It’s Day Seven of our Jump Start January challenge, and the final day of our money saving first week. Remember Day 1 when we started keeping a spending diary? Today we’re going to start looking for leaks in your budget.
Money can go unexpectedly when there’s a big expense such as a car needing urgent repairs or you need to make an emergency trip somewhere, but it can also drip away slowly, almost unnoticed, from our bank accounts. Today is about looking through recent spending, and trying to hunt down those small gaps where your money is slowly leached away.
If you’ve been keeping a spending diary for the last few days, go back to your notes. Now group your spending into the following categories, and add up the total in each category:
- Snacks and drinks
- Entertainment and going out
- Travel or petrol
- Clothing, accessories, beauty
- Gadgets and tech, software, apps
- Miscellaneous / other purchases
For anyone who hasn’t been keeping a spending diary, you could piece some or most of your recent spending together with a banking app or online banking or credit card information, and looking at saved receipts.
Now evaluate your spending
Now ask yourself the following questions:
- Does the total spending in any category surprise or shock me?
- Is there anything that’s gone particularly well, or especially badly?
- Can I see any obvious patterns in my spending behaviour?
- Are they linked to certain places, times, moods or people? Are there any areas where I might be sabotaging myself?
- Where is there room for improvement? Can I see any possible ‘quick wins’? What am I going to do differently next week?
Did you learn anything interesting about your spending, or find any areas where the money’s leaking out of your budget?
Week Two of Jump Start January starts tomorrow, see you then for some easy, inexpensive ways to boost your mood, increase happiness and create a sense of wellbeing.