I’ve been tracking my expenses for nearly 20 years now. You’d think that after that long, I’d be kind of burned out on the whole thing…but I’m not. In fact, tracking my expenses is more a part of me than ever. I’ll admit though, at certain points over the years, and as I’ve expanded my tracking efforts, it has grown a little tedious at times. When those low points hit, there are certain things that I’ve done or changed to help me keep from expense tracking burnout.
Save receipts and account statements
I don’t have time to write down every expense every time it’s incurred. And sometimes I get busy later or forget even when I do have the time. Therefore, it pays to save receipts and account statements for those downtimes when I can sort back through them. Not only does this help me remember to add the expense(s) to my tracking report but it allows me to review additional information such as sales tax rates or if I need to, retain the receipt for tax documentation if I’m using it as a deduction.
Do it when I’m bored
Some people think it takes a lot of work, a ton of time or fancy computer programs to log and track their expenses. The majority of my expense tracking takes place on a generic spreadsheet done on my laptop while I’m relaxing in front of the television. It typically only takes me a couple of minutes, several times a week to update my tracking sheet as well as update other aspects of our spending such as utility consumption, housing costs, and baby expenses. By breaking my tracking down into multiple short sessions throughout the week, I avoid having to tackle it all at once just once or twice each month when it’s a much bigger, much more time consuming task.
Add up the savings
Maybe the best way to avoid getting burned out on tracking expenses is by tallying up the amount of money it has helped save.
Over time, I’ve watched our utility consumption as we found ways to cut it by nearly 33 percent year over year. I watched the amount of interest owed on our home mortgage amortization schedule dwindle little by little each time we made an extra payment until we were recognizing thousands of dollars in mortgage interest savings. I’ve watched as we’ve cut food waste and managed to create a food budget of $300 a month for our family of four by tracking food costs and making use of discount grocers.
Being able to see the result of our efforts add up to thousands of dollars worth of savings acts as strong motivation to stay hard at work in our expense tracking and not get burned out over the long haul.
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The author is not a licensed financial professional. The information provided in this article is for informational purposes only and does not constitute advice of any kind. Any action taken by the reader due to the information provided in this article is solely at the reader’s discretion.