While budgeting is a major component of FI, it doesn't excite me the way tracking my spending does. There are tons of apps and sites that do this for you but I enjoy cataloguing it manually.
I find it much more impactful to look at my bank statements directly because it forces me to confront every single purchase I've made. Once I started tracking this year, I was ready to face my pre-pandemic spending habits.
Can you guess what my highest spending category was?
Lunches. Dining out. Happy hours.
Yikes. I prioritized feeding myself conveniently and had no desire to spend time in my (uninviting NYC) kitchen. Excuses excuses. I could have put that money into the stock market...better late than never, right?
While it's hard not be critical of myself, this lesson is part of my financial journey. I'm using this knowledge as a tool to move forward productively--I value different things now.
I get genuine pleasure from tracking my expenses in Excel every month. I'm super granular, cataloguing what percent goes to needs vs. wants, and what percent goes into savings (including investments).
One of the habits of millionaires is to budget religiously and know exactly where EVERY. PENNY. GOES. Onwards and upwards.
Do you track your spending?