Pop quiz, hot shot-
How much did you spend on gas in November?
What's the 12 month average on your electricity bill?
Do you know how much money it takes to feed yourself/your household each month?
Can you answer any of the above questions?
If not- that's ok! But you're going to learn how to do so, stat.
We have ourselves a February challenge, folks!
As you've probably guessed, the cornerstone of personal finance is the big, scary B word...
But first things first- A budget is really just a plan for how you're going to spend (or save!) your money each month, right? So let's change things up a bit and call it a Money Plan for now, shall we? I think the B word sounds so restrictive, and automatically conjures up thoughts of sacrificing fun stuff, going without, and setting yourself up for failure. NO FUN.
The term Money Plan, however, sounds a lot more proactive- you're planning on how YOU want to allocate your funds. You're in control. And being in control is a nice feeling to have when it comes to money!
Now that we've covered that, let's get back to the challenge...
The real question is this- how can you set a realistic Money Plan when you don't even know what your spending patterns are?
It would be all well and good for me to say "I think I'm going to allocate $250 for fuel in my Money Plan this month"... But guess what? I spent almost $450 in gas in the month of November alone because of my insane work commute (try not to envy me too much). If I just pulled a number out of the air and plugged it into my Money Plan, I just set myself up for a big fat fail.
You cannot create a successful Money Plan if you don't know what your spending habits are- so the challenge this month is to learn your spending habits.
I want you to write down EVERYTHING you spend for the next 28 days.
Now hear me out on this- I am not asking you to change your spending habits one bit. This isn't a challenge to cut down your spending or start using coupons or to change anything about your behavior.
I'm going to say this again, so it really sticks in your mind-
You cannot create a successful Money Plan if you don't know your spending habits!
All you need for this is a pen and a cheap little notebook and the commitment to log every penny for 28 days. It's not a difficult challenge, but I promise that if you're really interested in taking control of your finances, this challenge will do *wonders* for you.
Are you with me?
Ready, set, go!