Track Your Spending

A classic way to learn to lose weight is to keep detailed notes on everything you eat.  At the end of the time period of keeping track, you look back and find out ways to eliminate things from your diet.

Do the Same Thing with Your Money. 

Keep track of everything you buy as well as any money that you give away.

The More Details the Better. 

Can you do it for a month?  How about a couple of weeks?  It is important to keep track of everything, including the very small things- a trip to the vending machine, a stop at the convenience store, the stop at the fast food restaurant, the purchase of lottery tickets, the money you give to your children or spouse, etc.

When I tried this exercise, I found that I was usually spending a dollar every weekday at the vending machine.  I was buying something at the vending machine that would cost about 25 cents at the grocery store.  When I realized what I was doing, I bought what I wanted at the grocery store and had it available when I wanted it.  Instantly, I saved $.75/weekday and over 20 days that was $15 and over a year that was $180.

Tracking Your Spending Can Help You Save Money Too. 

Are you throwing away thousands of dollars playing the lotto?  Can you buy your favorite foods in bulk at a warehouse store or when it is on sale?  Have you tried the generic or store brands?  Could you use the pre-tax medical spending plan offered at work to pay for your regular medications and eye glasses?  Can you get a 3 month prescription and pay just one co-pay?

These are just a few ideas of how you could save.  Your own spending journal can help find ways that will work for you.

Keep track of your spending and then look to see if you can find small (or even big) ways to save money.  It will add up sooner than you think.


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