START TRACKING YOUR SPEND
Get to know where you spend, how it makes you feel and what really matters when it comes to your money!
Let's stop pretending that being good at money means you need to be good at math. Instead, let's listen to our body and our mind.
Nothing makes me more nostalgic than the reminder of Choose Your Own Adventure stories. We shared a love-hate relationship because the decisions I made always had me frantically worry about what could have been if I chose the other option. I’d always cheat (you totally did too, don’t @ me) and go back to the reread the story using the alternate path. Each time, I was equally disappointed because it was either 1) a waste of my time, or 2) confirmation that I made the wrong decision initially.
Money is very similar. You have two choices — to buy or not to buy. Either way, you do everything in your power to ensure that the decision you make is the right one. However, there are some days when you will never be satisfied with your choice. The only problem is that you can’t go back and choose the alternate path like a children’s novel from 1999. The decision you make sticks.
Well, I’d like to give you a financial hall pass.
You need to give yourself the freedom to choose which parts of your variable expenses are most important to you. It’s kind of like those memes where you can only pick two.
1. Always answers your texts and calls
2. Great sense of humour
4. Shares similar interests
First of all, you obviously want all of the above — but men. So, what do you choose? Now, look at a similar list with your money. You can only pick two.
1. Coffee shop coffee
2. Weekly takeout
3. New clothing on the regular
4. Gym membership or fitness classes
5. Cable or Subscription service
How do you decide? It’s not easy, because again – you want all of the above. However, if you’re trying to be financially savvy, sometimes you have to make a choice. Well, that, and if you’re a millennial who gets paid stagnant wages, you are likely obligated to make these tough decisions.
If you plan to choose your financial vice but are struggling to cut down on your wants, there are a few things you can do to go from I-have-no-idea-what-I’m-doing to I-have-a-very-clear-cut-financial-vice-and-I’m-cool-with-that.
1. Look at your historical vices
What do you typically spend the most money on aside from your fixed expenses? For me, I can tell you that I spent around $50 at Starbucks over the past two weeks. Most of my meetings are held there, and it’s my favourite place to visit during the week, given that I work remotely.
2. Try to go for one week without one of the options
If you aren’t sure if you’d be happy without one of the above options, attempt to go one week without that vice. For example, I love to order Skip the Dishes after long workdays and on the weekends, because it’s a sweet treat. However, if I went one week without, I might find that it’s not an essential financial vice for me and that it can be a less regular expense.
3. Don’t try to cut more than one financial vice out of your life at a time
No one wants you to attempt to get rid of every costly expense that brings you joy. However, what we do want to do is find a way that you can assure yourself the vices that are most important to you aren’t a stressful experience. If you only had to pay for takeout coffee and Netflix, you might be a lot less worried about money than if you had to pay for takeout coffee, Netflix and a gym membership.
4. Understand that this rule doesn’t have to be permanent
If you need to spend less money on variable expenses right now, that doesn’t mean you need to spend less money on variable costs forever. You are allowed to adjust your financial life as often or as little as necessary. As you change, so does your money.
Now that you’ve chosen your financial vices, remember to ensure that your financial situation has the appropriate funds allocated for those expenses. Put money aside each week so that you can spend it freely without the fear of going over budget or over your limits.
If you have $40/week for coffee and takeout, you don’t need to think about spending that money — you just can. If it’s easier, create a separate checking account that is made specifically for these expenses, or take out cash every Monday morning and feel comfortable in knowing you’ve already agreed to spend this money without guilt.
Financial vices are only vices if you don’t prepare for them. Stay ahead of the haters and more importantly, your bank account, by being a boss with your money.
Oh no, you missed the live webinar! But, good news: Mixed Up Money is pleased to share a free resource for anyone planning for a future child or family.
Mixed Up Money is pleased to share a free resource for anyone looking to cut back on non-essential spending. My most-requested product is these monthly calendars to share on your Instagram story, use as a phone background, or print off to track your spending habits.
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