Make a budget and record all income & expenses
Keeping close track of where your money is being spent significantly changes your position from unwitting victim, to money mastermind. Rather than wondering where it all went, you become the director of the movie of your life.
Being a bookkeeper may seem complicated, but the process of tracking your wealth can be made extremely simple.
Take a blank sheet of paper and draw a line down the middle. One side is income, and the other is spending. List your normal monthly expenses (food, housing, transportation, utilities, entertainment, etc.) then record how much you spend beside each item. On the income side, list all forms of income, not only your job income. If you find 20 bucks on the ground, or are given a gift of cash, or win something, or get money from anywhere, write it down. At the end of each month, tally up both sides and track the totals. Start a new page each month. From there you can easily see where the money is coming and going and adjust your budgeting plans going forward. The key is to consistently record everything. Diligence in this area pays off big time!
Take a closer look at the stuff you buy in each category
A great example is the category of entertainment. Some people say they are strapped for cash (or in debt), yet they spend about half as much as they spend on rent on frivolous entertainment.
Do you really need entertainment? No – especially if it means you feel stressed, overwhelmed and are in debt. If that’s the case, cancel your cable T.V. – you won’t die without it. I’ve never paid for that and am doing just fine.
If you don’t work online from home, you could disconnect your internet too until you get your savings into an acceptable condition. Some people who do work online from home disconnect anyway, such as Joshua Fields Millburn. The bonus (as if being debt free isn’t enough) is that you may be surprised how much gets done around your home without the constant allure and distraction of TV and internet. My partner and I chose to live without TV, phone, or internet for 3 years.
Who knows, you may surprise yourself by choosing to keep it that way once your finances are in order.
I wish you all of the Abundant Minimalism in the world, as well as joy, peace, and debt-free awesomeness.