When we were young, and money was really tight, I kept track of every last penny that came into or out of our house. My trusty green ledger was full of elaborate entries of income and spending, debt balances, and plans for future income. I knew every cent coming in and had a plan for spending it as efficiently and resourcefully as possible.
Some 20 years later, our financial situation has improved a bit, and I'm not as careful as I used to be. I think this is a serious mistake, but I'm not sure I have the time or energy to fix it. With four kids and two jobs and two rental properties, I'm lucky if we have dinner and clean clothes, much less an accounting of every penny of the last paycheck. However, it seems like we should have tons of money left over every month and that doesn't always happen.
Intellectually, I know that keeping track of our money is uber-important to making as much progress as possible. However, it is way too easy to think that if we are saving enough (around 20% of our non-rental property income) and still paying all our bills, we're doing OK and I should just relax a little.
As always, I'm curious. Where do you stand on the accounting question? What is your stage in your financial life? Do you think there are times to back off just a little?