Saturday, January 9, 2010

The importance of keeping track

When you first start saving lots of money, it's easy to forget to keep track of your savings and spending.  The adrenaline is rushing and you get focused on the thrill of the deal.  It can be easy to actually overspend when you first start couponing.  Some people rush to build a stockpile, and others go after every deal even if they don't need/want the item. Keeping track of your money helps you avoid the overspending, hopefully before it becomes a major problem.

With the start of a new year, I began keeping track of our spending and saving in a spreadsheet.  There is no need for anything fancy; a simple spreadsheet in Excel (or a free alternative) will do just fine. I'm also keeping all the receipts just in case.

So far, it's going pretty well. A couple of receipts have accidentally gotten thrown away, but I don't expect that to be a common occurrence. Keeping track also helped point out problem areas where we still need to cut back and helped curb some of the impulse shopping. It's also nice to show the naysayers how much you can save with just a few "scraps of paper".

Keeping track is also a great confidence booster; we've already saved over 90% just in the first 9 days of the year.  Without the spreadsheet, I would have guessed it would be more like 60%. I think we're well on our way to saving over 50% on our purchases this year!

If you're not already keeping track, please consider doing so. You never know what you'll find out!

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