April is Financial Awareness Month. This month is really about being aware of "the state of the union" when it comes to your personal finances. To do that, I've got a couple of exercises that I encourage you to try.
Challenge #1: Just Say NO!
This can be a tough one but it's all about creating good habits. Could you go for a week without spending money? Imagine what would happen for your goals if you just stopped all unnecessary spending for a period of time. As a society, we commonly purchase things on impulse and don't even really stop to think about the impact that has on our overall spending. Most of the time, we end up buying things we don't need or maybe we already have it but just can't find it. Your challenge is to only use money for bills, necessary groceries and gas for the car. Be sure to write down the money you would have normally spent if you weren't doing this challenge and then take that amount to the bank and put it in savings or towards debt. Once you've done your week, come back and let me know how you feel!
Challenge #2: Use Cash!
It's too easy to just swipe a debit or credit card for purchases that sometimes we don't even remember how to get cash from the bank. Studies show that you will spend 12-18% MORE on your purchases if you use any kind of plastic (even debit cards!). The detachment from "real money" causes us to overspend. For the next 7 days, commit to spending only cash. Figure out what your spending budget is and get exactly that amount from the bank. Then, don't spend more than what you have on hand. If you get more in the store than you have money for, put something back. If you have to say no, check in and see how that feels. This is the beginning to setting some healthy financial boundaries!
These are just 2 challenges to help you create financial awareness. I'll check in with you later in the month to see how you're doing and to give you a couple more challenges to try!