Awareness is Key

Week 2 | Day 8 | GB 101: Budget Bootcamp

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This week is all about building awareness around our spending. We want to focus on becoming more aware of our spending because that helps us be more thoughtful and successful as budgeters. So over the course of this course (hehe) — but this week in particular —  we want to move from noticing “Oh, I spent money!” to “Look, I’m spending now” to “Hm, I am going to spend.”

When these habits and self-awareness are developed, we’ll learn to record our grocery spending before we even leave the store, rather than remembering we spent money weeks later when we look at our monthly bank statement.

Our friend Wayne told us that he often struggles to add his transactions as they happen in real time. And, we get it! It’s tough. But he also said,

“I’m much happier when I record purchases right when I make them… It’s frustrating when I’m recording an expense using only the information my bank provides, which is usually only the merchant name, amount and date. Purchases from big-box stores like Target and Walmart are the worst because I buy so many different things from those stores.”

We agree, that does sound like a pain. So let’s dive in and start working!

Today’s Assignment

  1. Today, your mini-mission is to track your spending in Goodbudget while you’re at the store. Or right away when you buy something online. Oftentimes we swipe our cards at the gas pump without even realizing we’re spending. So logging those transactions as soon as they happen helps you notice when you spend, rather than remembering a few days later.
  2. Comment below and let us know how you’re feeling. What happened when you paid attention while you were spending instead of after you already spent?

Happy budgeting,
-The Goodbudget Team

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9 thoughts on “Awareness is Key”

  1. Tracking as I go makes me realise how all the little things add up. A 7$ train ticket here or a $2 doughnut from the corner store there aren’t terribly expensive, but lots of those little things has just as much impact as one or two “significant” purchases.

  2. The combination of having the GB on my phone and establishing the habit of recording expenses immediately (I prefer to record them using receipts as soon as I get in my car) has been life changing. We are newly retired and it’s more important than ever to be aware of spending unnecessarily, and knowing where exactly our money is going. Thanks for this course. I’m married to an Accountant and it’s still been really helpful! 🙂

  3. For sure I need to track when I spend, otherwise I get behind and won’t necessarily get caught up. And I have to be sure that I schedule all of my automatic fixed payments, and for unfixed ones coming out of my checking I have to monitor account and record them.

  4. I use the mint app which automatically records my spending, but I never record what I spend in cash.. and then i fail to check my mint app regularly. So im going to make a habit to record manually as well starting today

  5. I think this is the best thing about Goodbudget but I will be honest, after having used the app for years, I find there’s a psychological thing that happens if I’m ever in a situation where I am going to overdraw an envelope. (I know, it happens sometimes!) I don’t want to put it in, unless I’m leaving the envelope in green. But if I overdraw, I tend not to want to think about it so much and I’ll postpone it for later. But then I’ll cheat on other envelopes as well.

    In short, the most challenging part of the budgeting process is making a commitment to yourself to only rarely overdraw an envelope, and even then only if you’ve got money somewhere else to take care of it that can be reallocated. And then having the courage to *not* spend if there isn’t the money there.

  6. I always take the receipt. If I for some reason cannot record the purchase immediately I just do it later on, the same day.

  7. I make sure to always keep in mind what I can spend on myself and just random things I sometimes buy, like a Sobe at the gas station or a pair of earrings at Walmart. Also within my account I keep up with the bigger expenses that I would like to purchase for myself, like more expensive jewelry or things like that, but I save through my fun spending money that’s allotted to me so I can buy both little things and big things. So I always keep in mind a good view of what I want to spend just for fun and what I really want.

  8. I try to record as soon as I pay; it feels good, and actually I have a reward on habitica if I do it. However it’s sometimes hard to do them and when I try to balance my money I got such headache because I know that I bought this stuff but don´t remember when, where I bought it and how much did it cost.

    What I’ve found that is that evernote can be really helpfull

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