This six-part series looks at personal and professional spending for planners. If you need to catch up, please follow these links.
- Week 1: A planner’s friend: Tracking spend
- Week 2: Where does all the money go?
- This week: Mindfulness is the key to smart money
- Week 4: Show me the money!
If you didn’t read my previous articles — on tracking spend and determining where your money goes — and you want to master your personal and professional finances, catch up, and then pick up below. Without them, this one has less meaning.
My hunch is your spending went down during Week 2 of our experiment, and that you hit or were close to your targeted, lower spend. The simple act of creating a goal and writing it down doubles your odds of achieving it. Because you probably weren’t paying close attention to your spending before this, chances are you saw a positive difference.
Let’s take a deeper look at your spending habits. Is there a correlation between days of the week and the amount you spend? If so, why is that? Perhaps on Mondays your schedule is hectic and you have to eat on the run. Perfect opportunity to brown-bag it. Or, swap out the burger and fries for a slice of pizza. Just as quick and likely less expensive.
Did you see a spike in spending on Friday and/or Saturday night? Do you have a habit of offering to pay for the first (and second) round of drinks? Next time you go out, let someone else pick up the tab, and silently toast the money you saved.
Perhaps you worked late one night; so, you slept in a bit later the next day and rushed out the door without eating breakfast. Whammo! Eight dollars on coffee and a muffin that you could have avoided if you had gotten up 15 minutes earlier or packed a banana or muffin from the grocery store.
Did you notice any correlation between your moods and your spending? Some of us shop when we’re bored. Some of us do it to make ourselves feel better. Some do it to get back at someone who made us feel inadequate, as in, “I’ll show you. I’m worth all this and more.” Pay attention to when you spend and why you spend. This awareness opens the door for different behavior.
The goal isn’t to stop spending altogether. It’s unrealistic and it’s bad for the economy. The goal is to be mindful of what you buy and how you feel after making the purchase. Sometimes we don’t use what we bought while upset because it reminds us of the fight we that prompted us to buy it in the first place. Or we buy junk food to make ourselves feel better when we’re sad, and then get sad because our clothes don’t fit. So we eat more and then have to buy new clothes to boot. It’s healthier and cheaper to gain some perspective, lose some weight and shed some bad habits while you’re at it.
You saw how easy it is to identify behavior and take steps to change it. Let’s take it a step further. Note: A profound life change awaits. Take this advice and your life will never be the same. I promise.
Next, I’ll show you a lot of painless ways to save and how to create your own financial road map with savings goals and a plan for getting there. See you next Monday.
Want to share your experience tracking your spend or ask a question? Email me at: firstname.lastname@example.org
NEXT WEEK: Show me the money