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Tracking Triggers Change

31 January 2022

For many, talking about budgeting is worse than a trip to the dentist. But, as any health and wellness programme will remind us, when we’re aware of what’s going on with our health, we can begin to do something positive about it.

When it comes to our wealth – the same rings true.

Tracking how money flows in and out of our lives is a powerful way to decide how we will choose to direct that flow. It can flow straight past, or we can begin to dam up reservoirs and provide a catchment reserve for the things we believe to be valuable and important.

Dave Ramsey, seven-time #1 national bestselling author, personal finance expert and host of The Ramsey Show, heard by 18 million listeners every week, often talks about the value of tracking spending to regain control over our money.

He says: “If you want to win with money, you have to change your actions with money. The way you do that is to make a budget and then stick to it. The way you do that is to track your expenses.”

There we have it. Tracking triggers change.

And, if we’re going to run with the pun… it’s change that will put more change in our pocket.

Below are some key thoughts from Dave.

Step 1: Create a Budget

You won’t be able to track expenses without one. What’s a budget? It’s your monthly money plan – your expected income and expenses put in categories for the whole month.

A budget doesn’t control you; you control it. It’s a guide you set up to make sure your money is doing what you’re telling it to do. In our financial planning meetings, we can look at the best ways to set this up.

Step 2: Record Your Expenses

Every day. We mean it. Every. Day. If you don’t keep up with what you’re spending, you’ll be living in a fantasy land where wallets never go empty and bank accounts stay busting and full. That’d be great – but it isn’t the real world. In the real world, you have to keep up with what you spend.

Step 3: Watch Those Amounts

Tracking your expenses can help ensure you don’t overspend in any area. When you enter an expense, make sure you track how much is left in that category.

If you’re married, make sure both of you are recording all spending and checking in with each other before you spend. This is great for accountability and communication. That way neither one of you will ever say, “I didn’t know you spent most of the entertainment budget buying tickets to the wax museum. I wanted to sign us up for a couples beatbox class.”

Part of ensuring that we land up where we want to be tomorrow is being certain of where we are today, tracking that triggers the change needed to keep us on course.

Sanlam Life Insurance is a licensed financial service provider.
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