“You earn wages, only to put them into a bag with holes in it.” ~Haggai 1:6
- Spend less than you earn is part of the answer.
- Be conscious. Tracking your spending is a good financial practice.
- If you can’t remember what you purchased, you have a money leak.
- Analyze your spending habits to identify and repair money leaks.
YOU HAVE MONEY ‘LEAKS’
TIME TO FACE REALITY
The reality is, skipping or not skipping the latte will not change your life. Neither will splurging on the fluffier toilet paper nor even spending a little extra on that wedding gift. But strings of decisions do matter.
If you eat every meal out, buy only the finest home staples, or make a habit of indulging your every gifting whim, then the costs begin to add up.
Beyond the golden rule — spend less than you earn — it’s hard to be prescriptive, because expenses are the result of so many individual decisions, many of which feel inconsequential as we make them.
So, rather than instructing you to “spend on this” or “don’t spend on that”, today we are challenging you to get in the habit of tracking your outflows.
Of course we know this is easier said than done. To control your expenses, you have to become a conscious spender and recognize where your money is going. A good starting point is to record all of your purchases, whether in a notebook, through an app like Mint, or on a spreadsheet.
Afterwards, you want to use this “data collection” to analyze your spending patterns.
As you begin to analyze these spending decisions, you will find that there are what we call “leaks” in your spending. If you picture your income as a water faucet, then your spending is the water hose.
Imagine a water hose that has holes poked throughout. These holes impede the flow of water to their rightful destination.
These “leaks” are any amount of money that you spend and are unable to identify what you spent that money on at the end of the month when you’re reviewing your bank and/or credit card statements.
The problem is that you don’t actively remember spending that money. It just leaked out of your account and was spent on something that was so trivial that you don’t remember it at all just a few weeks later.
FIX NOW OR BIGGER PROBLEMS LATER
Money leaks are absolutely disastrous to your financial state. You have an ample enough water supply (income), however, the holes in your water hose (spending) is causing the water (money) to not make it to end (month). If these are a patched up, or better yet, removed, then the water flow is increased automatically.
Couple this with an extra turn on the faucet (additional income) and we have a financial flow that gives us the peace of mind we all seek.
Our consumer-driven society makes it incredibly easy to overspend — and what’s more, when our income increases, we have a tendency to boost our spending. It’s called “lifestyle inflation.”
One of the most challenging parts of getting a grip on your finances is finding your money “leaks” and plugging them up. However, I challenge you for the next week to take a concentrated effort to identify and repair the leaks in your finances.
Before you know it, your money leaks will start getting plugged and your earnings will start staying in your checking account where it belongs.