• nicolejessicacoggan

Tracking Your Expenses Challenge

I know. It’s the first step every money management guru makes you do. I’m not even a money management guru (REMEMBER – I’m just like you. I wanted to change my life so I created a series of challenges to do just that) and even I know that we have to track our stats!

Ok, here’s the deal. I don’t care how you do it. You can go old school with a notebook and pen or you can create a spreadsheet on your computer. Hell, why not just download an app on your iPhone that does it all for you?

In case you’re curious, I use free basic accounting software called Cashbook Complete. I use it for my business and it does a neat job. It’s groovy in that it lets you break expenses down by category, create profit and loss statements and most importantly, it does ALL THE MATHS for you.

Now, I know we are supposed to do this for a whole month to get a good idea of our finances (that’s my aim) but I know a month is a huge commitment and these challenges were designed for you to do one week at a time. So you only have to do it for 7 days.

I reckon that’s long enough to work out where your money is going.

I cheated and started without you and in case you wondered –my money goes on eating out. Yep, 16 % of my income goes on fast food. Chicken and cheese sandwiches with a side of chips from the Café down the road to be exact.

Ok, enough talk, more action. Here is your challenge:

Step One – Create a tracking system (notebook, spreadsheet, app – whatever is easiest)

Step Two – Track all the money you spend for a week

Step Three – At the end of the seven days circle, highlight (whatever works) anything that was a waste of money.

Just to clarify - by waste I don’t mean something you thought was worth it.

For example I spent $20 on paint so my toddler and I could hang out and do something fun.

Did I need Paint? No, I’m sure we could have invented another way to hang out for free.

Was it worth it? Yes, we had a great time

See! Not a waste.

On the other hand, I spent $50 on chicken and cheese sandwiches when I had salmon in the fridge.

Did I need Chicken and a cheese sandwiches and chips? No

Was it worth it? No, it was bad for my body, bad for my wallet and a waste of good salmon.

I can’t tell you what is a waste and what’s not. As a general rule, waste is anything where if you could time travel back and spend the money again – you would keep it in your wallet.

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