In January I decided to keep track of my expenses by carrying a tiny notepad around wherever I travel. Although I rarely go to the ATM I don’t like the idea of cash flowing in and out of my wallet. My husband keeps track of all of our credit card transactions in a handy-dandy spreadsheet, but of course, he can’t keep track of cash expenditures unless I tell him what I’m buying. So I thought I’d carry along a little notepad to write down all my expenditures.
What did I learn from this experiment? If you’re hoping to learn that I gained some unusual knowledge about my spending habits, I’m afraid you’ll be mistaken. What I learned is that I have very little self-discipline. My husband has been keeping a journal for years now, detailing the events of his day, his goals, his eating habits, his weight, you name it. Somehow I couldn’t manage to keep track of my expenses for more than a few weeks.
At first I blamed this on the fact that I rarely use cash. I use it to pay for lunch in the cafeteria, which doesn’t take credit cards. I use it whenever I have items that are less than a few dollars or when there is a long line of customers behind me who seem to be in a hurry. Other than that I don’t use cash very often. But I find it funny that after a few weeks of tracking my spending habits I wholeheartedly gave up on the approach. In fact, I have started and stopped this tracking technique since January, but I can’t seem to get past the two week mark. Maybe it’s because I know that the majority of our spending habits are being accounted for, or maybe I learned everything I needed to know in a matter of weeks.
In the past I have written about the patience and planning it takes to live a frugal lifestyle, but in this particular case I just couldn’t muster up the discipline.