Knowing Your Numbers

I received a LOT of responses to my last post: You Have to Know Your Numbers!

I am so excited for you and your enthusiasm in tracking your numbers. Even if life circumstances mean you’re spending more than you anticipated or you aren’t growing your net worth by as much as you hoped (right now), you are empowered by knowing. Congratulations! Please give yourself credit for the progress you’re making, for starting, for sticking with it, for tracking things even when life has thrown you a curveball. The point isn’t perfection – it’s progress. And the more you know and do, the better you are prepared to handle the curveballs life throws at all of us.

Confirmation via Mr. Money Mustache

I was quickly reminded of how important this all is when Mr. Money Mustache wrote a similar post a week after I wrote mine – and shared his updated numbers for 2019.

Here are some cool quotes from his post:

Tracking Your Spending is Fun, Useful, and Easy (Yes, really!)

I can already hear your collective groan as I give you this prescription, but adding up your past year’s spending is one of the most useful things you can do with a Saturday morning.

These are not your “living expenses.” This is your current level of spending, something that is entirely under your control.

There is always a trick for everything, and you get to decide how many of these tricks to apply.


For my part, I try to use only the tricks that save me money and make my life better in some way. For example, I do my own carpentry and I use my own legs for transportation, because these are a win/win for me. But I do pay an accountant to do my taxes for me. Your own choices may be completely different, but it’s important and empowering to use that word – choices.

I also still like the old-school advice of “don’t buy stuff that you can’t afford to lose, and take really good care of the stuff that you do have.”

Evaluate Trade-Offs to Achieve Your Goals

Are his own numbers extreme? Maybe. Probably. But it’s not about comparing. It’s about knowing and choosing what helps you best live your ideal life.

I love his reminder about choices. You have a lot of freedom, and it’s all about trade-offs.

  • If you want to retire early, what areas of spending are you willing to cut or eliminate?
  • If you want to own a vacation home, how will you increase your earnings so you can afford it?
  • If you want to start a business, what side hustle will you pick up until the business is making enough money to cover your monthly spending?
  • Do you want to be the best-dressed at work?
  • Do you want to ski 100 days a year?
  • Do you want 7 kids?

Evaluate your highest priorities, goals, and values and then consider the trade-offs you’re willing to make so they can happen.

Take this Survey

After some people responded with their numbers – and noticed that in sharing them, that by typing the numbers out – they increased their awareness and personal accountability, here’s a super quick survey for you to take. It’s an anonymous survey. I have no idea who you are. I simply want to encourage you to figure out your numbers. Take the survey here. You’re doing great!

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