Written By: Catherine Ellis

This week I want you to try these three simple steps. Send me an email, text, or give me a call and tell me your results. I am truly interested and will be following them as well to see the results.

The 3 Steps are as Follows :

  1. Learn the art of saying “No” or “I/We Can’t Afford it.”
  2. List items of gratitude every day; and
  3. Keep your Credit Card’s at home (or in the freezer) & Carry Cash.

My last blog went into details regarding the art of spending less than you make, and how to determine your disposable income versus consumer spending. For the next step, I WANT to help YOU. I want to ensure you reach your goals, by putting the above three steps into practice this week.

  1. The Art of saying “No” or “I/We Can’t Afford it.”

Our networks have shifted and grown, our social circles are larger and more diverse and with the connection of technology we have friends spreading across the globe. Would it surprise you if I said that this has resulted in it being more difficult for us to spend within our means? It has created mismatched earnings-to-spending patterns.

Imagine your salary is 40K vs. your friend from yoga who earns 110K, you both are thinking of purchasing the unlimited memberships to class. Well, for your salary the membership is 4.5% of your overall earnings, whereas for your new friend, it is only 1.6% of their overall earnings. That’s a 2.8% difference, meaning it costs you more than two and a half times as much of your income for the same membership.

Now, I am not saying to change your friends; having a diversified group of people to surround yourself with allows you to create more meaningful relationships with those who have similar interests, goals and values. It allows us to push ourselves harder and further and learn from one another.

We can benefit from the latter, whilst taming the big bad beast of spending by following the below principal.

Learn to say “no”.  I promise you will not hurt anyone’s feelings and people will understand. Other terms you can utilize are “it’s not in the budget”; or in this specific case, “I am going to attend the free yoga class on Sundays moving forward, care to join?”. Another common are where many of us overspend is eating out. How do we find solutions to veer away from a $50, $100 or $200 night out? “I pulled out an awesome recipe, care to come over for dinner instead”, or “I can’t do dinner but I can definitely meet up for a Happy Hour Wine or Tea over lunch” are some simple ideas. You need to provide alternatives to expensive hobbies and activities that are within your means. Skip the escargot and champagne! For the free movies in the park, car free days, or a picnic with friends on the weekend.

  1. List items of gratitude each & every day.

Envy is becoming consumed with what others have instead of what you do. Remember to be happy for what you have. It seems simple, I know, but we have forgotten the simple joy of being grateful for the things around us. We live in one of the greatest and safest countries in the world. Canada has well regarded health care, education, employment, safety, access to resources and housing. Be thankful for what you do have not what you don’t. This will allow you to concentrate on the items which matter most, helping to reduce spending resulting in a huge uplift on your mood, budget and stress levels.

Make a gratitude list every morning, list 5 things that you are grateful for they can be simple, complex, material or emotional. Here’s mine for today:

  1. I am grateful for my health
  2. I am grateful for my home
  3. I am grateful for my partner
  4. I am grateful for coffee
  5. I am grateful for being able to see.

That was easy, I feel better already and I bet you will too.

  1. Keep your Credit Card’s at home (or in the freezer) & Carry Cash.

When you buy something with a credit card or tap your debit card, do you even take a minute to think about it or experience regret? Probably not… it removes that step of contemplation to determine the strain (on our bank accounts) vs. reward (of the item, experience etc.).

The act of handing over a $20.00 bill for a new t-shirt vs. tapping your credit card produces a different reaction within your brain then cash, skipping a step and going right to reward, creating a “worry about it later” mindset.

Paying cash results in you physically seeing the money disappear.  It comes out of your wallet into their hands and they return you a smaller amount of money for your item. Paying with plastic can shield your eyes from this step; until your monthly bill arrives. Therefore, for many people it becomes easy to over spend and over leverage and limit our savings.

It’s time to go back to basics. Try it out.  As an example; you are now going to happy hour with friends on a Friday night to help with savings…. You have a budget of $20.00 (don’t forget the tip); say $4.00 for drinks and a $5.00 snack.

Now, go to the ATM, take $20.00 out and put your credit cards and debit cards back at home.

Leave the house with your ID, Bus Pass & $20.00 note.

How do you feel? Naked? Worried you won’t have enough? Test it out on your next activity.  I promise you will feel better and come home with more cash in your jeans, or at least having stuck to the budgeted amount. Which means, you can go again (if you stick to your budget!).