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Money Management: Is Your Spending Out Of Whack With Your Priorities?

In General Budgeting, Manage Money by Phil McGilvrayLeave a Comment

I love this image because it we all know people whose consistently waste money on stuff they don’t need and then cry poor when it comes to paying for the things they really do need.

In fact, I am sure that every family has that one ‘black sheep’ who spends more on alcohol and cigarettes each month than they do their groceries, medication and utilities combined.

With this style of money management, how hard is it to feel any genuine compassion or generosity when they come looking for some help to pay the rent.

While it is really easy for us to point our fingers at the ‘black sheep’, I rarely meet a person whose spending habits are completely aligned with what’s really important to them.

Take a moment to think about your financial objectives. What are you really hoping to achieve financially over the next 12 months, 5 years or 10 years? Then think about what you have spent you money on over the last month. Do you even know where you’ve spent your money over the past few weeks?

As a budget coach it is a privilege to help people identify a household budget, work towards and achieve financial goals that are really important to them. I regularly meet with young couples whose stated goal is to budget and save enough to buy a house. However, it is not uncommon for their expenses to tell a completely different story, with hundreds of dollars spent every month on coffee, bought lunches, take away and dinners out.

When they see it done on paper most people are shocked at how much they spend on theses seemingly insignificant lifestyle expenses. No one purposefully sets out to spend so much on bought lunches, coffees etc. However,  like cigarettes and alcohol they become habits, an ingrained part of our lifestyle that rob us of the opportunities to achieve the things that are really important to us.

Of course it’s not just the smaller lifestyle objectives that can get in the way. How much we spend on our clothes, haircuts, hobbies, holidays and cars have a significant impact on when or even if we will achieve our financial goals.

If your goal is being debt freebuying a house or saving money to take the kids overseas, you need to consider how your spending on a daily, weekly and monthly basis aligns with that objective.

A big problem is we get so wrapped up in life that we rarely stop to really consider what our financial priorities really are. We vaguely know what we are aiming for but we have never taken it to the next level and got deliberate about making it happen. Without a deliberate plan of action, ‘busy’ just seems to get in the way and our lives become a series of expensive daily habits and rituals.

We may not blow hundreds a month on alcohol and cigarettes, but without a stated purpose and a deliberate plan of action it is inevitable that your spending will get out of whack with your priorities.

What are your financial goals? What areas of spending are robbing you of the opportunity to achieve those goals?

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