If our financial situation is a mess it’s hard to focus on our personal life. Not to mention hard to move forward finding that authentic path to do what we are truly born to do, especially when so much of our energy goes to worrying about money.
The majority of people I talk to have the same issue at the end of the month. The feeling that there should be more money left in the bank and that they don’t feel as if they spend that much money.
The solution? Track every single dollar for success.
- Start with collecting all the receipts for a month. And I mean every single receipt including small purchases like 50 cents.
- Then decide on a few categories. Keep it simple. Personally I have Food, Gas, Eating Out, Coffee, Clothing/Gifts/Entertainment, Travel, Other. Don’t keep it too detailed or you will feel a tad overwhelmed if you have never tracked your expenses.
- Then write in the amount from each receipt under each category and tally them all up.
Usually the biggest shocker is Food and Eating Out. People in general tend to spend way more money in those categories than they thought they did.
Now you have an overview of where your money is going and you can start working towards cutting expenses. Is that ice-cream or soda a necessity if that money could go to something better such as paying down debt? Are you eating out too often? What if you brought lunch to work or made your own coffee? Could you take the bus to work a few times a week and save on gas? Do you really need a new pair of jeans?
No, you don’t have to stop living, but while you are carrying debt you need to live a little differently. Sacrifice, prioritize and learn the difference between need and want. Highlight the amounts that were impulsive purchases, lazy purchases or that could be improved including those expenses that you knew you couldn’t really afford like going out for a fancy dinner with friends. I am positive that you will find quite a few dollars that just slipped through your hands that you now can use towards paying down debt so that you can work towards getting off the financial hamster wheel.
By tracking your expenses and seeing them written down you suddenly get a different overview and start thinking differently. It’s right there, in your face and if you truly want to get out of debt you will start spending money differently. It’s not about how much money you make, it’s about how you spend your money.
Imagine having no debt, what you could do with your income and the freedom it creates!
Another great blog on this topic is “But It’s only 5 dollars!” https://www.nomorehamsterwheel.com/?p=92