Living Well on Less: Real World Exercises

Each individual must choose a personal style of simplicity and make a plan to obtain it. A life of simplicity will materialize once you plan your activities, home and finances to harmonize and deliver you to your goals. Choose now to synchronize your efforts with your aspirations.

Exercise 1: Attaining Your Goals

  1. Write out your current goals on an index card, using your nicest handwriting (or type your list, using an attractive font, and print it out). Focus on them several times a day with words pictures and emotions, as if you've already achieved them.
  2. Keep this list accessible to you throughout the day. Refer to it whenever you must make a decision that requires any significant investment of your time, money or effort.

    Ask yourself: Will the activity you are thinking about take you toward your goals or divert you from them? True simplicity will always take you toward your dreams and goals -- your desired future.

Exercise 2: Creating a Money Map

Just as a daily to-do list organizes your time, a monthly budget can organize your money. Each of us is unique, thus each of our money maps will be molded by our differences.

Your individual lifestyle, goals and tastes, and those of your family, will influence your budget. This simple chart for your money is akin to devising a treasure map.

Please try to be as realistic as possible when listing expenses (I often try to over estimate). Also, try not to arbitrarily prune major expenses on paper, simply because the amount appears too high. If you cut the numbers too low, your goals will be nearly impossible to reach, and you will become discouraged and frustrated.

By being realistic, you can enjoy successful money mapping and avoid wondering where all the money disappears to each month. Your future is what you choose to make it. Decide now what your future will be. (To print out this page, just press CTRL + p.)

Monthly take-home earnings (your net paycheck) ________
Spouse's monthly take-home earnings ________

Auto payments________
Living expenses________
Food (home)________
Auto payment________
Insurance (home, life, auto)________
Child support/alimony________
Gas and oil for automobiles________
Medical and dental_______
Entertainment (movies, eating out and the like)________
Taxes (if self-employed)________
Monthly membership dues/school tuition (unions, classes)________
Commuting costs________
Monthly allowance________
Miscellaneous expenses________

Note: Earnings minus expenses equals the amount available to pay off debt, deposit into savings or invest.

Minus (-)
EQUALS = ________

Dreams, goals and futures are made through thoughts, actions and funds! I am convinced that money-maps and dreams-come-true are kindred spirits. If you find it difficult to follow a money map, don't give up.

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