Step 1 to Taking Control of Your Finances: Track Your Spending!

I’m determined to get a handle on my spending. I don’t make a lot of money but I feel like both Mr. and I make enough to take care of our family. I understand that it’s really not what we make it, it’s what we save. This year, I’ve been a decent saver. Every paycheck I put 8% of my paycheck in my 401k. I also automatically save $625 of our paycheck every other week. Where I know we fail is controlling our spending. We suck at it. Truly. However, I’m determined to try and correct it.

One of my first posts was about how I ate out so much I literally could buy a used car. I wish I could say that I was able to learn from that and stop spending, but I didn’t. Oh, I changed it for a few months but then something stressful happens, and BAM I’m in the same place again. This time, though, even if I don’t want to look at our bank account, I make myself do it. I am able to download my bank transactions to both Quicken and Excel. At lunch everyday, I download what I spent the day before and then track. I’ve resorted to putting sticky notes on my debit card to “STOP SPENDING, STUPID!” I’ve got sticky notes on my computer that say, “SSS.” It’s helping a little.

My biggest cost beside bills is eating. I love to eat. And I eat well. It’s hard for me to give up on eating because I’m lazy and don’t pack my lunches as often as I should. Somedays I come home and my mind is mentally drained and the last thing I want to do is make dinner and then pack lunch. I would much rather sit on my couch, thank you. But, I know I have to change. I do. I know it.

Anyhow back to the tracking. I use Quicken/Excel and my planner to track my expenses. Why? Quicken so I can have automatic download set up. It’s easy and DH can get a hold of all our info if I’m not home. As for Excel, I download transactions from my bank and I run pivot tables per week, and per month on how much money I spent and saved. I’m obsessive about my Filofax so I write daily spending in my planner.

I need to bribe myself into spending less. I think that’s the only thing that will work. I’ve been dying for a trip to the midwest, where my BFF (forever and ever) lives. Tickets are about $251 now. I figure if I stop eating out for the rest of the month and through to September, I will use the thousands of dollars I save and buy myself a plane ticket to go see her.

I’m super tired and this post is a bit sporadic. I might try to add more to it tomorrow. Good night everyone.

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2 thoughts on “Step 1 to Taking Control of Your Finances: Track Your Spending!

  1. This was a good post. I also think you have done an awesome job with step 1. It’s a long hard road but you are going to get there. The bribing will be a good start to help break your habits but I think I have to try and find a balance between the two. Like eating out once a week or something similar.

  2. I don’t like to cook after work, which is why my crockpot is my best friend. I make all sorts of things in it, and then just have to come up with a side dish. For me, I usually have leftovers as well, so that takes care of lunch the next day. Good luck!

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