Details Missed Can Throw You Off Track
My husband made me laugh last night. We were talking about healthy eating and calorie consumption and he said that he can see how, if he didn’t track his calories, he could fool himself into thinking he’d only consumed about 1500 calories a day. Budgeting is like dieting in that sense. If you are tracking your spending, you may think that you just don’t have enough. Unless you are tracking, you probably do not have a complete picture of your “real” expenses. In order to get the complete picture you need to record every dime spent for about 2 months. For example, when you roll up to Starbucks (my daughter calls it hot star- she’s 2 and can read the word star and knows that coffee is hot) and you order a tall white chocolate mocha, pay your 3.79- you gotta write it down. I find that a small notebook is a good way to record these things or perhaps an envelope to carry receipts. If you stop for gas and buy a pack of gum, don’t lump it together, write down that you bought gum and gas. It seems like a lot to do at first but if you really want a picture of your expenditures, this is the most accurate way to do it.
When I first started budgeting, I neglected to record the coffee or the small things I might buy. I kept thinking, oh, that’s only .69 or 1.12 or whatever the cost. It may surprise you at how quickly these amounts turn in to 10, 20, 50 dollars. Trust me, this will be well worth the trouble when you get your finances under control. This may seem controlled and restrictive but there is freedom that comes from knowing what you can or can’t spend. It takes the guesswork out and your blood pressure will probably go down!