Something happened to me the other day that hasn’t happened for a long time. I bounced a cheque. By accident, of course. Weird feeling. I somehow thought I could handle my finances without keeping track of every single penny. Who was I kidding?
I know what works and yet I rebelled against what works. I don’t know why and it’s probably not all that important that I dig into the why. All that is required of me to get back on track is to return to recording my finances like I have for the past year.
I record my finances in a very simple accounting book. It has a big space to record a description of the item, a plus column, minus column and balance column. Very simple. I tried all kinds of things and after awhile it became evident I was just pretending to be looking for the best way to keep track of my money as a way of avoiding keeping track of my money. Simple IS best.
You can keep looking for the right way to keep track of your finances or you can start right NOW. The present moment is all we really have. Even if you take a blank piece of paper and divide it into four columns (one big column followed by three equal-sized $ columns), get started today. If you’re not used to writing down every penny you spend, new habit needs to be formed right now. Wait a second! It depends on what you want. Do you seek financial clarity in your life? Then get busy…
The little monkey-mind will think up ingenious reasons why you ought not to do this.
“I don’t have to.”
“That won’t really work for me.”
“I have no money to keep track of.”
“That’s not going to work.”
“I’m different.” (one of my faves)
- You DO have to
- It WILL really work for you
- You have to learn to take care of the little money you DO have in order to be ready to receive more
- It DOES work and
- Yeah, you’re different, but you’re also not.
Writing down what you spend is an act of respect for the energy of your money. It sends a signal that you can be entrusted to take care of the energy you do have. Last month I bought a new car. I was freaking out (temporarily and quietly in my head) that I would not be able to afford the payment. I didn’t know if I could do it, or how it would affect my financial life. I crunched the numbers before making the decision, of course, but I still had some sort of block.
I went back to my financial ledger. It enabled me to take a big-picture look at what I was spending my money on. I wanted to know where I could possibly cut back or make smarter decisions on my spending. I wouldn’t have know, if I hadn’t kept track, that I spent over $400 in the month of January on meals/coffee breaks/entertainment. That’s most of my car payment right there. I had to ask myself, “What do I really want my life to look like? Do I choose to have a (super-cute) car or do I choose to spend $20 here, $40 there on meals out for my convenience?”
I bought the car, and I love it. It’s changed my life completely. Recording my expenses helped me look at where I put my energy. Being conscious of this, I can then make a decision on what I want to do. Shortly after buying the car, I also did a funky little switcheroo within where I figured I didn’t need to keep writing down my spending. I went back to sleep. And that’s when I made the mistake of writing a cheque and not accounting for it properly.
So now I clean it up. I prefer to NOT write back cheques. Don’t you? I prefer to know what I have in my bank account every day. Don’t you? It feels much better to know than to wonder and it feels much better to face my spending faux pas head on rather than sticking my head in the sand. The better-feeling action is the right path for me. I’ll be writing more about how it feels to record your spending in an up-coming post. How you FEEL about your money is a crucial factor in turning your financial picture around.
Do you track your spending? What works for you? Your answer may inspire someone who has not yet made the decision to track their dollars. Spreadsheet? Paper? Accounting book? Cheque book? Allow your abundance involves being willing and able to receive. It’s not that the money isn’t there. Your good awaits you. Taking care of, and tracking the dollars you DO have demonstrates your ability to handle more of your good. Go for it!