Last week I had two very different experiences, both involving £3 and lattes.

(Sorry in advance for using the over-used latte example. But I can’t rewrite my real life so just hang with me, ok?)

Thursday I went down to the business cafe that I work from a few times a week. It was busy, I was tired, and when they asked if I wanted a latte — like they do every single time I walk in — I said sure. It wasn’t memorable, other than the fact that it was not warm enough. I really hate it when lattes aren’t hot.

I handed over £3 coins and went about my day.

Fast forward to Sunday. Jordan and I piled Henry and Hattie into the car bright and early. He was running a 10k on the grounds of a gorgeous English manor and the rest of us were just along for the ride. Shortly after the start of the race, Henry fell asleep and I was left to stroll around the massive grounds in solitude. I stopped by the little tent selling lattes, handed over £3 in coins and took a long walk through the fields. The sun was in that perfect position — just peeking through the tall, leafy trees— the birds were chirping and the cows were laying in the field. My latte was creamy and I savored every sip fo my very peaceful morning walk.

Each cost me £3. But one was so much more valuable than the other.

 

The value of $1 (or £1) isn’t created equal.

Studies tell us that we get more meaning when we spend our money on certain things: things that save time, gifts for others, and experiences.

But it really goes beyond that. Certain daily, weekly, or monthly expenditures can add way more happiness to my life. And when I spend money on those things, I am happier. I’ve written about this many, many times before, but this is what makes our no-budget work. We spend on the things that truly make us happy.

And guys, this isn’t just me sitting over here saying we should try to get the most happiness out of each dollar that we spend. It’s related to the economic concept of marginal utility, which basically says we, as consumers, try to get the most value (or happiness) from each dollar spent. I think my econ professors would probably give me a solid C- for that description. It’s probably a good thing my econ career ended at graduation.

 

Finding money leaks

I’m pretty good at spending my hard earned dollars on things that make me happy and saying not to things that don’t. But I’m definitely not perfect. So I downloaded my bank statement from the past few weeks and went through and highlighted every single transaction.

Green = a ‘yeah’ purchase that made me very happy!

Red = a ‘meh’ purchase that I kind of regret making

Yellow = a necessary purchase that I had to make

In the last three weeks, I’ve had £84.81 of money leaks. That’s $115 in 3 weeks.

When I highlighted things like this, it was easy to see what was a ‘meh’ purchase and what was a ‘yes!’ purchase. Things didn’t break down along the “I don’t get joy from clothes/lattes/eating out” lines. It was a lot more nuanced than that.

For example, I’d been searching for years for the perfect striped shirt and I finally found it. It literally brings me so much joy even when I just see it folded in my drawer. But I also bought a sweater from Zara only to realize that I kind of feel frumpy in it and there is a small hole on the arm that makes me angry. I spent £3 on postage returning something I didn’t really want in the first place (a meh purchase) and £1.50 to send a card to a friend (a yeah! purchase).

And then, of course, there’s the latte.

 

Do the work

So now it’s your turn: sit down for 15 minutes and find your money leaks. I promise you, they’re there even for the world’s best budgeter. But remember, the goal isn’t to feel bad about what you’ve spent on. It’s to help you find space for more of the ‘yeah’ purchases and less of the ‘meh’ purchases.

SIMPLIFY YOUR MONEY. LIVE YOUR LIFE.

A guide to help you embrace freedom, overcome overwhelm, and live a life that’s better than fine.

Money should be simple.

THE LATEST & GREATEST

How Much a Family of 4 Trip to Hawaii Cost (2020)

How Much a Family of 4 Trip to Hawaii Cost (2020)

Erica and Jordan at the The Worth Project have the goal of sharing their personal finance experience to help readers improve their financial lives. We regularly partner with companies that share that same vision. Some of the links in this post may be from our...

read more
Must See Cities for Your First Time in Europe

Must See Cities for Your First Time in Europe

Erica and Jordan at the The Worth Project have the goal of sharing their personal finance experience to help readers improve their financial lives. We regularly partner with companies that share that same vision. Some of the links in this post may be from our...

read more
5 Negotiation Mistakes That Costs Me Thousands

5 Negotiation Mistakes That Costs Me Thousands

Lucky for us, negotiation is a skill that can be learned. While I used to be the world’s worst negotiator (I can’t overemphasize how bad I was), I’ve learned from my mistakes. Here are 5 lessons I had to learn the hard way.

read more

Join the Project!

Every Friday we bring you a roundup of the most interesting stories, things to learn, and ways to be smart with your money. Sent straight to your inbox.

You're almost in - just head over to your email to confirm and then you're on the list!

Financial Checklist Thank You

FREE FINANCIAL HEALTH CHECKLIST

Want a simple money checklist to make sure you are on the right track?

Yes? You're in luck.

No? Well, you're still in luck.

Download our 25 item financial checklist to guide you through tricky life stages.

You’re nearly there. Head to your email to confirm you’re in and download. Don’t see the email? Check your SPAM folder.

Financial Checklist Thank You

FREE FINANCIAL HEALTH CHECKLIST

Want a simple money checklist to make sure you are on the right track?

Yes? You're in luck.

No? Well, you're still in luck.

Download our 25 item financial checklist to guide you through tricky life stages.

You’re nearly there. Head to your email to confirm you’re in and download. Don’t see the email? Check your SPAM folder.

Cover for The-Worth-Project-Negotiation-Guide

GET AHEAD, GET THE GUIDE

Negotiate for a higher salary, a promotion, or to reduce your rent. You gotta ask for it!

I'll show you how with my 3 part system: Research. Prep. Ask.

3 videos included

Free access to Not Your Father's Negotiation Course, a $97 value

You’re nearly there. Head to your email to confirm you’re in and download. Don’t see the email? Check your SPAM folder.

Pin It on Pinterest