What Did You Eat Yesterday?
So random but it will make sense, I hope
So I was home (parents' home) just to check in on my Mom and Sister.
But really it was all about the good home cooking.
Somehow, we started discussing how to loose weight. Through the course of the discussion something really stood out. As we were trying to figure out the best steps to take for our weight loss journey, we started talking about our nutrition (cause I do not believe in DIETS). I noticed we kept on coming back to the same place. Every single person talked more about What we did not eat.
It was like going in circles, we would start with an idea of how to manage our diet but end up back at "Well, I don't eat cakes or breads or that much oil or salt etc." We were not making any progress at all.
When I realized this I decided to ask a different question, "What are we actually eating?" But this was not a great question because it still too vague. It led to just thinking about all the things we have ever eaten and we started going in circles again.
So I switched the question to "What did we eat yesterday?" All of a sudden, our mouths stopped moving and we had to think. This question stomped my sister and I, but my mom without missing a beat listed everything with the quickness.
Here was the difference. My mom is a bit older and she has to be mindful of what she eats on a regular basis. This gives her an advantage of paying attention to what is entering her body at all times (maybe not all times). She is selective when she packs her lunch for work. She is also selective when she eats dinner at home. So to her that question was an easy one.
However; for my sister and I, the question was a bit harder to answer. Because food was something we did passively without much thought. We also suffer from what I like to call work-ism. Which is when you are so engrossed in work that you forget to eat. So answering the question of "What I ate yesterday?" is a hard one because first we have to answer "Did I even eat yesterday?" Which leads to another question of "What did I do yesterday?" Which takes us a minute to think through and determine an answer. In the end, we had no real clue of what we ate.
It’s the same thing that happens to us in our finances. We just wing it.
We have no idea what is going into and coming out of our accounts. We just know, I will be paid on Friday and I will pay my bills. We have no idea what we spend our hard earned dollars on. So we just survive the day to day and can never REALLY THRIVE. No matter the amount of money we make.
So the question becomes:
How do we fix this so we can begin thriving?
The solution is something my dad says,
"In order to go on a journey; first, you must have a starting point."
Think of Google Maps, in order for it to direct you to your destination. It asks if you would like to start from where you are or another location. Based on that information then it creates a route that will be best for you. We have to do the same thing in our finances.
First, we have to determine where exactly we are. We have to determine where our money has been going. When we know this, THEN we can create a plan of action to create the thriving life we all desire.
So that's what my sister and I decided. WE would spend time paying attention to what we ate by writing down every time something went into our mouths. This way we actually have an idea of what we need to do to accomplish the goal of losing weight.
And just like with Google Maps, it does not try to make changes at this time. It just takes in the information. This is not the point where you start trying to adjust things and remove and add.
This is the information gathering stage. You need to know the exact starting location so you can face the true reality of the situation. Some people might discover, "I'm not so bad after all." And some of us will discover, "WOW! I AM A LOT WORSE THAN I THOUGHT!"
But either way, you will have the power to pursue your goals.
A few ways you can begin tracking your expenses:
Use an app like Mint.
It will connect to all your accounts and categorize your spending
It can take some setting up to properly allocate somethings
It is the easiest method to do this (I prefer the website)
For other app options, check out this article from NerdWallet
Excel or Google Sheets
There are a bunch of YouTube Videos, Templates etc. for this method
I have no recommendations cause I do not like this method
You will need your various account statements to do this
Paper and Pencil (Ole’ Faithful)
Get a notebook or a checkbook and every time you spend money write it down in the notebook
At the end of the month, create your categories and determine your numbers
I still use this method because I do not trust looking at the balance in my account AT ALL.
If you do not mind, share your realizations with me. You can email me @ firstname.lastname@example.org or reach out on IG or Twitter. I want to hear some of your stories of how this process has gone or is going for you.
Thank you for reading.🙏🏾
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Remember GENEROSITY > greed
God bless Each and Everyone of y’all