No, I’m not going to tell you to skip tomorrow’s latte (or whatever minuscule semiregular purchase you make). Sure, you’re welcome to skip it, and if lattes make up a truly consequential portion of your budget, then cutting back would probably help. But for most of us, it’s simply unhelpful advice.
Then what does matter when it comes to personal finance? Well, more than skipping the occasional latte, getting a grip on your finances is about knowing where you want to go in the big picture, and knowing what steps will get you there.
Let me back my way into a personal example to show what I mean. My goal for this year is to save 60 percent of my income. It’s a stretch goal for sure — last year I saved around 35 percent — but it’s probably achievable. (And even if I fail, I’ll still likely end up saving more than I did last year, which is a win.)
But why is this my goal? And how will I actually get there?