I recently read an article written by Laura Vanderkam in the Wall Street Journal a while back. The title was, “Are You As Busy As You Think?” The busy question didn’t really strike me. I have definitely had my share of busy over the years, but I’ve made corrections by releasing some activities that didn’t serve me or my family well. Even today, I’m protective of my time…very protective.
So with that being said, I transferred the meaning of the article to money and thought, “Do we really not make enough money to save or save more?” Her first two points were pretty simple.
The first was to keep a time log. The financial translation would be to keep a spending log and or a spending plan. Tracking where we’re spending our money actually could keep us from spending it frivolously.
The second point was to be honest…honest about what we’re really spending our time doing. How did I translate this point to finances? It was to be really honest about where our money is going. Is the spending majorly wants or needs?
The last point really made me think. She said…
Change your language. Instead of saying “I don’t have time” try saying “it’s not a priority,” and see how that feels. Often, that’s a perfectly adequate explanation. I have time to iron my sheets, I just don’t want to. But other things are harder. Try it: “I’m not going to edit your resume, sweetie, because it’s not a priority.” “I don’t go to the doctor because my health is not a priority.” If these phrases don’t sit well, that’s the point. Changing your language reminds us that time is a choice. If we don’t like how we’re spending an hour, we can choose differently.
To say “I’m not saving “x” amount of dollars per month (whatever your goal is), because it is not a priority” hurts. But as she states, that’s the point…it’s supposed to hurt because it reminds us that it’s a choice.
But how do we turn it around…
Firstly, we get motivated. The motivation will get us started which will then lead to better choices and new habits. Secondly, we find ways to save. This means taking a real objective look at where we’re currently spending money to see what could be either curtailed or eliminated.
A couple of my favorite suggestions are listed below:
- Bag lunch daily (or 3-4 times per week). This can be a huge savings. Most of us spend at least $10 which equals about $50 per week ($200/month) just on lunch. That little bit adds up daily.
- Comparison shop prior to all purchases. Use the internet to search for items you’re planning to purchase. You just never know if you’ll find the same exact item at a cheaper price.
The goal is to spend some, but to find a way to save some FIRST. I know that those who find a way to spend AND save are most happy because they’re balanced.
No, it doesn’t feel good when we deprive ourselves of all things for the sake of saving. But on the flip side it definitely doesn’t feel great to spend everything and have nothing left for emergencies. A healthy balance is required.
So, to create the habit of saving or to save more, start by making it a priority by paying yourself first. Begin with a small amount and increase as the spending plan allows and/or the habit solidifies. It doesn’t matter if it’s $10 or 100. You’ll notice that something amazing will happen…you will be given more. You will also find yourself energized by your accomplishments and eager to continue to do more.
You ready? Will you make the commitment to make 2014 your year of saving or saving more? Click here to let me know in the comments.
Image by Boston Public Library
Martin Luther King, Jr. Day of Observance: My Facebook timeline has been filled with beautiful acknowledgements for the late Dr. King. I actually spent the morning at a local church recognition service. I really didn’t want to go because there were so many things I needed to accomplish today, but after the program I was so glad my kids and I attended. I will be forever grateful for his contributions to the Civil Rights Movement.
Special Announcement: Registration is open for my course, The Tower Project. Registration will close on 1/31/2014 with classes starting on February 2, 2014. Click here to learn more and register: www.personalfinancenotebook.com/the-tower-project