You may think you know where your money is, but do you, really? This morning, I read a post on TheStreet.com about a study done by Visa, the credit card company. Apparently, most of us lose track of more than $1,000 every year:
The average survey respondent couldn’t account
for $21 a week in cash spending, adding up to more than $1,000 a year.
Younger adults, those between the ages of 18 and 24, claim to lose
track of $2,500 annually.
Where is this money going? Well, respondents aren’t sure, since if they knew, they wouldn’t have unaccounted-for money. But many of them think that it is cash used for unnecessary expenses. And I can sympathize. I like to have some cash in my wallet. And whenever I get cash out of my account, I simply enter it into my personal finance software as “cash”. A long time ago, I used to keep track of what I was spending cash on, but recording every single little purchase became too much of a hassle. So I stopped.
But this article has me thinking again. Clearly, there’s a lot of cash that is likely slipping through my fingers, and going who knows where. But I’m not sure it’s as much as $21 a week. My cash withdrawals are few and far between, totaling about $30 a month. So my guess is that my unaccounted for spending is something closer to $360 per year — and that’s if I spend all the cash I take out.
While I probably won’t start tracking all the tiny things I pay cash for, this article does have me thinking. I will probably evaluate my spending habits again, and look for places where I can change. And, I am quite likely to practice more conscious spending, thinking carefully before I pull out the cash and make what seems like an inconsequential purchase.