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A few weeks back–OK, several weeks ago–I offered my first suggestion for gradually getting “checked in” to your finances: keep track of your spending for two weeks. Since I pay for most purchases by debit card, my plan at that time was to log in to my checking account after two weeks and review my transactions online. Now that it has been (ahem) 12 weeks, at least I can say that I have sufficient data from which to draw some conclusions! And the data has been eye-opening.
I already knew that most of my purchases are for food, but what struck me is the frequency of my purchases. Even with a meal calendar–which was a boon to my weeknight sanity in August and September (I slacked off in October)–I am still going to a grocery store an average of two more times after my regular weekly shopping. I’m also stopping for a treat like fries or frozen yogurt, “for the kids,” perhaps more often than I should.
I don’t think of myself as an excessive or frivolous spender. I rarely go clothes shopping, for example. When I do, it is often at a place where the employees wear red polo shirts. But after taking a closer look at my day-to-day spending, I can definitely see room for more thoughtfulness. Which brings me to today’s check-in:
Keep track of your spending (again), for one week this time, and ask yourself a few questions at the end of the week:
- Does anything surprise you about the frequency, amount, or where you spend money?
- Are you intentional about your spending, or is it based more on impulse?
- Do you see any opportunities to save money by changing when, where, or how often you shop?
As I said before, I’d like us to get back on a budget as a family, but I think it’s important to first look at where I need to be more disciplined. As wives, however little or much of the family budget we may have control over, we can ask the Lord to help us to be faithful with that amount.
~~His master replied, “Well done, good and faithful servant! You have been faithful with a few things; I will put you in charge of many things. Come and share your master’s happiness!” (Matthew 25:23a, NIV)~~
May the Lord help us to be good stewards of what has been entrusted to us, and thank you for stopping by!