Finances & Money

What My GPS Watch Taught Me About Financial Accountability

financial accountability, financial advice, financial tips

I excitedly wrapped my GPS watch around my wrist, laced up my shoes and took off on my morning run.  I periodically looked at the watch which told me exactly how far I had run, how long I had been running, and what my current and average pace was. There’s an intersection at approximately mile 3 of my four mile route where sometimes I stop and walk for a minute or two depending upon how I’m feeling. That morning was no exception, and as I crossed the intersection I thought about slowing down.

GPSWatch

I glanced at my watch and saw that I had been running at a sub 9 minute mile pace. I thought about how a few minutes of walking would affect my overall pace. I thought about the dip in the speed graph that would be displayed on the screen when I downloaded my run information to my computer. I had seen that dip on the data displayed from a previous run and I didn’t want to see it today. The urge to slow down instantly disappeared, and I finished my run strong.

It’s amazing how physically seeing the effects of your behavior can influence your decisions.

My example is exactly the reason why I track my spending. For each budget cycle, which lasts half the month, my wife and I make a spending plan breaking down our expenditures into categories. I enter our spending plan into a spreadsheet, then at the end of each week I enter the actual amount spent in each category.

The two numbers for each category tells a story about our lifestyle. If the money spent on groceries is consistently above our projected amount, then either we need to clamp down on how we shop, or allocate a larger amount each week. If the spreadsheet shows a huge overage in eating out at restaurants, maybe that will make think twice about going out to our favorite steakhouse and just stay home instead.

Having a record of your behavior staring back at you not only tells you a history of what you’ve done, but forces you to think about whether you’re satisfied with the outcome. If you’re happy, keep on keepin’ on. If you’re not, next time just keep running.

Brought to you courtesy of Brock

About the author

Brock Kernin

10 Comments

  • I’m planning to buy a GPS watch, but when I stopped jogging then I also forgot about buying a GPS. You’re right, by having a record of your behavior, then it’s easier for us to track everything, like in which part that you need to lower down on your expenses.

  • Having a record helps us to see our behavior from someone else’s eyes — at least that’s how I feel. We tend to do ‘better’ in front of other people which makes us always push ourselves to be better and better.

  • That was a great analogy. I definitely agree that if you are held accountable and you actually have a record of your spending behavior, you are forced to acknowledge any shortcomings you may have and adjust your spending and behavior patterns accordingly.

    Accountability of our actions in my opinion is vital and it is what keeps us on the straight and narrow on on the right path to achieve our goals. Thanks for sharing.

  • @Hannah – It’s hard to figure out where your weak spots are, and where you can improve if you don’t keep track of where your money is going, and what you’re spending it on. It definitely an eye opener! Appreciate your support!

  • @poorstudent – it’s that accountability thing, right? You always try to do your best when you know someone else is watching….even in this case if it’s a “watch” or maybe your budget spreadsheet, when it’s in black and white it seems like someone else is looking at a window into your life, and you want it to be as good as it possibly can!

  • @Nathaniel – glad the analogy resonates with you! I know that seeing the results of my actions certainly helps me “right the ship” and steers me to getting the absolute most out of my money. thanks for reading!

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