It’s time for you to get intimate with your money.
Yeah, I’m being dead serious.
I want you to dream about cuddling with it in bed.
I want you to break out in tears every time it leaves your possession.
I want you to track every single penny that you spend over the next 30 days.
Why do I want you to do this? Because I’m guessing that money no longer has an emotional hold on you. You’ve got yourself into a routine.
Money is easier than ever to spend. You simply grab something off the shelf, walk up to the cash register and hand the cashier a piece of plastic. Did you physically see your account balance go from $1,000 to $500? Did you see a pile of cash shrink in half? Probably not. You just handed them some plastic.
This is why I want you to start and complete this 30-day “financial awakening”.
How To Track Your Spending
This step is pretty simple. Just grab something that you can track all of your expenses with and start.
When I say all of your expenses, I mean all of them. Cash, check, credit card, debit card, etc. Down to the last penny.
Did you put a quarter in a gumball machine? Write it down. Drop a penny and neglect to pick it up? Yeah, track that too. 🙂
You can use a number of different things to track every penny, but here are a few items that have worked for others in the past:
- A notebook and pencil/pen
- A small piece of paper that you can take with you each day
- An index card
- A free smartphone app (Android, Apple)
If you don’t like any of those things, just find something that works and stick with it.
Your means for tracking should be with you at all times. That way you can write down each expense immediately.
When tracking, don’t worry about categorizing everything right now. Just write down what you bought and how much it cost. There will be time for categorizing later.
When your 30 days of tracking are up, take a look back and categorize each expense.
How did it compare to the previous month when you weren’t tracking? Do you feel like you spent less? Grab your personal income statement and find out.
This plan works so well because it forces accountability. If you are required to account for each expense, it will make you think long and hard about each.
Because of this accountability factor, I think you’ll be pleasantly surprised with the results. I bet you will even be able to kick some of your bad spending habits (if you have them).
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This 30-day “track your spending” project should be completed by everyone at least once in their life. It’s a huge step towards gaining a deeper appreciation for your finances. This assignment will make budgeting seem like a piece of cake.
Don’t put it off until tomorrow or the 1st of the month or the new year. Start right now. Good luck and be sure to come back to leave a comment with your results!