Here’s an interesting activity that could help shed some light on where your funds are going. In order to do it though, you’ll need a budget from the last year to really dig into how much you’re spending in different areas of your life. When starting this exercise, I didn’t have all of these numbers, which was concerning considering how general these numbers are.
For this exercise, we’ll break down a 40 hour work week into what those hours purchased for you during the last year. This is a gut-check about your priorities and checking if they are in line with where you want them.
For me, when I first did this, my “savings” section was nowhere near as larger as I wanted it to be. I was spending too much on many areas that weren’t adding value to my life, and even too much on taxes when there were some ways to reduce them.
Getting Your Data
Here’s the data you’ll need for this:
You’ll need an estimate of these numbers to get started
- Total Earned for the last year — taxes and all
- Total paid towards taxes
- Total saved
- Total spent in various categories
With this in hand, head over to the Spending Distribution Google Spreadsheet, and make a copy of it. In your copy, you can start editing it based on your categories.
Getting your Categories
Your categories will vary.
There are potentially a LOT of categories to list here, so editing it down to ones that take up at least an hour may be tricky. For me this involved grouping similar categories — like “travel” and “luxuries”. I define luxuries as things I purchase that I could do without — any electronics and physical things. Same for grouping something as broad as “entertainment” which contains a wide variety of things including alcohol, bars, movies and fun nights out.
Give it a Shot
Go give it a shot and see if it uncovers any interesting discoveries!