Tracking your spending

Tracking your spending

Personal finance is a critically important subject and I’m constantly worried that we aren’t covering it enough in school, especially business schools. That’s why We’re spending two weeks on it AND why there are two assignments this week.

Since we are talking budgeting and savings this week, it’s important to start with TRACKING your spending. This is going to be a VERY surprising exercise for you. Remember how the federal budget exercise was harder than you thought it would be? Well this is like that – except it’s YOUR PERSONAL budget!

Here’s what I want you to do: Either find, buy, borrow or otherwise acquire a small notebook. optimally it should be pocket-sized. Small and convenient is what we are going for here. Personally I like and But I’m a little bit fancy. (Yes I carry one of these wherever I go. I also carry a pen at all times. Good habits to get into, both of them, by the way. I like carrying fountain pens but again – fancy.)

What I want you to do is to WRITE DOWN every penny you spend for a week.


NOT in an app. NOT on your phone. NOT in a spreadsheet. ON PAPER. If you want to fake this at the end of the week that’s fine too – I will fake giving you points for it.

The physical act of noting your spending matters here. Every time. Eighty five cents for gum? Write it down. Burrito value meal? Write it down. Gas? Write. Coffee? Write.

I know – this sounds unusual and silly. So did the Balance the Federal Budget thing at first. Just trust me on this and go with me for a week. I assure you, we’re going to use this later and you’re going to be SHOCKED at the results. I’ve been doing this for years. Please. Just trust me on this one.

To turn this assignment in at the end of the week, take a photo of a page or two of the notebook and upload it. Easy.


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