Take off all your clothes and stand in front of a mirror.
It's uncomfortable, right? Every flaw is staring back at you reminding you of the pint of Ben & Jerry's you finished after a long day at the office and the workout you traded out for brunch with the girls. The mirror won't lie to you.
It's uncomfortable and raw and vulnerable. No one likes the absolute truth but how long can you keep telling yourself little white lies?
So, get naked. Physically or hypothetically, no judgment from me. You need to be transparent for this to work.
Where is your money actually going? Are you saving enough? Planning for retirement at all? What expenses do you have and may have in the future? Where is this girl trying to go with this? Hold on a sec, I'll explain.
I dated a guy in college who was financially dependent on his parents, which is fine. We can call him Will for the sake of the story. This guy only ever ate fast food or at sit-down restaurants. His dad blindly paid the credit card bill every month and Will never had a clue what his bill added up to. This worked just fine while he was in school, which was their agreement. Approaching graduation, his dad sat him down and had Will look at how all his purchases added up from previous months. Will had to stare at himself naked in the mirror for the first time.
Each purchase was anywhere from $7-$12, seemingly not much at all. But even a first-grade math student could tell you how fast small purchases can add up. His bill averaged $2,000 every month. It was a huge honest wake up call.
It's easy enough to blindly swipe a plastic card and subsequently blindly pay a balance off. It's also just as easy to look in the mirror and lie about where your money is going. Have you ever tried to solve a problem? I'm not talking about a small relationship spat you threw a Band-Aid at or that half-assed apology you accepted with a shit-eating grin. I'm talking about sitting down, getting raw and uncomfortable, and actually figuring out what the real fucking problem is before you blindly attempt to patch it.
That's what we're going to do here. We’re going to get naked, uncomfortable, and be transparent with ourselves. We are going to get to the true root of the problem before we even begin to look at solutions. You can't attempt to budget until you honestly know where your money is going. I need you to track each and every purchase you make. Start a notebook, formulate a spreadsheet. Whatever works. Don't write down that your morning coffee costs $2. Look yourself in the mirror and admit that it's actually $2.75.
Why is this girl getting all worked up about 75 cents?
It adds up. Every single cent needs to be accounted for if you're trying to reach your goals. I know it sounds tedious and mundane, but I promise you this works. Spreadsheets are just as honest and unforgiving as mirrors. When I first started this, it was a huge slap in the face where my money was going. $500 on alcohol in one month? Okay Amanda, definitely time to reevaluate. I know you’re sitting there with a judgmental ass look on your face calling me an alcoholic, but would you like to add up your number and get back to me? Cool.
The point is, I got uncomfortable and looked my financial situation in the eye. I know exactly where every single penny of my money goes. I got to the root of my issues, Sportsman’s cheese balls and all. I identified the problem AND THEN found a solution.
Get naked, get uncomfortable. Start tracking all your purchases. Transparency is key. Look at all your financial flaws as there are, and then we can create a solution together.