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How much money do you really need?

Your relationship with money is like your relationship with anything, from food to health to work. You've got a lifetime to figure it out (yay, you?) and each day is a new chance to develop attitudes and habits that help you thrive.


One exercise that seemed scary to us at first but ended up being liberating was to calculate how much money you need to live on for a full year. We were deciding if we should renew our lease for another year or not, and we wanted to feel more solid, in these uncertain times.


START: Decide if this exercise is worth it to you, and what you hope to get out of it. You might want to get honest about your spending patterns (which doesn't always mean spending less). Don't use this as an opportunity to feel like you don't have enough. You do. Whatever you're doing is working; you just want to see it all added up on paper. Stay strong and positive with your mindset. Approach it with curiosity, and not fear.


SORT: This is budgeting 101, but - hey! - simplicity is a wonderful thing. Write out all your expenses. Round up on bills that fluctuate (like your electricity bill), but keep it realistic. Don't scare yourself with worst-case-scenario numbers.


STYLE: Add it up. Notice where you possibly could cut back if needed (if employment changes, etc.). Don't get crazy: bills are bills. The number you need is what it is right now! Look at your emergency fund and see how many months you could cover your expenses if, worst-case-scenario, no new income is coming in. Do you want that month-number to be higher? Start saving.


This exercise can motivate you, give you perspective on some of the ways you've been thinking about spending your money, and (hopefully) make you feel totally in control of what's coming in vs. what's going out.

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