Keep track to save

If “money” was a class, many of us would be failing. Take time to write down your expenses



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Considering the amount of time we spend watching TV, eating out, and chugging a bottle or six of beer, you’d think we’d have at least an hour every month to manage our money so we could save. If “money” was a subject we were being marked on, a lot of us would be failing miserably.

Do you track your spending daily, so you know exactly how much you have in your account to spend? Take an A. If you do a weekly check on your account balance to make sure you’re still in the black, you score a B. If you’re overconfident enough to believe that you only have to check once a month, you’re passing, but just. Never look at your account because you’ve got overdraft protection so nothing too bad can happen? You FAIL.

Do you live on a budget, plan what you’ll spend and stick pretty close to the plan? Take an A. If you have a budget but sometimes are surprised at expenses you could have anticipated, you score a B. If you have a budget in your head and never go over on your spending, you’re passing, for now. It may simply be that you’ve been lucky so far. If you don’t have a budget at all because you think they’re stupid or you can’t be bothered to manage your money with this level of detail, epic FAIL.

Do you have a specific amount that you set aside every month automatically for both retirement and emergencies? Take an A. If you save “pretty regularly,” but not automatically, you score a B. If you’re banking on one of those roundup programs to get you savings, you’re not planning to save and you wonder how much of those savings get transferred back to cover expenses: all it will get you is a pass. Less than that, you FAIL. You also FAIL if you claim you can’t find even a dollar a day to save.

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