Be a steward of your life! You can do this! You really can!
When spending is what picks you up when you’re down, when you’re anxious, when you’re tired, when you’re tipsy….you’re in trouble, because bills and debt are calling the shots.
You can take back control of your life! Now, where to begin?
1. Write down what you’re spending every single day for one week. Start today, write down what you’ve spent so far. Are you proud of what you’ve spent? In a week, will what you spent your money on today matter to you or did you spend money on *forgettable* stuff? How about in 6 months, will it still seem significant and worth it? Or will it be recognizable as the “quick fix” it was?
When I saw how much our family was spending wastefully on food, it opened my eyes to the forgettableness of that spending. It wasn’t as though most of that food I’d picked up at the grocery store was making meals so memorable that I’d remember them even two weeks later. (Here you can get ideas on how to change spending $1500/month on groceries to $233/month and eat better than ever!)
We saved money and took our family to Rome recently. We didn’t touch savings or investments for the trip. THAT was spending that was UNFORGETTABLE. It would have been SO easy to spend that money each day in little small forgettable ways that would have added up to the total spent on taking our entire family on a trip of a lifetime.
2. Now, that you’ve written down what you’ve spent, can you see “easy” ways to nixing some of those costs? Add up the total of the items you can see right off the bat would be doable to cut….might hurt at first, self denial isn’t easy, but it IS doable. You can be in charge of your life!
3. Now, can you write down three things you’d rather save your money for? For me, retirement was a dull sounding, far off thing that my husband (God bless him!) was saving for…I found it dull, dreary and entirely unmotivating. So find something that motivates you. For me, it’s family travels that most motivates me – whether domestic or international. Saving for that is easy for me because it feels WORTH it. And the good habits that are easy for me to maintain in that area, spill right over into my behavior towards money in general, so that’s massively increasing our rate of savings towards not just those vacations I want to take, but also into retirement and investments.
You can do this! What do you think helps keep you motivated? Writing it down, keeping your eye on the goal, accountability partner? What makes financial freedom feel worth making the small, sustained sacrifices to achieve?