A few weeks ago, Heath, a frequent comment and social media contributor to the site, mentioned that he was tracking his money week-to-week. I was curious, so instead of prying too much, I decided to try it myself and see if there are any benefits to doing things weekly. It turns out there are.
Most of us track our money monthly—monthly budgets, monthly income, etc. I still think that’s the best way to do things—since bills and other expenses are typically averaged best on a monthly cycle.
But most of us also review our expenses and other day-to-day things on a monthly basis, which might be too infrequently. That’s especially the case if budgets are tight and/or if you have more than one spender in your family (two parents, etc.).
Our approach to weekly tracking was as simple as possible, so that we didn’t abandon the system from sheer annoyance of having another layer to deal with.
In a straightforward text file, we keep Monday-Sunday headings with all income and expenses listed under each day for the week. We try to update the document daily, and list any notes next to transactions that had multiple categories or that we know would be hard to remember in a few weeks.
At the end of the week, we email the file to each other as a way to review what’s happened in the last 7 days.
Benefits of Weekly Tracking
We can already see some of the benefits of reviewing our spending on a weekly basis. Here are a few:
- It keeps us accountable to each other, since we know that every expense has to make it to the file and will be reviewed within 7 days.
- It keeps both of us in the loop about what’s going on with our money on a daily basis, rather than just doing a review once a month.
- It prevents us from forgetting what an expense was for when we do our monthly review or enter transactions into our envelope budgeting system.
- It lets us react to problem areas quicker because we see them immediately.
- It motivates us to save because we celebrate small amounts saved every day, and consequently every week.
- It lets us celebrate “no spending” days and motivates us to keep our money in our wallet as much as possible.
Do you currently track weekly or use some other method? What are some of the other benefits you see to doing this more frequently?
Photo by yellowcloud