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Jan 30, 2009

A Challenge

The husband and I were looking at our finances the other day. Something we do every so often. We did all the math to see how much we were bringing in and how much we were spending. We added up all our bills and all that fun stuff. After all the important things are paid and our money goes to it's proper places, we still have a significant amount of money left over. But it got me thinking, where exactly is our money going?? I want to know how much we are spending a month on food, on diapers, on clothing, on every thing! Of course I have an estimate on how much we spend, but I want to know down to our last penny.

I've tried in the past to keep every single receipt for that month so I could see what we were buying. I've even tried writing every thing down in a notebook and it didn't work. I would always lose a receipt or two and just give up. It's hard when you have to remember to get the receipts from the hubby, too. I could go online and check, but that would only tell me how much we spent and not on what. But after looking at our budget today, I am motivated to find out. It's going to be a lot of work, but it needs to be done. A trip to DisneyWorld is a big motivater, too!! ;)

Last night, we were talking to our friends and we decided to have a little challenge. Absolutely no eating out for the month of February. No quick stops through the drive-thru. No more being lazy --start packing a lunch every night for the husband. Not only will it be healthier for us, but I want to see if there is a drastic change in our checking accounts. The winner of the challenge has to buy dinner at a Japanese restaurant on the 1st of March! Pretty good incentive, right? =)

If anybody has a better, easier way to track spending your spending, I'd love to hear it!


Lisa said...

thank you for stopping by my blog, would you like to enter the contest?

Sherry said...

I know y'all can do it! WE actually have Microsoft Money and it tracks all the spending for us. :D I try to look every month or so to see where it all goes.

Nell @ Casual Friday Everyday said...

You can do it! Wishing you the best with it.

:--) Nell

Mary said...

Laura, I use a program like Microsoft Money but it's free, it's called Ace Money Lite. It will track your money and you can even split up categories like you spent this amount at the store actually on food and but $20 of that was on diapers. Or whatever categories you wanna set up. I have used this program for years. It will also download from your bank if you want but I find that's more annoying for me than just to enter everything in. But it will also set up budgets and give you a list of how much you have spent in each category, either by month, year, week, whatever. It helps us track it but I can't say that we ever actually change our habits. lol We're kinda lazy that way lol But that's awesome you guys are going to do that!! :) Good luck!

Mary said...

P.S. The only downside is it doesn't work well with Mac but if you have windows or run windows on your Mac then it will be fine.

Homesteader in Training said...

Hi Laura,
Thanks for stopping by today. You said your husband is in the military? He isn't by any chance stationed at PAFB is he? Just curious because we live right down the road. Come by and say hi any time.

roanne said...

Do you guys keep a ledger?

Working at the bank people are always calling or coming in wondering why their bank account is negative, and most of the time it's because there was a charge on their debit card or a check that processed that they had forgotten about. And when it does process it, puts them in the negative because they didnt account for that money when they're out spending it.

So, I always tell them they have to keep a ledger and log their spending.

I know banks give them out for free and they also come with your box of checks. So, maybe as soon as you get home you can itemize all your spending; sit down and log how much you spend on the exact items. It sounds kind of like a pain, but when you get used to doing it - like anything else - it'll just be habit.

And since you guys are planning on a vacation trip, do you keep the money you're setting aside in a regular savings account? I know the bank where I work offers a "Vacation Club" savings account, and usually these types of accounts offer a higher interest rate compared to a regular savings. So, at the end of every month you'll get back more money in interest on the money you already have in there.

So, if you dont have one already, maybe it's worth calling your bank to see if they offer anything like that....Just a thought! =)

Good luck with your challenge!

Under the Florida Sun said...

Hey there!
What a cute blog. I scrolled down and saw the pictures of your family. How cute are you guys!!!
Thanks for stopping by and entering my giveaway!!
I think this incentive thing sounds like fun. Good luck with it!
We have been cutting back to on a lot of things and you think you would miss some stuff.. but we're still enjoying life:-)

Have a great weekend!

Mari:) said...

all i have to say is...our family would fail the challenge. LOL

Hannah said...

It really is worth it to keep track of your spending and have some budget guidelines and goals. Granted, my husband does all of the entering receipts into Quicken. He generally enjoys keeping track of our finances, and we are both on board with keeping our spending within our budget.

I think you are on track with giving yourself some incentive; that makes it easier not to splurge!

Alicia said...

I think that is an awesome plan! It's always those "little things" that add up to so much!!!!! I can't wait to hear how you did at the end of the month!!!

Alicia, The Snowflake said...

This sounds like a great idea! I try to keep track, but don't always do a good job of it.

Yes, both a trip to Disney World and dinner at a Japanese restaurant would be good incentives :o)

Wifey Dessert said...

we cannot keep track of where our money is going either!! i hope this works for you!!

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