Keeping a Personal Finance Journal

Last updated: April 6, 2018

Personal Finances

Isn’t it a great feeling every two weeks when you finally get that paycheck you’ve been working so hard for? But then, payments have to be made… And you need to take your daughter to the mall to get some new shoes… And your son needs $30 for his school organization… Don’t forget you need to pay your brother back and that’s another $50. All of a sudden, your paycheck has run out and you can’t figure out where all that money went. It can be a sickening feeling, but we have one solution to help you figure out exactly where your money is going.  Keeping a finance journal of daily spending habits can be a great start to gaining control over your money and knowing how it is being spent.

Some tips to successfully keeping a finance journal are:

•  Keep your journal small enough so it is easy to carry with you wherever you go.

•  Record your spending on a notebooking or journal app.

•  Consider keeping the journal by your bed and jotting down your daily purchases before falling asleep at night.

•  Jot down what mood you were in at the time of your purchases so you can tell which ones are impulse buys and find other ways to fulfill your needs that don’t involve spending money.

•  Don’t forget to write down little things like parking meters or that cup of coffee you bought on the way to work. These seemingly small expenses can add up big time in the course of a year.

•   If you think of ways to save money or make extra income, write them down in your journal right away.

Some advantages of keeping a finance journal are:

•  You will know exactly what you are spending your money on. Becoming mindful of where your money is going is key to getting better at managing it.

•  You will be able to see if you are spending more than you are making and how much you are saving each month.

•  You can look at your purchases and evaluate if it is really where you want your money to go and begin to prioritize. Highlight things you wish you hadn’t spent money on.

•  Over time, you will notice monthly and annual patterns in spending that you can predict and plan for. Once you notice patterns, consider keeping track on your calendar with reminders. For example, car insurance payments are due every January and July, school supplies and new clothes in August, high heating bills in February….

Keeping track of your spending can seem like an overwhelming task, but keeping a finance journal is one way to put you in control of your money.

 

‘Photo by @Cathrynlavery

 

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