I hate tracking things. I’m terrible at it. The terrible stems from the hating part. I actually feel a bit reviled right now just thinking of tracking myself on anything. I’ve tried to track my eating habits before because up ’til now I cannot cook, and my nutrition has suffered; that lasted about 6 days. Then I lost the paper I tracked it on. You see? Terrible. But our credit counseling advice is to always track your spending, so you know where your money is going.
I am writing this on January 1, 2012. I am going to track my spending every day this month.
I am doing this not just to see how much I spend…
But to understand how it feels to track my spending.
I’ll go out on a limb and say that most people want to be happy. If something is easy and will make a person happy, they’ll probably do it. “Oh you’re giving me a free piece of delicious, cheesy pizza? Yes, thank you I’d love to eat a piece. You’re super nice.”
“Oh, I can have yummy lemonade by stirring this powder into water? Alright, hooray.” (I’m writing this blog post at 6 pm… I think I may be hungry).
What happens when something will make a person happy, but it’s not fun or easy? Oftentimes, it never happens. Even if we really want it to.
Tracking expenses helps in managing a budget because you get a true and accurate picture of how you spend your money. We make purchases using cash, credit card 1, credit card 2, debit card 1, debit card 2, etc., so it’s hard to have all the expenditures in the same place at the same time. Tracking expenses manually breaks that ignorance barrier.
I need to understand what makes tracking expenses so difficult. What “stuff” comes up? (“Stuff”? Conflict? Yuck!) What do I see that I am not ready to deal with? What will be scary? What if I disappoint myself? What if somebody finds my notebook and reads it and either gets disappointed or angry with me? Is there a possibility that good things will come up as well?
Throughout this month-long adventure, I’m going to let you know how I’m doing. Not every day; that would be a chore for both of us. But periodically. And you can join in, too. Or join in after. I’ll be the pioneer and check out the territory. Then when the crazy flame of “this year’s going to be different and I’m turning into Superman/woman immediately” dies down, you can try out a more solid and thought out adventure (aka “resolution”), like tracking your spending for a month. I’ll do it for January, and you can do it for February.
If you’re gonna choose a month long challenge, choose to do it in February. (Guess why?)
If you’re struggling to pay off debt, ACCC can help. Schedule a free credit counseling session with us today.