Next steps to get it together – Find your records
OK, you have the reasons you want to complete your financial journey. Now the hard work actually begins. The Next step in this process is to track your spending. Track it for a month.
Tracking your spending will do a few things for you. It will help you determine where your money is really going each month. Money is so easy to spend. You may know how much your rent is, but do you know exactly how much you spent of coffee or lunch or any number of other little items?
Secondly, you will actually spend your money more wisely. There is something about tracking spending that will make you think about purchases. Thinking about them will force you to make better decisions. It works with calories and it works with pennies.
There are a couple of different ways to do this. Feel free to use whichever one works for you. The importance is not in how you get it done. Just get it done!
I suggest signing up for mint.com. Mint will import your records from your checking account so you don’t have to enter them manually. Mint will also help you to categorize your transactions appropriately. Mint even tries to do them automatically, but you need to keep an eye on them because occasionally they screw it up and put gas spending in airline tickets. (Don’t ask)
If you don’t like mint.com you can track your spending by hand. Keep receipts for everything you spend and write it all down. Put in in a notebook or on a spreadsheet, if you like. This way requires a bit more work on your end, but will help you more in controlling your bad spending by forcing you to think about your spending before you spend it. Do you really want to manually enter a dozen snack transactions?
Once you have tracked your money for a month, you should have captured a majority of your spending and have a good idea of where you are starting from for your next step.
Get your records together…
Click the button below when you have them all together…
Congratulations on completing lesson 2. This is the one that can take the longest. It should take you a month. A lot of people skip to the next lesson before a month, but I am telling you that you need to keep an eye out for more expenses that you may not have thought about. If you skip ahead keep your eyes peeled for things you missed.
Is there anything that surprised you as you tracked your spending? Tell me in the comments!
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