What Spending Categories Should I Use For My Pressure Relief Numbers?

Thought for today:

Feeling financial pressure?  Having a Pressure Relief Meeting, as outlined in DA Tool Four, can help.  It starts with tracking our spending for a few weeks, and ends with sharing what we find with others more experienced in the program.

Tracking what is going on with our money, summarizing it, sharing it with a Pressure Relief Group (PRG – two fellow travelers in debt who have learned to stay solvent) help us stay solvent.

A member shares:

“When i first joined DA I really took it to heart that I should track my numbers.  I had a pocket notebook that I used, and I entered every cent in that book.

“I had no idea what my categories were.  I took recommendations from a worksheet that was available, and added my own categories for some expenses.”

“After I had a week’s worth of numbers, I totaled the categories on a separate sheet.  When I had four weeks worth of numbers, those were my monthly totals.

“Having my numbers clearly mapped out like this, I got over math anxiety, and I started to develop a good memory for where my money was going.”

DA Tool Four: 

Pressure Relief Groups and Pressure Relief Meetings
After we have gained some familiarity with the D.A. program, we organize Pressure Relief Groups consisting of ourselves and two other recovering debtors who have not incurred unsecured debt for at least 90 days and who usually have more experience in the program. The group meets in a series of Pressure Relief Meetings to review our financial situation. These meetings typically result in the formulation of a spending plan and an action plan.

Examples of categories we can use:

As we track our numbers we begin identifying and logging every penny of living expenses, income, savings and debts. We create a log entry and date each transaction, and categorize it such as these:

  • Expenses: “Food out”, “Rent”, “Gasoline”, “Groceries”, “Utilities”, “Charity”, etc.
  • Incomes: “Paycheck”, “Part time job”, “Affiliate Income”, “Tax Refund”, etc.
  • Savings: “Savings Account”, “401K”, “IRA”, “Envelope for Special Purchases”, and any others.
  • Debt repayment: “Credit Card”, “Student Loan”, “Car Loan”, “Mortgage”…

If we haven’t done this before, we can  either write it on a blank sheet of paper, buy a pocket-sized notebook, use one of the DA numbers booklets, or print  this template.  Or try one of the many free apps that are out there.  (See an earlier posts where members have shared about “Mint.com“)

Ask:

What would life be like if I could tell where every penny went?

Meditation for today:

How often we look at a large task and feel overwhelmed!

The philosopher Descartes said that when this happens, we should break down the task into its smallest components, with the fewest moving parts.  When these parts are small enough for us to wrap our heads around, it becomes much simpler to complete the work at hand.

Affirmation for today:

“I will find small steps on the way to my goals and focus on one task at a time.”

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