Every money master knows one incontrovertible fact. Expenses can eat you alive and destroy your dreams of achieving wealth.
Some expenses are obvious—your mortgage, gas for your car, your morning latte. Others—the most dangerous—are the hidden ones like inflation and fees you might not even know you're paying.
In this chapter, we'll address both. We'll help you get a handle on what's coming in and going out, and then we'll tell you about some of those hidden expenses you might not be considering and can easily avoid once you're in the know. Pay attention because, for most of us, it's a lot harder to earn more money than it is to keep more of what we have.
The first step—the first essential step—to controlling your expenses is knowing what they are. That sounds elementary, doesn't it? In fact, it is elementary, but most people never take the time to track their expenses and find out exactly where their hard-earned money is going. It's one of the many simple money concepts that everyone is aware of, but few people actually put into practice.
To begin, get yourself a small notebook. For the next three months, you're going to keep track of every penny you spend, without fail. It sounds tedious (and it is!) but trust us, it will be worth the effort.
Start by keeping the receipt for every purchase you make, no matter how small and seemingly irrelevant. You might be surprised at how they add up at the end of the month.
This definitely includes the receipts for cash you withdraw ...