The year is almost over and it’s time to take stock of where you’ve been and what still needs to be accomplished through the remainder of the year. More than likely you made a New Year’s resolution related to your finances almost a year ago. How are you doing with that? Soon the holiday busyness will land on top of you and you’ll be crushed with candy and gifts and parties. Take time now to stop, look and listen to your bank account, credit card statements, and especially your day-to-day money outflows! In fact, mark your calendar and do this in six months again, and then make it a twice-a-year must-do-activity!
Here’s an easy tip to rescue you from going way overboard the remainder of the year and land you more safely into the first of the New Year. Take about two weeks of your time now to write down every single penny you spend. Yep, you read that correctly – every penny. Use our 1080 eMoney app or download some other financial tracking app to your smart phone (there are plenty that do just this) or just start making daily notations as you pay bills, buy coffee, fill up with gas, stop by the market or wherever you spend any money. Do this for about two weeks to get a really good sense of where the money is going. If you want a more telling record, keep listing for a whole month.
Some of you will tell me that you just can look at your bank account and keep track. Not quite I’d argue. If you have cash in your pocket and you spend $5.68 for a coffee and donut break, you’ll need to write that down in your list of expenses for that day too. Just this once, write it ALL down, every single penny you spend. It will terrify you, but it will inform you for future plans and decisions. Also, keep in mind, taking the time to write this stuff down and review spending is a powerful exercise on it’s own.
Maybe you are happy with your level of spending, don’t really want to be monitored or bother with that level of detail – that may be ok for a while. However, meeting life goals and also having the resources to play when you want to require that you stop on occasion to assess where you are today. Then you can adapt and adjust to spend according to your goals. I once heard that there is freedom in discipline. Right now is a good time to start practicing this money life discipline.