Be Smart with Avida’s “Path to Financial Freedom” Journal

Stability. For Miriam Webster, it is defined as the strength to stand or endure. For me, it is the light at the end of the tunnel, the rainbow after the rain, the “nilaga” for my “tiyaga”. Being stable is one of my life goals, and the ultimate reason for all my sacrifices, hard work and perseverance. It surely is not as easy as 1-2-3, but, as they say, the fruit of labor is the sweetest when you toil with your heart. I’m positive that the quotation wasn’t exactly how I stated it. But you know what I mean, right?

I believe that you can only be contented or stable when you’re satisfied and happy with what you’ve achieved. For most of us, if not all, financial freedom is one of the main determining factor or contributor to our stability in life.

When can we say that we are stable financially? Well, this question is much simpler to answer than to reach. Of course, as a mother, having financial stability means the ability to provide for my family now and save for tomorrow. When I have invested enough to secure my children’s future, when I can travel alone or with the family without worrying about my budget too much, when we are able to acquire a property and put up a business to support our daily needs, when I become my own boss and have financial freedom, then I can finally say that I am financially stable. 

As I said, the “how” part poses as a big challenge. Good thing, Avida Land gave me a planner to provide some guidance and direction towards achieving my financial goals. This is going to be very exciting and fun. The “Path to Financial Freedom” journal will not only help me manage my finances to prepare for the future, I like that it is not just an ordinary spreadsheet where I can write my income and expenses. 

This guide is so convenient to use, complete with interesting worksheets, helpful tips, and some inspiring contents to make this journey more meaningful for me. I usually get intimidated when it comes to computations. This time, I think I’m going to love it! I recommend it to everyone, especially for starters because this an excellent way to jumpstart your financial planning as early as possible.

Let me give you some hints on what I’ve learned so far. Some of these you may already be doing unconsciously. As for me, it really helps to have some organization and order. It makes me more aware of how good (or bad) I’m doing with our budget. Well, I better be. That’s the sense of it all.

Just like in every planning, the initial step is to evaluate your current situation. To do this, you need to know your cash flow, meaning the “what comes in” and “what goes out”. A good Statement of Cash Flow includes all sources of income and types of expenses.

  • Sources of Income – includes Salary, Bonus, Incentive, Sideline, Rental Income, and Others 
  • Expenses – can be divided into 3 types: Fixed, Discretionary, and Hidden. Obviously, Fixed expenses are those that you pay for regularly such as household maintenance (Water, Electricity, Phone Bills, Groceries), transportation/gas, and the like. Discretionary costs are your incidentals or unexpected expenditures like non-essential goods (or shopping) and services, eating out, entertainment, travel, gifts, vices, and other miscellaneous expenses.
Hidden outgoings include Life Insurance, Home Insurance, Car Insurance, Real Estate Taxes, Donations, and a few more others.

 The next phase is to determine whether you’re on a positive, zero or negative. This is your Net Cash Flow. Don’t be afraid to get the result because this will determine if you have to make necessary adjustments on your expenses, specifically under the Discretionary category. 

It’s simple:
Total Income – Total Expenses = Net Cash Flow

 Then, make your Statement of Assets, Liabilities, and Net Worth.

If you have any Deposit or Savings Account, Mutual Funds, and other investments, then they are part of your Assets together with Real Estate properties, cars, jewelries and other collectibles.

Liabilities include Loans and Credit Cards.
Total Assets – Total Liabilities = Net Worth

When I did this, it almost feels like the journal is talking to me. Remember to have an open-mind and the right perspective when doing this evaluation because this will be the foundation of your being financially stable. From this root, you can come up with concrete goals in order to grow abundantly. Now that you already know your financial status, you can proceed with goal setting. 
To be successful, make sure to have S.M.A.R.T. goals.

The more generic your goals are, the smaller the possibility of accomplishing any of it. You have to know what you want to achieve to have a direction. You have to be as detailed, precise and definite as possible.

You need resources in order to get to where you plan to be. There’s almost no use in setting a goal that could not be quantified. You have to know how much your goal costs, may it be a car, a house, an educational plan, etc.

are not limited to monetary or material value. When you set a goal, it means you have to be able to manage your energy and effort as well. Having said that, you must know how to prioritize things because every goal must be reasonable and doable. 

Your resources
Ask WIIFM or “What’s in it for me?” to know if your plan is in line with your core values, and if it is something that will give you the sense of fulfillment you’re looking for. There must be significant purpose in everything you do to be successful financially.

Your goals can be short-term or long-term. You have to set a deadline. You don’t want for your accomplishment to take forever, do you? So, make a timeline to give yourself a little push and the good kind of pressure.

Avida Land teaches us how to appreciate value and manage our finances in this journal. When you’re caught at zero or, worse, a negative, don’t be disappointed and drop hope. Again, be SMART. Think of creative ways on improving the situation, and rise up eventually. Take control and go back to your goals when you feel like your expenses are getting out of hand. We all want the best in life. We have dreams and aspirations – for ourselves, for our family, for our kids. Stop procrastinating. Plan now. I’m glad I have a financial journal as my companion from end to end.

"If you fail to plan, you are planning to fail."
-Benjamin Franklin

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Thank you very much! Maraming Salamat! Arigatou gozaimasu!