Staying in control of you money can really be hard! There are so many temptations all around where we can spend money and it’s difficult to decide when we need something or when something really will add value to our life. Of course there’s lots we really do need, and then there is stuff that we think we need but probably don’t. And sometimes it’s ok to simply spoil ourselves, but how do we decide and when do we say “yes” or “no” to spending?
I think we all know a lot of good habits that we should be implementing, and we probably have heard all the usual “common sense” things of what we should be doing. If you’re not doing it though, do you really “know” it? Perhaps we just need reminding….
The best place to start is to know where you are spending your money! I am going to start tracking my daily expenses. I’ve done this many times where I track each and everything that I spend money on, and I do it for 2-3 months. This gives such insight into where my money disappears and it helps me decide what and how to spend my money. I usually just create a spreadsheet with columns for Date, Description, Amount, Account and Category and I create no more than 10 categories (you can of course create what you want but there’s no use in over-complicating things). Under “Account” I enter either “Bank”, “Cash” or “Credit Card” as this let’s me see how I spend money. I’ve seen a few free apps that can assist with this too and you really can use whatever works best. See how to manage your credit card spending using Excel.
Starting today, keep track of each and every expense you make for 30 days. Don’t over-complicate it and don’t spend days looking for the perfect app or perfect system. Just start! Even a good old fashioned pen-and-paper will do the job perfectly well.
There’s no need right now to try change your habits or to purposely save money so that your list looks good. This excise is meant to show you what you currently and normally spend money on. You can analyze the results and make decisions after the 30 days have past.
Let me know how it goes!