How to take your financial inventory (and why you need to)

Have you woken up one day, looked around and wondered where all the debt came from?  What have you got to show for the multiple credit card balances, student loans, and empty bank accounts?


Are you feeling ready to take the proverbial bull by the horns and start cleaning up this financial mess you’ve found yourself in?  Feeling overwhelmed about how to get started?  Don’t fret….we are going to walk through this together.


I have been where you are, I have felt how you feel and I have lived to talk type about it!  By now you have your money mindset on point and you are ready to get started!  The next step is to get out your trusty pen and paper and get to werkkk!


Much like they say about losing weight, so is cleaning up your finances.  This is going to take patience and time.  This didn’t just happen overnight?!  Your current financial life is a culmination of months, years, maybe even decades of bad decisions.


It took time to get yourself to this place and it’s going to take time and lots of hard work to get yourself out! Just so we are clear….this is going to take HARD WORK [repeating for dramatic effect], but please believe me when I tell you it will be SO worth it!




In order to get off on the right foot, it is imperative to get a solid picture of what you are working with.  Warning: this can be really emotional.  Put on your big girl panties, grab your notebook, calculator and maybe a strong drink!  This won’t take long but it is a very important step.  If you have a spouse/partner on board ask them to join you for this as it will be to your benefit to work as a team!


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How to take your financial inventory (and why you need to) - Life of Stones



Get all your bills together, write them all down.  Every single recurring monthly bill.  (not credit cards yet) Any car leases, utilities, child support, alimony, and any other obligations that are monthly.  Just list the bill and the amount. For any loans, we are focusing ONLY on the minimum payments due at this time.



Next, you are going to list all your debt!  All of it.  Get the TOTAL outstanding balance at this time. *take a few sips of your drink if needed*.  Be sure to also include any deferred student loans, credit cards with 0% interest, anything that you owe to somebody else should go here. Any mortgages on any properties except your primary residence belong here as well.  Total it all up.  *breathe*



Head to your assets now.  Get the balance of any and all NON-retirement accounts and investments. Anything that is already in a retirement account will incur large penalties if withdrawn early so we want to leave those alone!


We do, however, want to include any [non-retirement] single stocks, mutual funds, cash value of any whole-life insurance policies, checking accounts, savings accounts and any shoe-boxes-filled-with-cash under the bed!


Be sure to add up each column and that’s it!  This is a simple exercise but it can be really emotional!  Maybe your situation is more dire than you realized (boo), or maybe it’s not as bad as you had initially thought (yay)!?


Either way, if you aren’t clear on where you are starting out it will be hard to develop a clear plan for where to go!


When I first did this exercise one night while B was at work I felt like my throat was closing up and I couldn’t breathe. My anxiety was at an all-time high and when I saw that big $35,000 at the bottom of the “debt column” and the big fat zero at the bottom of the “asset column” I felt so hopeless.


I had never really added up all our debt and those numbers, in ink, staring back at me were like a slap in the face.  That was it.  That was rock bottom.  We really had nowhere to go but up….so up we went!


And so will you 🙂


xo kristin



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  1. Great read. Debt can often build so fast you don’t know where it’s all coming from. It is amazing the amount of people who don’t have a handle on their finances. I love the idea of a free printable sheet. The visual sure makes a difference.

  2. I really need to do this, but just thinking about it makes me anxious. Thanks for sharing how to do it right.

    1. I understand, Kamie, but give it a shot! You really can’t make a plan until you know where you’re starting from!

  3. LOVE THIS. I am a financial nut after doing a DR program several years ago. Loved reading this and your worksheets!!

  4. Great post, Kristin! This will certainly help people who are in debt get started with taking control of their money situation. I like the way you lightened up a difficult topic for people!

  5. My husband and I just did this literally 2 weeks ago! We decided we wanted to make some long term financial goals and this was the first step in the process. What an eye opener! Thanks for the info and being real about it!

  6. Is it okay of I take many gulps over sips of my drink while adding up my debt? (Lol) very good suggestions here! I’m going to print the worksheet and follow your steps (with a big bottle of wine, heck with the glass, right!)

  7. I’ve been working so hard on my finances lately and though I’m scared to see where we are at with this, I know that it’s important to just do it and start working to fix it!

  8. it can be such a simple thing to do, but so hard to get motivated to do it. i love how to break it down and make it much less intimidating!

  9. Great article! It’s so important to take an honest look at where you stand; hiding won’t solve anything. Thanks for the reminder to look at things with honesty!

  10. It is so good to do this, even though it is scary! We did the same thing a few years ago and it really helped to set us on the right road.

  11. I’m totally subscribing to your blog. I need a refresh on finances. I totally agree that this is necessary, but we’ve gotten distracted lately. Thank you so much for the reminder!!

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