Thursday, May 13, 2010

How I Do Money Is How I Do My Life

I have a friend who is both a yoga instructor and a therapist. We were talking about a sibling of hers who has constantly had both money problems and all kinds of other problems in his life. In yoga, she tells me, there is a saying that “how you do yoga is how you do your life.” We mused over how that saying could just as easily relate to how you do your money. It was easily seen in the life of her sibling. I’ve turned it into a  question that I’ve often asked people that seem to be “stuck” or “baffled” by there behavior around money.
If how you do yoga is how you do your life, then how does this statement relate to you: How I do money is how I do my life?

Having gotten many interesting responses, I was inspired to ask the question in the Financial Boot Camp. I got a unanimous response: “that’s a stupid question.” I smiled and suggested that they write about it anyway. After a number of weeks we came back to the question and unanimously, everyone had had an ‘ah ha’ moment when thinking through the question.

I’ve put it up on the wall in the office as the question of the month and clients, boot camp members, friends, really anyone that walks in is asked to write a response on the windows in the office. It’s fabulous! There’s graffiti all over the office. So… does the question relate to you?

Here are some answers created:

“When I avoid responsibility, I avoid being empowered.”

“When I relax and do what is next consistently with clarity, focus, ease and grace, it is there.”

“When my life teeters out of balance, so does my money.”

“When I allow someone else to become my priority, I become the option.”

“Be it, let it, it will be.”

“When I don’t pay attention to it, it bites me in the @#%.”

“Inconsistently, but with reverence.”

“When I have enough, I pay attention, when I don’t, I run away.”

“If I pay attention to that which I run from I will lose fear, gain experience and live more fully.

Monday, May 3, 2010

How much DO other people spend on food?

I get to talk to a lot of people about their spending plans. It’s kind of fun. Most people know what they spend, or what they think they need to spend. But not many know what is average or “normal”. Amongst all of my clients, the outliers are $100/month and $1,400/month, both two person families. I was stunned at the $100/month family. While they don’t buy pre-packed foods and do grow a lot of their own fruits and vegetables, it’s still remarkable. The national average for a family of two is $564, and yes, this includes eating out. Some other interesting food averages are:

  • 43% of our food budget is spent eating away from home;

  • we spend12% of our total income on food;

  • the average for a single person is $373; a family with children is $821; and

  • no, this doesn’t include alcohol; that’s another $34/month.

In my own spending plan, I keep my categories broad and only track about 15 different areas. One is the ratio of groceries to eating out, and when I’m spending more than 35% of my food budget on eating out, I’ve got some realigning to do.

If you want to see where your spending plan lies, the Bureau of Labor Statistics’ Consumer Expenditure Survey publishes annual data of more categories than you’d ever want to see: .