The psychological toll of tracking your spending and income

I’ve been following the Your Money Or Your Life philosophy for over 6 months now and tracking my spending and income had become not only habitual, but enjoyable. But things have changed a bit this month.

Tracking my income

If you’re paid on a biweekly schedule, there are two months a year when you get three paycheques instead of two. This month will be my first triple paycheque month since I started tracking. We also did a rather thorough gutting of excess stuff we didn’t need, and have netted $626.44 thus far just from selling stuff. Plus our side hustle is starting to slowly come to life again. Combine that with how I’m now tracking gross income so that I have a better feel for what my job is “worth”, and we’ve reached a new income high that I’m a little shocked to see. I calculate that our end-of-month total will be $15,741 of income for the month thus far, counting paycheques to come but assuming no more “other income”.

That’s a far cry from the $3k – $4k we’ve been used to for the past 2 years.

So what’s the big deal? Well, the big deal is that at first I was sub-$15k. And because I was tracking everything I knew we’d be just shy of it but with all this foresight I could hustle and try to break that $15k barrier. So selling off the stuff we didn’t want became more urgent, and we finally got off our butts and did it. And now I find myself just $259 away from the $16k barrier, and I’m spending an inordinate amount of time with diminishing returns trying to hustle a way to get that cash.

While this is great for my bank account, it’s not so great for keeping my life in balance and focusing on the long game rather than quick money making strategies.

And this is just looking at income tracking!

Tracking my expenses

I hate spending money now. Every time I do it I know the balance we’ll have left over to invest will be lower. I even bought the 50% off lettuce this week (it turned out fine, we eat lettuce pretty quickly, but still).

I desperately need new shoes. I have worn away the bottom sole of my sneakers completely and I’m now walking on the underlying support structure. Grip? What grip?

My other pair of sneakers (the “good pair” — HA!) has a hole in each shoe and the sole is starting to detach.

The soles on my hiking boots have detached and they are no longer waterproof. My “dress shoes” used to be leather, but now look like gray suede at the toes (I tried polish; still looks like crap). These are all 10-15 year old shoes, so my frugality in the shoe department is nothing new, but it used to be because it takes me forever to find a pair of comfortable shoes. But now it’s not only the time I have to invest in finding the shoes, but also the cash I have to part with to buy them.

And yet, for other things, I don’t mind spending money. For example, I spent $34.99 on 2lbs of indicating desiccant so the notebooks and papers we keep in our safe won’t go moldy. Now, that sounds reasonable, but I would normally buy silica kitty litter and hope for the best, but no, I bought the good stuff for piece of mind. I think the difference is that it’s an easier purchase (Amazon) and required less of my time.

Essentially now, every time I buy something, I know I’m getting further away from being financial independent. I don’t think there’s anything wrong with this per se, as tracking everything is supposed to keep me motivated, but it does take a toll.

I think I’ll buy some shoes this month.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *