How to Find Your Money Leaks

How to Find Your Money Leaks

Welcome to The Bold Money Revolution Podcast. I’m your host, Tara Newman, or like Bob Gentle called me the other day on his podcast, he called me his money muse, his personal money muse. I was over on Instagram and I’m like, “Should I adopt this new title as a money muse? I really like it. Like give me a good alliteration and I am there. Money muse, it’s like bring it. I like it. 

I am so pumped for this podcast episode. We’ve been doing this for four years. We’re about to hit 200 podcast episodes. I am letting you know right now this is going to be the episode. This is going to be the crowning jewel of my career as a podcaster. I’m talking about, legitimately, my favorite damn topic in the world. 

We are talking about saving money. The only thing that I love more than making money is saving money. We are going to talk all about that today. I’ve got some thoughts for you. This is an episode that has an assignment. You need to do the assignment. I call them experiments in The Bold Profit Academy. In there, we are actually really conscious of the fact that folks have some educational trauma. I try not to call it homework, I try not to call it assignments, I don’t call them projects. Who needs another damn project? We do experiments.

This is going to be an experiment that you need to do. You need to report to me, legitimately report this to me @thetaranewman on Instagram. You don’t have to post your stuff on Instagram but you need to come and DM me on Instagram and you can leave me a voice note, whatever you want. I’m over there manning my DMs. 

There’s an action that needs to be taken because we are going to give you some money back in your pocket because we are going to find money leaks before the new year. You know that weird ass time between Christmas and New Year’s and you’re like, “I don’t know what day it is. I don’t know what year it is. I don’t know what I’m supposed to do with myself. I think I’m just supposed to sit here and watch Netflix all day,” you are, by the way, but I also want to like noodle on some things and I’m reflecting this is the thing you do. 

We’re going to find some money leaks.

What is a money leak? Money is going out in small places that you might not realize and it’s adding up into a nice pocket full of dollars. It’s often that you’re spending money on things you don’t use, you don’t utilize enough, or had value to you at one point but no longer holds value but might be valuable to somebody else. 

Now, the way I found money leaks and the way I’ve created this, you can do this in your personal life but today, we are talking about it specifically for business. The reason why I love this and how I found this was during our five years of starting a new business back in 2005 and it was the worst financial time of our lives and it ultimately resulted in us going bankrupt in 2010. Now this occurred during the Great Recession. 

This is how I figured this out. Really what it does is it highlights one of my strengths. On StrengthsFinder, I’m a maximizer. Being good with money and being good in business actually requires you to be a maximizer. It requires you to be a valueist to see, to truly want to get the value out of something that you want to get all the juice out of the orange. That is called utilization. We want to be utilizing our money for maximum return. It’s very infrequent that these conversations are being had. 

Saving money gets shamed and shit on a lot, especially by people who income-market, preach abundance before personal needs and responsibility. I don’t know if you’ve ever realized that but if you look at Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs and you have basic needs on the bottom and you have self-actualization on the top and there are all these other needs in between that are important, marketers are marketing you self-actualization without any consideration or concern about the other needs being met on the way.

When we preach abundance, we are preaching self-actualization—this is my opinion—without giving you practical skills to help you take care of your personal financial needs, your emotional needs, your physical needs, your mental needs before these aspirational needs come. This is really, really dangerous because what’s happening is we’re seeing a lot of manifesting wealth and abundance mindset without any practical actions that actually put money in your bank account. 

Feeling good about your money comes when you take action to make change and build a deeper, more intimate, and purposeful relationship with your money, not when you recite a handful of mantras over and over again. Trust me, I have tried. I have bought the course. I have. When you take the time, care, and effort to build an intentional and discerning relationship with your money, that is when you attract more. It starts here. Plugging those money leaks by being intentional and thoughtful about how you spend money.

I do a lot of polls and surveys over on my Instagram. If I’m putting up a poll, if I’m putting up questions, please participate because there’s a value to me then being able to use that information in these podcasts. What was fascinating to me, because I love learning about you, was I asked a question: what term do you resonate with more: millionaire or high net worth individual? 100% of the people who voted on that poll said high net worth individual. My mind was blown. I asked why. Some of it was like, “Well, millionaire feels like bro-ey. Millionaire feels like showy, like Lambo lifestyle, and high net worth individuals felt discerning.” You know what, they are. I’m a high net worth individual. The way that they’re portrayed online by marketers, or targeted by marketers, is incorrect.

Now of course, anytime you’re talking about a specific group of people, not a monolith and there is a lot of range, however, if you have not read the book, The Millionaire Next Door, I want you to go grab that book and I want you to read it. It’s fascinating. For those of you who have stuff or believe that your scarcity mindset is limiting and bad, that book might actually trigger you a bit. It did for me. I’m going to share a little bit in this episode, but I’m going to share more about how I think my scarcity mindset is actually a plus. I wouldn’t be so quick to try and mind f*ck your way out of a scarcity mindset. I think there’s a benefit to it.

I have always made excellent money in my career. I haven’t always made excellent money in my household because we did have more than five years. We had five years of financial hell that started with us cutting out two thirds of our income for my husband to go and start this business. We were broke. If you hadn’t heard the story, we were selling everything we owned once a month in a garage sale. We would just pull all of our stuff out of the house and put it on the driveway and just sell it. It got to the point where I was so detached from material things that I would start bringing people, strangers into my house and being like, “Just look around, if you want it, tell me you want it and you can have it.” There was almost nothing that wasn’t for sale at one point. We were repurposing that money to buy groceries. My kids were very, very little. I remember we sold some things so I could get a double stroller because my daughter had just been born. My daughter never sat in a high chair because we had a booster seat so even though that wasn’t the safest thing, I sold the high chair because it had more value to me if I sold it.

I’ve had these moments in my life where I was not affluent even though my salary at the time was great, it was all going to child care, we know how that goes and my husband wasn’t making so much money. We had these times in our life that created this disruption, but for the most part, I’ve been someone who’s made excellent money but I don’t have a multiple seven-figure or eight-figure business, and you know what, I don’t want one. I’m still a high net worth individual. I’m still building wealth. I’m still going to retire with millions and millions of dollars way earlier than I even expected. I did it through making smart choices, taking small steps, prioritizing what I need to thrive through my thrive list episode, and being a good steward of my money, which I learned to do through the financial hardships that I had. If you’re someone who’s like, “My financial hardship set me back,” think about how your financial hardship could be setting you forward, that can be helping you move forward.

There were even times when I first started this business that I wasn’t really contributing to my retirement. I had stopped contributing to my retirement because I was building the business to be an asset that then allowed me to contribute the most amount a few years later. You don’t have to do it that way. If I had to go back and do it again, I probably wouldn’t do it that way. But I’m just saying that so many people are like, “Oh, I’m starting too late,” you’re not starting too late. I was in five years of financial hell, then I declared bankruptcy. Then it’s been 10-11 years that the bankruptcy is on your credit report. I didn’t have any credit when we first came out of bankruptcy, I had to pay for everything in cash. I was lucky that Capital One would give me a credit card, and to this day, Chase Bank, even though the bankruptcy is off of my credit report and my credit score is in the high 700s and I have credit lines at banks and high limit credit cards, Chase still will not give me a credit card. They won’t even give me a personal credit card because I once, someday in the past, had a bankruptcy. These are all the things we learn from these hardships. These are the moments that build you if you want to look at it that way.

I grew up living in the middle class, perhaps slightly above middle class. I don’t know if anybody can identify this, we were always the less affluent kids in the really affluent neighborhood. I’ve talked about this in the past. My mom wanted to go and move into the biggest houses in the neighborhood and my dad was like, “No.” Or she wanted to do all this work on the house and he was like, “No.” He was very discerning with his money. He really knows how to use a Thrive List, my dad, for sure. I always joke about this. I might have even mentioned this in an episode in the past that he loves to ski and he loves to boat. He’s had a boat his whole life; he built his first boat when he was 17. He just loves being on the water. He’ll ski and boat but he’s still wearing the same Levi’s and Champion sweatshirts that he had in 1995. That’s how he does it. I grew up with a very working class mentality.

I’ve mentioned this on other episodes as well that my great grandparents all had to flee the Nazis and the Pogroms, whether it be in Poland, Russia, or Germany. They were refugees. I have very much that generational refugee mindset, that scarcity around money, which has been my greatest advantage when it’s come to building wealth. Instead of thinking of saving money as scrimping and saving, think of it as discernment, think of it as prioritizing what’s most important, think of it as less but better, think of it as repurposing because that is what I’m going to show you how to do today. But don’t forget, you have to take action. What I’m sharing with you today, you can save probably a few hundred dollars a year to thousands of dollars, not just once but every time you use this tool. I use this tool at least twice a year but to be honest, we’re making some big changes in the business and I wanted to make sure that our cash flow is steady as we go into the next year, making these changes. I’ve been literally doing this exercise probably every week, maybe every other week. I’ve just been going through it again and again and again with a fine-tooth comb and you’ll see what I’m going to have you do and you’ll maybe see why that makes sense.

How I find my money leaks

Any time that I want to go and make an investment in something, I do this exercise as well, and you’ll see why. This is a tool that you can use over and over and over again. I’m so serious about this. It’s actually an SOP. It’s a standard operating procedure that I use in my business and it’s in The Bold Profit Academy. I’m going to be giving it to you as a download. If you go to the show notes, you’ll be able to download this to make your job doing this a little easier. It’s going to give you a visual for what I’m talking about through this episode. 

To do this, you’re going to want to download what I call my tools and systems SOP. This is really going to help you get started. You need to check a few things. In order to complete this experiment, you’re going to want to have the SOP. All your business credit card statements. Please dear god, there are business credit cards, there are personal credit cards. Even if you use a personal credit card for business expenses, don’t put your personal expenses and your business expenses on the same credit card. That’s called commingling. 

One, it’s confusing. Two, the IRS doesn’t really care for that. Let’s not commingle. This is just pro tips right here. And you’re going to need your business bank statements. Again, if you don’t have a business bank account, please go and open one. Your personal bank accounts are not business bank accounts. Let’s get legit. Let’s take ourselves seriously. Let’s build real businesses. If any of these things are like, “Oh, crap, I need to go do that,” also a good thing to do in the week between Christmas and New Year’s, go get yourself over to a bank, go clean up your credit cards.

Step 1 to Finding Your Money Leaks

First, off the top of your head, you’re going to list out all the tools and systems you use in your business. Also think about your dues, subscriptions, memberships, recurring payments, that’s really what we want to get here. List them all out, then find out how much they cost. That’s where you’re going to have to probably either go into your email, look at invoices, or log into the tool itself or check through your credit card statements and your bank statements. By the way, when you do that, you should be checking your credit card and bank statements at least monthly. I do it weekly. There’s a lot of fraud out there. You forget that things are being charged to your account. This is personal and business. This is good financial hygiene.

As a matter of fact, we just screwed something up royally. We’re big wellness people. My husband has a number of online memberships. He likes CrossFit, so like functional fitness programming. They’re usually about $29.99, what have you. There has been this charge on our statements and he’s been thinking it’s one of his fitness things but he just canceled it. He’s like, “Well, why is this being charged?” It was really generic. I think it’s just a gym or fitness or something. It was very generic. Lo and behold, it’s actually my son’s gym membership from pre-COVID, y’all. This is like a year and a half. They shut down during COVID but then they never reopened. So why are they charging us?

We called them and they’re like, “Well, it’s in your contract that if we have another facility within 25 miles, we don’t have to cancel your membership if we go out of business.” My husband’s like, “Yeah, but we had no idea.” They’re like, “Well, we sent an email.” Then the front desk person admitted that this is a massive, massive, massive problem for this company. They sent one email alerting customers, and guess who they sent it to? My son. My 16-year-old. He doesn’t look at his email. He’s not checking. We can’t get it back because it’s in the contract and she said that a financial investment firm came in and bought them, and then decided to close down the not profitable locations. When they were doing that, they went through the contract and they specifically looked for these points. They knew what they were doing when they did it. Check your freaking bank statements. Check. You will find money. People are sketchy. This is such an important piece of this journey for you and it’s the tiniest step that you can do to be more purposeful and intentional about your money.

I’m going to get off that little high horse that I was on. I hope you really appreciated it. But back to business expenses, you’re going to go through your payments, you’re going to write everything down. It might even be like a really long hairy list. It’s okay and I’m going to share with you some of the things that are on mine. But then what you’re going to do is you’re going to go through your use of each tool. Are you actually using it or did you forget you signed up for it? Or did you find something better and forgot to cancel? Do you pay it annually and so it’s not on your mind? Because you want to make sure when you’re doing this, look at what is annual and what is monthly. I love some annual expenses but it’s easy to forget about them. You’re going to note down monthly or annual and you’re going to look through where is redundancy in your tools and systems? Are you using something that has multiple functionality?

For example, personally, I like Typeform. I think Typeform is a solid, solid tool. I think it’s got a sexy interface. I think it’s easy to use. I think it looks real pretty. But we also use Monday as our project management tool, and you can do forms within Monday. You know what, Typeform gets canceled. That’s a redundancy. Are the Monday forms as pretty as Typeform? No. Does it get the job done? Absolutely. So Typeform got cut. I think it was $200 annually that I was paying for it. Now you might be like, “Oh, Tara, it’s $200,” yeah, but that stuff adds up. It’s not about the amount of money. It’s what could you be doing with that money that’s a better use to grow your business and how does your money feel, how does the energy with your money feel when you’re that purposeful with your dollars?

Step 2 to Finding Your Money Leaks

Next, look at the version of the system or the tool that you have. Are you using all the features of that version or can you scale it down or even use a free version? When I did this, I went through and I’m like, “Okay we pay for Slack.” I think our Slack charge is under $700 for the year. Is that a huge amount of money? No. But Slack has a free option. What’s the difference between paying for Slack and using the free option? Here are the differences. Are we using these? No, we’re not. Okay now, how do we implement the full functionality of what we’re paying for or decide that we’re going to use the free version? Slack actually has a tremendous amount of cool features that nobody knows about because they use it as a communication tool. If you’re just using Slack as a communication tool, you could probably use the free version and get away with it. But Slack is really an integration hub and it can integrate a lot of things. For my ADHD, it’s been really good to go and fully utilize Slack as it’s meant to be utilized.

How do you feel when you use this tool? Confident? Like your business is thriving? Or does the complicated tech make your head spin and erode your confidence? Do you need a lot of tech support to help you use the tools in your business? Personally, I’m a big believer in being able to use the tools in your business in case anyone leaves, or you need to train someone new, or you decide you don’t want to have all these payments going out for stuff that maybe you could just do yourself if you had a little bit more knowledge. I know that’s an unpopular opinion in a world that says outsource all the things, do nothing, work less, work the minimum amount of time, but sometimes, it’s worth it. I’ll give you an example of where I see this and where I’ve seen this come up over the years with business owners.

Something like an Infusionsoft or an Ontraport. Those are really expensive tools to run in your business. They are very complicated. I think Infusionsoft’s nickname for a long time, I don’t even know if Infusionsoft was bought by somebody, but it used to be Confusionsoft. What I would see is all these early stage business owners, all these early stage entrepreneurs buy Infusionsoft or Ontraport because some web celeb had an affiliate link. But they were not at the point in their business where they needed that level of a tool or could handle the confusion or the tech difficulties that came with it. ActiveCampaign is a great tool and it’s far, far, far cheaper to use ActiveCampaign than something like that. You might even feel more confident using an ActiveCampaign than an Infusionsoft or an Ontraport. That’s just an example of that.

I want you to set a goal to reduce your tools and systems costs by 10% to 20%. 

Can you do that? What would you have to eliminate? I’m not saying you have to do it. I want you to set the goal, I want you to consider it, I want you to lean into the discomfort of cutting 20% from your tools and systems and your memberships and your recurring expenses like that. Then you have to go cancel the things and you have to decide to opt out. But here’s the thing, we’re not doing this from a place of scarcity. This is where people get so twisted. They think saving money or cutting expenses is from a place of scarcity. No. It’s from a place of service. It’s from a place of “how do you want to repurpose the money you just saved?”

I want you to think about that if you cut 10% to 20%, how do you want to repurpose the money you just saved? Do you want to increase your pay? Do you want to join a program? Perhaps The Bold Profit Academy? Do you want to give your executive assistant some more hours, so you have more support in that way in the business? How do you want to repurpose that money? When I was selling my items in the garage sales, I was doing that to repurpose it, to make better use of the money that I had, of the assets that I had, whether it was furniture or decor items or books that I wasn’t reading anymore. You can repurpose clothing, you can repurpose all these things. They have value to somebody else, or you can just not use them so you can go do something else with your money. I think that’s an abundance. I don’t think that’s scarcity at all. That’s why I love saving money more than I love spending money.

What is the very best use of the money you just found? How can it help you grow your business? Now in The Bold Profit Academy, it’s not just about increasing your revenue—that’s important—but it’s about profitability and that means we have to talk about intentional spending and intentional growth decisions. Most business education content out there is not talking about this, and there’s a reason. You have to wonder why the web celebs, why the online marketers, why are they talking and focusing you on revenue? Why are they focusing you there and not on profitability? Who benefits when you’re not profitable? You have to ask these questions. Who benefits when you’re not profitable? It’s my goal, not a guarantee, but a goal that for every person that joins The Bold Profit Academy, that we save you the amount of the program. Money saved through things like plugging your money leaks and helping you eliminate shiny objects that can save you $500 per month that you would be paying for The Bold Profit Academy.

It was interesting, I was having this conversation with a woman who just joined The Bold Profit Academy Plus. She’d been in The Bold Profit Academy. She said to me, “It was really hard for me to listen to you at first.” I was like, “Is it my New York accent? Is it that bad?” I really try not to be regional. I can give you a coffee talk but I try not to be that way. But no. This isn’t the first time somebody has said this to me, she’s like, “You’re talking about things that other people aren’t talking about and I’m getting bombarded with these messages that are the opposite of what you are saying. I had to really lean into trusting what you were saying and believing you and trying it. I have had to cut out all the noise.” This is very common when people join my programs. They turn off all the other noise and they just focus on the tools and the frameworks and the things that we’re giving them. She said, “And I did that. Every time I’m like ‘Oh, I need to do X,’ I just go into the vault in The Bold Profit Academy and I’m like, ‘What would Tara say about lead generation? What would Tara say about sales? What would Tara say about money?’ And pull it out of there.” It is my goal to help you eliminate the shiny objects that aren’t getting you a result.

Here’s another example. I had somebody who they decided not to work one-on-one with me. They wanted to save some money. What they realized was six months or a year later, they had spent almost as much, not as much, but almost as much as working with me one-on-one on courses and programs that they were buying in dribs and drabs but didn’t see them adding up over time. I think that the amount that she stated was like $12,000, which it’s easy to get there. Courses are $2,000, $3,000, $4,000. They do add up. While my fee at the time one on one might have seemed a little scary, there weren’t a lot of shiny objects. We want to be able to save you that $500 a month through what I call money magic. This is some of our money magic that I’m giving you right here. Then we look to add revenue. Think about this as a leaky bucket. If you put more water into a leaky bucket, the water just comes pouring out. If you put more money into a leaky bucket, into a leaky cash flow system, the money is just going to be pouring out. It’s like there’s no point. This is actually what most of you are doing. You’re trying to solve a profit problem by adding more revenue. What that’s doing is it’s causing you to burn out and create exhaustion, chasing new revenue into a system that then leaks it all out. That’s why you’re burning out.

Let’s plug those leaks, then we add revenue. When we do that, you can work less. When you work less, you have the time and space to think strategically so you can make better growth decisions. That’s how The Bold Profit Academy works. It focuses you on your most profitable growth strategies. If this is something that you want to work on and you’re like, “Hey, Tara, I think you’re the mentor for me,” I want you to go and book a 15-minute call where we can go through and find out if you’re ready, if you’re the right fit for either The Bold Profit Academy or The Bold Profit Academy Plus. Now, by the time you’re hearing this episode, we’re probably winding down the year and we’re about to go on our company shutdown, but I want you to still book the call for the New Year, put it on your calendar, make that your 2022 intention or your 2022 resolution that you’re going to get your money sh*t handled so that you can increase your income, keep more of it, and really meet those personal financial goals that you have for the next year. Honestly, I cannot wait to support you in doing this. I can’t wait to help you save money. I can’t wait to help you make money. I can’t wait to help you build the wealth that you desire. Have a great holiday season.

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