Often when I speak with people about money, one of the common complaints I hear is about how much things cost or that they can’t figure out where all their money is going. When I dig a little deeper with them on what they ‘think’ they may be spending on, some people don’t know, others come up with some answers and are fairly convinced they need these things. When I ask if they know exactly how much they’re spending on these things, I often hear “no”. If I ask them again do they REALLY need these things - the response is questionable. Sometimes yes, sometimes no. What we think we need and what we really need may not necessarily be aligned. And, when we are living in vagueness about our spending habits, we create stress for ourselves and in our relationships.
Money stress doesn't discriminate - whether you have a lot of money or live paycheck-to-paycheck, the stress of not living within your means has the same impact. It's like a slow leak in your energy - it's ever present and nagging. There's nothing worse than constantly being in the red - yet, not understanding why or what to do about it. I'm pretty certain that for many of us no one ever taught us how to manage money well. There was no class in high school that taught about the responsibilities that come with adulthood – earning a living and deciding how to create a lifestyle that works within that budget. Some of us weren’t taught that we’d be paying for things we want AND paying for things we don’t necessarily want but have to anyways – like taxes and the broken kitchen faucet. As a child, I didn’t realize that to live costs money. I figured somehow my mom just had the money to support our lifestyle and gave it to me when I needed it or fell short on cash. It was a wake-up call for me when I became an adult and was responsible for ALL my finances and my future savings. I had to start planning and stop living impulsively with my money. *Side note - I'm not implying that you cannot make a purchase on a whim - I am saying that in order to do so stress-free, knowing that you have the money to spend is critical.
Managing money and tracking expenses doesn’t have to be stressful – especially if it’s kept simple. I love teaching my clients that creating a money tracking system can be really basic – the trick is to stay consistent with it and update it regularly. Similar to losing weight – we have to know what we’re starting with (current weight) and where we want to be (what’s our goal weight?). From here we can see how we’ll need to customize our diet (or in money terms, our budget) to reach this goal.
Being clear and honest with yourself about where you stand financially is the starting point. This may not be easy for some but in my experience of coaching hundreds of clients on money matters, shifting from vague to crystal clear is hugely empowering. When you are clear about where you are today and where you want to be, the decisions to move you in the right direction will become more informed. Making better decisions based on accurate information is ultimately what will move the needle.
I love to help people with money – negotiating salaries, increasing business profits, creating pricing sheets for your business or simply creating a solid, easy to follow plan for your personal finances so you can save and spend without stress. Get in touch if you want support with your money!