Managing vs Micromanaging Your Money

by Broke Professional on October 31, 2011 · 12 comments

Would you consider yourself to be someone that is good at managing money or an individual that micromanages their financial life?  I’ve been accused of micromanagement by my husband before but am learning to step back.

Micromanaging Money

Micromanaging expenses means going over every single detail in your financial life. It involves keeping track of every single penny that you spend on a daily basis. A micromanager of finances takes saving money to the extreme. They keep very detailed records and notes and have the tendency to check all of their money accounts several times a day. Micromanagers usually get a thrill out of saving money or have the need to do so. They love living below their means and are often able to save a lot of money because of their thrifty ways.  I would know since I was a certified micromanager for years.

People that adopt a lifestyle of micromanagement aren’t crazy, but it does lead to extra stress which may not be needed.  Senior citizens and other individuals that live on a fixed income are often forced to be good micromanagers or suffer. They have to allot a certain amount of money for food, living expenses, and medications. They cannot afford to fail to track their expenses and budget since their well being depends upon it.  But micromanagers that aren’t between a rock and a hard place, like me, may do well to step back a bit.

Managing Money

Managing money is keeping up with your expenses and revenue on an ongoing basis. A good money manager lives within their means and saves too. They may keep track of expenses using a budget too to track their finances, but they don’t go crazy over the details.  Individuals that simply manage their money get the best of both worlds in my opinion. They are able to keep up with the dollars that they spend and do not have to worry about the cents.

Managing money may be better for most people than micromanaging because you will actually get to enjoy your money without stressing over the details.  The trade off is that micromanagers may catch some details that a basic money manager wouldn’t, but in the long run, is the extra stress worth the possible benefits?

My Gradual Shift

I may never be able to give up all of my micromanaging ways, but I have stopped checking all of our accounts daily.  I still have to keep up with every single expense on our budget sheet, but I have learned to concentrate on the overall picture of that budget rather than the $50 we went over in food.  My thought is that micromanaging may be a great place for absolutely everyone to start since it truly gets you involved with your spending and savings decisions, but once you have a plan in place, it is safe to take a few steps back just to enjoy the progress.

Do you micromanage your money?

{ 6 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Money Beagle October 31, 2011 at 12:25 pm

I check our accounts almost every day but I have such a quick system that it takes me five minutes of less 95% of the time. I look at it that keeping on top of things means that I can validate that all the transactions are legit in a lot faster time period than if I waited and had to sift through everything at once.

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2 novel investor November 2, 2011 at 9:16 pm

Micromanaging seems a bit OCD to me and completely opposite of my personality. The only thing I check several times a day are my investments. But I do short term stock trading, so I have too, if I want to make a profit. Everything else is covered once or twice a month.

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3 Marie at FamilyMoneyValues November 3, 2011 at 8:10 pm

I’m no micro manager – once a month is good enough for me. But we do keep a register of all checks and electronic transactions so we always know what is available in the most used account.

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4 Andy Hough November 8, 2011 at 3:52 pm

I suppose I’m a micro manager since I do keep track of our expenses down to the penny. I have had to loosen up on the spending some now that I’m married. Even if I’m spending more I feel better knowing exactly where it is going.

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5 Anree November 10, 2011 at 12:16 am

I feel empowered by knowing where our money goes and that there is a justification for each purchase. I guess that makes me a micro-manager. But Quicken makes the task less tedious. I believe saving for our goals FIRST leads to less stress about the spending on a particular category. The budget is simply a guideline and a planning tool.

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6 Dannielle @ Odd Cents November 17, 2011 at 7:17 pm

Nice read. I agree with you. There should be balance between spending and saving. Sometimes admit that I go a bit overboard with the micromanaging. But I think it’s more anxiety about reaching my financial goals that causes me to become a little crazy with the budget checking.

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