As the current Coronavirus crisis highlights, keeping track of spending is a critical part of making sure households can stay afloat during times of uncertainty. In this post I’d like to look at how we can use the simple beauty of colour to enhance the process of regular money tracking.
Colour plays a role in so many areas of daily life. The power of colour on our psyche is strong, blue can be calming, red intense or angry, green relaxing and yellow invigorating. Colour is emotional, money is emotional, and creatively combining the two can bring new energy to your money tracking.
In my money coaching work I use Excel spreadsheets, they are readily available, usually straightforward to use and provide the capacity to customise and colour code as we see fit. A typical money tracking spreadsheet involves; income inputs, spending inputs and a calculation which hopefully shows a monthly surplus – the fuel for saving and investing. I would advocate getting colourful with these spreadsheets.
Will colour coding impact on spending? Well, colour is already part of the money vocabulary, for example “being in the red” is commonly used to describe accounts which are in debt and “in the black” for those in surplus. Perhaps we can use colour to remind or nudge us in particular spending directions. For instance, if you follow the maxim “pay yourself first” try making entries for savings and investments a positive colour such as green. Similarly, health-related spending such as gym membership or yoga classes could also be your positive colour. Red could be used for negatives such as credit card or store card debt. Monthly surpluses could be purple to indicate success and financial stability.
It makes sense to keep some restrictions on your use of colour and avoid making your money tracking look overly complex but by taking ownership of crafting your own spreadsheet, the chances are you will also take more ownership of how much, and on what, you spend.