It all begins with that famous quote from John C. Maxwell “You'll never change your life until you change something you do daily. The secret of your success is found in your daily routine.” Or in this case the secret to making changes to our financial world.
When we begin facing reality the traditional first step is to look at all our debt… we find that insurmountable amount of money with the super quick math of I owe this much, I make this much and it would take me “X” amount of months or years to pay off my debt without ever spending a dime again. Then the need to dive head first into a bottle of wine to forget about all this craziness and head back down the road of denial for another day, week, months or perhaps years. This time I dove into my daily habits so I could find out where my spending was happening. Good news with our denial issues I am sure most of you are like me with your spending already wonderful tracked with all your debit and credit card purchases. No need to wait and collect receipts the game is on this leads us to step three getting real with where our money goes…..
Get yourself on-line and into those bank statements.
Write down everything that you spent...everything!
This includes money spent paying interest charges, bank fees in addition to those coffees. While I was tallying out my spending the categories began to appear. Car payments, insurance, household bills, groceries, eating out and wine even got its own category (I will be sharing a picture of the spreadsheet I created below) Once you have totals you may be surprised at the items you would have guessed you were spending more and then the categories where you think Holy sh*t I spend that on that. Toughest line is adding all those expenses and taking away your income are you overspending? Leaving anything for the nest egg? Then it’s time to start the work, questioning your spending and beginning to make decisions. First and easiest decisions to get after those monthly subscriptions…..
Monthly subscriptions those items that we sign up for and often forget even exist.
Music, yoga, and a monthly delivery of toys and treats for my pups were some of mine and that is only a token of the zillion boxes of the month that are available out there….. Then it’s time to question do I really need this? My monthly music subscription is work related and needed but my pups BarkBox although I love that day when they get their new box it wasn’t a necessity. Big surprise these companies want your business and many will offer a bi-monthly, quarterly or semi-annual option versus having you cancel in full. If you are on this journey with me I’d love to hear what monthly expenditure were you surprised to find? What did you decide to eliminate from your monthly spending.
Step by step, change by change, the journey continues…..
I created my monthly check in using google sheets. The categories create themselves as you begin to tally your expenditures. Once all your spending is entered you can see that grand total of dollars spent, add in your income for that month and then the REAL dose of reality as you see that comparison. YES if you need a glass of wine here feel free but only if you promise that you are returning to continue to take control of your life and finances. Remember we got this!