First, go print out your bank statements and credit card statements.
As you reflect on every expense, think about the reasoning behind the expense. I know this is tedious work, but it is so important to dive into the causes of every expense if you really want to stop bad habits and form healthy ones!
Use these questions to guide your reflections:
Why did you buy this?
Who are you trying to impress by buying this?
Is there a cheaper/ more cost effective way to accomplish this?
What is the purpose behind this purchase or service?
What area of my life is this trying to help?
Were you buying a designer dress to cover up your insecurities around your money, trying to show the world you have plenty of money? Did you have a large food bill because you hosted your family for the 100th time this summer? Who is the large, gorgeous house really for? Are you eating out so much because you are exhausted from work and didn’t have time to prep or plan your meals out?
These are all external factors you are trying to please and satisfy. The problem with external factors is they will always be there, they are never, NEVER satisfied.
Are you fulfilling something inside you? Did you spend money on new sneakers because you just joined a gym to feel healthier, more energetic around your children? If you joined the gym so everyone around you will comment on your new hot bod, then you are chasing another external factor. YET if you join to gain confidence that will ripple over into every area of your life, you will feel fulfilled because you are starting from the inside out!
I challenge you to run through your bills, your expenses and take a moment to think about why that expense is in your life. What is the purpose behind it? Can you get rid of it or do better?
Take your house for instance, I have a woman who would not sell her house because of the emotional tie to it. But every month, she cried over the large bills the house racks up. She would make excuses like her family was raised here, her children need a stable home, and the high maintenance is only seasonal. Then she got more and more maintenance bills year round, so that excuse was gone. Her family was grown and no longer needed the large house, so that excuse was gone. Her children didn’t need a stable house, they needed a stable mother who felt empowered by her money and not terrified over it every month. They needed a role model, someone who wanted more for her life than crying over bills every month. Her children yearned for a mom who could teach them good money habits so they don’t face the same issues she’s been dealing with.
Your spending isn’t just about you, is it? Your spending affects others around you, your spouse, your children, your business. How can you do right by them? It’s time to stop hiding from the truth, own up to the issues that have gotten you to where you are today, and ask for more.
Our mother was able to turn her life around within 6 months of working together. She began saving over 10% of her income, up from 0%! She was actively paying off her debt in such an efficient way, it will save her thousands in the end and years off the payments. She has a plan to downsize and is even more empowered to save more after her expenses decline again. But the biggest piece is how her children see her now. They feel confident their mom will be just fine on her own, they are no longer worried for her. She’s a light for them, showing them the way it can be when you ask for help, make a change, and learn YOU deserve better.