Treat Money Like A Game and Win Every Time
Growing up my friends and I all used to play football (soccer for some) for our school teams. In fact we’d play football pretty much every day. We would meticulously watch and pay attention to areas of our game we needed to improve; how many goals we scored; how many critical passes we made; how we dribbled. All this in the hope of improving our game and finding marginal gains. We were great at tracking our own progress and trying to find ways to improve our game.
It took me a long time in my adult life to realise that I had to treat my money in the same way I approached games as a kid; I had to keep track of everything I did and try to find marginal gains and improvements.
For the longest time I couldn’t understand where my money was going or how I spent it. My payslip would roll into my bank account, some direct debits would roll out, a meal out here, some new clothes there and just like that it was all gone. Every time I got a pay rise or some extra cash, it would inevitably disappear without making an impact. This was of living became frustrating over the years as I couldn’t make any financial progress.
It was only once I started delving deeper into my spending habits on a regular basis did I start to find patterns in spending that were having a detrimental impact. So for the last few years every 2/3 months or so I now try to sit down at my laptop and trawl through all of our bank account statements, direct debits, savings and investments accounts etc to get a clear idea of our financial health and finding ways to improve it.
I log on to all of our online bank accounts and download statements for the last 3 months in Excel format. I then go in and categorise the expenditure e.g. food shopping; travel etc. This process is much easier now as newer banks like Monzo and Starling will provide you with this data constantly.
3 Steps To Improving Your Financial Health
Once I have all the data in front of me I then follow 3 keys steps:
Step 1 — Compare Expenditure With Our Budget: The first thing I like to do is simply take a look at how our actual spending compares to our budgeted/planned expenditure. This will quickly tell me if our budget is over optimistic and needs to be adjusted. There’s…