When it comes to money what you don’t know and track can and will hurt you.
I know this has definitely been the case for me.
It might be common sense that you should be keeping track of where your money is being spent. Even if it is, not many of us always use the information we know.
If that was the case, debt, lifestyle inflation, and unwanted spending wouldn’t creep up on us so much.
Yet, it does. Although it doesn’t have to be this way. We can make things easier for ourselves. We can increase our awareness and have a better idea of where our money is going.
Things have even gotten easier because we can now use cool apps, websites, and other tools to stay on top of things. But before I myself used any of them, I was just like any other clueless college grad trying to figure it out.
There’s even a saying “out of sight, out of mind” and I don’t know about you but I can definitely relate to it. In my early twenties, my spending was out of control.
While I learned a lot from my parents, nobody ever sat me down and really taught me proper spending habits.
As a result, I’ve hurt myself in the long run financially because I had to learn some pretty harsh lessons about money over time. Including one of the most important ones: I need to budget and track where my money is going.
How Lifestyle Deflation is Helping Me Get Out of Debt Faster
After graduating from college, I had a nice new job. I was making pretty good money but nothing too crazy. Then, I moved around a bit and I was getting ready to lease my fourth apartment so I decided to splurge a bit.
I never lived downtown and in a big city so I wanted to experience it. An at the time, I let my wants outweigh my needs and ended up getting a nice apartment on the thirteenth floor in a brand-new building.
It was in the heart of downtown and I didn’t know how expensive city living could get until after the first few months. Damn was I in for a surprise.
Long story short, I did a terrible job tracking costs and they added up fast. That mistake has come back to bite me because if I did a better job researching I wouldn’t have been in that position.
Still, you live and you learn. So, learn I did.
Today lifestyle deflation is helping me get out of debt much faster. I’ve moved into a more affordable apartment with my girlfriend.
This has reduced my recurring expenses, and I now eat out less and cook more at home.
Also, eating less food overall has not only helped my pockets, it’s helped my overall health too. You’ll be surprised how much fasting and just eating less overall can re-set and do wonders for your body.
Furthermore, I’ve even switched my wireless provider. Which, can save you hundreds over the course of the year as well.
Plus, if you’re a military veteran living in the States, T-Mobile is amazing. They’ve got some sweet discounts you can use to save you even more money.
Finally, I restructured my insurance coverage with my provider to save more money while still having great coverage just in case I need it. By the way… don’t think I’ve got it all figured out.
I’m still learning as I go, I’m more aware of my spending habits and I’m finding new ways to save. Plus, just like many of you, I’m still getting myself out of debt as well.
But since I’ve started tracking where my money goes and have a budget in place, things are improving quickly. Oh yeah!!!
Cutting Your Three Major Life Expenses Can Go A Long Way
You too should find ways to reduce what’s widely known as the three major expenses in your life (housing, food, and transportation).
By making some sacrifices today in just these three categories you can accomplish your goals and get what you really want out of life even faster.
Maybe it’s a nice vacation, a new house, you wanna get married soon, help your loved ones out, or maybe you just don’t wanna work your nine to five forever.
Trust, I’ve been there, working at a job that left me feeling unfulfilled in life and just drained my energy. Having to work forever and do things that don’t make you happy has to be one of the worst feelings ever.
But, you don’t have to accept that reality. And your dreams are worth more than money.
You can change and should start as soon as possible by doing things that will help get you out of that position faster.
Write down what you want to accomplish and make a plan of how you’re going to get it done.
Don’t have to wake up and head to work every day feeling down because you have to do something you don’t wanna do. Make a list of your expenses and if you think you can do without something, get rid of it.
Go reach out to your insurance company, wireless provider, and examine those monthly bills to see if you can reduce them. Do some research and see if you can eventually move somewhere else that might not be as nice but it’ll be cheaper over the long run for you.
Start tracking and keep in mind what you eat on a daily basis to find out where money can be saved, eat out less. Then cut back where you can.
Grocery shop more efficiently and consider if meal prepping is right for you each week. I know for me, making two to three meals in bulk throughout the week has been a great decision. Plus, I don’t have to worry about what I’m going to eat when I’m feeling hungry.
Regardless, we can all become more aware of our money. From how it’s made to how it’s spent, saved, helping or even hurting us. Learning about money and the role it plays in our lives like many other things never stop. There’s always something new and more we can learn to better both ourselves and the lives of our loved ones.
Discipline and Awareness Will Save You Money
Money is a necessity in our lives. Unless of course, you decided to live off the grid, are filthy rich or just don’t have to worry about it at all because you have a generous significant other providing for you.
However, for the rest of us, money plays a huge role in our lives. Especially if you’re living in a consumer-driven place like America.
Take command and responsibility for your money and financial life. Start making more, saving more, investing more, and yes tracking more.
Distracted spending doesn’t have to happen and with some effort, it can easily be prevented.
Unconscious spending is a lot like getting lost on your phone.
You’re hard at work trying to get something really really important done but the usual distractions keep happening.
You end up grabbing your phone, scrolling through Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, YouTube or Snapchat. All of a sudden, it’s 10, 15 or maybe even 30 minutes later. Let’s hope it’s not an hour, and you finally realize what you’re doing and eventually, you get back on track.
However, if you were more aware that was gonna happened, maybe you would’ve never grabbed the phone to begin with.
Nevertheless, when you connect “mindlessly” reaching and scrolling through your phone leads to wasted time, you make more of an effort to stop doing it as often.
This scenario happens so often to people throughout the day.
Imagine if we recorded and tracked all the time we spent wasted on things we know we shouldn’t be doing. I know for me in the past that time would add up pretty fast because I was less aware of what was happening.
Now, imagine it’s your money and not your time that’s being wasted.
You’ve been making small or even big purchases here and there. Sheesh, over time a habit like that can quickly spiral out of control and lead to debt.
Yet, if you were more aware, you’d never let that happen right? Well, guess what!
It’s so easy to keep track and be more mindful of where your money is going.
You can use technology to your benefit. Spend some of that time you would normally let slip away on social media and keep track of things better.
All you have to do is gather your information, visit their site or download an app and boom they’ll walk you through the entire setup.
After that, all you have to do is check in every day or two and see how things are going. You’ll be more aware of your money and probably won’t wanna spend 5, 10 or 20 dollars on something you don’t need.
By the way, the same thing can be applied to your credit score with apps/sites like Credit Karma and Credit Sesame. While we’re at it, your local bank probably has a free app, site or tools within their apps that you can use.
Changing Our Money Habits Take Time
Most of us reading this already know exactly what we should be doing. From saving to budgeting and investing. The problem is we just don’t do it or do it often enough. We might start but eventually, we stop because we get distracted. Nevertheless, you can and will recover once you identify what’s going on.
Awareness and keeping track of your money is a lot like going on a road trip. When you focus and put your all into going from point A to point B, you’ll arrive much much faster. A lot faster than if you were to keep stopping and starting at every rest stop along the way because you had too much water.
So, get more focused, monitor and keep track of your money and where it’s going. Do this at least once a week and in a couple months, I’m sure you’ll notice a change for the better. It won’t happen overnight though, patience is required as it is with many other things in life.
Thanks for reading, hope you learned something new from this to help you save and invest more.
Let me know your thoughts below and don’t forget to share this with someone who’d benefit from reading it as well. We’ll be sharing more tips and strategies so don’t forget to subscribe and receive updates about new posts.
One Love! – Riley