Be A Good Steward Of Your Finances | Keep An Expense Log For Every Purchase

Advancement in payment processing technology is rapidly outdating traditional paper and postage billing system.  As a consumer, I personally have come to expect at least some form of digital payment from service providers and even tend to look down on those that don’t offer online bill pay options.  While the convenience of technology helps to keep my mailbox clutter free, I’ve noticed that these advances also make it easy to get out of touch with my actual spending habits.

With these ever changing options, it is a constant battle to keep track of where your money ends up.  It’s imperative to learn how to be a good steward of the cash you have.  Whether you’re loaded with wealth, or you’re just starting to build your finances, where and how you use your money can have a huge impact on your financial prosperity. What wealthy people do is find the most prosperous places to put their money.  This doesn’t necessarily mean dumping all your cash into the stock market and praying for a positive return, rather financial prosperity starts with productive spending.

Productive spending can include just about anything, as long as the expense is adding value to your financial prowess in the foreseeable future.  A perfect example of this is investing in a professional wardrobe.  The right clothes can help land a good job and set you down the path to a prosperous career.  Thus, a professional wardrobe can be counted as a productive expense, while a fresh pair of Air Jordans might not be so productive (unless you are an aspiring professional basketball player!)

 To figure how productive your spending habits are, you have to be willing to take a close look at each and every transaction.

One of my mentors is a very successful financial manager.  He’s a stand up guy with great wit and personality, stingy by no means, but whenever we dine out together I always notice how thoroughly he scans his tab before paying.  Why does he do that?  I thought… He tips generously and has cash to blow, who cares if they charged you for an extra lemonade?!  Then it hit me… He’s not just scanning for errors and calculating the tip, he’s consciously taking an inventory of his spending. He knows where his money is going and has a realistic forecast for the type of return he’ll get.

I suggest you take this a step further by following the guidance outlined in the book The 4 Laws of Financial Prosperity”.  The first law is simple.  Keep track of your monthly expenses, religiously, write them down.  Keeping a hand written expense log gives you a chance to thoroughly review your cash flow.  Credit cards, online purchasing, and automatic billing make it really easy for us to disconnect from the money we’re spending.  When you write each expense down you take back ownership of your money and give yourself the chance to make decisions that produce wealth.

Money that’s allowed to leak out on a continual basis jeopardizes the things that are of the most value to you.  These kinds of sacrifices rob individuals and families of the freedom and peace of mind that comes from directing money toward its greatest and most powerful use rather than being frivolously wasting it through instant gratification spending.  Tracking your expenses is simple way to nip this wasteful habit in the butt, and to begin prospering your wealth.

Can you be a good steward of your finances? How?

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4 Comments

  1. I also keep a log of all our expenses. Surprisingly it doesn’t change too much month-to-month. It’s a great tool to view trends and whatnot and make sure you aren’t spending too much on one category.

    • Jim says:

      Yep, for sure, I was just talking to my wife today about my impulse buy category, it is certainly one I need to work on curtailing in 2014. Thanks David!

  2. Jim,
    I have a spreadsheet I like to call an outline. It doesn’t capture all expenses however it gives me an idea of my spending. It is our budget after out top priority which is retirement accounts first, then everything else.

    • Jim says:

      Thanks Charles, I am working on a spreadsheet to use in 2014 which will actually track expenses as well as the cost of each purchase in relation to your hourly wage. I will be posting it on my site for free, if you would like a copy.

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