It’s a common conflict… you need to save money. You want to save money… but you don’t want to live on a restrictive budget that means you can’t ever do anything you love. Or have the things you want. Or travel or play or otherwise experience the life you want to live.
Because of the constant tension between what we should do for long term security or to alleviate stress and financial instability… and what we want to do to enjoy life in the moment.
And this conflict is why so many money programs and systems don’t work in the real world.
The sacrifice is too big.
You have to live on inflexible budgets that leave you no room for enjoyment. Expense slashing is standardized and doesn’t take into account what might have more meaning for one person than another. Wants vs. needs lists are equally strict allowing no room to customize for your own life.
As a result, you’re set up to fail.
It’s like a temporary, hyper-restrictive crash diet to lose weight. It’s unsustainable, sucks the enjoyment from your life, and leaves you feeling deprived.
As humans, we hate discomfort. At the same time we’re most motivated by pain. Pain and dissatisfaction stimulates motivation and growth.
You might be motivated for change given the current pain from your financial situation. But you might feel like a failed yo-yo dieter because you haven’t been able to sustain anything else you’ve tried.
The bottom line is, for any lifestyle modification, whether it’s eating healthy, exercising more, or getting control of your finances… if you can’t sustain it because it causes even more pain… you’ll never reach your goals.
I know this… I’ve lived it… and I created a different strategy with money that takes a holistic perspective on sustainable modern money management and wealth building.
To save more money, without sacrificing what you love and to reach financial security without ripping out everything that you enjoy in your life, take this two-step approach.
The key to building modern wealth and financial liberation…
Get reacquainted with your spending.
Expenses is not a dirty word.
It doesn’t have power over you unless you let it.
You can’t decide what expenses have meaning to you and give back to your life unless you know where your money is going.
The first step to getting control of your finances is knowing what you’re spending money on.
It’s the first place we all avoid looking when we’re in financial struggle because it’s wrapped up with a tedious task along with emotions of guilt or shame.
But you’ll never get a handle on your money if you can’t look at it.
When you decide to look it in the eye and make friends with it rather than being afraid of it, or worse, being a slave to indiscriminate spending, you’ve won half the battle.
So dive in and write out all your expenses from the past 30 days.
Separate out everything you need to live on – all your essentials.
Look for opportunities to keep those as low as possible going forward, but for now, move those off the list.
What you’re left with is your luxury expenses… and luxury doesn’t mean extravagant or unnecessary but they are separate from what you need to live on.
Your luxury list is where you’ll start to look at separating out meaningful from meaningless expenses.
Look for a return on expenses.
At the intersection of money and meaning, look for what return you’re getting from your expenses.
What are you getting back in exchange for what you’re putting out and how does it improve the quality of your life?
For example… if old budgeting would say eliminate cable altogether, but you get a ton of enjoyment from having it as an avid sports fan, then that expense has meaning in your life, increases your happiness and sense of balanced enjoyment, and isn’t just automatically a meaningless expense.
If an expense has meaning – keep it – meaningful expenses add to your life – you get a return on them.
If an expense does not have meaning – axe it… and take that amount that you were spending on that expense and set it up to automatically go into your savings.
Then take that amount of money that you would spend on that and instead put that amount each month on debt reduction and savings.
In my Mindful Money course, there’s a twist on savings where you aren’t just funneling cash into a low interest savings account where it just sits there… tempting you to splurge.
This modern money system instead takes the amount of money you’re saving from meaningless expenses and moves them across multiple savings accounts that I call buckets.
This “bucketing” creates a system of automatic savings in specific areas that build over time.
This system allows you to pay off debt faster and build strategic savings so that when you have an unexpected expense, want to take a vacation, need to fund a home repair… you have buckets of money that have been filling automatically each month that allow you to do that without racking up credit card bills and debt.
The result is that you save more, without sacrificing enjoyment.
It’s sustainable because it doesn’t add pain. In fact, it adds freedom. The freedom of knowing that you’re actively funding your future life and supplying for your future needs in an individualized, whole life method that works for your life.
You get a sense of freedom and peace and having enough.
You still get to enjoy the things that bring you satisfaction and you get to live in the moment and enjoy it.
But now you get to do it without sacrificing the things that you really love.
Download this free worksheet from my Mindful Money course and start separating out your meaningful vs meaningless expenses.
If you’re ready for more and want a step by step approach to creating customized financial liberation for your life, once and for all… check out my online money programs here….