You say you know where your money goes and you don’t need to track your expenses to keep up with it? I issue you this challenge: Keep track of every penny you spend for one month and I do mean every single penny. For the next 30 days you should record every expense no matter how small. In fact, it’s the small expenses that will be the most educational for you. I personally do this using Quickbooks, but any kind of tracking method can work for this exercise… even a simple notepad.
At the end of the month you should then take your recordings and group them into similar categories, ie. groceries, gas, eating out, clothing, personal items, snacks etc. and add each of them up. I guarantee you will be shocked at what the itty-bitty expenses add up to on a monthly basis. Take the total you spent on just one unnecessary item for the entire month, multiply it by 12 (for months in a year) and you will probably be surprised how much you spend annually on just bottled water, for example. That amount is also how much you could have saved or put towards debt.
That, my friend, is the very reason all of us need a budget and everyone should monitor their expenditures wisely. Many people feel that only rich people need to put effort into managing their money, but the truth is that smaller incomes need to be monitored and managed just as much if not more.
If you can get control of the small expenses that really don’t matter to the overall scheme of your life, you will be one step closer to financial success and independence.
The little things really do add up quickly. In corporate America, many people on a typical work day spend money on coffee, lunch and snacks. For simple math’s sake we’ll say $15 or $450/mth. If they could decrease that cost to $11 a day that monthly bill would now only be $330. A savings of $1440 for the year! Just by saving $4 daily on those items.
It really IS the little things that can save you big. You still eat lunch every day AND that was only one place to save money in your daily living. There are a lot of places to cut expenses if you look for them.
Set some specific long term and short term goals. There are no wrong answers here. If it’s important to you, then it’s important period. You can’t successfully reach a goal if you don’t have one to begin with.
If you want to be able to make a down payment on a house, start a college fund for your kids or even just keeping your bills paid in a timely manner then that is your goal and your reason to get a handle on your financial situation now. To me, saving money is the same as making money. If I can save $300 for the year on my cell phone and I only had to spend 30 minutes on the phone with Sprint, then I equate that feeling as the same to earning $300. And if it only took me 30 minutes then I feel EVEN BETTER about it.
Take the 30-day challenge and see for yourself. It will give you the opportunity to truly see where your money goes each month and make wise decisions about those expenses for the future.
Will you take the challenge?