Money journal

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Start a Joy-Based Ledger
"We have tried ad nauseam...for the past decade to get people to readjust spending by focusing on the raw numbers," says Manisha Thakor, founder and CEO of MoneyZen Wealth Management, a boutique financial-advisory firm serving women and families. She says simply looking at a budget in theory should fix the problem, but it hasn't.

Her solution: "Challenge yourself to be more mindful and conscious of what kind of return on joy you're getting from every dollar you spend."

This requires not only writing down how much money they cost you, but how much joy they brought you. Highlight only those items in your notebook (or smartphone), and then take a look at what's not highlighted. That's where you start thinking about making conscious, mindful adjustments to your spending, Thakor says. In other words, that's where you should start cutting back.