Going back through the YMOYL posts has provided a fun way to track
what's blooming when in this especially warm year. This week is all about the
lilacs here in central Ohio. What's blooming near you?
In step five we're instructed to "make visible the results of the previous steps, plotting them on a graph that gives you a clear, simple picture of your current relationship with money (life energy) as well as the trend of your financial situation, and the transformation in your relationship with money."
In order to do step 5, we're asked to graph our income and expenses, setting up a graph that is large enough for three to five years of expenses. You can do this on a computer or by hand.
Chapter five also brings up the purge and splurge cycle, the trend of many on the program to immediately restrict spending following starting the wall chart. Then, as with most overly-restrictive programs, after a month or two of deprivation, spending usually rebounds back to former levels. Have you fallen victim of this cycle?
I haven't even created a wall chart yet and I've already experience this phenomenon, simply from going through the exercise of tracking my expenses. January and February were record low spending months for me, which allowed me to save much more money than usual. March was a different story, as I gave myself permission to buy seeds, potting soil and other gardening supplies for the 2012 season. But my purchasing didn't stop there, I also went to the salon.
This chapter also addresses an issue that has come up in the comments of these posts, namely how to address months where unusual expenses are due, like insurance payments, property taxes, etc. YMOYL makes the very good point that almost every month can be considered an unusual month, whether it's a bill coming due, an unexpected repair expense, etc. So you can either track these expenses as they occur, or prorate them and spread out the expense each month. It's all about finding what works for you and gives you the clearest picture of your finances.
Has anyone actually created a wall chart? If so, did you find it helpful? I admit, this step is the one I've been dreading most. What's been your biggest challenge so far? Are you still motivated to complete the rest of the YMOYL program?