How to Track Everything (Financial Wellness Quickstart)
financial health

Have you ever noticed that meaningful change requires your full attention? If you want to eat healthier, you track nutrients, sugar and calories. If you want to improve your knowledge, you take tests or assessments to gauge your skills. Whatever it is that you want to improve, it has to be measured. There is a starting point of where you are today and a future point of where you want to be.


Over-confidence and minor exaggerations are both rewarded in our culture. The idea has some merit but causes unrealistic expectations. If you believe that you are smarter, stronger and better well-off than you really are, it will be challenging to be fully self-aware.

Be honest with yourself about how much you actually earn and where your money goes. Keep it simple and count what you control. Don’t fudge the numbers to make them look better. Don’t make any drastic changes. Take an honest assessment of your money habits for a full 30 days.

  • write everything down – money in and out
  • provide some context – why, where, with whom, when
  • add a category tag
  • add source of funds – cash, credit, reward points, bank account

Your Money at a Glance

Once you’ve tracked your cash flow for at least 30 days, it’s time to assess your numbers. This should give you a good summary of not only where your money is going, but also provide insights into all of the circumstances that influence your financial decisions. Emotions play a big part in what we do every day.

As you look back over your notes, make it easier to organize your financial activity by using different colors or symbols. For example, draw a little house next to everything associated with housing or highlight it orange. Don’t try to force things into a category. Some things may fit more than one category, like travel and food. You can create subcategories to be even more detailed.

  • add up the total amount allocated to each category
  • look for patterns – time of day, how you were feeling, who you were with
  • think about how you can plan ahead to prepare for unexpected changes in your routines

Be Intentional

It can be super uncomfortable to face our financial habits. Once you do take the first step to become self-aware, it opens space for you to become more intentional about your daily financial choices. Track everything as long as you can.

After completing the first 30 days of tracking your money, think about how each category aligns with your personal values and goals. Celebrate the activities and choices that are in line with the life you want to live. Keep doing the things that are helping you reach your goals. Find ways to do more of what is meaningful and rewarding by eliminating things that aren’t that important for you.

There is a time and season for different priorities in life. Define what is most important to your life right now. Create a plan with realistic steps to get you to where you want to be next. Tomorrow is not guaranteed to anyone, so care for yourself and treasure the moments with those that matter most to you.

Now it’s Your Turn to Take Action

If you are feeling overwhelmed or confused about managing your financial health, I encourage you to take our free Financial Health Assessment and schedule a free 30-minute Financial Coaching session to review your results. Learn what you should be tracking to reach your goals.


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