I grew up hearing the phrases “I can’t afford it”, again and again. As an independent financial planner that has been on my very own happy money journey, I now know that affording something is very often a choice and comes down to our money mindset and how well we know our own finances.
Later in this post I have a link to a sneak preview of ‘The Happy Money Journey Workbook’ with some exercises to help you sort out your living expenses…
Do you know how much you should be spending a month? If I were to ask you how much you spend on eating out, you might tell me $200 a month. But when you sit down and look at your bank statements for all your accounts and credit cards over the past six months – That’s probably not the case.
You may be able to download your statements as a file and sort through the categories, but I would suggest using a wealth tracker app for a much quicker and easier way to get an overview of your spending.
Our app is complimentary for 30 days after downloading and is an absolute lifesaver. The platform allows you to connect all of your bank accounts, credit cards, loans, properties and superfunds to a single, secure dashboard. Don’t worry – no one can access your accounts except for you!
Once you’ve got an accurate overview of where and how you are spending your money, it’s time for some practical learning. Knowing where your money goes is one thing, but understanding how to set up a personal budget that works is another.
I like to break spending down into Basics, Discretionary and Luxuries, as this is the easiest way to discover your personal money mindset and overcome your list of limiting beliefs about money.
I consider basics to be our physiological needs like food and shelter. This may include your home loan or rent, electricity, gas, water, rates and groceries.
Discretionary spending includes the items that you need, but that can increase or reduce in quality or quantity. I’m talking clothes (you can’t do without them, but do you need as many as you have?), make-up, car upkeep, insurance, linen, homewares and so forth.
Luxuries are the wants. These are things you don’t need at all but like to have as they enhance your life. That includes dinners out, holidays, hobbies, a holiday home – anything that takes you beyond the basics. Everyone knows what their little (or big!) luxuries are. And if you don’t? Take a minute to play and dream; it won’t take you long to work out.
Click here for a freebie to help you practice!
It’s important to be honest with yourself when you’re categorising your purchases into each segment. No one loves an expensive electricity bill, but I consider it pretty important to walk into a cool home after a hot day.
Every day you make a whole lot of big and small choices about how you are spending, and therefore how you are choosing to live your life.
If you are spending heaps on mid-week lunches when you are at work, and you’ve got nothing left over for holidays, what does that say about your desire for adventure?
Now, there might be a temptation to wallow in shame or judgement. You may want to tell yourself off or feel bad about how you are spending. STOP IT! The first step in getting back on your feet financially is to WANT to change your beliefs about money and then be willing to commit to your personal finance smart goals.
No one is born knowing how to use money – we learn it! And now that you know where your money is really going? You know how to start budgeting and saving money – without cutting out every single little luxury.
Let this be the first step in your happy money journey.