How to Discover and Prevent Hidden Money Leaks

money leaks princess piggy bank

Money is a touchy topic. Having money brings a sense of security and safety and allows us to keep up appearances so we feel more acceptable in the world around us. We can use it to look good and feel good, or even comfort ourselves when we are feeling low.

And yet, most of us feel some level of shame around it, even when we handle our money well.

Either we don’t feel we have enough or we judge ourselves for how we spend what we do have.

Feeling peaceful about money comes from using it in a way that is in alignment with your values and making conscious choices when you spend. It comes from finding the sweet spot between thrift and giving occasional gifts to yourself.

It is about discovering and preventing unconscious money leaks.

What usually happens though is that we get all fired up by someone’s expert marketing or something someone said and our mind convinces us that we “need” to buy things. Not necessarily big things. The little things add up too.

And in the end. we find ourselves with a lot of stuff we didn’t really need and probably don’t use.

How much could you have saved last year if you avoided these extra purchases? Let’s find out.

Get a notepad and pen and walk through your house listing everything you have purchased in the last year that:

  • You don’t wear regularly
  • Doesn’t bring value to your life
  • Are not using
  • You don’t really like
  • Forgot you even bought it
  • Didn’t live up to your expectations
  • You could have gotten free, like books from the library

Look in your closets, drawers, and on your shelves. You might be surprised what you find. When you have your list, go through and estimate how much money you spent on each item and then total them up.

Shocking isn’t it?  Keep in mind that this is meant to open your eyes to new opportunities for saving money and no self-judgment is allowed. Everyone has money leaks.

The first step to changing our habits is awareness and just imagine how much money you can save this year by shifting this pattern. Make a new commitment to using your money in ways that do not allow advertisers or the people next door to run your financial life.

What about the things you bought last year? They have become clutter and don’t belong in your home. Selling or donating them can help you anchor what you have learned and reinforce your new decision to play with money in a way that is in alignment with your values and goals.

If you would like the support of an experienced professional life coach to help you improve your relationship with money and take control of your finances contact me (Linda) to schedule a complimentary consultation.

Related Posts:

A Sense of Order Soothes Your Soul

7 Ways to Save Money on Entertainment, Recreation, and Fun

Letting Go of Stuff

The Pros and Cons of Simple Living

simple living flower simplicity

I have always felt drawn to living a simple life. It feels peaceful to me and helps calm my scattered mind.

At first living simply was a matter of necessity. I was a young single mother with limited resources and every penny counted. I could not acquire a lot of stuff and lived at a level based on needs with a few little extras thrown in.

Now, my simple lifestyle is a choice. Don’t get me wrong. It’s not perfect. I have “things”, but not as many as most people do. I gravitate toward light, color, room to move around in, and things that feel soft and snuggly.

I even joined the simple living movement and attended Simplicity Circles in the past, but there really wasn’t much interest and the groups eventually fell away.

That seems to be changing now as people are feeling more overwhelmed by crazy busy lives and brains that are overloaded. Clearing clutter, simple living, and minimalism are getting a lot of attention again.

Choosing to live simply is not about scarcity and living without. It is about discovering and focusing on what we find meaningful, beautiful, and useful. Our lives become full and rich because we have cleared the way to reveal what feeds our soul. 

There are pros and cons to choosing a simple life, but as you can see by my list below, for me the scales are definitely tipped in one direction.

The Pros

  • It feels calm, peaceful and less constricted
  • You are surrounded by things you really love
  • It’s easier to clean
  • You have more space and less clutter
  • You can find things quickly when you need them
  • It saves time and energy
  • Your ability to focus improves
  • Your focus will be on people and experiences before things
  • You are free from trying to live up to a false image
  • You know what you have and where it is kept
  • It’s good for the environment
  • You have more money in the bank
  • It’s less stressful
  • You can afford quality when you minimize quantity
  • You have more time and money to do what you love
  • You attract people who like you for who you are, not your image
  • You can cultivate more meaningful relationships and spend more time with family

The Cons

  • You have fewer things to give or donate to people in need
  • People may perceive you differently when you stop playing the image game
  • You may see them differently
  • You may trade old friends for new ones who are more open
  • Can you tell I’m really having a hard time with the cons list?

Living simply is not an all or nothing thing. You can try it out in a small way and if it feels good move forward at your own speed. If you are like me, each step you take will lead you to a more peaceful life.

In the meantime, you might enjoy these blogs about the simple life:

Be More with Less

Becoming Minimalist

Hip Diggs

The Minimalists

Joel Zaslofsky

The Simple Dollar

Don’t forget to comment! I would love to hear your thoughts on the subject.

Is Tidying Up the Secret to Happiness?

clutter teddy bear on couch with messy

Not too long ago I found myself feeling kind of low. I was in a funk. All I wanted to do was sit on the couch and read novels with a cat on my lap.

This felt great for a couple days, but eventually I knew I needed to get moving. I was turning into a slug and I wasn’t sure how to become human again.

As I drove into my garage one day after running an errand I could feel my energy drop. My garage felt heavy, like something that weighed me down. While mostly neat, piled along the left wall were all the things I was saving for a garage sale. Over time that area had become, shall I say, messy.

When I realized how yucky the garage made me feel, I knew what my therapy would be. I started going through the cluttered piles of things and after a couple hours of sorting, organizing, throwing away, and generally tidying up, I felt good about what I had accomplished. Even now, pulling into my nice and tidy garage makes me smile.

When our car, house, or office look uncared for it can be a sign that we are: Continue reading

15 Money Saving Tips that Help You Avoid Impulse Buying

woman shopping impulse buying

If you want to avoid impulse buying it may feel like the odds are stacked against you. Advertisers, stores, and even your peers are masters of hypnosis.  They hypnotize you into believing your long term goals don’t matter and there is nothing more you want in the world than to buy their product.

You become their puppet, disconnected from who you really are and what you really want.

Unless, you utilize the following tips …   Continue reading

How I Let Go of Cable TV

cable tv

A couple years back I got a great deal on cable TV. It was almost free when I bundled it with my other services.

When the special rate was over, I was astonished at how much the cost went up and decided to research other options. It wasn’t that I couldn’t afford it, I just couldn’t rationalize paying so much when there were other possibilities.

And so, my TV research adventure began… Continue reading

Slow Down to Get More Done

slow down get more done sign

My weekly schedule has it’s own little routine.  I generally have the same clients, meetings, and things to accomplish along with some time allotted for projects.  And yet, sometimes I struggle to get it all done, while other weeks flow with ease.  Why is that?

I have noticed an interesting pattern. There have been times when my energy was low and I told my friend (who is also the person I share my daily wins with) that I was going to slow down, give myself a break and just putter through the day.

What happened was always surprising.

I would feel relaxed, peaceful, centered and still get more done than on the days when I hit the ground running.

When I slowed down, I accomplished more.  It felt good, too.

Now, the trick is to remember and embrace this art of puttering through my days.  And, share what I have learned with you so that you can try a slow down puttering day too.

Too Busy? It’s Time to Spring Clean Your Schedule

too busy woman checking watch

One of the common concerns that my clients talk about is not having enough time.  They are working very hard and feeling very, very busy.  We often discover that they are operating in a time warp that is not based in reality.

Here is a process that will help you evaluate your relationship with time and begin to use it wisely:

1. Start by exploring and writing down what you value most in life.  Common core values include things like family, success, happiness, service, inner peace, religious beliefs, or love.  (Contact me if you would like a free list of sample values to work with.)

2. Make a list of all of the things that you spend time on or that call for your attention. (Appointments, meetings, things you do for your children, work, connecting with others, playing on Facebook, watching TV, organizations you belong to, housework, and more)  When it feels complete, take a moment to look over your list.  How does it make you feel?

3. Now, for the fun part.  Cross off everything on the list.  Everything! (Do it in a way that you can still see what was written beneath.) You do not “have to” do any of these things. Take a moment to absorb this.   It’s a clean sweep.  There is nothing left on your schedule or to do list.

4. Set an intention for creating a stress-free schedule that will serve you and your life.

5. Create a new list that only includes things that are in alignment with your values and supports the life you want to create.   Be careful not to add everything back.  This is your priority list.  Everything else is an option to plug in only if it feels meaningful, is in alignment, and you have plenty of time.  There is one exception.  If you have not included time for yourself on the list, please add it now.

6. Double check the list for illusions like the ones below:

  • Keeping you and your children busy with multiple after school activities may seem in alignment with your family values, but could really be limiting your special times together.
  • Spending a lot of time working on a website or marketing in social media may seem like a necessary use of your time, but it could be preventing you from getting out and connecting with potential clients.

7. Review your new list.  It should be much, much shorter than the original and feel in alignment with who you are and what you want.  It should feel more peaceful and leave space for spontaneity and magic.

8. Plug your new list into your schedule.

Now, doesn’t that feel better?

Don’t forget to leave a comment.  I would love to hear from you.

How to Clear Out Your Wardrobe When You Don’t Want to Let Anything Go

womens clothing clean out closet

With the change of seasons (not that it is very noticeable here in CA), I decided to pull out my winter clothes and see what I could piece together for my cool weather wardrobe.

I have to admit that while I am not a big shopper, I do like getting a good deal.  This has resulted in my having a hodgepodge of clothes, many of which do not go together.  It is challenging for me to clear some of them out because they are nice and might fit with something new I pick up in the future.  So, even though I don’t have a ton of clothes there is a sense of chaos.

What I want is a closet with nice, well made clothes that go together.  I want to open it and see a few complete outfits as my choices for each day.

And then, all I have to do each morning is ask them, “Who wants to come out and play?

This weekend I tried to tackle the project of clearing my closet.  I must not have been in the right mood for it because I kept putting back things that had been placed in the donate pile.  Instead of pushing myself, I simply accepted where I was at and chose an easier process that might work for you as well.

  • I discarded anything stained or damaged.  My two cats have a habit of putting holes in my clothes when they do that pawing thing before laying in my lap and I’m not really a fan of the shredded bag lady look.
  • I stashed summer clothing and things I was pretty sure I wouldn’t be wearing for a while in the back of the closet where they would be out of my line of vision.
  • I put together a few outfits for casual, business, and exercise/lounging with what remained and gave them center stage with lots of empty space around them.
  • I then turned all of the hangers for this season’s clothing backwards. When things are worn and laundered they will be hung the normal direction.  In a couple weeks it will be easy to see what I truly enjoy wearing.

My closet looks much better and the chaotic feeling is gone.  My choices are more clear each day and I am only wearing things I feel good in.  It feels very peaceful to have a simple wardrobe, even when I haven’t cleared it all out.

My intention is to return to this project for phase 2 in a couple weeks and move out all those items that I am not really wearing.  The experience of enjoying a simple organized wardrobe will make those choices much easier.