A Pop Quiz on Your Spending

Blogger offers a "disgustingly" simple way to improve your financial health.

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Today's guest post is from Mike, creator of the blog Living the Cheap Life:

To begin with, I'd like to offer a big thanks to Kim for giving me the opportunity to write this guest post. My name is Mike, and I'm a cheapskate. I'm also the blogmaster over at Living the Cheap Life, where I discuss strategies for living frugally with the ultimate goal of financial freedom.

The disgustingly simple exercise I'm about to discuss will put you in the frame of mind to become a black belt cheapskate. Even if that's not your goal (it should be), the exercise will still improve your financial health and make you more conscious of your spending.

Ready? OK, here it is: Write down everything you buy for one whole month. Every loaf of bread, every gallon of gas, every bag of potato chips, every pack of cigarettes, every soft drink. This will take up only a small amount of your time each day. If you've never done this before, I guarantee it'll be an enlightening experience.

If you're finding yourself running out of money toward the end of the month and you want to know why, this exercise will resolve that confusion.

You'll know exactly what type of spending you need to cut back on—and exactly how much to cut back.

If you're like me when I first tried this out, you'll probably be surprised by how much money you spent on truly unnecessary things. I started doing this because I was having trouble saving money, and the exercise was so effective for me that I kept it up for about nine months.

It was during those nine months that I became a cheapskate. Now I am convinced that being conscious of your own spending is the foundation of financial responsibility.

I hope you find this exercise helpful. May you live a happy, healthy, and cheap life!