How much you spend determines a lot about your lifestyle. A major reason for most financial worries and problems is that people do not have much control over their spending. Most end up spending way more than they can and despite having a decent income , they are still in situations which are uncomfortable and just not right. Empty bank accounts are not always a symptom of low income but a symptom of poor money management in many cases. People with relatively high income including those who have annuity payments (learn more about annuities) also suffer from this which is the reason why it is important for everyone to wake up to their financial condition.
Tracking your spending will give you more control over your finances, it will keep you in light of how much you spend and enable you to walk on the right path. It is possible that you feel appalled at what you see when you first start to track your spending. For most of us, the amount we spend and never notice is usually on things which are not so important. For instance, many people love dining out and this is what they spend most of their money on. You might find thousands of dollars spent on eating in restaurants in a matter of just 30 days when you first start tracking your spending.
Such realizations may force you to move away from the tracking deal altogether and just keep going with the flow. Ignorance is sweet while truth tends to be bitter. Also, if you are surviving well without caring so much, why worry? Despite the truth hurting you and making you look in a direction where you no longer have access to the useless luxuries you were spending thousands on till now, it should also act as a wake up call. When you see something which needs to be improved, you shouldn’t turn your head away from it. In fact, you should address the issue and act on it. You should start considering your financial priorities and create a budget to keep a check on yourself. You will have to want it for yourself and understand the importance of keeping a track of your spending if you really want to make a difference.
You don’t have to live the way you are at present forever. If you are ready for a change and want to bring it to your life, you can get started right away. Here are some ways you can track your spending and do so easily.
- Make a commitment to the task – you have to commit yourself to the task of maintaining a record of your spending. It is an experience which will enlighten you on your behavior, how you can change it, and what all you need to do to bring a positive change. Show your commitment towards the cause and ask your family members to support you in it. Don’t judge yourself when you do slip up and keep trying to improve each month.
- Always keep your receipts – it is important that you always keep your receipts around. Later, when you become a more thoughtful spender, you may not need to save all the receipts for a long period of time. Despite this, in the beginning, it is a good idea to keep these records around for review and understanding.
- Keep a record of online spending – Keep a track of how much you are spending online, what you are paying for the most, which bills you paid, and so on. Keep track of every single transaction you made online so you always have a clear idea of how and where you’re spending most.
- Check everything is all right – after putting all your receipts and online transaction records in one place, you should tally your purchases. List similar purchases under a common category. For instance, if you bought a jeans online and purchased two dresses from the mall this month, sum up the amount spent and list them under the clothes category.
- Maintain an honest record – it is very important for you to be honest with yourself and list everything correctly. Don’t make excuses for your recklessness and track it all with honesty. The whole experience should be an eye opener for you and a way to gain control. You cannot gain control and bring a change if you are dishonest with yourself. It is very dangerous to retreat to a fantasy world where everything is fine.
It is always a hard realization that you were reckless and spent your money on unimportant things. However, after the initial hurt and guilt, you will actually start working towards improving your spending. You will stop making excuses and start acknowledging the importance of planning and keeping track of everything. Little by little, you will improve your financial condition and life. You will save money and also realize that happiness is not based on meaningless transactions.
However, if you refuse to work towards this and refuse to accept the truth. Don’t let laziness rule you and start tracking every penny you spend so you become a master of your financial condition and not let your spending habits rule you.