Because Knowledge Really *Is* Power

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Remember when I said that the single most important thing you can do to save money is to pay attention?

Today I want to ask you: Are you paying attention to how much money you are spending every month on food and household items?

I’m not pointing fingers here. Believe me. Despite our rather tight hold on our budget, I am guilty of the ostrich syndrome on occasion, too. Especially before we came up with our Capital One 360 debit account solution to tracking expenses.

The thing is: Unless you are exclusively using cash, it’s hard work to figure out exactly how much you’re spending.

Between credit cards, debit cards, checking accounts, and cash, stuff falls between the cracks. A few dollars here and a couple swipes of the credit card there can quickly add up to a major leak in your monthly budget.

Perhaps you are thinking: But I don’t carry a balance on my credit card, so I know we aren’t overspending. Why does it matter that I know exactly how much I’m spending?

Because knowledge is power.

Dave Ramsey is fond of saying that your greatest wealth-building tool is your income. He says this to drive home the point that you can’t get ahead when you’re frittering away your income on interest payments.

I totally agree! That’s why we got real and got out of debt.

But even if you have paid off all your debt (way to go!)… or if you never had debt in the first place (you rock!)… leveraging the power of your income requires that you know how much you are spending.

I’m not super big into New Year’s Resolutions, but I do think that the impending end of 2010 gives us an opportunity to  look at our books — and ourselves. There’s a reason the expression in Hebrew is cheshbon nefesh.

Let’s do the math!

I’m challenging myself — and my readers — to do the math. To know, every month, how much we are spending. I’m committing to share our figures with you in a sort of monthly financial check-up. It’s my way of keeping myself in line, and hopefully motivating you to do the same. You will, of course, be more than welcome to share your “math” in these monthly posts.

So, what do you think? Are you with me? Are you committed to doing the math?




  1. Even though we use our credit cards to pay for most of our groceries (for the bonus checks!) my husband keeps very detailed spread sheets about how much we spend on everything. We have a food budget and I stick to it, no matter that some of our spending in on gift cards (to support our school), some is on the atm (to meet our minimum monthly purchases for interest bearing checking) and most is on 2 different credit cards. I’m with you!

  2. A coworker told me once that every morning she takes a look at her checking account to see how much is there and make sure it jives with what she’s been spending and earning. As simple as it sounds, this tip has really helped me gain an awareness of where I am and how I’m spending!

  3. we signed up for back in August, and I’ve tried to put MOST things on our debit cards, which are linked to the account.

    It’s been great to login daily and see what was spent and I’ve certainly caught things that I would have never done if we waited for the statements to come in the mail! Who remembers what you bought 6 weeks ago?

    I can honestly say that it has saved us probably $100+ since we signed up and have been following A LOT more closely.

    That being said, we have a way to go too!

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