Get Your Money $hit Together Day 5 Activity
Track Your Money
Great work! You made it through some of the hardest parts about getting your money $hit together, the inner work and facing the numbers! Now you are ready to advance into the part where you get super honest with yourself about where you are in your journey. It is time to begin tracking the flow of your cash.
What comes in and what goes out may be something you already have a great grasp on, or you may be like most…using the bank account balance as your “number” for what is left to spend and hoping you don’t miss something and end up with fees.
If you are among us with the second method, never fear. The simple act of tracking your spending for a period of time allows us to get honest, reset some behaviors, and get ourselves back on track. Let’s face it, we eat better when we write down our food in a food log, and we make better spending choices when we must face the choices and write them in our money tracker. Keep in mind, you begin this behavior today, but this is an ongoing piece of getting your money $hit together. This work changes things. So let’s do this.
- Commit to the amount of time you are willing to track everything your spend. (30 days is a recommended minimum as most operate on a monthly cycle of income and spending.) Choose how long you wish to track to know your data, but more importantly, choose something you will DO. If you make a big promise and do not keep it, you actually make the matter worse by breaking trust with yourself, deepening your disdain with money.
- Use the tracker provided or create your own and track everything you spend for that amount of time. How you track is less important than that you DO track your spending. There are many ways to do this. You may track on paper as provided in this activity sheet. You may track on a google sheet, like in the provided worksheets. You may use an app for money tracking through your bank or a third party, like mint and others.
- Review your spending. Did you earn more or spend more? Did you spend on things you want, need, and care about? Are there some items in your spending log that you don’t really remember or didn’t actually enjoy? Are there “leaking funds” for little things like a coffee here and a pack of gum there? Pay attention to what you spending on “little things.” You may be surprised.
- Choose some colored highlighters. Mark any spending items that you feel were “wasted” or “not supportive” of the goals and direction you are going in your life with one color. Mark spending that wasn’t “need” but that you enjoyed or feel was “worth it” in another color. Mark all your spending that is likely to occur each month in another color (i.e. rent, power, phone, etc). Color coding your spending helps you get a quick and easy look at where your money is going without thinking about “numbers” to do so. Trust me, this trick works.
- Now…decide what changes you want to make. Depending on where you are in your spending journey, you may wish to cut out some of the spending that you marked as “wasteful.” If you do not want to cut it, ask yourself why you consider it wasteful? Is that true? Is there an intrinsic value you hold with that item that you are likely to continue buying? There is no wrong. Just notice.
- Make a list of all the things you could do instead if those “wasteful” dollars were added back to your cash flow.
I often find great value in simply playing a game of shifting the colors on your spending tracking from the wasteful color to the colors you want to keep as part of your life. Make this part a game. Play with it. Where could you tighten up? Where are you spending money that doesn’t really add value to your life? For me, buying coffee out is a huge waste, so I typically make my coffee at home.
Remember, this is YOUR LIFE, YOUR MONEY, and YOUR CHOICE. No one is judging or shaming you about how you spend your money.
THIS IS NOT ABOUT PLEASING ANYONE WITH YOUR STELLAR SPENDING HABITS.
THIS IS ABOUT GETTING WHAT YOU WANT FROM YOUR LIFE
and finding that you may be already almost there financially with a few tweaks to your behaviors. How could is it to suddenly have more money available to you simply because you stopped using it for things your DON”T WANT? Let’s get tracking!!!
Money Tracker…download file for money tracker.
|Date||Money In||Money Out||Purpose?||Good Purcchoice?|
|Date||Money In||Money Out||Purpose||Good purchase?|
Tips for ways to complete this exercise
- Solo—doing this alone and with plenty of space is preferred, at least in the first round. Spending time with yourself can offer you some deep insight into what you want when there is no one else to please with your choices. I recommend doing this solo as a first pass, and then getting into some activities you enjoy with people you love and see what else comes up for you that you didn’t think of before. Maybe you discover you love roller blading and want to live where there is a place to go near you home. That would be a great wealth component to add.
- Partnered—once you have given this some thought by yourself, you may wish to engage someone to share your vision with. For some, the vision is too delicate to share, and that is okay. Share it with your mirror. There is value in sharing what you want out loud and receiving support from those who listen. Be sure to set the stage for success, however. Choose someone who will support your vision and dreams, and not someone who will judge you or try to insert their idea of your dream. This is a listening exercise…and just maybe you can dive in together and do a bit of crazy dreaming together if you want to expand your ideas a bit.
- Group—again, after some personal reflection, it can be powerful to bring your vision before a small group and receive love and support for what it is you are creating. Doing this exercise with a group holds the power to create collective energy for your dream life. Keep in mind, as with partners, it is critical that all members of the group are there to support only. This is your vision. Allowing a group to expand your ideas is awesome. Letting a group tell you what is best for you is not. Hold to your own feelings and decision about your dream as you step deeper into your wealthy life. You’ve got this!!!
Remember to come share you insights, wins, questions, and breakthrough on Instagram and tag us @thegypsyprofessor using #moneychallenge so we can find you.