How many of us have seen our grandparents, or our parents dig out that diary and jot things down every time they have spent some money or received money from somewhere? Every holiday, at the end of each day, I see my dad writing down where every rupee is spent.
Ever wondered why they do that? I always did, but somehow I never got to asking them why they followed that method and how it helped them.
When I stepped into college and was living by myself, my dad gave me a certain sum of money that he thought would be enough for me to live a comfortable life.
Into the second month when I was about to run out of money, I called my dad and asked him to “recharge” my bank account.
My dad told me, “Sure, I’ll do the same. Just send me your accounts for last month. And as soon as I get that I will top up your account.”
This came as a surprise to me. I had various thoughts in my mind.
Why does dad want my accounts? Does he think I’m indulging in something wrong or am I not spending the money in the right place? Does he not have faith in me?
I pondered over these questions but reluctantly, I wrote down what I could remember and sent the details to him. I couldn’t recall more than 50% of where my money had gone. The minute I sent the details to my dad, my bank account was “recharged”.
This was the cycle followed every month.
Over the course of months, it began to bother me, if I was not getting near 100% of the breakdown of my accounts correct.
So, I started maintaining a little diary and jotted down every small Rs. 5 expense as well as that big Rs. 500 expense. (Yes, that was a big expense in college back in 2008).
My dad never questioned me on where I had spent the money, or why I had spent xyz amount on abc items/activities. He would refuel the account as soon as I sent him the details, no questions asked.
Once when I went home, I was very curious and I asked mum.
“Mom, why does dad ask for the accounts when he doesn’t even question me on where and how I spend it?”
Mom replied: “He is trying to instil a habit that you should always keep a track of where your money is going, and how you are spending it.Your awareness and attention to detail about your money is very important to live a successful life.”
That was quite an eye-opener. He didn’t doubt me, or want to know where I spent money. But at the same time, he wanted me to be aware of where my money went. From that day on, you can ask me where every rupee of mine went and I’ll be able to tell you, because I have been maintaining that little diary and jotting things down.
What are you waiting for? Dig out that notebook or that pretty diary that you bought or the app you downloaded and start writing down your expenses and keep track.
Let me leave you with this quote to ponder over.
“You Must Gain Control Over Your Money or the Lack of it will Forever Control You.” – Dave Ramsay
Until then, Ciao!