My cashflow right now is in pretty good shape and by that I mean that I am not spending more than I am bringing in. This will fluctuate a bit from month to month depending on unplanned expenses but in general I have been able to save money over the year. So does this mean that my finances and my expenses are in check? Hell no!
In order to make sure that I’m on top of this I take a few months out of the year where I am extremely diligent about tracking my spending down to the last penny. I try to keep this going all the time but I’m not always able to keep tabs on everything so I make a particular effort a few times a year.
October was a month for tracking all of my spending and the results shocked me!
I have never hidden the fact that I am a smoker (yes I know its stupid and very bad for me) and the fact that I like my beer and wine. I don’t drink excessively but I do like to have a couple of beers after work or some wine with dinner and I just don’t think anything of it because I’m not drinking to get drunk or as an escape mechanism. I got a bit of a wake up call when reviewed my spending in October. Between the Beer and Smokes I was spending literally hundreds more than I thought per month (to keep this in context both are expensive where I live).
I am not strapped for cash and I like to enjoy my life, the experiences in life are important to me, but I am also looking to get my financial house in order so seeing these results was surprising. The net result is that at the least the beers are being cut down – unlike smoking it’s far easier to cut down without getting jittery and cranky in a pretty major way. The smoking will be tackled pretty soon.
Aside from the most obvious problems I noticed a few more when I looked at that spending. Between snacks and lunch at the office I was spending about $250 a month! The worst part about this is this is mostly for nourishment; there was no enjoyment or experience tied to it. This was pure laziness. So I’ve already started taking lunch with me on most days and the snacks have simply been cut out.
I’d like to think of myself as a pretty smart guy but when I see things like this it makes me feel really dumb for not being careful about how I spend my money. And this is exactly why I make sure to check take a look at my spending in detail every so often because it’s easy to get lazy with things.
When there are no obvious problems its easy to become oblivious to the hidden ones!