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Can you keep track?

The month of August is nearly at an end. Thank goodness it is nearly pay day again.

I previously wrote about auditing your budget. How did you all do? Were you as shocked as I was at how little you knew, or did your audit show that you were on target?

This coming week I invite you all to begin an exercise with me.  Get yourselves an old fashioned treble cash book that has an income column, an expense column and a total column. You can just draw 1 column for details, then another 3 for the numbers on ordinary lined paper.

I specifically don’t want you using a computer spread sheet because doing the exercise physically will help you see and feel your spend. I have been using a spreadsheet and it hasn’t helped me much.

This will take some discipline, as you need to write down every single cent you spent, including the money you give to the guard at the shopping centre or the beggar at the side of the road.

The results are eye opening. I found that I had over R100 unaccounted for , in one week! No record of where I spent the money or what I have to show for it and,  since I am at work most of the time, I can’t write it off as charity. Now this may not seem like all that much money when you write it like this, but it is the equivalent of about 10 litres of milk or about 10 loaves of bread or 15kg of mielie meal (maize meal for the Americans). That is a lot of staples when you are on a tight budget.

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Seeing your money in columns of rands and cents, definitely makes you more aware of your spending because it is that little bit of change given out over the course of every single day that adds up. I am definitely not saying you mustn’t give the money but how about making it part of your 10% tithe or whatever amount you want to give?

It is recommended that you not give more than 10% of your income to Meisa (tithe), your church or charity of choice, as you are giving to help others not put yourself into more debt.

P.S.  This includes tooth mouse/tooth fairy money!

Starting 7 September, I will be doing a series on how to start being in charge of your money and not having your money be in charge of you! The series is entitled ‘Journey to being financially free’. I am not an expert in finance – just an expert on being burdened with too much month for my money! Some of the topics I have already written about previously, such as envelope budgeting. The series will run for 12 weeks.

Please let me know, along the way this week, and in the coming weeks, how you are progressing with your income and expense records. If you have started using any of the tips in the blog, what have you discovered, or changed about your money habits?

I am really interested in hearing these results!

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