Managing your own money comes with emotional baggage. You know what you like, want, and need, BUT it’s hard to easily categorize everything. Here’s a trick that works for me – pretend you’re actually managing someone else’s money. We all judge others day in and day out. Most of us want to point out where others could do better. Now turn those hawk eyes onto your own circumstances instead.
Think Like NOT You
You probably already cut, changed, or accepted your budget based on your norms (even stricter ones than usual if you are really in need). Now look at every category again and act like you are giving every tip you ever heard of to someone else.
For example, a mortgage payment seems set in stone. But if someone asked you how they could cut expenses, would you suggest that they look into moving if their mortgage payment is higher than necessary? Or would you suggest getting a roommate? Or would you suggest renting out the home if the rental market was excellent? Sure, none of those options may work for you, but would you even think of them if you were just being you?
Getting out of your own head could help.
Works for Me
I use lots of little tricks. Generally, I am motivated by my big goals. But I stink at getting out of my own head. For instance, I am not a “frugal blogger”. I don’t make my own laundry detergent or use washable toilet paper. But I did realize that washing all of my non-nasty clothes in cold water helps keep my gas bill below $25 every month once I tried it.
If I make myself think of every possible option, I usually find one that seemed odd before but awesome in retrospect. I used to take my old car to my mechanic any time it had any issue at all. But I was feeling especially annoyed one day about a spark plug problem, and then realized that I could solve the smaller issues at O’Reilly’s or Auto Zone. Not everything needs a mechanic. Spark plugs are way easier than most people know, and YouTube is a treasure trove for new knowledge. Online videos helped me replace the broken glass on my old smart phone too – $15 instead of $155.
Overall, looking at my own money like it is a random stranger’s instead has ended up leading me to thousands of dollars saved that I would probably have wasted otherwise.
Have you ever tried something financially that seemed way out of character and it turned out amazing? Or the other way around – ever try something that ended up costing you in some way?