Full confession

We’re not really broke, but I feel broke.

We’ve recently had to put some massive vet bills on our credit card (thank you giant mass on Duke’s liver), and because I’d like to pay them down ASAP, we’re having to tighten our spending elsewhere.

Technically we’re not broke – our net worth is not where I want it, but it’s more substantial than the average 30-something. The reason it feels like we’re broke is that, in terms of cash flow, we are. We’d have to cash out our investments to pay off our credit cards and now that we have a large debt payment each month, we have even less to go around.

How about you?

Do you know if you’re really broke or you just feel like it? Do you know how to find out?

Well, you can’t know for sure without actually having some data to analyze. If you’ve never heard of Mint or YNAB and “budget” is a foreign concept, chances are you are severely lacking in data.

If this is you, the fastest way to save money is to find out where you’re spending it.

Do You Know What You’re Spending Your Money On?

Check over your bank and credit card statements from the past month to get an initial glimpse at what you’ve been buying.

Anything jumping out at you as an immediate “Did I really spend money on that?” Think magazine subscriptions, bar tabs, sock-of-the-month club. Stuff that you either forgot or don’t really care about.

Digital subscriptions can be a real money suck. I log in to my iTunes and PayPal accounts almost monthly to review any recurring purchases because I always get sucked into the free trials and forget to cancel.

So did you find anything, or hopefully a few things, to cut or cancel? If so, yay! You’ve got a quick win!

Now keep the momentum going and see what else you can cut with a little effort. The tricky part is to not go right back out and absent-mindedly spend what you’ve just found. Moving forward, be deliberate in your spending and you’ll save even more.

Ready to dive deeper? Read on for more ways to save when you’re broke.