Monday, November 5, 2012
Making Cents with the Dollars
I'm not talking about major financial planning, investments, 401k's etc. because honestly, I don't know much about all that stuff (but I am learning.) I'm talking about budgeting and expense tracking. Although budgeting is extremely important, I'm going to skip over that to talk about expense tracking. I feel you hear a lot about budgeting, but not a lot of information about how to stay on budget. No one wants to get to the end of the month and realize they went wayyy over budget in one (or more) categories. I think the hardest part about tracking your expenses is finding a system that works for you.
A method of expense tracking I always go back to is plain old pencil and paper. After a paycheck is deposited in our account I divide the amount into each budget category. During the week I save all receipts then I subtract each receipt from each appropriate category. My favorite tip for keeping up with this is to make a weekly appointment with yourself. I've kind of fallen off track with this lately, but Saturday morning used to be my money time. I would divide the amounts from payday into each category (based upon my budget, which I can talk about later.) Then I would pay all the bills that were due that week and BOOM, done. Done with stressing about finances, done with worrying about paying bills on time. Done wondering about how much I can spend in the upcoming week. Let me just say, when it comes to money knowing is a lot better than not knowing. I like knowing exactly where I stand, and this method has helped me a lot.
(Side story: I took logistics and six sigma training classes in college. They focused on continuous improvement when it comes to supply chain management. Coming up with answers to questions like, "How can I produce these widgets more efficiently? How can I reduce the cost of production? How can I reduce the production time? etc." While I learned a lot in the classes, one of the things that stuck out to me most was the words continuous improvement. It made me realize that there is almost always room for improvement in lots of areas of life. Budgeting and expense tracking being one of them.)
So, true to my side story I am looking for ways to improve my expense tracking. I plan on using this blog to talk about how I am inspired by numbers. How I take my budget it and use it as a tool to live the best life. I want to talk more about different budgeting methods, different expense tracking methods, tips and tricks etc. and also how I'm using these tools to be creative, have fun and smile everyday.
Posted by Sam V.