Sums and Errors

I’m balancing my accounts because it is almost the end of the month. I will come out ahead this month, but probably only thanks to the tax return. There is still pay day this Wednesday, but I’m not convinced it will tide me over. Maybe. Maybe with plasma selling. It’ll be close on the income/expenses side of things (not counting the tax return).

My math is also off by $38.76. I don’t know how—poor tracking, I guess. My brain keeps trying to think of expenses that would match the number (happy hour somewhere or groceries) but realistically it is probably several things that added up to $38.76.  Or it could be a carryover error from some previous month (I don’t track my errors so I don’t know). Or it could be a combination. And by the time the 30th rolls around, it may be a different error altogether.

Whenever I get an error like this, I think it could be avoided if I had perfectly executed the YMOYL steps. If I had perfectly written down all my spending and income, and if I had done it right when I was standing at the cashier counter, these mistakes wouldn’t happen. But I don’t write it down then. I grab the receipt (if I get one) or make a mental note (great system) if I’m at Starbucks, and I mean to write it down as soon as I am in my car or at the table, somewhere where I won’t be holding up the line, where the cashier won’t think I’m weird for pulling out my notebook, where my friend won’t ask what I am doing.

I’ve never had a cashier or a stranger ask me what I’m doing when I have stopped to write down what I spent. Friends have asked, “what are you doing?” in pleasantly and inquisitively.

“I track what I spend,” I’ve said.

“Oh.”

That’s it—that’s the whole difficult interaction in a nutshell, but I just don’t do it. Later, I think. I’ll do it later. And then later, at the end of the month, I have a headache because the numbers don’t add up.

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