Spend, spend, spend. Where does it all go so fast? It didn’t seem like much at the time. There was the coffee in the morning. The muffin at break time. The lunch you forgot to pack. The jeans you didn’t need. The shoes you had to have. The pile of bills you had to pay. Okay, maybe it does add up and maybe your bank account didn’t get hacked. If you found yourself in this situation, adding up all your purchases in disbelief, it’s time to look at where all your hard-earned money goes.
The good news is it’s easier than you think. Wherever, whenever and whatever you spend, you could probably discover a thing or two about your habits by keeping track of them.
Welcome to the 30-Day Track Everything Challenge
For the month of March, your goal is to keep track of your spending. Aside from your living expenses (rent, groceries, bills, transportation), keep track of everything you spend, and yes, that includes dinners out, drinks after work, that cute dress on sale, toiletries, the costs of being a social butterfly, and cab rides when destination was in walking (or public transit) distance.
How you do it is up to you: write it all down, keep all your receipts, download an app, start your own spending document, use a chart already created by a financial expert or find any product or service out there designed to help you organize your spending. We encourage you to be creative in whatever means you choose to keep track of your spending, so it becomes a fun thing to do instead of something you “have to do”.
If you need a little inspiration to get you started and to keep on track with the Challenge, here are a few things to consider:
Okay, what we really mean is find an accountability partner. Your partner, your best friend, your sister, a colleague. This is the person you should speak to before making any purchases, small, large and especially unnecessary ones.
We could have suggested that you try avoiding your favourite shopping places but then the data wouldn’t be realistic. The goal is to find out where you spend and when. So, while we’re not saying go ahead and shop till you drop, we are saying, just do you. Do your research.Before you spend, do some research, compare prices and wait for the best time to shop. The more information you can arm yourself with, the better off you’ll be when it comes to making better decisions about your money.
Look for savings.
Who doesn’t love a “sale” sign? There is no shame in heading straight to the back for the sale racks, signing up for e-mails to take advantage of all those “exclusive” sale coupons and codes and scan flyers for weekly deals.
Avoid impulse buying.
If you didn’t plan on buying it, you really don’t need it. Put it down. This should be an easy one. And if you’re more of an impulse buyer by nature, look at your spending patterns day by day rather than waiting till the end of the month. You might find that you can plan some of those on-the-spot purchases ahead of time.
Make it pretty.
Whatever you use to track your spending, customize it – change it to your favourite colour or upload an aesthetically-pleasing background. You should want to come back to it. Make it personal and own it.
Alright, get set, get ready, and …
We’ll check in with you next week!