“Annual income twenty pounds, annual expenditure nineteen nineteen six, result happiness. Annual income twenty pounds, annual expenditure twenty pounds ought and six, result misery.”
This quote is from Charles Dickens’ novel David Copperfield, change it to dollars and add a few zeros and the observation is still valid 150 years later. It’s also the quote I’ll use to kick off this new series of thoughts with an eye toward getting one’s finances in order and finding ways to save.
Having no idea how to budget when I first tried to get my spending under control, a few years out of college, I decided to start by writing down every penny I spent. A few weeks really doesn’t do it, as spending changes with each season (lawn care in the summer, snow plowing, etc. in the winter.) I suggest a full year, although for the major items you can probably gather information from old credit card bills along with your check register.
Even after a few weeks, you’ll get a good idea on where you are spending, and where you might start to save. More on this next week.