After giving birth to my son Levi, I felt more and more that even though I didn’t do too much shopping or made much savings, my money just…well kinda mysteriously disappeared.
I believe it’s a feeling most of the people have, but especially the ones having children. And well… it’s terribly frustrating.
As I didn’t want to give up all the things I like, I started looking for ways to better manage my money. I need to mention: I’m the laziest person I know when it comes to things I don’t like or don’t have to really but really have to do.
This meant I had to search for something that was simple, effective and resonate me and the things I like to do.
So I just started by laying down a list of stuff I would (in theory) like to do. (Almost) everything that crossed my mind as a solution. I came back to it a couple of days later, took a deep breath and started thinking: Ok… now, knowing me, which of those things I would actually put in practice in reality?
It turned out that many ideas SOUNDED good or very good, but the truth was that they didn’t resonate with my way of being. Or were things that I would never ever find the energy or time or will (the little that’s left of it) to make them happening.
So I crossed them from my list. And crossed again and again until I remained with only the three items below that sounded true to me: keep track of your expenses, increase your value, be persistent in your actions.
So let me tell my thoughts on each one:
1. Keep track of your expenses
The first step to get in charge of your finances is knowing where your money go each month. I had the surprise to see after doing this little exercise that I was spending much, much more money than I initially thought I did. 😐
I also noticed I was spending a lot of money on things I didn’t really need, but bought anyway (marketing victim anyone?) So what to do?
I created an excel file (you can use the same or just any app that helps tracking finances – for me after testing several of apps, the plain old excel was the best) and I created a sheet for each month. Then, inside the sheet, I’d put the day, and list below all expenses made that day. At the end of the month I’ll just create a filter a see how much I’ve spent on each of my categories: food, Levi, home expenses, personal development, beauty, clothing, outings, travel, unexpected payments.
This gave me a great (and also kinda uncomfortable) vision of my expenses each month. It’s scary each time you draw the line and make the math for the last 30 days. And it’s also uncomfortable to put every little something you buy in the excel.
For example, I noticed I generally spend most money on food, Levi and going out.
What are your biggest expenses?
If you would like to put in place a money tracking system like mine, feel free to leave a comment and I’ll try to help you get started. Taking on this challenge it’s totally worth it: You’ll see where you spend most, where you could spend less and how much money you actually need to survive. It’s one of the first steps to financial independence in my opinion.
2. Increase your value
The first step above helps you create a financial discipline. With better money tracking you should be able to have more for the things that you need and like. But as we will always have some bills to pay, having more money also means to increase your value to be able to push those financial limits.
Increasing your value means to me learning new things and improving your knowledge in some areas. But what should you learn? Not every knowledge you obtain is knowledge that you can monetize. So what would actually bring more money? A few examples:
- Look for ways to better do your job and put them in practice so you could qualify for a raise. Then ask for the raise.
- Look for a better position in your company and try learning the necessary skills to get there
- Try looking for a better position outside your company – going to interviews shows you what people are looking for and what you could learn to be better paid
- Start blogging about your passion – there are a lot of people out there that can sustain themselves through blogging
- Meet with people. People bring with them new opportunities to do business
- Read, read and read some more. Be connected to what is happening in this world and to the domains where you want to earn more money from. Knowledge is power – always true.
I like to sign up for feeds on the subjects I’m interested in so whenever I have a free moment I go check what’s new. My favorite is bloglovin. I choose my interests and I receive news daily from blogs that write about subjects I want to hear about.
Also, I have started learning french (1 hour a week because of lack of time). It’s not much, but it’s a little something that in time will add up to a bigger something. I am also reading each day on ways to improve my blogging knowledge, because my plan is to be able to earn money from it in the future. I do that every time I have a little break. But it adds up to an hour or two (made up from 5 minutes now, 10 minutes later, and so on).
Just like you I don’t have much time. Most days I feel I have no time. But as long as each day or week I know with at least 10 minutes more things than I did the day before, it’s the step forward to meeting my goals.
3. Be persistent in your actions
After you’ve chosen a thing or two to improve on, even if you have only 5/10 minute a day, or every 2 days, don’t stop. The first thing to succeed in something is to start. The second thing is to not stop. Don’t beat yourself up if you didn’t do what you planned sometimes or several times. Just don’t stop. Whenever you can, continue where you left and keep going.
If you put 10 minutes a day into something…in 7 days you will have put an hour and a half
In a month it would be like 6 hours (like…almost a working day)
In two months it might be about 10 hours
In 6 months that would be about 3 whole days you would have spend doing your thing.
When you look at it this way, it changes your perspective a bit 🙂
Persistence always pays off. Wink 🙂
You can also check: Heaven is for real