Financial Fitness Task 6: Keep a Spending Diary #30DaysofGOOD

Posted by Michael Fleck


Things are easier said than done, or so the old adage goes, and we couldn't agree more. That's why we do 
The GOOD 30-Day Challenge (#30DaysofGOOD), a monthly attempt to live better. Our challenge for January?Financial Fitness.

Today's task: Keep a spending diary.

Have you ever woken up in the morning, perhaps a little hungover, and found five different receipts in your pocket from the day before? Or maybe you went a little crazy buying decorative napkin holders on Etsy? It's okay, we've all been there. But it does highlight a very important point about financial fitness. Sometimes we end up buying a lot of little things that can start to add up very quickly.

For today's challenge, write down everything you spend money on, whether it's a daily purchase, such as coffee; a necessity, such as gas; or a something else totally discretionary like clothing, movie tickets, or an iTunes purchase. At the end of the day, take a look at the list and and think about two things. 

1. Were there were any purchases that you probably could have done without?

2. Look at the total expenditure for the day. Is this a sustainable amount?

This exercise is less about making any drastic changes than it is figuring out where your money goes on a daily basis. If you can get through today with relative ease (and frankly, writing down everything you bought shouldn't be terribly difficult) try continuing through the weekend and maybe the rest of the month. If you have a steady record of your day-to-day spending habits, you'll be able to better distinguish between your wants and needs.

Come back tomorrow for the next task in our financial fitness challenge.

Propose an idea here for a project or workshop that promotes financial fitness in your community. The top-voted idea will win $500 to implement the project.