Now that 2017 is here, you’re probably saying to yourself, “It’s time to turn over a new leaf. I’m going to rein in my spending, watch my waistline, and get more exercise.”
Do those resolutions sound familiar? Of course they do. You made them at the start of 2016, remember? But this year is going to be different, and one way to ensure that, at least from a financial perspective, is to start tracking where your money goes.
Experts point out that tracking your spending habits on a daily, weekly, or monthly basis is the first step in becoming more financially healthy. It’s important to get a handle on what you’re doing with your money in order to come up with a workable budget.
Once you start writing down everything you spend your money on, you might be surprised at what you discover. You’ll likely be looking at a “needs versus wants” scenario. The obvious needs will be focused on such things as housing, food, transportation, and insurance.
Now what can you expect to encounter in the “wants” category? Daily stops at your favorite specialty coffee shop? Lunches at restaurants during the work week? Frequent visits to fast food joints? Manicures and pedicures every other week?
This record-everything practice will be a great teaching tool both over the short term and the long term. But it only works if you’re honest with yourself and keep track of each and every purchase. Anything less will have an impact on what you hope to accomplish going forward.
Next week: Your next step – analyzing your spending habits and then developing a budget you can live with.