Keeping a personal finance record book can give you a rich history of how far you’ve come. When you look back some day, you’ll appreciate knowing the exact date you accomplished one of your financial goals.
In February, my wife and I broke a personal record for the least amount of money spent in a month. We’ve been hardcore users of YNAB for the past year or so and its helped us immensely. Obviously, when we noticed we were on our way to breaking the record we were ecstatic.
Spending aside, our main goal for the year is to finish paying off our student loans. As we’ve been making payments, we’ve clearly recorded the date of payment and the new balance. It’s been helpful to see the balances go down and the dates give us further motivation. We’ve found it to be extremely motivating to see how fast we can pay off debt when we focus 100%.
You won’t find any information in this post about how long to keep your tax records or where to store your most sensitive documents. If you’ve come to this page and you’re confused, I’m not talking about these types of records.
I’m talking about records like the ones kept in professional sports. How many home runs did Babe Ruth hit in 1920? That’s the kind of record I’m talking about. Do you keep a personal finance record book for yourself? Do you keep track of how much money you had in your bank account last year?
Records are meant to be broken. Keep a personal finance record book and celebrate.
One of the most obvious ways to start a personal finance record book is to learn how to use budgeting software. As you continue to keep a budgeting habit over months and years, you end up with a historical record of your personal finances. It’s easy to go back and see how much you spent a year ago.Personal finance record books provide a rich look into the past and give us something to talk about and learn from. Click To Tweet
But what about all kinds of other crazy stats you could be keeping a record of? If you’ve ever tuned into a professional sports television broadcast, you may have noticed all sorts of crazy stats mentioned. You know, stats like these, so and so “is the only player in history to hit 19 home runs and steal 34 bases when the temperature is below 39 degrees.”
Baseball has been keeping records since the early 1900s
The reason baseball is able to come up with these things is simple. They’ve been keeping records and statistics since the early 1900s.
Elias Sports Bureau serves many of the professional sports today. On their website, the Elias Sports Bureau proclaims, “Since our founding in 1913, the Elias Sports Bureau has been considered the world’s foremost sports statisticians and historians, providing historical research and statistical services in the field of professional sports.”
I’m not saying you should start keeping track of the temperature when you paid off your last student loan. However, you might be able to have a little fun with keeping some personal finance records of your own.
Personal Finance Record Book: Some records you may want to keep track of.
- Least Amount of Money Spent in a Month
- Number of Days Without Spending Money at a Restaurant
- Largest Amount of Money in Your Checking Account
- Most Amount of Money Saved on Groceries in a Month
- Number of Months Without a Car Payment
Related Reading: Best Wealth Building Lessons: 21 Lessons From Big Business
As you read through the list I came up with, I hope you’ve started thinking about some records more personal to you. Records should be personal and you should have fun breaking them.
Like I mentioned before, I was so happy we broke our personal record for least amount of money spent in a month. It’s invigorating to know your discipline is paying off.
When you set out on achieving a goal, you might not find it easy to appreciate the results. It’s easy to think you’re not moving as fast as others. As humans, we’re constantly comparing ourselves to other people. Keeping a personal finance record book gives you a way to track results against your past self. Your record book is an answer to the question, “Am I doing better, the same, or worse?”
As you break records, congratulate yourself. Keep track and mark down the date. For us, February 2017 is the month we broke our spending record. When will we break the record next? I have no idea – it might not come until we pay off our student loans for good. When we get there, we’ll have our personal finance record book handy to record the result.
There are many more records to be broken other than paying off your debt.
If you read about money online, the big announcement for people always comes as they pay off their debt. Every personal finance blogger out there has a post about how they paid of $XX,000 of student debt in XX months. And trust me, I’m already planning my post about the subject 🙂
If you’re a reader and you’re working on your own personal finances, please know there’s more to record breaking other than student loans. You don’t have to pay off a truckload of student debt to keep a record book. You can find records to be broken around every corner.
For example, if you’re struggling with earning money, keep track of how much money you made last year and compare it to this year. Make earning more money your focus and try to come up with ways to increase your income.
If you’re trying to save money, keep track of how much you spend on heating, air conditioning, and water. Try to break those records. Cut your shower time in half and lower your thermostat in the winter. Break those records because records are meant to be broken.
When my wife and I make our final student loan payment this year, we’ll break a record. Other than a mortgage, we’ll be debt free for 1 day. And hopefully, after 364 more days, we’ll be debt free for 1 year.
Also, my hope is we’ll continue to work on breaking our monthly spending record. That’s one record most people would be happy to break again and again.
Most of all though, record books are fascinating historical resources. Record books provide a rich look into the past and give us something to talk about and learn from. We use record books to measure success relative to the past and to put everyone on common ground for the future.
You can do the same for yourself. Imagine if one day, you have no idea if you can meet your financial goals. Wouldn’t it be nice to look to your record book and see you were a money saving genius five years ago? You might turn to your record book for inspiration and motivation, realizing you’ve done it before and you can do it again.
Do you keep a personal finance record book? What are some of the favorite records you like to break?
[Featured Image Credit: https://unsplash.com/@branch_portraits]