Saturday, September 22, 2012

Frugal Friday

When I first began my Peace Corps service in Morocco I quickly learned how to budget the money I was being given. For many of us, the money  felt like Monopoly money (it was even pretty colors) because we felt like we were being paid to have such a fulfilling experience, we weren't doing anything to truly earn it. That is exactly why I wanted to understand where it was going, I wanted to have respect for the money I was being so generously paid. I didn't want to ask myself at the end of the month "where did that 2000 dirhams go?"

So I began a practice that I still use strongly today. In a paper notebook, at the time, I wrote down every single dirham I spent. All my food purchases, travel costs, bills, and rent went into Alex's Financial Journal. At the end of the month I could total it and I had a tangible record of exactly where all my money was spent. 

I still do it now except I use a smart phone app called Super Budget.  I can keep a record near me at all times. What I like is being able to know when I bought something. If I ever wonder how long a tank of gas lasts me or a bottle of face cream, I can look at when I bought it and know. 

I don't think writing down my spendings has ever kept me from actually making a purchase, but it is very good at keeping yourself accountable for what you  choose to spend your money on. With my budget app I can categorize purchases, so if I want to know exactly how much I spend on food, I can easily find out.

It does take disipline but if you think this would help you, give it a try!