“Living lean” or “simple living” may conjure up thoughts of having to ditch your cell phone, cable TV and iPad, and start living like you were part of the Flintstones.

But our idea at Elements is not to have you live a life of deprivation, but a life full of more meaningful things — richer relationships with friends and family; having more, not less, fun; and greater fulfillment knowing what really makes you happy.

If you’d like to focus on your finances, start by writing down everything you buy for a month. This will give you a clear picture of where your money is going and what percentage of it is going toward wants vs. needs.

  • Are you eating out a lot?
  • Spending too much on clothes?
  • Buying coffee every day on your way into work?

Once you start this financial journal, it will be much easier to first identify and then cut back in the areas that are out of whack with your overall budget.