4. Taking Control
A good way to get a clear picture of how much you are spending is to record every dollar you spend. It’s also a great way to refine your budget and make sure that it’s realistic. In Spending Head Matters, we followed Jose through this exercise and saw him find small but important places to make changes in his spending habits.
Consider carrying around a small notebook or a piece of paper and jotting down every dollar that you spend. Most of the time people are surprised by how much they spend on small items and how much that really adds up.
While focusing on cutting back on small often unnecessary expenses is a great place to start, you might also look at whether your larger expenses are appropriate for your income level and the financial goals you are trying to reach. If you are having trouble making ends meet and are spending more than you need on a “need” that has turned into a “want,” one important change could have a big impact on your financial future.
For example, let’s look at LaBron’s situation. LaBron is having trouble making his rent payment each month and definitely doesn’t feel that he has any money to save. He would like to buy a house, but has not saved toward a down payment. LaBron has trimmed his expenses in a number of areas. He makes his own coffee and lunches instead of buying them and he’s started buying generic items and paying attention when groceries go on sale so that he can stock up on the things he usually buys. LaBron needs a car to get to and from work and is currently leasing a newer Acura. He wants to reach his goal of buying a house, but just can’t seem to get ahead.
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