result of a lawsuit or an insurance claim? List everything.
Once you’ve created the list, consider what it tells you about your present and future sources of income. How secure are the past year’s sources of income? Which sources are likely to increase in the future–and which are likely to shrink or disappear? What new sources of income can you develop? An honest evaluation of this list can help you figure out whether your future prospects are bright or you have been living on _borrowed time.
3 Analyze one credit card bill from the past year. Identify each item you bought (if you can) and measure how much pleasure it gave you. Do you remember the item? Do you remember why you bought it? Do you still have it? If so, do you still use it? In retrospect, was it worth buying? Count up the number of items you bought that were smart, satisfying purchases and compare this to the number of items you now wish you hadn’t bought. What _patterns do you notice? What types of purchases do you consistently regret? Are there particular kinds of items you tend to waste money on? Which kinds of purchases consistently bring you lasting pleasure? When do you stop or cut back using the credit card, and what causes this change?
4 Count the number of purchases you made last year. A relatively easy way to do this is to request the year-end summary of your spending that most credit card companies will provide. Also review your checkbook register or checking account statements and try to list most or all of the items you bought using cash. How many purchases did you make altogether? How does the number compare to the number of days in the year? Did you buy something every day, every two days, every three days? Is it hard for you to go through a day without spending money? If so, do you know why?
5 Examine your unconscious forms of spending. List all the automatic purchases on your credit card: gym memberships, magazine subscriptions, or any other automatic deductions. If you use an automatic banking service that provides for direct debits for regular monthly expenses, list these as well. Automatically deducted expenditures can be an inadvertent trap that can help make it easy for you to spend money without thinking about it. How many of these can you reduce or eliminate?
6 List the things you hate to spend money on. Some of these may be needless expenses you can eliminate by making a change in your life. For example, if you hate paying the costs of driving to work, perhaps you can set your alarm clock for half an hour earlier, making it possible for you to walk, use public transportation, or carpool. Not only will you save money, but you might meet some interesting new people who could change your life or career.
In other cases, avoiding particular expenses may be shortsighted. If you put off patching the roof or servicing