Benefits of Doing a Weekly Review
A weekly review:
- provides a regular opportunity to do necessary tracking so the task doesn’t get unwieldy and overwhelming
- allows you to make adjustments to the budget before all the money is spent
- gives couples a regular time to check in and clarify expectations
- contributes to a sense of peace and well-being because you’re staying on top of your finances
Get Set Up
- Choose a specific time to do your review each week—between 30-45 minutes. Put it in your schedule or calendar as a repeating event.
- Set up a simple system to keep track of your spending in the different budget categories/items. Spreadsheets are great, paper works fine.
- Gather the past week’s transaction information including check register(s), receipts and online bank transactions.
What to Do at Your Weekly Review
Compare your written budgeted amount to your actual spending for each budget item. Some, like the items with cash envelopes, are really easy: if you went to the bank and got out the right amount, there won’t be any difference. Other items that have multiple transactions in the same month will need to be added together then compared to the budgeted amount.
The main point is to make sure your staying on target. If something unanticipated happens (as it often does), simply adjust the budget amount to what is needed and readjust some other item(s) so your bottome line of INCOME – OUTGO = 0.
Doing this review weekly is necessary to avoid overspending. If an item costs more than you budgeted and you cover the extra amount anyway, that money you just spent already had some other budget item’s name on it. That’s why it’s so important to take the time to compare budgeted amounts to actual amounts spent—so you can adjust some other item’s amount down before that money is spent, too.
Skipping weekly reviews makes work pile up. Do yourself a favor and don’t let things get too far out of hand. FYI wealthy people typically spend several hours each month reviewing their finances—it’s one of the reason’s they are able to be rich.
Building this habit is a crucial part of maintaining your financial health and well-being. If you’re having a hard time following through, you can give yourself a simple reward when it’s done, e.g. a little coffee date or time doing a special activity you really enjoy but seldom give yourself time to do.