Money: A Natural Method

Tracking your spending works a lot better than trying to budget, especially for people who, despite their efforts, stray easily from their preplanned, pre-constructed, predesigned, ideal budgetary picture. When you track your spending, you simply record everything that’s happened. You’re looking at reality objectively rather than projecting an ideal image onto reality that may make you feel good, but that you seldom live up to.

This isn’t to say budgeting is bad or useless all together. But if you struggle with prudence, like many middle and upper class people do in modern society, then try this first. Don’t budget at all. In fact, for right now, just throw it all out completely. Proceed with your spending normally. Then simply track all that you spent. It’s important you don’t use general estimates or smudged numbers (it won’t work if you do it that way). Instead, be specific with dollar amounts down to the penny. Go back and look at bank statements and credit card statements and make sure your figures are accurate for each and every line item. Then add them to a spreadsheet, like this:

When starting out with personal money management, we tend to be vague and often fail to capture the intricacies of our real world experiences. On paper, money is one thing but taking that out into the real world is like speaking a completely different language — nothing in our natural experience day to day matches up, goes to plan, or translates as you thought it would when you were planning it out.

Earn. Spend. Track.

So if budgets don’t work well for you, track you’re spending instead, and over a couple weeks of doing this, you’ll likely notice your financial habits start to change as a natural matter of course, as your preconscious mind begins to recognize which spending patterns are contributing to the problems you experience currently. (So long as you’re not overthinking it or beating yourself over it… as that will likely lead to guilt, regret, and then, more bad spending habits.)

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Disclaimer: The opinions voiced in this material are for general information only and are not intended to provide specific advice or recommendations for any individual. To determine which course of ...

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