Just for fun this month I decided to track my spending. I used to obsessively track it, back when we had no money, but we needed to back then and there was less to track! The one thing I didn’t track was my partner’s spending from his own funds, though I did track his spending from our joint spending.
Sept 1: $22 dinner out (back-to-school night), $25 Gas, $2500 Mortgage, $XXXX credit card bills from August, $520 utility bill (ouch!)
Sept 3: $129.84 Grocery
Sept 6: $8 gas, $5 vitamin B12, $3 Starbucks (hour to kill between kindergarten and Laser appointment)
Sept 9: $15 dinner and dessert
Sept 10: $135 Grocery, $1400 auto insurance
Sept 14: $15 birthday party gift
Sept 15: $23 gas
Sept 17: $52 Target (mostly groceries, but also some bowls to replace recently broken ones). Also, I want a paycheck. Want want want.
Sept 21: $15 Allegra
Sept 24: $179 Grocery, $85 Grocery (store going out of business sale)
Sept 27th: $20 gas, $30 Indian food, $14 other utility bill
Sept 30th: $7 lunch out
That doesn’t count the things that auto-bill to the credit card, specifically cellphone and Netflix. The cellphone bill has an error in it this month, grrrr. And we called to try to get it fixed and they said they would call back. They’re not going to call back.
Usually we eat out more frequently (generally 2x/week), but we’ve been crazy busy with work. It’s funny how when we’re busy, we eat out more because we don’t have time to cook, but when we’re super busy we don’t have time to eat out. Usually we also go into the city at least once a month and that can get pricey, but not this month.
If I’d been limiting to no spend days:
Purchases would have been pushed off or hurried even if that would have made them less convenient. We would have bought the birthday party gift and the gas on the same day instead of when it was convenient (because we were going by Target or a gas station). Of the Sept 6th purchases, the gas would have been pushed off (I didn’t really need it, but had an hour to kill) and I could have I could have gotten the B12 at the next grocery store run instead of a CVS.
Some purchases might not have been made. The fam might not have had dinner and a dessert on Sept 9th (I was at a conference dinner). I could have waited in my car with the a/c on instead of at Starbucks, or driven home and right back, though that might have cost more than $3 in gas. Or I could have window shopped instead of getting work done. We also could have used stuff from the gift closet for the birthday kid, but we didn’t have anything that matched his particular personality, so it would have been lame for him.
If we’d been limiting money instead:
That birthday party gift would not have been bought and our grocery bills would have been much lower. We spent about $100 on cheese alone this month. And I get a lot of no sugar/no artificial sweeteners/organic yummy stuff that costs 3x what the conventional counterpart does that I could probably make do without. We would have pushed off getting replacement bowls as well and the fam would have eaten leftovers while I enjoyed a fancy conference dinner. Also no Indian food. Depending on how much money we were limiting to, we might have skipped trips to the grocery store or just gotten bread, milk, and bananas though we could not do that indefinitely– eventually we would have to restock. (We have a pretty sizable pantry.)
It’s been an interesting exercise– an interesting thought experiment. Happily we *don’t* need to limit our spending (yet). I think a dollar limit would be better for us than counting no spending days.