instagram Live tomorrow, so I need to prepare for that in terms of getting my mind right and speaking points in order. So, those are my big three.

As always, we will be doing our regular money check-in, but today is the 15th and, usually on the 15th, Cory and I will deep dive into our finances. We will look at what's coming up for the next month, see if there’s anything special like annual expenses that will hit, look at our spending from this past month and plan for next month. He has some things he’s committed to today, so I'm not sure if we will get to it today, but if not, we'll do it tomorrow. With that said, I’m going to go have some coffee and take some Spanish lessons. Hope you have a good day, talk soon!


Good evening! I’m checking in this Wednesday evening after a very productive day. As for my big three, I was successful in rolling out my Episode 15 podcast promotions on Instagram and Facebook and I scheduled an email to people who’ve signed up to be notified whenever I have new episodes. My biggest goal for today was to make headway on the services web page, and I got a lot done there — most of my day was spent on this and I’m happy to say I finally have my current offerings up so now anyone interested in working with me or seeing what working with me would look like can get that information at And my final goal was to get my mind right and my speaking points for my Instagram Live tomorrow, which is also complete.

Cory and I did our check-in as well. Today we spent $9 on food, and $4 on gas, and he spent $3 to have his blinker fixed (he stopped at the mechanic shop and they fixed his blinker for $3, which is amazing). So that's that! That is the Wednesday night check-in and I will touch base with you tomorrow for our monthly review. Have a good night!


Good morning! It is our final day together day—Day #7, Thursday morning — and I’m super excited because today is the day that Cory and I will go through our monthly check-in, which is one of the biggest things I wanted to cover on this episode. However, it's the morning check-in and we have not done that yet, but we’ve verbally agreed that it would get done today so I’ll share more about that tonight.

Today I plan on doing my Spanish lessons and a super light workout to kick off the day. I also know that we need to walk over to the neighbor's house again to get more milk so I will be doing that and I'll document my expenses, as always. Afterward, I’ll get started on my big 3 goals for today, which are: #1, I have the Instagram Live this morning that I need to knock out. #2, I need to work on some SEO stuff for my website—essentially, I need to help get my website to perform better on Google. And #3, I’m thinking of building out a quiz. It's something I've been wanting to do for my audience for a while now and a lot of the questions I’ve been getting on my Tuesday Q&As on my Instagram Stories are around investing, so I think I’m going to do a quiz called Are You Ready To Invest? I think a lot of people struggle with getting started investing, but even before that, I think there's a lot to be learned about what you need to do to BECOME READY to invest. So I'd like to make a quiz about that where you can answer a few questions and it will give you back my opinion on whether or not you’re ready to invest and, either way, what your next steps should be.

Again, our big personal finance goal today is to do our monthly review, and I’m looking forward to sharing more with you about that at tonight's check-in! Have a wonderful Thursday!


Welcome to Thursday night’s check-in, our final check-in together and the one I'm most excited about because tonight, I'm going to talk you through our monthly financial deep dive that Cory and I do every single month.

Before we jump in, I’d like to go through the three goals that I had for the day. #1, I did do my Instagram Live. #2 was to look at my SEO and identify a plan to help improve my website’s performance on Google. But the truth is, I did not spend as much time on this as I would have hoped because I skipped ahead to goal #3, which was to create a quiz, and I got sucked into that. So there is my accountability check-in.

Cory and I also did our daily check-in on the money we spent: today we spent $120 on wood from a man who lives up the street and owns what is essentially a teak farm. We need to build a carport for our dirt bikes in the next month or so because we’re on the cusp of the rainy season, and this wood will be used for that purpose. And then we spent another $8 on pizza—we've been busy so we ordered another pizza this week. It's pretty rare, but that's the truth. We’re having pizza again tonight.

Now, let's dig into the monthly review that Cory and I did today. If you've been following me for a while, then you know I've been using the same budget template for over 10 years… well, this budget template is what we use to guide our monthly financial conversations. So every month on the 15th, when we are halfway through the month, we'll sit down and pull up our budget spreadsheet, and we'll look through a few things — there are three main things we look at.

By the 15th, usually, all of our variable bills have come and we've been notified of, for example, how much our electricity is going to cost, how much our water is going to cost, etc. So the first thing we look at is those variable bills. I keep a running average month-to-month, so we compare our variable bills from this month to our averages to make sure they’re relatively close in price (and ideally below). But if any of them are uncharacteristically high, we take some kind of action to figure out what's wrong.

For example, thanks to this process, we once found out that one of our sprinkler heads was broken because our water bill was super high, so we manually turned on our sprinkler system (which automatically runs while we sleep) and we saw one of the sprinkler heads shooting out loads of water straight into the sky. So reviewing these bills monthly is a good practice to make sure nothing’s wrong. So, first of all, we looked at those variable bills and, this month, everything looks pretty normal.

The second thing we look at is our discretionary spending or, what I like to call our “fun money”. This is the money you have left after you pay all of your bills — so after the mortgage or the rent, the car payment, the internet, the cell phone, all the utilities, etc… what’s left over is your fun money. So, we look at our fun money to essentially see if we're tracking well. Similar to our variable bills, I keep a running average month-to-month of our discretionary spending (which is why we are doing our daily tracking right now, to have a 2-3 month average of what’s ‘normal’ discretionary spending for us here). So, on the 15th of the month, I know we should be about halfway through our discretionary spending average or less. Based on our numbers, we should be at around the $600 mark, however, we’re closer to $800. This is one of the reasons I like to check this halfway through the month because, in situations like this, it gives us 2 weeks before the end of the month to course-correct — so Cory and I will need to watch our discretionary spending a bit closer these next few weeks. So that's the second metric we look at.

The third thing we do is log into every single account that we have: every bank account and every credit card account. We run 3 businesses so we probably have more accounts than most people, but we log into every single one every month to check them — and I encourage you to do the same. We just log into each one and do a quick scroll through the last month. much just scroll through the last month. We don’t go super deep, especially because we keep a close eye on our budget in general, but what we’re looking for here is anything that looks unexpected or out of the ordinary. This helps you identify if someone got your information, if a company you thought you’d canceled with is still charging you, etc.

This month, I found a charge from The Grove, which is a US-based company that offers chemical-free house cleaning supplies, and last year, I got a shipment from them. When I signed up, I had to create a subscription with them, however, after I got my shipment I canceled my subscription, so I was shocked to see this charge a year later on our account. I looked back over the past months and they had not been charging me month to month, which is good news, but I did have this charge this month, so I called them to inquire about it. I’ll spare you the details, but the point of the story is: I got the charge removed. But I wouldn’t have known about the charge had I not been regularly reviewing my accounts. So, again, it's worth just logging into your accounts, once a month and scrolling through to see if there's anything like that or any weird suspicious activity that you need to dispute with your card provider.

So those are the three main things we look at every month. Again, this month, our variable bills looked good, our discretionary spending is a bit high so we’ll need to course-correct in the next 2 weeks, and I received a refund for a charge that shouldn’t have been on our card.

Beyond that, since we’re both self-employed, we don’t have a set income that’s hitting our account each month, so we look at how much money we made from our businesses and our rental property this month, how much money we’re going to need to pay our bills next month (especially if any annual expenses are going to hit, we account for those), and we see if what we brought in will cover our expenses. If not, then we look at our investments and sell investments that we’ve made money on so we’ll have enough money in our bank accounts to pay all our bills for the next month. Note: as a rule, I do not recommend regularly selling investments to pay bills. We prefer to leave our investments alone and let them grow. However, due to the issue with our rental house underperforming by 75% of what our rental company projected, we have been leaning on our investments more than we’d like to lately, and that’s the reality.

Speaking of which, we just sent in our cancellation notice to our rental company, and we’re going to move forward with seeking a long-term tenant so we can get some guaranteed cash-flow month-to-month from the rental property. Due to the low performance of the rental house, we need $2,500 this month from investments to cover bills for next month. And, to avoid the continuation of this moving forward, we plan to switch the investment property from a short-term to a long-term rental (lesson learned).

Not the most ideal situation, but again, I want to emphasize that doing these reviews is critical for reasons like this… without watching the numbers, we wouldn’t have actual data to back up the fact that we’re only making 25% of what the rental company projected for us and, without that knowledge, it would be a lot harder to decide on what to do moving forward. Knowledge is power and, with personal finance, knowledge comes from closely watching your numbers.

And remember, don’t be afraid to try new things, but if you realize you’re failing, fail fast (and course-correct even faster).

So there you have it, that's our monthly review. We use the budget template to look at our variable bills to ensure nothing’s outrageously high, we review our discretionary spending and plan our course correction if we’ve overspent, we log into every account to see if anything looks out of the ordinary, and we plan for next month by calculating our income from this month and comparing it to what we owe next month.


I hope you enjoyed a peek behind the curtain of 7 days in our life, specifically the personal finance piece. What I would love for you to walk away with today is the understanding that we are truly engaged in our finances. For now, every single day, we track our spending because we’re in a transitional period (we just moved to El Salvador). You don't have to track that closely long-term, but if you’ve just had a big life change (like you’ve just moved somewhere, or got married, or had a baby), I do suggest daily tracking for 2-3 months to see what’s ‘normal’ for you.

But most important is the monthly review. I think everyone should be doing that. It’s how you keep yourself in check, make sure your spending and bills are in order, and you can catch anything out of the ordinary on your accounts (trust me, those things add up).


Don’t forget to grab the budget template we use every month for our monthly review (and, right now, for our daily tracking) to use as your guide (or grab the free PDF version). You’ll be glad you did!

Also, I’m currently running a free wealth workshop—I have three different sessions you can choose from—called 3 Secrets to Building Lasting Wealth and the SINGLE Most Important Step to Cracking the Financial Code.

I hope to see you there to continue your journey toward a life where you work less and live more.

See you soon!




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