In my eyes, this week was split up into two parts: deep thoughts and practical steps.
Following last week’s examination of our core values and goals, the question presented at the beginning of the week was: Are you willing to give up the things that hurt you?
For me, these first steps were about building a solid foundation and committing to make financial changes–or any changes. When I know why I’m doing something and why it is important to my life, then I am far more likely to stick with it.
When I spent time thinking about the question presented to us, I realized that while I am willing to give up things that hurt me, I may not always know what those things are. Some things like a chocolate addiction or Starbucks habit are easy to spot, but even those have roots in other beliefs and core truths that could be negatively affecting us.
One belief I held for years was that I’d never have a good enough job to get a mortgage. This belief carried over to other areas of my life where it felt futile to save money because I’d never have a substantial enough sum for large purchases. Once I realized how much this belief was hurting me, I was able to make a plan to save using tools like the Life Pie and a budget spreadsheet. It wasn’t actually my job that was keeping me from saving or getting a mortgage, it was this negative belief and I made the choice to change that.
Our first money specific task was to track every food expense. This was clarified as everything you put in your mouth (including alcohol and edibles). The exception is medication, which would be a separate line on your budget.
Since this process is a Gail directed step-by-step, the tracking is only for food so far. I track all of my expenses in a spending journal as a part of my regular life, so I will still do this, but will also be tracking food on a separate page.
Having a close examination of my expenses is not something I’ve done in a long time, so I’m up for the challenge!
In addition to tracking spending on food, Gail has challenged us to track our savings. One Twitter user, reminded me that some grocery store receipts have a line stating your savings from your shop and this will make the savings easier to track. I’m hoping this will be an encouraging task–even though my first receipt tells me I’ve only saved $0.48.
What have your challenges been in this process so far? Are you looking forward to tracking your expenses?