Track your spending: 3 things you’ll learn

Do you track your spending?  You’re not alone. According to Commonwealth Bank, 56% of Australians wouldn’t have enough money to survive if they were to suddenly lose their income. Yikes! This is due to a lot of blind spending (no surprises there!)

One of the reasons we don’t track our spending is that money has become very “out-of-sight, out-of-mind”. With Paypass and Apple Pay at our fingertips, who actually carries cash? The reality is, we’re no longer face-to-face with what we’re spending. Even worse, we’re not even checking our bank statements to see just how much damage we’re making. Sound familiar? Read on.

Not paying attention to your spending is a dangerous habit. Not only can it lead to overdraft fees, but it’s preventing you from putting away for a rainy day or saving for something more meaningful, even if it’s something small.

You can track your spending in a couple of ways. For one, pay in cash. Stop swiping! That way you can actually see where your money is going. Or, you can tally up your spending with a budgeting app like Finchsights by Finch,  a free personal finance tool that helps you track, compare and get insights on your social spending. That’s right, you can finally see where all your fun money is going: Ubereats, happy hours, coffee, the lot!

Here’s 3 things you’ll be guaranteed to learn in this process

1. You spend too much on your vices

It’s a tough pill to swallow but we’re spending way too much money things like alcohol and coffee. In fact, Australians are spending $25.5 billion annually on these two vices alone. Eek! But it doesn’t mean you have to give up these things up entirely. Just think logically about it…

Do you really need an extra-large coffee instead of a medium? Can you brew it at home instead? If you’re going out for glasses of wine with a friend, how about about splitting a bottle rather than paying for individual glasses? Instead of going out to a bar, invite friends over for a few drinks. Compromising how we spend our money on our vices doesn’t cut us off completely. When you track your spending, you’ll be able to decide if this is a vice you actually want to splurge on (or it might make you cringe). Either way, it’s a positive step forward!

2. You spend more when emotions are high

When we’re down or stressed, we try to set off endorphins (the happy hormones) in the brain by doing something good for ourselves. That means buying things that we don’t actually need or regret later.

When you keep track of your spending, think of how you felt the day you bought that new outfit you’ve never worn. Or the night you said, “F* it,” and bought rounds for everyone at the bar? Why were you in such a need to get so wasted that you had to bring everyone to your level as well? (Duh, it feels good… we get it!)

Next time you’re feeling overly emotional, try this: don’t reach for your wallet. Instead, go for a walk. Get some air. Pound the pavement. Get your heart racing. Blow off steam in ways that are not only good for you mentally, but financially as well.

3. You eat out more than you should

UberEats sending you broke? Eating out is convenient, but it’s also SO expensive. We work hard all day and the last thing we want to do is cook for ourselves… and then clean up our own mess! If you’ve got a delivery service on speed dial, you’re not alone.

Try this: Save the eating out for when you’re with friends. It’s nice to treat ourselves once in a while, but we might as well have fun doing it with mates over a beer. Save the cashola, boil some pasta and slap on some good ol’ Dolmios!