I just love a good sequel title, don’t you? This isn’t the first time I’ve brought up the idea of a money map. Last year just as this site was getting going I wrote about My Money Map. It is one of my favorite charts I have. Simple but useful.
Why Do A Money Map?
When I started my journey through personal finance I read a lot of blogs. I finally started getting my act together. We started trimming the budget and moving to cash. Stopped making stupid choices and started making realistic goals that would push us along the path.
No matter how many spreadsheets you make there are things you just can visualize without mapping them out.
How To Make A Money Map
Building a money map is easy. First, you want to list every income source you have. W2 paychecks, contract work, side hustle income, rental properties… Anything that brings a buck into your pocket.
Second, you want to list out every single account you have. Credit cards, bank accounts, investment accounts, even HSA and FSA accounts. That can be pretty easy if you already have a detailed Net Worth spreadsheet.
Step three. This is where the hard part comes in…you will need to start connecting the dots. It may take a while but you should be able to look up a lot of the links from your direct deposit settings, credit card payment settings, and looking through you budget transactions on YNAB or Mint. You can even add entries in the accounts if certain bills get paid through it. (Mint was where I looked to remember where the utilities pulled from.)
How Our Money Map Has Changed
It is interesting looking back at our old map and seeing what has changed in such a short time. Our map has gotten considerably more complicated but it doesn’t feel that complicated.
Ms. Blue Ribbon goes first with her new income stream. Back in December, she started working for VIPKids. For those that haven’t heard of it, she teaches young children in China English. She is still getting her feet wet with it but really seems to be enjoying it.
Next, I added the Target Red debit card that I forgot to add last time and added the kid’s new accounts. Mini Donut and Babe have their own savings accounts that are fed a little money each month as their “allowances”. Really we use that money for clothes, toys, and any extra things we can’t fit into the normal budget. Babe also got his own 529 entry into the money map. I decided to update the investment accounts to be yellow. It helps call them out as different from normal cash accounts. This means I took the HSA section and split it in half since I started investing some of the money in there. Finally, I removed the cash budget entry since we aren’t doing that anymore.
I had to move some of the bills within our outgoing money section for a few different reasons. First, I had forgotten to include the life insurance. Second, I changed our credit card rewards. We moved from the Chase Freedom to the Chase Freedom Unlimited. The standard Freedom account has you sign up for the rewards every quarter to get 5% cash back on certain things. I found that we weren’t taking advantage of it since they weren’t things we care about (bus tickets, restaurants, grocery stores (we only shop at Target), etc). Most of the categories were better on our Discover Card anyways. The Freedom Unlimited gives us 1.5% cash back on anything. I quickly moved regular bills over to that card and only use our Discover Card with its categories for the month.
What’s The Point?
Another tool in the toolbox. I personally like the visual aspect of it but there are plenty of other ways of visualizing your money. A lot of people liked making the Sankey Diagrams. I tried and failed to make one that made me get a good understanding of my money but I failed hard. If you want to see someone winning at Sankey take a look at The Frugal Gene’s and the rest of the chain.
Do you have a money map? When was the last time you updated yours? Do you use another visualization technique that isn’t Sankey or Money Map?
P.S. Check out these awesome money maps!
Apathy Ends, The Luxe Strategist, Adventure Rich, Minafi, Othalafehu, The Frugal Gene, Working Optional, Our Financial Path, Atypical Life, Eccentric Rich Uncle, The Retirement Manifesto, Debts to Riches, Need2Save, Money Metagame, I Dream of FIRE, Spills Spot, Making Your Money Matter, Life Zemplified, Trail to FI, The Lady in the Black, Smile & Conquer, Her Money Moves, Full Time Finance, Abandoned Cubicle, Freedom is Groovy, Millennial Money Diaries, All About Balance, A Journey to FI, Present Value Finance, [HaltCatchFire], Good Life. Better., gofi