Geico can save you 15% on car insurance- I’ll save you 15% of the stress you feel around money. No promises on 15 minutes, though!
The 80 20 Rule
There’s a rule called the Pareto principle (or, the 80 20 rule): for many events, 80% of the effects come from 20% of the causes. It’s the principle behind Geico’s famous slogan- one small change can make a huge impact.
From my experience, 80% of your financial stress comes from 20% of your expenses. If you can change even the top most stressful expense, you can save yourself SO much mental and emotional energy!
The Few Vital Tasks
In this case, it’s the few vital expenses. These are the major stress points that can make a huge difference in your life!
Find your most stressful expense
You may already know what stresses you out the most- that one payment you dread making every month. Is it student loans? Are you paying more for rent than you’d like to? Are you in total denial on how much you spend eating out?
If you’re not sure, take a look at your expenses from the last month. Rate every expense as a 1, 2, or 3.
- This expense drains my energy. I don’t like to think about paying for this, in the moment or after.
- “I hate paying for car repairs. They are expensive and stressful, and I get irritated even looking at the statement.”
- This expense is neutral. It’s fine that I pay this, but I don’t really enjoy it.
- “I don’t care either way about my water bill. It doesn’t stress me out, but it doesn’t bring me any fulfillment.”
- This expense gives me energy. It’s totally worth how much I spend on it, and I would even consider spending more for what I receive.
- “I love getting massages. They are so worth the money for the relaxation and bliss I feel.”
Why is it stressful?
My most stressful expense is my cable/internet bill. My boyfriend and I pay almost $200/month to Comcast, and I hate paying it every month. Comcast is not a company that supports my values, and I don’t feel like a valued customer. It’s also one of those things I feel like I “have to” pay, even though somewhere deep down I realize I have a choice.
Change it or Accept It
Is your stressful expense something you can change? Can you get rid of it or spend less on it? Even if your initial thought is yes, I challenge you to take some time and really think about it. You may find that you can find a cheaper apartment or you don’t need to spend money on restaurants to go on dates.
For my Comcast bill, I’ve started looking at my other options. I definitely need to have internet to run my business from home, so I want to keep that part. My boyfriend loves sports, so we definitely want some kind of cable package. My question is, can we cut the bill down by getting rid of some premium channels that we don’t watch?
I need to do some research, which will include talking to my boyfriend, Comcast, and potentially other cable providers. Whether I cut down the bill or not, I am exercising my right to choose what I spend my money on. If I continue to spend $200/month on cable, it will be a decision that I put a lot of thought into. Every time I pay the bill, I will remind myself that I am choosing to pay this bill because I ultimately decided that the cost was worth what I’m paying.
How much more empowering does that sound??
Ok, your turn now!
- Find your most stressful expense.
- Can you change it? If so, make the change!
- You can’t or don’t want to change it? Learn to accept it!
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