Have you seen my recent Fear Conquering Challenge on Youtube? Every week for 16 weeks I am embracing my biggest fears in the pursuit of becoming a braver, bolder version of myself. I’ve recently quit my job, and some of my biggest fears lined up including getting my first tattoo, going bungee jumping, and public speaking lined up.
First things first, my congratulations.
Quitting your job opens up a world of possibility, new experiences and room for growth. Fortune favours the bold, and you my friend are one bold individual. I like it!
But not only are you bold, you’re smart too. Setting up your finances is a very important step in this period of time.
This article will touch on how to set up a monthly budget but more importantly how you should think while budgeting.
Before We Get Started
Why did you quit your job in the first place? Was it to:
Find a different job that you love?
Start your own thing?
Take a sabbatical and relax?
Go back to school?
Travel for a bit?
Reconnect with why you made the big decision to leave your job. This intention is a core piece to determining your financial situation moving forward.
Why is this time important to you?
To reconnect with yourself?
Start working for yourself?
Explore the world? Experience a different culture?
Further your education?
Improve your physical or mental health?
This is what you are trying to manifest as a result of quitting your job.
The journey you’re embarking on is extremely important. Do not take this time lightly. This is a sacred time. A time for you to connect with yourself, collect your thoughts and execute on what you want to achieve.
Now that you’re an outlier amongst your peers with 0 income coming in, you have to do things differently.
You have to act differently, spend differently and think differently. Not everyone has this unique opportunity to test themselves.
You see, money comes and goes but peer pressure, experience pressure (the pressure to conform when it’s a one in a lifetime opportunity), going with the flow and old habits can make it very difficult to know when or how to spend your money.
Truly understanding what your goal or objective is will give you the most direction when it comes to determining your budget.
This is the tough part but the more you are sure of your intentions, the easier this will be.
Preparing Your Finances: Make it Fun
I quit my job at the beginning of the summer 2019. I had no plan for income, but all the desire in the world to start my own business.
I realized I desperately needed to do some financial planning in order to avoid a financial crisis.
Now, numbers can be very scary to me. But instead of avoiding it, praying that my bank account never hit 0 and carrying on spending like I had a job, I decided to pop a squat, be an adult and face reality. No matter how harsh it would be.
But instead of setting up on my couch in my usual sweatpants and grunge ponytail, I set the date in my calendar a week prior and wrote “date night”.
I figured an elegant evening that I could look forward to seemed far better than a dreaded afternoon filled with stress and unwanted anxiety.
When the night came, I took an hour to get ready. I curled my hair, put on some extra makeup, I slipped into a fancy dress and black stilettos and listened to some upbeat jams from the 90s.
Instead of heading out with some handsome hunk, I walked out on my back porch and brought along my computer, spreadsheet and banking cards. I lit candles, turned on the white Christmas lights along the railings, opened a bottle of wine and had some dark chocolate off the side of the table.
Over the next 2 and a half hours, I determined my financial situation and the plan moving forward.
Sure the reality was that I need to be super frugal this summer in order to not run out of money but I felt like I could do it. I felt empowered.
Perhaps my efforts to look and feel stunning had something to do with it. But whatever works.
Step #1: Determine a timeline that you intend/need to have income coming in by again. I gave myself 6 months.
This will help you determine the math on how much money you currently have, how much you will need to spend and therefore have left over by the end of this period.
Step #2: Determine basic accommodation and food. These are our non-negotiables. Wherever you are you will need to spend your cold earned cash on these items. What would a reasonable monthly rent and daily meal budget look like?
Rent + utilities = $750 (my current rent) a month X 2 months = $1500
Accommodations = $500 ($15 a night while travelling) a month X 4 months = $2000
Total rent/accommodation expense for 6 months = $3500
Total food expense = $60 a week X 4 = $240 a month X 6 months = $1440
Total = roughly $5000
Step #3: Determine any other non-negotiables you will have to pay for in your expected time frame. Remember, non-negotiables are absolute needs. If you have already paid for something that will be occurring over your estimated unemployed timeline then do not include it in here but include any non-negotiable costs associated with it.
This does not include; aesthetics, shopping, fun money, alcohol, or eating out.
Step #4: Total your non-negotiable expenses.
Accommodation and food: $5000
Other non-negotiables: $2000 (example)
Total = $7000
Step #5: Deduct any income you may have coming in.
Step #6: Deduct new total from savings.
Total Savings: 22,000
Non-negotiables: 7,000 (as I had 0 income coming in)
Total = 15,000
Step #7: Evaluate/ Reality Check.
How much do you have left?
If you have very little left then that tells you you’re on a super strict budget that only permits for necessities right now until your next job, gig, or you start making income from your business. Or perhaps that you should reconsider your timeline or consider options where your rent and food are nearly 0.
If you have more money saved up then this is where the fun budgeting part begins.
The Fun Stuff
Step #1: Get clear on your values and goals.
Usually this is where budget experts talk about things like food out, going out, aesthetics, gym memberships, bus passes etc. But your situation is different. At least temporarily.
You quit your job to achieve a goal right? You want to make a drastic change in your life because something hasn’t felt right for you right? Well this is not the time to prioritize fun, shopping and the extras in life.
It’s time to prioritize your actual desired outcome. Sometimes time is all that’s required but prioritizing your money is just as important.
What do you absolutely need to achieve by the end of your timeline to be totally content?
That is what I chose to prioritize my money on. Again, this is dependent on how tight your savings are and (un)predictable your situation is.
For example, if you quit your job because you want to travel to India to earn your yoga instructor certification then the yoga course is an expense you should allow yourself to spend money on.
Whereas if you quit your job to find a different, more challenging job then spending money on transportation to and from interviews, hiring locations and recruiting centres makes sense.
This is about what’s really important to you during this time off. If you don’t already know your values I highly recommend taking the time to figure out your top 3 values and really hone in on them.
My values are:
Growth & Learning
In my case, I quit my job to start my own business so I place emphasis on spending money on things that are contributing to my growth and freedom like website expenses, a business coach, a course etc.
Step #2: Do the math.
How much money do you have left? There is no number or threshold in your bank account that you need to avoid. This is 100% personal. But you need to be comfortable with the number you have remaining. Or at the very least, acknowledge and be accepting of the number.
This will help you stay focused on your goal rather than stressing about money.
Step #3: Be Realistic.
Justifying expenses is so easy to do. Peer pressure, experience pressure and old habits can make it very difficult to know when or how to spend your money but knowing your goal should help you stay on track.
Continuously ask yourself “is this expense truly contributing to what Iam trying to achieve or experience during this time off?”
If it’s not, be prepared and willing to say no.
Step #3: Determine your sacrifices.
To say yes to all these extremely important things in your life means to say no to others.
This is why in my budgeting I determined that activities like drinking, partying, movies, dinners out, shopping, personal aesthetics and activities that cost a lot of money that aren’t contributing to my growth aren’t a priority of mine. Therefore I chose not to spend my money on them.
A good place to start is by looking at your bank and credit card statements and figuring out what you know should no longer be there. Perhaps that magazine/app subscription, the fake eyelashe extensions, that lunch or drinks you do at that fancy place with your cousin every 2nd friday needs to be cancelled.
If you’ve gone through the process of quitting your job and have sacrificed your paycheque, you have to be willing to sacrifice the things that the paycheque would have been paying for.
Step #4: Add your additional expenses to your total non-negotiables.
Take the approximate expenses you expect to spend on your desired experience, goal or outcome and add that to your non-negotiable expense total.
Total of non-negotiables for 6 months = $7000
Additional Desired Expenses = $2500
Total Expenses = $9500
Step #5: Deduct new total from savings.
Total Savings: 22,000
Non-negotiables + Desired Expenses: 9500
Total = 12,500
Let this number serve you as a powerful reminder when you want to spend money.
At the end of the period.
Quitting your job without a backup plan is a financial risk. One that can be prepared for, but certainly a risk nonetheless. Being financially prepared and ready to be overly disciplined is needed in order to make this work.
Remember this is a sacred (and might I add temporary) time in your life. Be willing to make sacrifices in order to achieve what you are so bold to go after in the first place.
This is your time.
Your opportunity to create and do what you wanted.
You had the boldness to quit your job, now it’s time to really get what you wanted.