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PowerSheets Goal Inspiration

With SO many new friends receiving their PowerSheets over the last few weeks (2/3 of you who ordered in our recent sale were new customers!), there's been as much energy in our office lately as there is at the beginning of the year! As you set goals to cultivate what matters in the second half of 2017, we wanted to point you to a few resources from the first six months of the year that might help inspire your goals...

2017

Looking to make new friends, or deepen existing friendships? Purchase our Fruitful Friendships Workbook, and read about how to make new friends, how to create traditions with your friends, and how to take care of your relationships.

Want to grow closer to your significant other? Read about setting goals together.

Struggling with self care? Read about our renew breaks and why we do them, how to enjoy reading, and our best tips for getting some real rest.

Struggling with exercise? Read about how to get fit (and how embracing imperfection can help you get in the best shape of your life).

Want to take control of your money? Read about how to build a budget and how to track your spending.

Looking for some general tips about getting the most out of your PowerSheets? Read how to choose a focus word, some of our favorite hacks, and our very best PowerSheets tip.

And don't miss our round-up of 2017 goals from the beginning of the year, where there's tons of great inspiration from our community!

We're so excited for you, friends! Dive in!!

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Ways to Love on Your Momma

I was a little late getting this posted in time for Mother's Day to our Cultivate Team Summit, but I'm hopeful you'll bookmark Emily's list of favorites for the mommas for a day when they aren't expecting a gift. After all, as my mom likes to remind me, every day is Mother's Day :) -Jess

One of my favorite things about my PowerSheets is that they remind me to stop and look both forward and backward regularly - a good way to ensure I'm living an examined, and hopefully more purposeful and fruitful life! With that heart, I have Mother's Day in my sights this May. This month's favorites are all themed around lovely things the moms in your life might appreciate it (including, if applicable, you!).

Farmgirl Flowers | Bouquets from this company are a go-to gift for Lara. They're designed by florists usually the freshest blooms you know and love, and are delivered ready for gifting in a burlap wrap. So different from the stiff, plastic-y arrangements you might be familiar with from mail-order florists!
Mother of the Bride Guide | April showers bring May flowers AND weddings! Our sister brand, Southern Weddings, recently came out with this in-depth e-book detailing everything an MOB could ever want to know.
Plum Pretty Sugar pajamas | File "nice pajamas" under a luxury your mama never knew she wanted. Research suggests that going to bed in actual pajamas set aside for sleeping (instead of the same lounge clothes you use for the gym!) can help ensure a better night's sleep!
How to Celebrate Everything | I am mildly obsessed with this book! It's a beautiful celebration rituals and traditions that make life meaningful, and I know you will enjoy it just as much as I did.
Social Print Studio prints | One of my favorite gifts to give is a year of printed out Instagram photos! Social Print Studio offers a 4x4 size on stiff stock I love. My Mom practically cries tears of joy when her a handful in the mail, but only if they include grandbabies' faces
Pinhole Press memory game | Fun for big and little hands alike! Especially if your family is far-flung, printing a set of these cards with beloved aunts, uncles, and cousins is a great way to cultivate a closer family connection.
Life Handbook | Our own Life Handbook is the quintessential Mother's Day gift. It's an easy and beautiful way to collect all of your favorite stories and life advice to share with a loved one, through 150 pages of prompts to tell your best stories, memories and advice.

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How to Track Your Spending

Earlier this month we tackled how to build a budget. For those of you who tried a budget for the first time, how has it been going? Budgeting is a skill that can take a while to perfect, so if you feel like you way overspent in one category while underspending in another, don't get discouraged - just look at the month of data you now have, and move forward with greater clarity in the months to come!

Once you have a budget (the amount you're planning to spend in each category, as well as amounts you'd like to give away, save, or invest), you need to figure out a system for tracking it (since that's the key to following it!). The good news is that there are many ways to do this, and almost certainly one that will be a good fit for you! I'm going to run down a few of my favorites today, but would love to hear from y'all in the comments.

A custom Google Doc | This is the system I use, and warning: it might seem a little insane on first glance. But if you use very little cash, don't mind a little upkeep, and LOVE data, it might be the right fit for you! The basic premise is that the amount in your budget accrues each day, which is a neat way of feeling like your budget is growing, not shrinking!

The envelope system | Dave Ramsey fans will be very familiar with this one! It's perfect for people who are worried about overspending, because almost everything is paid for in cash, and once the cash in each category's envelope is gone, it's gone. You can read more about this strategy on the Dave Ramsey site, and read about our friend Nancy Ray's envelope system experience here.

The EveryDollar app | EveryDollar is an online budget app created by the Dave Ramsey team and is basically a digital version of the envelope system. I haven't used it personally, but my sister is a recent convert who is loving it, and our Marketing Director Amber also uses it (see her PowerSheets above)! The app is free for 15 days then $99 for a year.

You Need a Budget | Another online budget app with rave reviews is You Need a Budget, or YNAB. I love that not only do they have a great tool for tracking your spending, but it's guided by a strong personal finance philosophy based on four rules (give every dollar a job, embrace your true expenses, roll with the punches, and age your money). YNAB is free for 34 days, then $50 for a year.

Mint.com | Mint promises to bring everything from budgeting to bills together - your financial life, in one place that's easy to understand. Mint has been around for awhile, and seems to be the most polarizing of the sites I've listed here - people either love it or hate it. When I used it for a few months, I felt like I was going in more often than I'd like to correct its auto-categorization. Mint is free.

I'd love to hear: Have you found a system of expense tracking that works for you? What do you use?

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How to Build a Budget

Personal finance goals and questions come up so often in the PowerSheets Facebook Group that Jess and I thought it was high time we added a bit of this content into the blog schedule! And, lucky me, I'm the one who gets to write to you about it! (No, really: lucky me. I am extremely passionate about financial freedom, both in my own life and helping to equip others, so there is almost nothing else I'd rather write about!) To start, I thought I'd share a little bit about how to build a budget.

I have followed a written budget for eleven years now, and I can confidently say that it is the number one reason I feel at peace with my finances. I don’t worry about whether or not we’ll have enough money to pay our mortgage or insurance bill every month; I know we will. The headspace this surety frees up allows me to focus on my dreams and keeps me on track to reach my lifetime financial goals. There are few things better than that!

If the word budget sounds scary, shake off that fear and listen to this: a budget is not about denying yourself and cutting out everything fun, it's about making a plan. Dave Ramsey likes to say that budgeting is “telling your money where to go.” I like that image. A budget helps me be purposeful about how I spend and save instead of just closing my eyes and hoping. While there are many ways to track a budget (which we can chat about later!), building a budget is pretty standard. It’s all about two things — income and expenses — which make up your cash flow.

MakeBudget

1. Calculate your monthly net income (your gross income minus taxes). For most of us, this is simply our paycheck.

2. Add up all of your fixed expenses. Fixed expenses are difficult or impossible to change and are the same (or roughly the same) every month: rent, utilities, your electric bill, student loans, car loan(s), auto insurance, health insurance, etc.

3. Calculate your monthly contribution to your financial goals. Like the experts say, pay yourself first. Put money into an emergency fund, reduce debt with extra payments, save for a down payment, save for retirement, and/or feed an investment account. If it’s a priority for you, include charitable giving in this step. Whatever you do, do not skip this step! Treat your savings like any other budget line item, not as something optional if there’s money left over.

4. Add up all of your variable expenses. Like the name implies, these are things that are not externally set, so you could, for example, cut back here if you wanted to move faster toward your goals. Examples include groceries, dining out, clothing, entertainment, gifts, travel, gas, personal care, etc.

5. Put it all together. When you subtract your fixed expenses, your contributions to your financial goals, and your variable expenses from your net income, there are three possible outcomes: you’ll either have a surplus, you’ll break even, or you’ll have a deficit. If you come out with a surplus, you can either save more or spend more (assuming you’re already saving the recommended amounts!). If you break even, perfect! If you have a deficit, it’s time to take another look at your figures (most likely your variable expenses), and adjust numbers until you’re in the clear. By the time your budget is finished, you'll have a plan in hand, ready to be followed to financial freedom!

Easy to understand, a bit harder to follow in practice :) Your homework: walk through these steps, and start calculating! If you’ve never made a budget before and are unsure how much to allocate for certain categories, I’d suggest looking back through last month’s expenses (maybe on a credit or debit card statement) and estimating from there. It might take a few months to get the balance across categories just right.

For more, here's another post I wrote about what we take into consideration when making our yearly budget.

I'd love to hear any questions you might have about making a budget, or if there are other personal finance topics you'd like to chat about more!

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We’re hiring at Cultivate and Southern Weddings!

Our small but mighty team is growing, friends! As many of you know, our company houses two brands: Cultivate What Matters and Southern Weddings. Both brands exist to help you cultivate what matters, right where you are, whether that's your relationship, an intentional wedding day, a thriving business, or a joyful life. We are a unique company! Each team member contributes to both the Southern Weddings and Cultivate operations. And now, we're looking for a new team member who loves the heart of both brands and can help us take our work to the next level.

We are committed to finding the right person (or persons!) and tailoring their responsibilities in a way that suits them and our growing business. That being said, here is what we're looking for:

The person most fit for this position:
- Is a good writer
- Has strong copy editing skills
- Has a strong knowledge of our brand and heart for our mission
- Has a strong personal aesthetic and exquisite taste
- Has a passion for PEOPLE - including brides, moms, students, and business owners!
- Has extraordinary people skills (email and in person)
- Has some knowledge of/experience in the wedding industry
- Has a joyful spirit and thrives on “situation solving”

This person's tasks may include:
- Customer service correspondence via social media and email
- Writing blog posts, newsletters, magazine features, and social posts for both SW and CWM
- Copy editing all sorts of content across both brands
- Back-end content and marketing support: loading photos, formatting posts, product sourcing, vendor communication, tracking campaigns, etc.
- Online shop and fulfillment assistance: correspondence, boxing, stickering, assembling, etc.

We are looking for someone excited to jump in and tackle any and every task with excitement and flexibility!

We are open to candidates who can commit to either part-time or full-time employment, with preference given to those who can work in our Chapel Hill, NC office.

If you are excited about this opportunity, please click here to fill out our job application. Applications will close Friday, March 3.

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