Start keeping track of where it’s all going

Barbara and Mary insisted that when you’re own on a journey, it’s important to know where you are — especially when you’re starting. And it helps to have a destination. It’s even good to know where you’ve been.

Well, otherwise, you’re just lost. You know, wandering.

A traveler can rely on maps, timetables, road signs, guides and guidebooks, landmarks, or even a compass and sextant or satellite positioning for assistance in getting from one place to another. By the way, as an update. How often do you use a GPS or updated traffic directions nowadays?

We take all this for granted.

With money matters, however, we too often simply head out into the forest or desert or the nearest mall and hope to pick up a few things by day’s end. Before we set out, though, we really do need to know just where we stand. Where are we starting, what have we already learned along the way, and where to we want to go — today, this month, this year, during our lifetime?

Here’s a helpful exercise to begin with for now.

Keep a small notebook with you when you venture from the house. Every time you make a purchase, jot it down. Coffee or soda. A pack of gum. Newspaper or magazine. Hairpins or elastic. Candy from the vending machine. Everything.

This will give you a map of where your money’s going. And that, in turn, will help you map where you want it to take you. We’ll pick up on your little ledger in future postings. Remember, for now, try to get this down to the penny. (And that includes your credit card purchases!)

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