Money is a tool, not a goal, and you get more out of it when you spend it on the stuff that matters to you most. The problem is, it's easy to spend without giving it much thought. To get a better idea of your habits, try author Carl Richards' 30-day, three-second experiment. Money in shopping trolley image from Shutterstock
To pay more attention to your discretionary spending, Richards suggests trying an experiment for 30 days in which you take a few seconds after every purchase, look at your receipt, and simply state what you've spent.
This isn't designed to get you to stop spending money at all. It's just designed to get you to notice. We're trying really hard not to resist spending, not to judge spending. We just want to notice it for 30 days. Just take three seconds...You just look at the receipt and go, "Interesting. I just spent $79 at Whole Foods." That's it. That's the end of the exercise...It needs to be immediately right as you're doing it, or right after you're doing it.
It's so simple, but that's the idea: to take a short moment to process what you've spent. Ideally, after a month of doing this, you'll be a little more aware of your habits. Sure, you could just review your budget and do the same thing, but this forces you to think about it a bit more in the moment, as it's happened. For more detail, listen to the podcast episode at the link below.