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Financial Planning: Where Do You Spend Each Dollar? You’ll Be Shocked!

ken hayes

This is my actual wallet.  It has $1 dollar in it, and a bunch of receipts.  That’s why today my wife and I took a big step into adulthood:  we met with a financial adviser.  Some day we would like to retire, and that’s kind of what I thought this would all be about.  I was surprised to learn that it’s more than saving money for retirement.  It’s also about having more money today.  What?  Is this freaking magic or something?

So we decided we are going to review our finances in a couple revealing steps.  Maybe you could give it a shot too?  Let’s see if this fancy “money management” stuff works.

The first thing my wife and I need to do is track where our money is going.  Every dollar.  Off the top of my head, I can already see where I’m wasting 60-70 dollars a month.  Every morning I go and buy a cheap cup of coffee and 2 granola bars.  It adds up to about $3-4 a day.  If I go 20-25 times a month, it sure adds up!

So we write all this stuff down on a list and see where we are at.  Now I know where I can start to budget things.  (Our adviser hates the word budget, like the phrase “spending plan.”  Even before I’ve dove into every penny and every cent, I realize that I have more money than I thought I did.  It’s all from a few dollar purchases here and there that eventually add up to over $200 a month!   That’s a car payment!

Our first step is underway, and it’s going to take a serious look that’s going to reveal some stuff we may find somewhat embarrasing.  How could I spend $60 a month on Salted nut rolls?  Or $22 in ATM fees?  See how quick it adds up?

Next step, coming up with a spending plan and sticking to it.  I’ll let you know how that goes.  Take a look for at your own finances and you’ll be surprised!

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