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Are You Up For A Challenge?

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!

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Randall @ Happy For This Moment said...

I love that I can answer each of your questions! Tracking our spending not only helps keep things in line but you really understand where your money is going. Hope everyone takes the time to do it this month.

Day Old News said...

Not gonna lie, I am terrible, awful with personal finance, much to the chagrin of my banker father. I accept your challenge and I know it is going to be extremely hard for me, but thanks for putting it out there. It's time.

Glitterista said...

The site may help track expenses--they import information from your credit cards, banks, and any other sources. I just started using it and it has been so helpful to really understand how much I spend per month.

Newlywed Next Door said...

I'm with ya!

I've been tracking everything for over a year now!

Gas in Nov. was $95.

Monthly groceries/drugstore items are usually around $500.

Monthly electricity for our condo averages to about $45. :)

I track all of this one some INSANE spreadsheets.

Karissa said...

I like your challenge and I am going to participate. I am afraid of what it will look like come February 28. Oh, and I have no clue what the answers are to the questions.

Barefoot in the Park said...

i can answer none of your questions so i am SO ON BOARD! i'm excited, i think this little challenge shall be interesting!

linda said...

I have no idea! I'm going to start.

Tickled Pink said...

Go girl! I may try this :) I def cant answer any of these :( Boo!

The Fabulous Life of a Coach's Wife said...

I'm going to do this! I've been contemplating writing down all of our expenses in a month to track them, especially gas (the Mr. and I both have 30 min both ways commutes) so this is the perfect kick in the pants I need!!!

Michie said...

Oh yes, that B word is scary! But I'm with you!

sarah bean said...

thank goodness for you!!! I am sooo excited to do this, and I am so excited to have someone guide me :) perfect timing as well...thanks so much I cannot wait!!!

Buford Betty said...

Heck yeah I can answer those questions in about 2 seconds flat! I'm a budgeting fool, you know. You can't win with money without a plan. Great challenge!

Q said...

Oh, I would ace this pop quiz. No joke! I'm so super stinking anal about finances. (I realize I'm weird.) I write absolutely everything down. On a spreadsheet, divided into tabs by what I call "buckets"--gas, groceries, even our allowance. If I go over in one area, I must take from another. I like to talk all things finance. My husband and I paid off our mortgage in 4.5 years. If I weren't afraid of rubbing people the wrong way, I'd have it made into a T-shirt.

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