There’s a good chance you’ve heard some financial expert say, “You should review your finances at least once a week!” To which you may have rolled your eyes and thought, “Yeah, but how am I actually supposed to do that?” Enter: a weekend routine for your finances!
Why is a weekend routine for your finances important?
Creating a weekend morning routine for finances is the secret sauce to staying on top of your money — without feeling like you’re doing any real work at all. Here’s why it’s so great:
1. A weekend morning routine helps you stay on top of purchases
Before I created my weekend routine, I was notorious for getting to the end of the month feeling completely bummed by how much I overspent.
The problem? I wasn’t reviewing my purchases throughout the month! Instead, I spent all my time “hoping” and “praying” I was on track instead of actually staring my spending in the face.
This is perhaps the biggest benefit of starting my weekend routine first thing on Saturday or Sunday mornings: it helps me stay on top of purchases. And I know it'll help you too.
2. A weekend routine keeps you on track toward your goals
Every woman has life goals she wants to achieve. For instance, it may be building your dream home by the beach, paying off your student loans early, or even creating a guilt-free vacation fund.
Whatever it is, a weekend routine helps you check in with your progress at least four times a month, every month. And the more you check in, the more you can course-correct as things start to get off track.
3. A weekend morning routine sets the tone for the week ahead
“Out of sight, out of mind.” It’s easy to not think about something when you don't look at it every day. Likewise, it gets easier to keep on doing the same ole, same ole with your money when you don't review your finances.
But on the flip side, sitting down with your finances helps you set the tone for the week ahead. It helps you gain clarity on your goals and keeps them at the forefront of your mind.
4. A weekend routine can reduce your money stress and anxiety
Financial stress is at an all-time high for women. In fact, according to a FINRA study, 65% of women report feeling anxious about their personal finances compared to 54% of men.
So, most importantly, a weekend routine helps you increase your financial knowledge so you can tackle tough money problems head-on. It can also work wonders for your stress and anxiety.
How to create a weekend morning routine for your finances in 8 steps
Creating a weekend routine for your finances doesn’t have to be complicated. And dare I say… it can even be fun!
So here are eight simple steps to get you started:
1. Grab your favorite drink and crank up the tunes!
First, your weekend routine should be fun if you want to actually stick with it week in and week out. Otherwise, it'll become another dreaded task on your to-do list.
So, get this party started the right way! Grab your favorite drink before you start your weekend morning routine — whether it’s an iced latte, a piping hot tea, or a smooth glass of wine. Set the scene with some inspiring tunes. Get into a good headspace for tackling your finances.
2. Go over last week’s spending to spot what worked and what didn’t
Now it’s time to dig into that money, honey! For this step, start by pulling up your bank accounts so you can revisit last week’s spending. The goal is to make sure your purchases are in line with your values and goals.
So, as you review your purchases, think through these seven reflection questions:
- How much did I spend this week?
- Am I over budget in any areas?
- Am I under budget in any areas?
- How much did I spend on “fun” things that I didn’t enjoy or felt weren’t worth the money?
- What surprised me most about my spending?
- How can I make sure my spending aligns with my priorities next week?
- Are there potentially fraudulent transactions I need to report?
Side note: If you use a budgeting app, it aggregates all your spending into one place, so you can just look here to review everything. But if you track spending manually, you’ll need to pull up your bank and credit card accounts separately.
3. Review your budget and make adjustments for the week ahead
Once you’ve reviewed last week’s spending, use this info to direct your budget for the week ahead. Remember, staying on target for your goals is all about making tiny "course corrections." Here are some examples to show what I mean:
- I overspent on groceries by $50, so I’ll spend $50 less on food this week. I’ll do this by eating up leftovers in the fridge and pantry and planning cheaper meals for next week.
- I grabbed lunch with my coworkers three times this week. Whoops! I’ll pack my lunch and trim it back to one outing this week.
- My cat’s emergency vet visit cost $250 this week. I’ll move some cash out of my “fun money” category, “dining out” category, and “sinking fund” category to cover it. That way I’m still on track for the month.
- I had a stressful day and spent $100 at TJ Maxx on stuff I didn't really need. I’d much rather put that money toward something fun — like a day trip with friends — so I’ll look for free activities to do next week to relieve my stress. Maybe rollerskate in the park or build that puzzle that’s been sitting on my bookshelf?
4. Pay any bills that aren’t on autopilot
So if you haven’t automated your finances yet, do it now! It’s the best way to make sure you never get hit with late fees again. Plus, it crosses one more thing off your to-do list! (Imagine never having to manually pay that electric bill again… Ah, the dream.)
But even once your finances are on autopilot, you’ll still have something to pay on occasion. It could be a doctor’s bill, a car tag renewal, or even a birthday card you need to drop in the mail for your niece. Your weekend routine is the time to do all those.
5. Plan out your meals for the week and do a grocery run (with your updated budget in mind)
By this point in your weekend routine, you’re 100% in the budgeting mindset. You’ve reviewed last week’s purchases. You’ve made a plan for next week. You’re all fired up and ready to tackle your goals.
So, now is the perfect time to do a grocery run while motivation is high. In that same vein, we have lots of resources on how to grocery shop on a budget if you need inspiration. Plus, lists of the 25 cheapest meals and 35 tasty frugal meals you should try right now.
6. Make a list of any financial wellness “to-dos” you want to check off this week
Next, ask yourself if there are any financial tasks you'd like to finally do this week. It could be things like:
- Finishing that personal finance book on your nightstand.
- Opening a high-yield savings account for your emergency fund.
- Having a talk with your kids about money.
- Learning how to invest. (Clever Girl Finance's investing book for women can help with this!)
There are tons of financial wellness activities out there to help boost your financial wellbeing. You don’t need to do all of them. But choosing even one task for the week can help you get 1% better every day.
7. Spend some time in prayer or meditation reflecting on past money wins and future successes
Financial success for women is incredibly important. It affords you freedom and flexibility to build a life you love. It helps you get paid what you’re worth. And most importantly, it helps you bust common money myths.
So, as you wrap up your weekend morning routine, pause and reflect on all the amazing things you’ve accomplished so far. Nothing is too small.
For instance, maybe you had a long-overdue talk with your partner about splitting the bills. Maybe you canceled a subscription you don’t use. Whatever it is, practice gratitude toward these wins — and focus on manifesting the life you truly desire.
8. Stick to your routine and have fun!
Repetition is key to a successful weekend morning routine. After all, science says it can take 66 days on average to form a new habit.
So, one way to make your weekend routine automatic is to do it the same day of the week, every week. It could be Sunday mornings before the kids wake up, Friday night before you go to bed — whatever works best.
Block that time off on your calendar and set it to repeat indefinitely. And if you miss a week, that’s okay! Give yourself grace and make a promise to not miss two weeks in a row.
2 Pro tips to help you stick with your weekend routine
I’ve been doing my weekend routine for a few years now (or at least some variation of it). Here are my two biggest tips for sticking with it:
1. Use “temptation bundling” to turn your weekend routine into something fun
The process is simple: You pair an activity you want to do (such as reviewing your finances on the weekends) with something you really love to do (like listening to music or sipping coffee on a slow Sunday morning).
However, you only allow yourself to do the fun thing while simultaneously doing the not-so-fun thing. This trick has proved wonders in my own life. So, give it a try and see if it works for you too!
2. Blast away roadblocks with a weekend morning routine checklist
Another pro tip for sticking with your weekend routine is to create a helpful checklist to go along with it.
So, rather than staring at your computer screen for 20 minutes thinking, “Okay, where do I start?”, you can create a weekend morning routine checklist to eliminate the guesswork.
This checklist should include any routine things you need to do each week to help your finances go more smoothly. For instance, your weekend morning routine checklist could look like this:
- Review last week’s spending.
- Make a budget for next week.
- See if I need to pay any bills.
- Make my grocery list.
- Make a financial “to-do list” for next week.
- Write down three money gratitudes from this week — no matter how small.
I always create a checklist for my weekend routine because it helps keep me focused and on track.
Now you’re ready to create a handy weekend routine for your finances!
That’s a wrap on creating a weekend routine for your finances. Once you have your system in place, you can relax and enjoy the rest of your weekend knowing you’ve set good intentions for your money.
In that same vein, our life planner is the perfect companion to your new weekend routine. It has tons of sheets to help you plan out life goals, pay off debt, create a monthly budget, journal gratitudes, and more. In other words, it's a perfect match to everything we talk about doing in this article!
And as always, we have tons of 100% free courses to help you manage your money. Because, after all, building financial literacy shouldn't cost you a dime.