It's Not How Much You Make, It's How Much You Spend

Posted by Ronald Hickland on

At Creating the Difference we like educating people. Most of the time, we educate about bowling.  However, we decided to create a blog which focuses on creating a difference in your life -- not just your bowling game.

In this blog I want to talk about money and why you should keep track of it. I recently had a conversation with my Bowling Store team about money. I explained to them that if you can learn to take a big picture approach to spending money, it can really save you money in the long term.

One employee asked to purchase a bowling ball that was just released. He wanted to charge it on his credit card. I asked him the simple question of why he wanted that bowling ball right now. It was because it was new. I said to him That same ball will worth less at some point and strike just as much. Next, we did the math and found if he charged that bowling ball on his card, it would cost him roughly $320 when it was all said and done, because of interest and fees. Yikes! He changed his mind on that purchase.

Now don’t get me wrong, I like when anyone wants to buy a bowling ball.  For someone whose budget is tight and who is working to get out of the cycle of living paycheck to paycheck, it’s important to begin to look at things differently. I decided to spend some time with the entire group to share with them my story and how I look at money.  I went from making 6 figures to $0 and back in less than 2 years. I’m good with the numbers.

The first thing you have to do is know where your money is going. In this case, cash can really hurt you.  It is hard to keep track of cash -- unless you are keeping receipts (that’s a different blog).  So I recommended that my employees download, an online money tracking program designed to help you keep track of your expenses. I have used it for many years. It is easy to set up and once it learns your habits, it is almost automatic in tracking and categorizing your expenses and income. Once you see where your money is going, you can begin to change your mindset on how you spend it.

Here are some of the ways we spend our money without even thinking.  However, if you keep track of this and make a few small changes, you can begin to spend less and improve your quality of life with very little effort.

You know that $5.00 Starbucks coffee you like to drink every morning on the way to work? It’s only $5 right? Yeah, that is costing you around $100 a month or $1200 a year!  Can you find a way to make a coffee at home every other day and save $600 a year?
How about all of the bowling balls you buy? Do they really make you a better bowler? Maybe you could take some of that money and invest it in a lesson; which can actually make you a better bowler. Save the rest of the money for something else like paying down that credit card.
How about going out to the bar? You already know where that one is headed. I always find it humorous when I see people post on social media with a drink in one hand talking about they can’t wait to go out to the bar or club on Friday night and then wondering why they don’t have any money all the time.  

When I got laid off and went to making $0.00, Mint made me very aware of my spending. So I started cutting spending everywhere.  That nice shiny $60,000 2 door Infiniti sports car I had? Sold it and bought a cheaper 4 door sedan.  That 3500 SQ foot house? Gone and got a much more appropriate house. Why? Because I wanted to survive and not acquire debt to make my situation worse long term. The only way to do that was to cut expenses while I figured out what was next. Using the Mint program I could easily though sometimes painfully, see where I could cut spending and where I couldn’t.

Ultimately, I made it through that period, and because of my mindset change, I have way more now than I ever had before.  The lesson here is start tracking what you spend and before you know it you will be able to buy that brand new bowling ball or fancy Tesla automobile without it causing you long term debt or stress.


  • This was a great article. Thank You for writing and sharing the expense tracker.

    Brandy Gates on

  • Wow,

    You are right better habits make the person. There are times I go through money like it grows on trees and forget about the big picture. Thanks for sharing your story and I look forward to incorporating the mint suggestion and better habits in my life.


    Keith Frierson on

  • Awesome lesson, and Love the Mindset!

    Anthony on

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