Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Know What You're Dealing With

For me, once I know that things aren't going well, my impulse is to ignore the problem since it seems easier than facing it.

When it comes to finances, though, ignorance usually only begets worse trouble. You know that thing where you look at your W2 at the end of the year and you ask, "Where did all of that GO???" Then you kind of tell yourself that you just wasted that much money and you suck and your a loser who can't control their finances? Before you berate yourself, get informed and find out just where your money goes.

Start easy. Spend a few days just pulling bills together.

Then, sit down and write down a month's of expenses.

Car Insurance
Student Loan Payment

Add in a section for irregular expenses. Car registration, memberships, oil changes, other maintenance, etc. 

Group them however you like. Personally, during this part, I like to group them into my level of influence on the total. Rent, insurance, etc. ? I really can't do much about in the short term. Groceries, gas, I can change my habits today.

It's an eye-opening experience. While in one way, it's good to see the amount that you can change and you look at and go, "Yeah, I spent way too much money on dumb crap this month." Often, you see how much of your expenses are pretty legit and not anything to feel badly about. For me, seeing that and recognizing that I don't need to be so hard on myself makes me feel good enough to go on and take steps to do even better.                                                               

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