Once you have tracked you spending, and competed Steps 1 and 2 under Find Money, do some thinking about what your found out. You did some really hard work.
Step 3. Find the surprises. The things you had not realized you spent so much money on. Is it beauty or utilities, or mobile phone, etc. Keep that surprise handy.
Step 4. Figure out what you could “live without,” Or what you could buy less often, or in lesser amounts. Go back to your list of surprises, as well as the totals you have for each category.
- You need to eat every day. But do you need to buy your meals at a restaurant? Do you need to buy lunch or even breakfast at work every day? Could you bring in breakfast or lunch or both? How much would you save each week, each month, each year if you brought in breakfast or lunch to work? How much would you save if you ate dinner cooked at home? (And how much healthier would you be?)
- You need water to live; but can you use tap water rather than buying water in bottles?
- What is the cost, per month, of buying coffee at work rather than drinking the free coffee? What is the monthly cost of parking? Or driving rather than taking public transportation, riding a bike or walking?
- Could you reduce the cost of services and beauty care somewhat? How about another week or two between manicures or pedicures, or hair care for that matter? How about a few less massages and spa treatments, facials, etc.
- Vacations? What would be the smartest thing to do about spending on trips?
- Be careful here. If you do not live alone, you are likely to decide you can live without what your partner likes. Try to keep this focused on your actions.
You see where Hot Flash Financial is going with this.
Keep your sense of humor here, especially about yourself and your weaknesses. Distance yourself from the spending that you do not want to continue. Weave it into a good story. Make sure it is funny. Tell your friends.
Whatever you do, don’t punish yourself for this. Change your behavior. Change the way you use money, and begin to control your spending.
Step 5. Make some decisions about the way you plan to spend you money. Then take more control. To do this, go to the next Step in ACT!