Sunday, September 13, 2009
Track Your Spending!
Posted By Rico K. Setyo
By Steven Juetten
I know the calendar doesn’t say it’s officially Autumn until September 22, but in my book, the day after Labor Day is the start of Fall. To me, Fall is a time to harvest, to reap what we sowed, and to gather. Here’s my personal finance challenge to you for my un-official first day of Fall. Harvest your spending information. Note that I did not write “harness your spending.” I want you to gather your spending information.
For the month of September, I want you to record every expense you have over $3. If you have a partner, spouse and/or family, enlist their help. If you charged something on a credit card in August, and you pay the credit card bill in September, record it. If you spend $7 on popcorn at the movies, record it.
I’ll write about what I want you to do with your records in early October. For now, record every expense. Use a pencil and notebook, an on-line program like BudgetPulse.com or a personal finance program like Quicken. Group your expenses into broad categories like:
Mortgage or rent
You’ll notice there is no category titled “miscellaneous.” That’s because I want you to be accurate and complete in your expense record. In addition, there is no “credit card” category for the same reason. You’ll need to break down the items listed on your credit card statement into specific categories in order for this exercise to be useful.
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