Was it worth it? Investing five hours buried in my spend tracker and messing around with spreadsheets in order to be able to report back where my money goes?
Since January, I’ve thrown my cash around like this:
- 22% Staying Healthy (the doctor, the dentist, my contact lenses)
- 21% Going Out (movies, restaurants and more restaurants, birthday presents)
- 19% Daily/weekly living (food, coffee, commuting)
- 14% Travelling (the planes, the trains, the hotel rooms)
- 10% Accumulating (jewels, shoes, bags…but given this year’s rules — mostly books)
- 11% Grooming (creams and tonics, hairdressers, the occasional massage or facial)
- 3% (charity, annual subscriptions, classes and courses)
Does this tell me anything I really need to know? No. And was it worth the five hours? Absolutely not.
And yet, the five hours was well-spent even if this particular cut of the data means nothing to me. Because what I did learn was this: I have entered a period of overwhelm where despite every last good intention, my life, like my bedroom, has slipped into chaos. For example, this week’s exercise should have taken no more than 30 minutes had I been staying on top of the tracker and doing my Counting Zeros chores methodically.
It was hard to stay calm and simply complete the assignment when I was distracted by all sorts of stressful reality-checks as I went along … such as massive chunks of monthly spend sending me to the limit of my overdraft (e.g. weekly physiotherapy and regular taxis thanks to the knee, some of which can be claimed back — but how much I don’t know or can’t remember) … such as outstanding bills which I haven’t paid yet because they remain overly complex and just too confusing.
Meanwhile, my brand new calculator was a terrible disappointment. Yes it has big buttons, but it doesn’t make satisfying noises unless I turn on the print function and I don’t have any paper and feared I’d do it damage forcing it to make print noises while paperless.
More importantly, it took me many attempts to work out how to do BASIC SUBTRACTION on it — how worrisome is that? I’ll never graduate to the more sophisticated calculations it should be magically producing for me.
All the while me and my big-but-disappointing calculator were sweating it out in a kitchen that still had the odd pigeon feather floating around it after an incident of extreme inconvenience and unreasonable panic which took place Friday afternoon when a very large and damaged bird got stuck in the house with me and the cats for an afternoon of hell.
I find out Monday if the bird lived. I’ll also report further on what the heck happens next with me and my brain-stumping bafflement about what to do about my money (mis) management. Till then I’ve to get on with cleaning the house and finding those last few stray feathers.