It’s Simple, Not Easy

Many things begin in January. For my husband and me, January is when we said we would begin to track all our spending. All of it. As part of our Plan, we moved to a smaller house in a neighborhood with lots of amenities within walking distance and good access to public transportation. Meeting the goals in our Plan required we reduce our living expenses.

Now we begin the task of tracking our financial performance against the goals we set.  First we created a budget. Some pieces of the budget were easy to figure out, others continue to elude us: like how we spent the $100 withdrawal from an ATM. The solution is simple: every time we spend cash, make a note of what we spent it on. Simple. Yes, simple but not easy. I carry a small notebook and a pen in my purse but the discipline required to remember to make a note each and every time I pass cash across the counter is easier said than done.

So, we’re trying to use debit cards because then we can see on our bank statement where the money was spent and I can give my husband the gears for spending over $7.00 on coffees. We’re spending  a little time every Sunday to check our spending and see where we are compared to our budget. We pat ourselves on the back when we deserve it, try and justify any over spending and resolve to do better tracking the cash. It’s taken us months and months to get to this stage so the process of measuring our progress is exciting. Is our plan working? Are our expenses as low as we hoped? Are we gaining the flexibility we crave so we can choose to do work we love?

It’s energizing, that’s for sure and that energy creates the momentum to keep going. Even if I have no idea what that $20 bought me.

Simple, not easy.