Less Tracking, More Spending

J.D.’s post at Get Rich Slowly on How Good Habits Keep Small Mistakes Manageable got me thinking about how the less I track my spending, the more I find myself wasting money and exceeding my monthly budget.

I personally use a self-created excel sheet to track my spending and help me stay within my monthly budget. Unfortunately, I irregularly sit down to make the necessary updates. It just kind of happens when I have a couple minutes and I’m near my computer. Sometimes it’s every day, and other times a few weeks go by without me opening the document, pulling out my receipts and punching in the numbers.

There are times when sticking to a budget is challenging and doesn’t always work out as planned. When I do go over budget I try to make up for the over-spending in subsequent months as much as possible.

But then there are the months that I go three weeks without looking at how much money I have spent, only to find that I’ve already maxed out my personal allowance because of sheer laziness. This is almost always the case. As a rule, I have found that the less often I track my expenses, the more likely I am to go over my budget, and vice versa.

It makes sense that this would be the case. The more I look at my spending habits, the more I aware of how I spend my money and how much wiggle room I have left. Monitoring my expenses gives me the ability to judge how frugal I need to be and when I can indulge.

When I fail to track my expenses, I have no concept of how much I’ve spent and how much of my allowance I have left. Looking back, it’s clear that these are the months I find myself eating out more and buying little things I really don’t need. As a result, the consistent little expenses add up to big expenses at the end of the month.

Maybe I should go back and read my Mvelopes Review, and allow software to plug in the numbers and monitor my spending for me.

Millionaire Money Habit: Rather than irregularly checking in on your budget, set a specific day and time each week to track your expenses, or find a program that will do it for you automatically. As a result you will be able to monitor your spending habits and be more aware of your current financial situation, which can protect yourself from exceeding budget. -RT

One Response to Less Tracking, More Spending

  1. Justin says:

    You should try Yodlee (free) and just use the envelope system for your allowance

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