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What you focus on the most gives you many hidden clues as to where your hard earned cash is going on a daily, weekly, fortnightly or monthly basis. Budgeting is also important, because you're having a more empowering say as to where your cash is going at certain milestone points.
To really know what makes you tick, take a leaf out of Rockefeller's ideology. Track your spending. Irrespective as to whether or not you pay for items via cash and/or credit card, write down what you spent your money on, and how much was spent.
If grocery shopping at the supermarket (for example), write down everything itemised - yes, even for that chocolate bar or bars. Success leaves clues.
There was a friend of mine who wanted to lose weight and engaged in this activity. She was stunned as to how much she was (once unconsciously) spending money on things that did not serve her - including junk food. By engaging in this exercise, you will definitely become more cognisant about your spending activity. As a result of this exercise after 30 days, she started to purchase fruit instead of chocolate bars. Not only did she save about $50 a month, she also lost four kilos in the process.
Sure the odd expense may come up that you cannot control, like a tooth might crack and you'll need emergency dental treatment; yet the date this event happened can enable some self analysis prior leading up to this event, so to (ideally) not allow such mishaps to occur again.
To be able to manage money, and allow it to stick to you - you need to know where it's going on a daily basis. This exercise alone takes a bit of work for the first 30-90 days, and then you'll be doing this on autopilot. There will come a time where you become great with money, and therefore you won't need to engage in this exercise any longer.
Help yourself have more money than month at the end of any given calendar month. This will also curb credit card debt problems for many people.
This is interesting, Justine. I notice when I start to put my money to things like op-shop clothing I can afford and things like cheap cosmetics instead of comfort food, perhaps it is a good sign of increased self esteem. I know my Suzie's important to me because keep eye out for cute pet things and always give her yearly treatments....made me think. Thanks for your article.