Bringing Your Future Into Your Present: Where Did My Money Go? (Part 2)

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Bringing Your Future Into Your Present: Where Did My Money Go? (Part 2)

I Should Have More Money!

This past week, three people told me they needed help knowing how they spend their money. They’d like to create a budget; however, they want it to be realistic. I’ve repeatedly been told, “I’m spending money and I have no idea where it went! I should have a lot more money available. What’s an easy way to figure this out?”

Finding Your Hidden Cash

After you’ve created your dream, you need to know how you’re spending your money. Are your dollars going where you want? Your goal is to set a target for how much money you’re going to have at the end of the month. This is called your positive cash flow. The greater your positive cash flow, the more you’ll available to achieve what’s most important to you.

Keep Your Receipts

Whether you buy item with your credit card or with cash, we frequently visit stores and buy items that don’t fall into one category. For example, Target department store sells food, clothing and electronics. Your credit card statement doesn’t separate your purchases by category. This is something you have to do. Reviewing your credit card statement once a month poses another problem – you’ve forgotten what you purchased.

Identify How Much You’ve Saved

Place your receipts in a basket. At the end of each day, review your receipt and make a note of what was purchased. At the end of the week, review your future goals and then review each item on each receipt and yourself, “Was this purchase worth postponing achieving my goal?” If the answer is yes, this item will be included in your budget.  If not, circle it and write the name of the item and the accompany cost on a separate piece of paper. This document will be the list of items of savings that you’ve discovered. At the end of the month, you’ve identified the total savings you will make next month.

Over the next six months, repeat this process weekly. You’ll quickly identify the areas that challenge you the most. It’s really important to review your future goals BEFORE you begin reviewing your receipts. Why? You’re deciding if the purchase you made today was worth postponing reaching any of your goals.

Repeatedly reviewing your goals will enable you to say “No” without feeling bad. The yucky feeling of being deprived is your biggest enemy. The more money you have left at the end of the month, the closer you are to achieving that important dream. How do you feel knowing you’re going to reach your goal faster than you thought possible?

Celebrate Your Successes

Every time you are successful, celebrate! Don’t make light of your success. Celebrating will reinforce and ensure another success next month. Now you’re ready to create a realistic and doable budget.

Thanks for joining me. I’d love to hear from you. To learn more about how to keep your dollars working for you 24/7, let’s chat. The concepts are easy but they’re a bit counterintuitive. Take advantage of our articles, interactive materials, videos and, e-books.  Please send your questions, topics or suggestions to dennis@cashmapconsulting.com. You can also follow me on twitter at cash_map.

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