Excellence in the Ordinary

by Adam on November 2, 2012

Being ‘good with money’ isn’t something you can tick off a ‘To-do’ list.

It might sound obvious but how many times have you been ‘good’ by saving towards something, like a holiday, and then after the fact you go back to your ‘normal’ spending habits?

How many times have you tried to find some kind of balance after spending too much?

It’s pretty rare for me to here people around me lamenting on how much they had spent at the weekend. They often declare something like:

“I need to spend less…these last two months have been heavy”

Everyone has ‘heavy’ spending months from time to time but if you find yourself spending too much every month you may think the solution is to stop spending. But it’s not.

Here’s a few ideas to help you increase the balance of your  personal or business bank account, taking advantage of psychological tactics:

No spend days

One popular ‘trick’ people use to take control of their spending are ‘no spend days’. The idea is based on the observation that it’s too easy to go through a day spending small amounts here and there.

By forcing yourself to delay spending you become more conscious of your money habits and can tackle any problem areas in which you are spending a disproportionate amount.

It’s always a good idea to become more conscious about the things in which you are spending your pennies but the problem, however, is that no-spend days or their cousins, the no-spend weeks, are not sustainable.

Money Saving Cooking

The other day another friend was really pleased with himself as he recounted a recent victory: He had cut his grocery spending from £80 a week to £20 a week, with a simple ‘trick’ -writing a menu for himself and cooking at home every day.

It’s a great achievement
but just like the ‘no spend days’ the real test will be how long he can maintain this amazing cost saving in the coming weeks.

Binge Saving

Once you get into the mindset its relatively easy to ‘binge-save’. to pour every last penny into your business savings account . As your savings begin to grow you can feel the momentum and you are encouraged to save even more until you find yourself with an impressive nest-egg.

So far so good.

But as with most binges, there follows the purge…

Don’t misunderstand me – looking for ways to cut costs or making a declaration that you will reduce your spending are both great -it means you have more money to spend on other things.

Yet what most people miss is that if cutting costs makes you feel like you’re depriving yourself, then sooner or later you’ll, at best,want to return to ‘normal’, or, at worst, start spending extravagantly to make up for lost time.

It’s easier said than done but the real ‘trick’ to money is making sure you’re ‘normal’ spending is at a level that is less than you earn. It is not what you save over a week or a month, it is what you save over a year and ultimately over a life-time that really matters.

“We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, therefore, is not an act, but a habit.”
– Aristotle

You don’t have to be perfect -just be as smart as you can on the little things (as excellent as you can be in the ordinary), automate the big savings goals and then:

Get on with your life!

That way, it doesn’t matter how much you spent last weekend.

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