Where does my money go? Why can’t I seem to get out of debt? How do I stop living paycheck to paycheck? How do I stop spending on stupid stuff?

How can I save up to afford a house, to pay for my kid’s college, my eventual retirement? How do I pay off these student loans?

Do these questions sound familiar?

When you are wondering where your money went, what you are really wondering might be: how could I have spent so much on things that didn’t matter? Why is my spending out of line with what I really want?

We suffer more thinking something bad might happen than we do when we know something bad is going to happen. When we know bad things will happen, we just adjust. The stress that comes along with spending too much on the wrong things is precisely that uncertainty: will I have enough this month?

And we make poor decisions when we are tired, or stressed, or confused. Financial uncertainty wears us out and stresses us out, which often leads to…poor financial decisions. The cycle here is easy to see, and it’s time to break it.

Uncertainty causes stress
Take it from me, no one likes uncertainty and stress.

Almost nothing feels better than the calm security of knowing you are living well within your means. Almost nothing that I, personally, have done has changed my life as much as getting my monthly living expenses down well below my income. The end of financial stress changes the tint of every interaction, makes every decision easier, allows you to prevent problems instead of just reacting to them, and will save you from countless catastrophes. This website is here to show you, step by step, how to get to that place where finances are fun to think about, instead of being one more thing you have to deal with.

The entirety of personal finance comes down to one principle: Spend less than you make. The math isn’t hard; there isn’t much advanced calculus here. But behaviorally, simple never means easy.

The “class” portion of this site is divided into three parts. Part 2, Take Control, is the part where we discuss the actual methods and practices. Many of you might actually want to start there. But I hope you eventually come back to Part 1, because this is the part where we try to discover what’s really going on when you spend money.

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Move on to the next class: Money and Happiness