I hope you’ve started tracking your expenses by now… Any surprises?
Maybe you spent $100 on coffee at Tims last month (how did that happen?!)? Or maybe your monthly grocery bill is much higher than you ever thought possible??
The actual amounts don’t matter (there, that’s a surprise!). What does matter is the value you get in return for the money you spent. This distinction is why most people fail at improving their finances – they think they need to deprive themselves of the things they love to do so, and so they quit before they make meaningful progress. But that’s just not the case.
If you absolutely love your morning (and mid-morning, and afternoon, and evening) takeout coffee*, then by all means, enjoy that coffee GUILT-FREE (just don’t rack up costly credit card debt to do so)! I, for example, LOVE curling. I mean, really love it. I love the game, I love the socializing, I love bonspiels, all of it. I will never give up curling to save a buck. Nor will I ever skip post-game drinks (they are, after all, practically mandatory!) with my teammates because the value I get in return for that money spent is very high.
So, as you continue tracking your expenses, look for those that add insufficient value (or worse, no value at all) to your life in relation to the amount spent– because it’s your expenses we want to lower, not your quality of life!
* I’m not at all trying to pick on coffee drinkers! It’s just that takeout coffee is a perfect example of a small purchase made daily that can add up to a very significant amount over a long period of time (aka the ‘latte factor’)!