There aren’t too many things I feel passionate about. If you start a conversation about politics I’ll probably just let you talk. Talking about sports is great but doesn’t get me fired up.
Talking about personal finance is a great way to get me going. Specifically, having a discussion about spending is sure to get me talking.
It isn’t about budgeting. Frankly, I don’t care if you have a budget. I have a budget but it’s more of a loose plan to help us control large expenses. The entire goal of a budget (believe me there are several types) is to control your spending.
Spending is one of those things that just isn’t sexy. Its also one of those things that every one hides away.
A lot of people will talk about their investments (even if they’re horrible) but no one, and I mean NO ONE, will talk about their spending.
The crazy reality of it is your spending and the ability to control it is the single biggest factor when it comes to success in your finances.
A spending control example
For the last little while, I’ve been helping a family member of mine get her feet underneath her financially. She has never had a budget, claims to not spend a ton of money but really has no idea.
I downloaded her transactions, through them in excel and started to work my excel nerdiness.
Frankly, it didn’t take more than twenty minutes for me to identify some areas that she could improve upon.
When you’ve never taken a look at the actual numbers you have no idea what you’re spending.
Being the standard-bearer
I read a term a couple weeks ago that I wasn’t too familiar with. The term was standard-bearer. Here is the definition:
- soldier who is responsible for carrying the distinctive flag of a unit, regiment, or army.
- a leading figure in a cause or movement.
While I don’t plan on carrying a flag around around, I do plan on being a leading figure in a cause. The cause is the important of controlling your spending.
This topic just doesn’t get enough attention. Spending is so important to your personal finances and it just isn’t hitting home in today’s world.
Why not focus on earning more?
The question you are probably asking yourself is, but what about earning more? If you earn more don’t a lot of your worries go away?
Its possible they could. However, its not guaranteed. We’ve all read about the professional athletes going broke because they overspent their exorbitant salaries. I know, and I’m sure you do too, people that live nearly paycheck to paycheck even though they make a good living.
Earning more is great. Its definitely something to focus on over the long term. In the short term, earning more is not something you can control.
Spending is something you could start controlling today.