Does It (Actually) Work?

I was talking with someone who said they weren’t really saving much anymore.

He said he was using an online finances tracker that integrates with his accounts and tracks expenditures, income and assets but despite long-time use, just about everything that was coming in was going right back out.

For me this begs a question: is it working?

Sure, he is using Mint (that’s the name of site/service), but his stated goal of saving money isn’t happening.

There are two key points here:

1) Vague goals lead to vague (often minimal) results.

2) If a given method or practice isn’t working, how long should one stick with it?

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If asked, I would have suggested that a clear savings goal be established, in light of current conditions and what he wants to create in the future.

And, I would ask if Mint doesn’t seem to be working, what else might he be willing to try?

There are all sorts of awareness-building practices one can adopt to get a better sense of what one is spending. This in conjunction with an existing tracking mechanism (i.e. Mint) could well lead to an increased savings rate.

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The key here is that if something isn’t working – I mean, really truly working – then something else must be done.

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