Tracking Your Spending Doesn't Have to be Boring and Tedious

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Tracking Your Spending Doesn't Have to be Boring and Tedious

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Tracking Your Spending Doesn't Have to be Boring and Tedious I met with a young man the other day that is ready to stop struggling with his finances. He currently doesn't have a budget and isn't tracking his spending so I talked to him about starting those habits. He was resistant to the idea at first. How boring! Tracking your spending just seems so tedious.

I convinced him to let me help him make a budget. After going through his bank statements we found he was paying hundreds of dollar each month to subscriptions and memberships he doesn't use. Just canceling those memberships will make huge impact. As we talked about his budget he mentions that he goes to the gym. I asked him how he makes sure he meets his goals while working out.

He tracks his progress of course!

He got all excited and showed me the app on his phone where he can input his goals and workouts. He told me how after every work out he puts in his numbers for the day. "It's really cool to see how far I've come." Hm... that sure doesn't sound boring and tedious. Why is tracking your spending boring and tracking your workouts exciting?

The process is the same no matter what goals you are striving to meet. First you find out where you are. If you want to get in better shape you will want to know your weight and some other key metrics depending on your goals. If you want to get into better financial shape you will want to know your savings, your debt balances, your income, and your spending habits.

Once you know where you are you get to decide where you want to go. In fitness you might want to reach a target weight, or run a certain distance. In finance you might want to become debt free or save for a vacation. Either way setting goals is part of getting control.

Set up a plan!

If you know where you are and where you want to go then you just set up a plan to get there. If your goal was to rock a bikini in 4 months then you know how much you need lose each week. You will set up your daily actions to get there. Work out for X number of minutes and eat Y number of calories. To make sure you are staying on track you will need to keep a log. If you eat too much one day you will know to cut back the next. If you skip a workout you will know you need to make up those minutes in the days that follow.

In your finances your goal might be to save $2,000 for that summer vacation in 4 months. You know you will need to save $500 per month. In order to do that you know you will need to cut back on eating out and work 5 hours of overtime per paycheck. To make sure you are on track to meet your goal you should keep a log of your spending and overtime. If you are sick and miss out on two hours of overtime you know that if you want to go on vacation you will need to make that up. Or if you forget your lunch and have to hit the drive thru you know that $5 needs to be taken from someplace else in the budget to make up for those missing dollars.

Tracking your spending does require discipline but it is critical to meeting your financial goals!

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This article was written by Ashley at Money Talks. She is passionate about personal finance and is committed to helping you get the most of your money. If you liked this article you can subscribe to her weekly newsletter.

 

 

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  • It's strange, the way the mind treats the same activity differently, just because the subject matter varies isn't it?  People have problems of all sorts, but financial issues just seem to be treated as such a personal failure.  People track goals and progress of all kinds, but many regard tracking your spending as unnecessary and "not cool."

    It's awesome to able to go on that vacation without using a credit card.  Is fun to be able to see something you would like, or be invited to an activity that you want to be involved in and have extra funds laying around to be able to do so.  That can only happen through being watchful and mindful of your finances!

    Thank you Ashley for the great reminder of how important, necessary, and "not dull" tracking spending is!

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