So after 30 days of tracking what i spent, was it helpful? was it worth the daily effort?
Well.... I would say without it I wouldn't have taken the steps that I have, such as:
1) Cut needless spending
2) Invested $1,100 in a 2nd laptop for my business
3) Saved $1000 for our trip to Spain
4) Paid down school loan $911
Bottom line though, I spent more than I made:
($4,875 - $5,069= -$194).
Yes, I accomplished a lot with saving money and the investment in my business directly helped me earn more this month, but I did spend more than I made. In effect, I took from my cash cushion for credit cards.
There are tons of learnings I have gleaned from this exercise, at the same time, it is not helpful to get anal and neurotic over the minutia, nor head trip into self condemnation and judgment. Moving forward, I feel clearer and more able to make reasonable choices in line with my dreams and goals.
Additionally, now I have the raw info to create a budget for the coming months in preparation for Spain. When I know my monthly averages, then I ask:
Was this a typical month of income?
Was this a typical month of expenses?
Is there anything missing?
These are some of the basic questions to ask when generating a Personal Balanced Budget.
Probably the greatest reward has been intrinsic, as the program has inspired new ways of relating with money that I will continue to explore in the coming weeks, such as transcending past the numbers, past the quantification of life, from a place of scarcity, deprivation and over-control into a place of peace and organic flow in tune with natural laws. How can we move beyond the small self, individualistic way of living into an expansive, collective sense of self?
I realized that a profound sense of peace comes from letting go and surrendering. Having a sense of what you're spending, assists this process, so that you are not letting go into a magical world, free-for-all of spending (if that has been your prior default), but rather are letting go in-tune with your actions and choices, seeing their inter-relationship with everything else. What is absolutely essential is feeling more of what you are doing. Everyday, throughout the day. We need more gateways into a deeper felt-sense of ourselves and each other. It is what we are hardwired for.
In my life, I want more connection, community, collective support and intimacy-- less techno-babble, gizmos, expert consultants and quick fixes. The first group is free and deeply enriching-- the second costs $1,000's and has left me feeling empty and craving more.