A friend recently said to me, “Before I met you, I never thought I could afford to travel”. A few years later, she’s adventured across a multitude of countries while simultaneously paying down an enormous portion of student loans.
Many of us have no idea where much of our money is going, we feel strapped for cash, and like we can’t afford to work less or do the things we really want. We want change, but we don’t know how to get it. It seems out of our grasp- someone else’s reality.
Are you tired of your job? Want to buy your own home or pay off your mortgage? Motorcycle exotic countries? There are a lot of things we can change in our lives to get to a more financially stable place, and to realize our own big dreams.
Here are 3 easy and manageable steps to get you started:
1) Take out a sheet of paper, or open a document. At the top, write your monthly earnings. On the left side of the page, make a list of your basic expenses: Things like rent/mortgage, groceries, gas, bills, phone, and loans. Depending on your circumstances, you may have more or less.
Don’t include your shopping habit here, restaurant outings, etc. Label each item and tally up the total at the bottom. Below, circle the figure you have left over. Sure, there are miscellaneous expenditures missing, but if you’re like most Americans, you’re probably not putting even half the leftover amount into savings. Maybe your basic needs- or what you think are your basic needs- already take up all your income. Either way, it’s a good visual way to see how most of us lose track of where our money is going. Are you one of them?
2. Make a list of your top priorities, whether it be travel to Spain, pay off your student debt, or quit your job. Keep both papers as we’ll be getting back to them. For now…
3. Read Mr. Money Mustache. Join the cult. Get hooked.
We’ll tackle your other expenses soon, and all the small things – and the big ones- you can do to start putting that money to better use.