So I spent an entire week tracking every cent that I spent. What did I learn? Quite a lot actually!
I don’t realize how many times I go to the store for just one thing, and come out with three or more. As much as I try to do just one big trip per week, there are always going to be a few things that I want to get fresh the day of. Think, fresh baked bread, salmon fillets etc. Well, each time I go in I end up coming out with more than just the one item. Ok not ALWAYS, but usually. Oh I forgot I need cheese, or bandaids, or chocolate. So instead of $2 it ends up being $11 or more. And if I do this three time a week, that’s $30 that I wasn’t planning on spending! I am going to try to be better about doing one shopping trip a week, and staying within that budget. I think that’ll really help trim a few bucks.
I never really think about bill paying. Let me explain. I pay my $300 vet bill (for example) but then when I look at my bank account I don’t know where the money went. Yes I’m paying down a bill, but it doesn’t feel the same for some reason.
Eating out adds up. I mean I know we all know this. But I never think about it because I really don’t eat out that often. But even two times in one week was over $20. And ya sometimes things come up, and we all go out. Ok, not the end of the world.
Keeping track helps. When I was writing down each penny I spent, I was a lot more aware. I didn’t want the internet to know that I spent money on X, Y, or Z so I didn’t spend it. And that helped! It goes back to accountability for me I think.
All in all I would definitely say this was a great experience. I recommend everyone try it for some period of time. That being said, I also learned that a total spending freeze isn’t always practical for everyone. I do however think small blocks of time are good. A day? A week? Try small. A month was almost feasible for me, and I have successfully done it before. But a few small things tripped me up. And I let it go. I didn’t want to feel like I had failed. And that’s okay!
Have you ever tried tracking your every penny? I recommend you try it some time. You might actually learn something about yourself!