Last week, I was sitting at my computer with a shopping cart full of clothes. Before I clicked the checkout button, I asked myself two questions. Then I closed my browser without buying anything.
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What are the 2 questions?
Asking these two questions before making a purchase has saved me thousands of dollars (if not tens of thousands). Those questions are:
- Does this bring me closer to my goal?
- Does this bring me enough joy to justify a negative response to question #1?
Finding my why
Years ago, I was like the Ariana Grande song where she sings: “I see it, I like it, I want it, I got it.” I wasn’t reckless, but I was what you’d call a Spender with a capital S. I had a 401k and could pay all my bills. Any money left over went into savings, and savings went into trips and shoes.
Although I married a Saver (also with a capital S), Steven’s desire to save money for “a rainy day” didn’t translate for me. I don’t operate in the world of “what ifs” (this may explain why he’s a Keeper and I’m a Thrower-Outer). I wasn’t able to change my spending habits until I found my why.
When I decided to open my health coaching practice, I had to figure out where the money for the business would come from. Now I had a goal, and this was my why. It motivated me to take action. I read financial blogs and listened to podcasts on how to save money. Excited by my undertaking, Steven was ready and willing to eliminate some easy expenses with me.
The easy savings
- Cable tv we rarely watched (this saved us $200 a month!)
- Groceries we didn’t eat (meal planning and a shared grocery list app were key here)
- Car lease payments (we bought a certified pre-owned car when our lease was up)
- Monthly subscriptions we barely used (newspapers, gyms, etc.)
It was a great start, but I needed to change my spending behavior to make sure I could fund my business. Thus, the two questions were born, and I ask them before making any non-essential purchase. If an expense is in pursuit of my goal, I go for it. If it’s not, I evaluate the joy factor. Some non-goal-oriented expenses are worth it, but most aren’t. For example, we still go on vacation, but I’m no longer buying a trendy pair of sunglasses for said vacation when I have a functioning pair already.
Once I got into the habit of asking these two questions, our credit card bill was cut in half!
How saving money impacts overall health
Okay, you might be thinking, “Jen, you’re a health coach, why are you talking about how to save money?” Well, you’ve heard of financial health, right? There’s a real association between the health of our finances and the health of our selves. Have you ever lived paycheck to paycheck? Bounced a check? Had enough debt to crush an elephant? What do you think that stress does to you?
On the flip side, when we discover our why, or what motivates us, we unlock the key to what drives us forward. My goal doesn’t just help me spend better; it helps me live better by defining my priorities and making it clear not only where I want to spend my money but also my time.
Now it’s your turn to share. How do you feel about your finances? Where do you think you could save more or spend less? Comment below!