We've already addressed this issue a bit in Week One: SITREP and also Where Did The Money Go?, but this is the week where we get a grip on what, where, why and how we spend our money. This is the hardest part for me - I hate to be bothered writing it all down, and then I really hate to be bothered adding it all up at the end of my little project. I will tell you, however, that it works. A little bit of effort up front results in big dividends at the end.
So, here's your project for however long you want to do it. Most "experts" recommend a month and I have done that before, but even a week of truthfulness can really help. Using whatever method works for you, keep track of every cent that you spend. Some ways of keeping track include:
- saving every receipt (and make sure you hand write one for things like the vending machine)
- sticking an index card in your wallet with your money (requires that you keep a pen handy, too)
- download a spending app for your smart phone (I'm not going to recommend one as I don't have a smart phone)
- record it in a memo on your non-smart phone, or leave yourself a voice message
- write it in a checkbook register
- use your amazing memory (this one is dangerous)
- be creative - what will work for you
I challenge you to do this exercise for at least a week, and I'll be doing it along with you. Good luck!