Why a personal finance day a month is a dumb idea

The premise is good, the reality won’t help you at all.

Although dedicating a personal finance day once a month sounds like a good idea, the truth is, you probably need to watch your spending (and saving) patterns much more frequently to do you any good.  A single day dedicated to get “everything done at once” is not realistic nor practical.

Think about it for a moment…

Would you wait an entire month to exercise one day a month?

Would you wait an entire month to clean your house just one day a month?

Would you wait an entire month to do your grocery shopping once a month?

Would you wait an entire month to visit or connect family or friends?

Would you get better at your golf game if you played just once a month?

Good habits are not maintained from doing anything infrequently.  Although good habits can and should start small, they need to be ingrained over time – that requires some form of frequency or repetition.

Financially, you can do considerable damage by limiting the understanding of your spending or saving patterns to a few times per year.  The big night out, the huge Costco run, the unexpected house or car repair.  Life happens and you should be on top of it.

Instead of waiting for an entire month to get your financial act together, pick a few minutes every few days to check on things.  I would suspect monitoring your expenses (and savings!) at least once per week is a good habit to aspire to (and this doesn’t need to take hours).  Most of us perform at least online or telephone banking nowadays; it’s not that difficult to look up a variety of accounts online just like your Facebook or Twitter feed.  (Don’t forget to subscribe to my feeds by the way.)

Having a personal finance day is nice in theory but really bad in practice.  Please don’t assume you’ll get better at anything if you barely do it at all.

My name is Mark Seed and I'm the founder, editor and owner of My Own Advisor. As my own DIY financial advisor, we're inching closer to our ultimate goal - owning a 7-figure investment portfolio for semi-retirement. We're almost there! Subscribe and join the journey. Learn how I'm getting there and how you can get there too!

20 Responses to "Why a personal finance day a month is a dumb idea"

  1. Totally agree. Even though I don’t trade any more, I still check my accounts, at least three times a week checking to see if any dividends went into the account or if the reinvestment was recorded. Usually monthly I reconcile the number of shares in the accounts with my spreadsheets (to 4 decimal points, full dividend reinvestment).

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  2. I had to laugh Mark when I read your post title today because you and I practically blogged about the same thing. You are correct. Spending time every week tidying up your finances is much better than doing it all once a month.

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  3. It would be like ignoring your credit card until the bill arrives, then wondering what was that $50 at Canadian Tire for ?

    We keep a simple spreadsheet which allows us to record expenses by category. The original intent was to maintain it daily, but life gets in the way. It is enough of an analysis that my wife can very quickly pick up on how many times a week that I am eating at the golf club.

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    1. Sounds like a good plan Richard. I check my credit card statement a few times per month just is case something is off or even if it’s correct, I know my burn rate.

      I’m going to the golf club tonight!!

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  4. It might be useful to use that One Day a Month as a starting point to initiate a new PF habit. Practicing a dozen small changes a year could have a substantial effect on your financial wellbeing.

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    1. That’s fair, which is why I linked to my other post. Starting from nothing and then going to 12 times per year is OK. Better than nothing. However, if that’s where you stay, you’re not getting very far ahead. Just my take of course.

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  5. Personal finance should be a habit for everyone. That mentality will save a couple of hundred grands for an average household in Canada over time. People need to be informed and we as personal finance bloggers can help them be informed and achieve their goals.

    BeSmartRich

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    1. Thanks for your comments. To each their own but I know for me, I couldn’t wait an entire month to get my financial act together. At least now. In my early 20s it was very different!

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  6. I am on board with your thoughts on this. Missing out on paying things on time, and not keeping close tabs on your accounts could cause you to miss issues that may arise (e.g. fraud on your accounts, automatic payments that fail, etc.,). Once a week might not be too bad, but once a month? Do you brush your teeth once a month?

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  7. Fully agreed. =the follow up of the budget needs to be a daily tasks until it becomes a habit. We are in the situation were are savings/investings come first. we live with what is left over. Less follow up is now needed.
    As for investing, most of what we do is indexing… Once a month is fine here. We do not plan to sell!

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