When it came to making wise expenditures, I had a particularly bad year in 2013.
When I added up all of the misspent dollars, it totaled $2,330. This included food that was wasted, the purchase of items that yielded little or no benefit, misdirected payments for health issues, and so on.
After 2013, I decided to keep a log of money wasted annually. I'm not a masochist, I reasoned that if I kept track, I could get the expenditure out of my head and onto the screen, and that that would be useful. It has proven to be so.
In 2014, I blew $2,192 on unnecessary travel, helpers that didn't quite do the job, food wasted, excess postage, among other expenditures. Then, I decided to make a roster of categories that would sum to the amounts of blown money. These categories included postage, food, items, travel, entertainment, helpers, rideshares, health, utilities, and “other.”
Fortunately, in 2015, my blown money only totaled $1,250, declining to $860 the next year, and jumping slightly to $1,278 the year after that. I felt I was on a good path.
In 2018, unfortunately, my blown money totaled $2,036, followed by $2,164. Then, for some reason, 2020 was an oasis! I only misspent $754. That figure rose to $1,228 the next year, and then to my all-time high, $2,840.
Thus far, nearing the end of 2023 midpoint, I have expended $1928 for items or services that I regret, proved to be fruitless, or cost more than I should have paid.
What are the lessons here? My running total for 10 years is $17,858. This sum is a stark reminder not to be unduly upset when something for a few dollars doesn't pan out. The roster remains a comforting way, as aforementioned, to move wayward expenditures from my head to a file.
Sometimes when I'm out and about around town and I realize that I made a bad expenditure, I make sure that when I get home and go to my file, I add that amount. Then, I sleep like a rock. After all, it's only money.
Jeff Davidson is "The Work-Life Balance Expert®" and the premier thought leader on work-life balance, integration, and harmony. Jeff speaks to organizations that seek to enhance their overall productivity by improving the effectiveness of their people. He is the author of Breathing Space, Simpler Living, Dial it Down, and Everyday Project Management. Visit www.BreathingSpace.com