The Numbers are Fuzzy

You know, as an Accountant, you’d expect that my numbers would always add up. After all, I spend my days making sure things balance. And yet, as I was glancing over my June Spending Update yesterday, I realized that wasn’t the case. I earned $3,281 in June, while spending $2,936. That leaves $345, which should have been the difference between my May and June liquid assets on my June Net Worth Update. Except it wasn’t; My liquid assets went from $4,713 in May to $4,747 ins June. That’s only $34.

So where did the other $311 go?!?!

I’m not 100% sure!

99% of my spending is done on my debit card or through online banking. I very rarely hit the ATM for cash. Maybe once or twice a year? Yet there always seem to be those occasions where you end up with cash. Most often it’s because I went out to eat with my sister, and we split the tab, with me putting it all on my card, and she giving me cash. Or when I booked our upcoming vacation: I put the entire $3,461 on my debit card, and then the others gave me cash.

For my “Lottery Savings*”, I’ve been setting aside that money in cash, so I can consider that money already spent for net worth purposes. But, as I said, I don’t typically hit the ATM, or go to the bank and pull out cash. My online banking allows me the ability to name “savings goals” within my accounts; It’s like have little sub-accounts, where you can see how much money is going towards what goal. Each week, I move $20 into the sub-account for “Lottery Savings”. When I figure my net worth, I pretend that money isn’t there. Then, when I invariably end up with cash, I put the cash aside with my actual Lottery Savings, and move the money in the bank out of that sub-account to wherever the other money came from (usually spending). That way I don’t have to deal with going to the bank to get the cash.

Except, there are times that I need cash for other things. For example, when I take the dog to the groomers, or I go to the hair salon. For some reason that I can’t comprehend, those places aren’t setup for adding tips on credit/debt cards, unless you tell them before they run your card. They know this, and yet never ask before they run the card. I guess they figure it’s rude to ask about a tip, and I always forget, and then I’m stuck with that awkward moment of trying to figure out how to tip after the fact. I always keep $20 in my car for moments like these, but that just becomes a hassle. So, I’ve just gotten in the habit of always taking cash to those appointments.

But, like I said, I’m not one to go to the ATM/Bank.

So, if I don’t have cash on me, I admittedly will sometimes “steal” it from my Lottery Savings, and then move money around in the bank. No big deal! Except my online banking consists of 4 different accounts. And I move money around a lot. And, sometimes, in all the shuffle, I forget what I moved, and why. It’s easy to track all the purchases made with my debit card. But every week, there’s money being transferred in and out of each account, some manually, some automatically.

But how do you lose track of $311?

Actually, it may not be as bad as I think. In all of my shifting around of funds, I’ve yet to go back and balance my Lottery Savings. I should have $452 at this point (at the start of the year, Bryan was spending $16/week on lottery tickets, but then they raised the ticket prices, so now it’s $20. So I’ve adjusted what I’m putting into Lottery Savings accordingly, so we’re both “spending” the same amount each week.). I know there are 2 $100 bills in that savings stash right now. I have $260 in my bank sub-account for Lottery Savings. But I know that there are smaller bills in my cash stash as well. How much? I’m not sure! Maybe $20? Maybe a couple hundred? I’ve been moving stuff around so much lately, I haven’t reconciled that account. I’m sure I spent some cash that isn’t accounted for, but how much I can’t be sure of. Yet.

So, I may have spent more than I’ve accounted for in the month of June. Once I reconcile my Lottery Savings, I’ll know more about how much. Net Worth wise, it will correct itself next month. $311 is definitely more than I’m comfortable losing track of, so I’ll definitely keep a better eye on things going forward. But, I’m not going to lose sleep over it. In the grand scheme of things, it doesn’t have much effect.

I’m definitely grateful to be in a place to be able to say that!

  • Cindy W.

* Every week, Bryan spends $20 on purchasing Lottery tickets. If he wins, it’s “our” money. Which seemed a little unfair to me, since I’m not contributing. But, I’m not much of a gambler. I’m fine with him spending $20/week, for entertainment value, but I’m not comfortable throwing more money into it. So, I put $20 away each week, and consider that money spent out of my budget. At the end of the year, we’ll probably use that money towards a vacation, or maybe for something around the house. The point being, we’re each spending $20/week, and we’re each benefiting from the “win”. Except my savings is a guaranteed win!

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