So keeping in line with the changes theme, there’s another small one I’ve taken under my wing. It’s a common and simple practice that everyone can do. In the past I just worked with ballpark averages in my head, estimating what was and was not there, and just guessed really, really well.
What can I say? I’m good with numbers and Asian as a by product.
In any case, as the title mentions, we’re starting to keep monthly spreadsheets of what’s coming in and going out. It’s a really simple and basic sheet collecting the bare minimum. If I were nerdy and more inclined, I would make a jazzy spreadsheet much like the ones I invest in at work.
But for my needs right now, this works. I wanted to get a clear idea of where every penny was going, just in case the straits got a little tighter.
My spreadsheet is collecting just some basic data:
- A generic category (Bill/Food/Mortgage/Gas/Home/Deposit)
- Sub category (you don’t really need this, I just got anal during one of my filter sessions and added it after the fact)
- Description (I usually just collect where I spent the money)
- Amount Spent
- Amount Deposited
That’s it. Simple and easy. I text or email myself the details if I don’t have access to my spreadsheet. Just keeping this running tally has opened my eyes to where my money is really going. April was a bit of an off month since we had taxes and insurance due (oh so fun!) so I’m hoping that in May it stabilizes itself a bit more, but we’ll see.
It’s a great exercise to do even if it’s just for 1 month. The spreadsheet will give you an idea of where all your money went so you’re not left wondering at the end of the month, “Where the hell did my money go?”
Now you’ll know.