Want to radically change your relationship to money…and your life? Write down everything you spend. It’s called tracking your expenses.
Believe me, tracking is not just for budgeting or those with limited means. The numbers reveal a story about your life.
You’ll discover bad habits and blind spots; where you’re putting your time and energy; what’s missing in your life; where you’re not living your values.
Here’s how it works. Buy a small notebook or find an empty checkbook register that fits into your pocket or purse.
Whenever you buy something—be it a yoga class or a cup of coffee, whether you use cash, check, debit or credit—jot down the item along with the cost.
Warning. Do this at the point of purchase. Otherwise, as receipts pile up, you’ll likely give up in overwhelm.
It’s also important to do this exercise by hand, not electronically, at least for the first few months. Using an app may be easier, but the physical act of writing keeps you mindful and connected to your money.
I’m not asking you to change anything. You can if you wish. But it’s more important to simply note, without judgment, how much you spend and on what.
This is meant to be a consciousness raising exercise. And it’s powerful! Tracking also has a ripple effect.
A fascinating study by Australian researchers, found that when participants in the study wrote down every purchase for four months, their financial lives improved..
Surprisingly, they also smoked and drank less, ate less junk food and even found they were more productive.
The study found that, “As people strengthened their willpower muscles in one part of their lives — in the gym, or a money management program — that strength spilled over into what they ate or how hard they worked. Once willpower became stronger, it touched everything.”
These results didn’t actually didn’t surprise me. I’ve always known that whatever is going on with money is going on in other areas of your life as well.
When you become more conscious of your money, you’ll become more conscious of detrimental habits in other areas as well.
Are you willing to track your spending for the next 30 days? Or if you’re doing it now, how’s it going for you? I’d love to hear your thoughts. Comment below.