Updated: Dec 2, 2021
This DOES NOT have any affiliate marketing.
How did we live our lives before smart phones? I know, we had paper schedulers and calendars but my spouse did not have continual access to it. What if it got lost? What if we forgot to hand write something into it because it wasn’t handy or available at that moment? What if someone forgot to include a bill that month?
I don’t enjoy that computers and technology run my life (insert fear of the movies Terminator #1-6). I could go back to using a pen and paper again if I had to, but why? Unless Arnold Schwartzenegger shows up at my door, I can’t go back. If this happened, I’d probably die.. I know I’d die but at least I’ll have lived my life organized for a little while. For me, the days of giant wall calendars are gone.
Let me tell you about how the Cozi, Mint and EveryDollar apps simplify and organize my life!
I use Cozi for scheduling:
This is a summary of all the cool ways you can use Cozi to simplify and organize your life:
Bills: never be late with bills again. I enter my re-occurring phone bill, utility bill, credit card and mortgage (when I had one).
Paydays: I input my payday on there so that I can plan my budget around payday. You can automate this to occur every 2 weeks, weekly, monthly etc.
Birthdays: you can enter birthdays in there on the paid version but I rely a lot on Facebook to remind me of birthdays. Instead, I enter birthdays and then schedule them myself to reoccur every year. Easy Peasy!
Work schedules: This helps me to plan my vacation schedule in March for the next 365 days (because I’m a nurse, vacation has to be planned out very far in advance).
My casual work schedule: so that my husband knows my start time and my end time and where I’m working. In the past, I have worked at 3 different sites at one time. I’ve never showed up to the wrong work site but I have showed up at the wrong day home to pick up my child. In my defense, my husband dropped him off earlier that morning and we had two day homes at the time and I had forgotten which one he was at (this was pre-Cozi scheduler days).
Important appointments and medical appointments
Music Lesson schedules
Everyone in the family has a color code to correspond with them so they know who the event applies to. You can even change the color code to the color you desire.
Notes and Location: Extra details to communicate to all family members about what the heck is going on and which items that they need to bring. Over communication is KEY!
You can set it up so that you get daily reminders about events or weekly reminders of your schedule.
You can plan to get an email reminder in 5 minutes or up to 2 weeks in advance.
Meal planning: no more planning on paper. Then, when I’m at the grocery store, the meal plan is always with me. I can plan out breakfast, lunch, dinner for the next week or month. Cozi sets the information in a lighter colour and the colour lightens up even more after the meal has passed that time of day.
The nice thing about having your meals and your activities all in one place is that you can see whether a day is going to be really hectic and choose to make an easier or more convenient meal that day or instead plan to have leftovers.
You can even look back at previous meals and evaluate which meals were successful and which ones weren't, according to your family's tastes, preference and schedule.
You have the daily view as well. Usually the meals are in a slightly lighter color so they don't take over your calendar view of other events.
Do lists excite you? Look no further!
"To do" lists: want your kids to do stuff during the summer holidays while you are away at work, give them access to this calendar and the list. It is so satisfying to me to check something off of a "To Do" list.
You can have a separate "To Do" list for each person and a shared "To Do" list.
You can check off the check box when the task is completed or you can go old school and print out a paper copy of monthly schedule or weekly schedule to put on your fridge. Print out the to-do list and give one to each child
Grocery lists: no more needing another app, you can write separate grocery lists for each store. The trick is to write the store in capital letters and it will save it as a subheading for your list. Genius!
Journal entry: I just recently discovered this feature and started using it.
Remember important dates for later: for example the day your child took their first steps.
Later, you can remember to put these events in your photobook or scrap book. This way the youngest child won’t be forgotten.
You can even include a photo of that event as well.
I journaled about the first day that my youngest slept through the night!! That was significant for me. He was 3.5 years old at the time.
If you are looking to share these memories with a grandparents or extended relatives but don’t want to use social media, you can give the family members access to the journal and you can decide and select what parts of the journal that they see and hide other parts that you don’t want them to see.
You can even make a monthly newsletter to send to your friends and family if you are concerned about sharing on social media.
You can sync this Cozi calendar with your Google calendar which I have done because my website only links to my google calendar for booking client appointments. Google Calendar has all my Cozi Calendar information on it plus my additional financial coaching client appointments. Recently, I also imported the Google Calendar onto my Cozi Calendar so I only have to look at one calendar instead of two calendars.
I have the free version but you can get the paid version for approximately $30/year. It is add free and includes the option to add contacts, birthdays and other features like a monthly mobile view.
Get Weekly email updates about what’s happening during the week, starting on Sundays.
You can change this to daily updates and can select which family members and how often they receive email updates.
Biggest drawback: is getting people to actually look at the calendar instead of asking me what's going on.
Now, how has Mint changed my life:
"A budget is more than just keeping up with the bills. It helps you live the life you want and do the things you truly value" Rachel Cruze.
I love this app. Over the years there are some annoyances but overall it works well. It takes a few days to process some of the transactions and unfortunately when it is in the pending status you can’t write a note on the transaction to remind yourself with information about the transaction.
Over the past couple months I have used Everydollar in conjunction with Mint. Mint doesn’t allow me to plan my budget months ahead into the future whereas, Everydollar does. If I know there is something coming up in the next month that I will likely forget than I quickly input it into Everydollar.
In the past, I had been just using the same budget for every month but lately I’ve gotten much better at tailoring it to each specific month. For example, my July and August budgets now include vacation and my December budget includes Christmas gifts and gifts to teachers.
Here is just a portion of my detailed budget.
Mint makes an assumption about where each transaction likely belongs in your budget but you can change it and can even Hide certain transactions from your budget. I use the Hide button if a transaction for example, like a massage, is going to be reimbursed by my work benefits.
One of my favorite features is that you can use the “SPLIT” button and take a Costco trip and later divide up the amount if your total purchase cost includes clothes and then allocate the amount that you spent on clothes into your clothing budget instead of including it in your grocery budget. Or if you want to split or move the purchase into the Gift Category in your budget instead of the Grocery Category.
You can change the date of your purchase. If an item is purchased in one month but actually scheduled in the budget for the next month, then it shows up in the next month instead. For example, if I buy Christmas presents in January for the following December, I can change the date and it will automatically show up in the budget for December.
Summary: gives you a weekly summary breakdown of the different categories that you have spent in and the percentages in each category displayed in a pie chart.
Email updates: about unusual spending, overspending, fees and "you just got paid" notifications. This was useful when I accidentally underpaid my credit card bill by $1.00 and was charged $100 late fee. Because I was notified immediately by Mint, I was able to phone the credit card company and have the fee waived.
Income: can look over the previous month’s income and discover what your total income was and track your income for each month. This is especially handy for those with irregular incomes. This is also useful for estimating what your total monthly income will be for next month based on a previous year's historical income for that month.
Months in the past: look at your cash flow and see which months were problem months.
Make observations about your cash flow over time and evaluate your higher and lower months.
Spending over time: which months did you tend to spend more?
Income over time: which months did you make the most income: shows trend over six months with a quick glance or on your desktop you can look years back. You don’t even have to make your own spreadsheets; Mint does it all for you! I hate spreadsheets that I have to make for myself. Automated is the way to go. Especially when I only have to tweak a few transactions here and there.
Net worth: keeps track of that for you.
Goals: you decide what goal you are working towards and it gives you reminders: did you reach your goal? You set a deadline and decide how much to contribute to it.
The best feature of this App is Syncing: it with your credit card and bank accounts. Never make your own spreadsheet or go have to enter a stack of receipts again.
Cons: don’t sync both yours and your spouses joint bank accounts or all transactions on your joint bank accounts will show up twice and it appears as if you have spent twice as much money or received twice as much money. Just include one copy of your joint accounts. This is difficult if you have separate TFSA (Tax Free Savings Accounts) that are linked to your joint accounts. However, this is easy to work around. I just do a manual transaction instead for my TFSA contributions.
Pros: can enter manual transactions if there is a cash transaction
Summary: can see where you are on your credit limit or how much you have in your bank account at a glance.
Tag items: reimbursable, vacation, can make your own tag. For example I have one for my business.
Notes: to understand the transaction better or remind you for later
Rules: around transactions. For example: to always itemize a transaction from PC express under the grocery budget.
Miscellaneous Category: my favorite because it is the catch all for minor purchases that you cannot budget for ahead of time that come up unexpectedly, like your child going to a birthday party for example.
Cons: cannot create a budget for the next month: which is why I use Everydollar
Pros: free to use and AWESOME!
Dave Ramsey's Budget tool: Everydollar
I use this to plan my budget months in advance so that I don’t forget to include certain advanced notice purchases and then just update this in Mint each month. It's a bit of double work but worth it for me not to forget to include an item in my budget for the future. Most of the bigger purchase items in my budget are included in my sinking or whoops funds. These include: Christmas, Birthdays, Car Registration, Nursing license Registration, Home and Auto Insurance Renewal. However, there are sometimes other monthly costs that I like to enter into the budget ahead of time like for example, sports fees. However, if I had to live without one app this would be the one of the three to live without but it is a nice bonus for us.
Cons: will sync with my bank account but not my credit card.
Free version doesn't sync with your bank account or credit card. Cost is $12/month USD.
Why do you need to be organized? There are lots of reasons.
-Paying your bills on time keeps your credit score healthy (My blogpost about credit scores)
-being organized helps you to be able to not make last minute purchases that can cause you stress, anxiety and extra money. You've probably heard it said before but Meal Planning does save you money! so using tools like Cozi can help you plan
-keeping accurate track of your income and expenses is the KEY TO WEALTH! It's the same as exercising and healthy eating are the key to being HEALTHY! Unfortunately there is no shortcut or quick fix. Wealth is a gradual occurrence over time. It requires showing up daily and allowing good habits and your money to Work for YOU!
-the short term benefits on the road to wealth are peace of mind, less stress associated with debt and more freedom to purchase the things that you really want
-being aware of your income over time, spending over time and knowing where your money is actually spent.
-Finally: being organized allows you FREEDOM to start living the life that you want not chasing after someone else's dreams
-Ramit Sethi author of "I will teach you to be Rich" discusses how budgeting enables you to purchase more of the things that you really enjoy and spend less on the things that you don't really care about.
“Spend extravagantly on the things you love, and cut costs mercilessly on the things you don’t.” Ramit Sethi
For example I love helping people and my passion is to see peoples lives changed and I desire for my family to experience other cultures and develop compassion for others in the world so 1/3 of my money goes toward saving up for that purpose. Whereas I don't care what kind of vehicle I drive as long as it runs and is reliable so I tend to spend less on my vehicles. This is what Sethi calls"
or what I call intentional living.
What do you value?
Follow me on Instagram and Facebook: Financial Coach Ruthy as my family and I continue to work towards these goals.
Use these 3 apps/tools to help you to intentionally purchase the things you love and value and intentionally live the life that you want. If you are still struggling to accomplish this than you need a Financial coach, just to get you started in the right direction and then to keep you accountable to your goals so that you can become FREE to do what you already know you want to do.
Now Go And Be Intentional!