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What Gets Measured, Gets Managed

"What gets measured, gets managed." - Peter Drucker

There is so much power in this quote. If you've never tracked yourself, you don't even know how much power there is in tracking. I couldn't even explain it adequately. You wouldn't believe me. You'd think I was exaggerating. The simple act of paying attention to something will cause you to make connections you never did before, and you'll improve the those areas - almost without any extra effort.

I'm not a believer in "free lunch" and I don't think the universe vibrates things to you just by thinking about them. But the closest thing to a free lunch getting vibrated to you by the universe is writing things down as they happen.

Before I go any further, I need to give you one piece of advice - start small and build up, so you don't overwhelm yourself. This is just being pragmatic. You want to scale up gradually, as I wrote up in "The Evolution of My Time/Habit/Life Tracking." You want to build small wins, lock them so they become automatic, and then expand.

I'd have a hard time convincing you of the power of tracking, so I'll just show you. I fill this out every single day.

The 80/20 of saving money

On Mental Models

Saving money is my hobby. I'm relatively good at it, but am not among the best. This is usually the case with things I enjoy. Never world class - but top 10% of comparable people. (This doesn't mean I'm in the top 10% of saving money, but probably among the top 10% of people who've spent a similar amount of time and effort saving money). Blame my scanner nature.

Score the big wins

As with any skill, I find it easy to save big on a few items, and basically ignore 80% of nominal "categories" or "items".

Think about your monthly budget, or enter it into a spreadsheet or tracking web app if you must (really?). For me, the biggest wins are extremely obvious. I spend 25% of my post-tax paycheck on rent. I spend 15% on my car. I save around 50%.

I could be saving 50% more if I spent absolutely nothing. Of those 50%, 80% are spent on rent and car. Meaning any optimization I do on any other bill is probably a waste of time. The difference of me not spending a dime on food versus just buying whatever I feel like (which I do currently) is less than a quarter of my rent. Moving to a slightly cheaper place would make up for huge splurging in any other category like phone, magazines, groceries, or restaurants.

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