Following the recommendation of Terry Abban, I took up the challenge of tracking all my income and expenditure from January 1, 2016. The app I used was Spending Tracker. It’s a free app for Android and iPhone. Here’s what I learnt after 6 months of tracking:
1. Expenses are concentrated in a few stuff. About 60% of my total expenditure is concentrated in 5 areas. I have suspected for some time now that the small pleasures that many financial advisers rave against are not the main problem, but the routine day-to-day expenses and the huge occasional outlays (like fees or equipment) are the main drain on resources. Keeping track confirmed this.
2. Some things are surprisingly cheap. I’m surprised by how little I have spent on breakfast and lunch at work. I am one to indulge (unfortunately) so I expected to have spent more than I actually have. I think I have the brilliant kenkey and waakye vendors to thank for this thrift.
3. Some things are surprisingly expensive. Data is expensive even though I’m not thinking of that when I have three devices connected at once. The faster it is the more of it you use. And since I need data for work and play I can’t begin to fathom not buying it or even cutting down the use of it. I can only hope it gets cheaper (but then I might use more).
4. Side hustles are mandatory. I have been quite fortunate to have seen an increase in the demand for the services I offer compared to last year. I have written about how hard it was to land work as a freelancer but now I seem to be getting more requests now that I have less time. I do not mind the sleepless nights and lack of weekends which come with it because based on my records I’d have a harder time without the side hustles.
5. Budgeting got much easier. Knowing how much you spend in a week on average makes it much easier to know how much a sum of money will last you and how much you are likely to save at the end of the month.
I know it does not exactly look like I have discovered great secrets but I believe everyone who tries it will discover something about their income and expenditure that they had previously been unaware of.