Saturday, May 3, 2014

Keeping track the Vicki Robin way

Decades ago, Vicki Robin and Joe Dominguez wrote a book called Your Money or Your Life. It was among the earliest of the frugal living books and because it focused on living outside the grid on very little money and I was keen on becoming a college professor inside the grid, I read it, put it down, and forgot about it. Now the book's been updated and is assigned reading for the money program I'm in. I'm enjoying reading it as it seems really relevant to me now. As I wrote earlier in the week, I'm ready to be in this conversation.

Robin also encourages the reader to keep track of all your money: what comes in and what goes out. But her tracking system is much more detailed than the one I set up for the money group and I think it would be helpful for me to expand my categories. For instance, she doesn't have one food category. She has many:

Groceries for meals at home
Groceries for meals for others (entertaining)
Groceries for work (lunch)
Snacks at home
Snacks out
Meals out (tax deductible)
Meals out (not tax deductible)

Not every delineated category is probably useful for me. I'm not sure it matters to my spending to have two categories for flowers: indoors and potted plants for the porch. But food is a different story. If I looked at all these categories honestly, I'd see where my enormous food bills are coming from. And I might not use her categories. I might make ones of my own. Something like this:

Vegetables and fruit
Deli foods
Packaged foods

I have a feeling this would be eye-opening for me. And maybe a step into rigorous honesty that I need to take.

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