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  • Writer's pictureMolly Richard

Here’s why quarantine is the best time to get back to the basics of your money stuff.

With limited opportunities to spend on entertainment, hop in an Uber, or pick up the tab at happy hour after work, your daily expenses just got MUCH easier to track. ✍🏼

Chances are you spent money at the grocery store this week, and… that’s probably about it, right?

If keeping track of expenses tends to feel impossible—like the chaos of your money is always happening TO you—now is the perfect time to sprinkle a little mindfulness into your money routine, jot down each expense while you have fewer, and start feeling in control of what you spend. Clear the fog. Turn the gray space into black & white.

“But why track my expenses, Molly? What’s the point?” I’ve got 2 reasons.

1. The Power of Data - I’ve seen far too many people get motivated to take control of their finances, make a budget based on idealistic guesses of where their money “should” go for the next month, and then get discouraged & enter into a shame spiral when they go over $250 in one category. BUT if we collect actual spending data about our actual life, chances are we will notice patterns we never noticed before, find pockets of wiggle room we didn’t realize existed, & feel empowered to make changes to our spending habits when we identify a habit that isn’t serving us in fulfilling your dreamiest of dreams. I’m not a big fan of arbitrary budgets, but if you love a good budget, or are saving for something specific, I suggest using the data you collect about your actual life over the span of 3 months or so before deciding what you “should” spend in any category.

2. The Power of Mindfulness - So many of us stress about our finances like it’s a nebulous bubble floating outside of the part of our lives that we have agency over. It’s emotionally draining. But when we document the actual dollar amounts connected to our daily activities, money starts to be numbers—not some scary mystery monster hiding under the bed.

You don’t need a fancy system to do this! Simply writing down each purchase for the month on one piece of paper will do the trick. You'll have plenty of information to reflect on at the end of the month and maybe you'll even feel motivated to organize and categorize each expense into an excel sheet?!

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