What if you could take about 15 minutes a day and make a significant positive difference in your relationship with money? The 15 minutes you spend focusing on your current financial situation will ultimately save you time and money while reducing your stress. Money stresses many people out- that’s a fact. It does not have to be the case. So let’s talk about what you can accomplish in about 15 minutes a day.
Positive Money Mindset
It starts with a positive money mindset. If you don’t believe you can better your financial situation then you create a self-fulfilling prophecy. The thought comes before the action- that’s how it works.
Negative money language sounds something like this, “I am always broke,” “Money slips through my fingers,” or “I am never going to get ahead.” Rethink that and turn it into something like, “My circumstances don’t define me,” “There are ways to make multiple streams of income,” or “I am in control of my money.” The positive money statements are truths and they can become working principles in your life. The thought proceeds the action.
If I let my early life circumstances define me, I never would be where I am now. I knew I had to change my trajectory. It started with positive money mindset. I believed in myself and my ability to make money, learn and practice core money skills, live within my means, and grow my money. I was able to do this because my thoughts propelled me to take the necessary actions to make it happen.
So practice positive money mindset- catch yourself when the negativity starts to creep in and flip the switch- you can do this. It takes just a little time and it is a necessary component of getting on the path to financial wellness.
Track Your Daily Spending
Tracking your daily spending is eye-opening. I often get resistance when I talk to people about this money skill. People tell me it takes too much time, or it’s a pain, or they basically know what they spend. Yet, unless you track your daily spending you can’t have an accurate account of where your money goes.
To be able to create and maintain a monthly budget, which is a key building block to financial responsibility and ultimately financial freedom, you have to know how and where you spend your money. In today’s world there are so many different methods of payment, you can quickly lose track of spending if you are not paying attention.
For the purposes of this exercise of tracking your spending, it can be as simple as carrying a note pad and writing down what you spend money on every day. Or using the notes on your phone. Unless you track your daily spending it is almost impossible to remember exactly how and where you are spending your money.
This simple exercise will give you incredible insight into your spending habits. Of course some of our expenses are fixed necessary living expenses but there are many non-essential expenses and purchases that can add up quickly. This is not about limitations, it is about awareness and knowing where you money is going. Keeping your eyes wide open on spending gives you clarity, choice, and freedom.
These expenses will be input into your monthly zero-based budget. Stayed tuned for a future blog post on creating and maintaining your budget.
A MoneyMaestra Travel Tip
When I am traveling, I track my spending on my phone notes. So, if I budget $1,000 for spending on my trip, I jot down my purchases as I make them. At the end of the day I tally my purchases and get my daily total.
This way I know at the end of each day if I am on budget, under budget, or over budget and can adjust my spending accordingly. Using this method, I can better choose what I want to spend my money on during vacation and not come home with debt for a trip that has already passed.
Investing Time Upfront Ultimately Saves Time and Reduces Stress
So, in about 15 minutes or less a day, you can work on positive money mindset and track your daily spending. Getting in the habit of reframing negative money talk and being fully aware of how much money you spend and on what you spend it is liberating.
You are taking the guess work out and dealing in real numbers. You are working on changing your attitude and stress level as it relates to money. Money is a neutral- we give it the negative or positive charge. So invest a little time each day and get in control of your money. Ultimately, you will create good money habits that save you time, reduce your stress, and get you on the path to financial wellness.
Susan Howell, The MoneyMaestra