“Cicero called himself a semi-prisoner, but really and truly the wise man will never go so far as to use an abject term. He will never be a semi-prisoner but, will always enjoy freedom which is solid and complete, at liberty to be his own master and higher than all others. For what can be above the man who is above fortune?”
– Seneca, Letters From a Stoic, Letter XVI
How much…For your freedom?
How much do you make? It’s just us.
You know it. Right? And, of course, the still larger desired cascading string of zeros higher than your figure uttered, right?
That was easy. So… How much do you really spend each month? You know that to the penny too? … (I saw that coming Eric) You might be thinking… Who. Cares! I make $600k a month or have a ten-million-dollar liquid net worth, so, well, spending tracking, that’s for the less fortunate.
I can always earn/return more for any earthly exquisite desires that abound. Just need 10%+ returns, and $150k a year, no need to track Eric. Please stop the scary “scarcity” mindset thinking. I live in an “abundance” mindset.
Ah yes, but of course my friend, a small hole punctured a hundred times in different areas of any battleship will surely, and eventually sink it, no matter how fast water is pumped out. It will not sail any sea using even the swiftest winds of your strongest income. Sooner or later, the Joneses will knock, and ask… What happened to your yacht: “Pier Pressure.”
Tactics: Awareness of each action that can imprison you
American’s have around 50 financial transactions per month. 600 times per year you make a (un)conscious decision about who you give your precious stored life energy too.
Seas of illuminating screens trigger excitement and desire 24/7 to click, swipe, or add-on spending it here, there, and particularly everywhere. In 1970, 500 ads per day felt like a lot, but today 10,000 requests to spend, spend, spend, hit us. Daily
Start here with daily awareness, not monthly guessing.
(1) Know your number of transactions, on average per day, week, month; track your transaction count, not just the monthly total.
(2) Need a visual? Put all your receipts into a glass jar, or vase in your living room, and print out all online receipts.
(3) Categories are key. Bucket and assign what is what in your spending. Your Grandmother already told you: Simplify it. How many categories do you have? Maybe too many? Simplify. It will not be perfect.
(4) Usually, 80% to 90% of overspending happens in one to two categories. Where are the largest holes?
(5) Get a system that works for you. Use You Need A Budget, or keep trying until you find a method that works for you.
(6) A spending fast. Lock up ALL credit cards in a drawer. Fast from spending next week. Yes, of course you can afford not to, but if you have a spending issue, you can’t afford not too either.
Where do you feel the urge?
The pull to spend.
Amazon one-clicks? Expensive dinners with friends? Vacations? Cars? Clothes? Your kids? Wine? Why?
Strategy: Why we really struggle? Hint: It’s never really about the money…
Cashflow is a daily discipline and a game of choices. Awareness is self-actualization. The highest return one can earn is to know one’s true self. Not to lie to one’s self. So…This…Very…Next…Purchase…
Will this investment of your life energy create the best version of yourself? If you were a business, how would you explain this transaction to investors? Would it increase their return? What is this buy-this-and-that habit loop fulfilling in your life? Is it genuine connection with your husband or wife while they travel? Is it filling another void?
Maybe because you’ve “earned it,” “work hard,” and make “enough”? Is it a way you (try to) show love to your kids because you don’t ever see them? Is it really about acceptance in your peer group?
Excessive spending is never about the purchase. It’s usually about fulfilling an emotional need you have buried deep inside of you with layers and layers of each new transaction to numb feelings of shame, guilt, anger, and a longing for connection, or something that’s usually not about the money.
Your neighbors, the Joneses, will never afford the luxury of truly owning financial freedom. You can. It comes down to the next decision you make. I’m sure you’ll get another chance. Soon enough.
Freedom never goes on sale.