February numbers are in! And I am particularly happy to announce that I spent less than I earned this month! Hallelujah! I’m also pleased because my accounting balances to under a dollar (somewhere along the way I lost or failed to record 74 cents… I can live with that).
So the final numbers:
Expenses: $918.95 (this includes car and health insurance payments that haven’t been cashed)
Car Payments: $151 (not withdrawn from my account yet)
Saving for H’s wedding: $135
Sometimes I wonder whether my money tracking system (YMOYL approved!) is too complicated. I track every penny that comes into or leaves my life, though I am almost always wrong, forgetting one thing or writing down an incorrect amount. I track everything, then I sort it, analyze it with YMOYL’s three questions, and repeat the whole process next month. But I was looking at the numbers this evening and I noticed that even without all the convoluted math (addition and subtraction—who needs ‘em!) I have more at the end of the month than I did at the beginning, so I saved money. Do I really need to track every penny to reach the same conclusion?
There are other benefits to tracking, I suppose. I spent a lot more on coffee this month than in the past, but it didn’t break the bank, so maybe I can let up on the latte-induced guilt now. On the other hand, I spent more on gas this month because I biked to work less, and I dislike that for other, non-monetary reasons.
I track my money this way because I like to and Joe Dominguez & Vicki Robin told me it would change the way I think about money. For the most part, it has. But it’s hard to see a pattern in my spending. I certainly don’t see the lovely decrease that the example graphs in Your Money Or Your Life showed. Overall, my spending has decreased, but I have a hard time determining for sure whether the main cause is my personal change or the fact that I don’t have student loans anymore. And while my spending has dropped, my income also dropped significantly (and by choice) so I’m not seeing the lovely savings that the example graphs showed either.
It’s hard for me that I’m not living up to “the teacher’s” examples. I want my graph to be as neat and pretty as everyone else’s, to line up with the expectations. It isn’t, at least not yet. I seem to be taking longer than expected to learn to manage this money thing. I guess that gives me something to blog about.