spending on purpose: my personal experience
Have you ever asked yourself where your money is going? I recently asked myself this question. To give some background, after working in personal finance for 11 years, I started my own financial planning practice two years ago. Saying goodbye to a steady paycheck is scary and a huge step of faith, to say the least (though there have been many great lessons learned in the process which I’m happy to bore you with 😊). Through this process, my wife Rachael and I had to plan and adjust our finances. Basically, our spending plan was this, don’t buy anything unless it’s absolutely necessary. Thankfully, my business has grown steadily and the initial stress and fear have subsided. As our income grew we spent a little more freely, but we didn’t really feel more financial freedom. After discussing this we realized part of the reason was that we weren’t making purposeful spending decisions. As money came in I put some of it into my business and we occasionally purchased more than the bare necessities. However, some areas that we felt were important to us weren’t reflected well in our spending. When we sat down for a recent “budget meeting” we discovered that since there was a gap between what we wanted to prioritize and what we were actually prioritizing, there was uneasiness. We’ve worked on fixing this and being self-employed means having to make adjustments more frequently, but it definitely feels much better when our priorities and finances are aligned.
I help others work through these types of transitions, some of which include: marriage, job change, retirement, divorce, etc. However, in working with others to improve their finances I realized I needed a tune-up myself. When you find yourself in any of these situations I recommend you evaluate your situation periodically. The process isn’t always fun or easy, but the result is a greater sense of control, freedom, and confidence. It will also help you realize your financial goals rather than having a picture in your mind of what you want things to look like only to realize too late that the picture will be nothing more than a dream.
Spending Plan Tip: Use what works best for you whether it be an app, spreadsheet, pencil and paper or a cash-based system. Also, if married be sure to create the plan with your spouse and build in some “fun money” for each of you to spend without guilt.
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