What would you do if you ran out of gas? Would you risk asking for assistance from strangers? Would you call a tow-truck or AAA? Would you take a long walk to the nearest station and buy a gallon tank?
Most people have no idea what they would do in this scenario. The good news is that keeping gas in the tank is a fairly easy thing to do. So when do you plan to fill your tank? Before the “Low Gas” indicator goes off? When the gauge touches the “E”? Or are you gambler and get it as close to vapors as you can possibly go? Maybe you are like the majority of Americans. You don’t really think about it but you do have an idea of when to go to the gas station. It’s a no-brainer, easy to do, and necessary to keep from running out and causing all kinds of havoc in your life.
Guess what? Your checkbook is like a gas tank. It has fuel (money) in it, you use it during the next week or two (pay bills, buy groceries, have fun), the level (balance) gets lower and lower, and you need to refill it before it runs out. What if you run out of money before your next payday? Do you risk asking for assistance from others? Do you call your bank? Do you take a long walk to the nearest payday loan station?
You always keep a small amount of gas in the tank so you should always strive to keep some amount of money in the bank. Tracking our expenses and just looking at the gauge (the account balance) once in a while should give the sense that we are right on track, when we might be able to go out and have a little more fun, or when we have to cut back because we are about to run out of fuel.
So this post is a challenge: Enter your purchases, paychecks, and bill payments into your checkbook every week for a month. Then see how far you can go before running on empty. Is there always something left over when you reach payday? If not, how can you get better mileage from your account?