Do you check your budget multiple times a day? Do you check your checking accounts, savings accounts, and retirement accounts more than once a day? If you do, you are not alone. I do the same thing. The truth is, it is not healthy. I am not saying you shouldn’t check your bank accounts or budget. Check them once a day if you’d like. I am saying if you are obsessive, like me, and checking your accounts and budget multiple times a day that is an issue. It is not a good habit to have.
It is obsessive behavior. Does my budget or savings account change within the 8 hours I didn’t check it? Nope. Especially when it wasn’t payday and nothing was supposed to change. So why do I check it so many times a day?
I have been thinking about this for a long time and I have decided on a few reasons:
- I Have Obsessive Tendencies: I have OCD tendencies (“diagnosed” from my therapist). I always had OCD tendencies, so I wasn’t super surprised when she told me. I check to make sure my door is locked multiple times before I leave. I have weird daily routines. I won’t bore you with the rest but thank God for therapy.
- I Am Unhappy with My Finances: I check my accounts and budget all the time because I want something to change. I want more in my savings. I want to stick to my budget. I want to see where I can cut spending. I stare at it because I am not happy with its current state. I am debt free (for now) but I am not saving as much as I would like to and I definitely spend too much.
- The Sense of Security: I could probably recite to you the exact amount in each account I have but I like knowing what is there. Each time I check my budget or my accounts I get a sense of security knowing the money is there and nothing changed. I wasn’t hacked. I didn’t miss a payment. All of my money is there.
- It’s a Habit: I am not saying it is a good habit but I have been doing it for so long that now it is part of my routine. I check it in the morning, at least once during the day, and also before I go to sleep.
It is hard especially when you are paying off debt. You want to pay it off quick so you frantically check your accounts and your budget to see if anything changed. Is there something you missed? Do you have extra you can put toward debt? Can you cut something else from your budget?
I have been working on this obsession and came up with a few tips to help me effectively manage my money without being too obsessed.
- Set a Specific Time to Check your Budget/Accounts: maybe it works best for you if you check everything in the morning. Maybe it is better at night. Set a time (even if it is once a day) and only check it during that time. If it will make you feel better to check it twice on payday then do it (aka I am telling myself twice is okay on payday).
- Give Yourself Grace: if you are like me and check it 5-6 times a day currently than going to 1-2 times is going to be tough. There obviously will be days that the obsession is there. You worry about your finances. Omg did the payment go through? Did I miss a bill? Do I have any extra room in my budget? Remind yourself you already checked (or will check it later).
- Create a Budget or Adjust Your Current One: If you are worried about your budget, maybe you need to adjust it. Maybe the current format isn’t working. If you need help creating a budget (or don’t know where to start) make sure to check out my friend Sami’s course Your Sunny Money Method. Maybe you need help creating a budget that works for you and makes you feel comfortable. I had a budget and took Sami’s course and it helped so much. I realized some things I needed to adjust and where I needed to focus my attention. I wrote a full review of the course so make sure you read it (I promise you won’t regret buying the course). The course is also less than $2 per lesson (and has a TON of bonus material).
- Recognize It Isn’t Healthy: I am all about effectively managing your finances, but the key word is effectively. You cannot let it control your life where you are up at night worrying about your budget and your savings accounts (aka me sometimes). It is not healthy to check your accounts and budget multiple times a day. It is not healthy to stare at your excel files multiple times a day to try to figure out what you can change (maybe I am the only one who does that). Recognize it is a habit and you can break it. You can effectively manage your finances without checking it multiple times a day.
Maybe you are reading this thinking I am a psycho and obviously you shouldn’t check your budget or your accounts multiple times a day. Maybe you check yours once a week or every few weeks and you don’t feel the urge to check it more. Even if this post resonates with only one person, I just want you to know you are not alone. I am debt free and STILL do this. Even once you are debt free, the journey isn’t over. I am trying to work on this habit now because within 2 years I will be back in debt (from marriage) and I want to break this habit now. I want to EFFECTIVELY manage my finances.
It is not just a financial journey, but it is a mental and emotional journey. How you handle your finances shows some of your emotional vulnerabilities, fears, and worries. I am annoyed I don’t hit my savings goals each month. I am annoyed with my job. I am fearful I won’t be able to retire early. I micromanage my finances because I want something to change.
The truth is, my situation will not change by me obsessively checking my finances. Money won’t just magically go into my savings account. I will not just find ways to adjust my budget by staring at my excel file. I need to change my habits. My situation will change by taking action.