Welcome to Day 6 of Where’s My Money Going? Month! This February 2009, I’m challenging readers (and myself) to track spending manually for 28 days. Don’t worry if you’re late to the party, the more the merrier!
What’s stood out to me most so far is how our spending always seems to be clumped together. We’ve had several no-spend days already this week that were completely unintentional. It just seems that we don’t do much casual spending (yet) and instead make big trips that encompass things like gas & food & toiletries.
Our biggest purchase this week was apart from the budget, but something we had set aside the money for: we paid off the car!! I’m not going to put that in the spending record, but it was a momentous part of this week’s spending!
So far this week, we’ve paid rent ($783), spend $15.72 on gas, paid our water & sewer bill ($36.25). None of those were a big surprise.
The only surprise was spending $130 on groceries & toiletries. Looking back over our previous spending patterns, that’s highly abnormal for us. I knew that we didn’t normally outspend our budget, but I have to admit that I was worried when I saw that!
This weekend, my BIL & SIL are coming down for a visit. We’re not buying much extra food, but we’re making sure that we’re fully stocked on the extras that we’d normally get for a month. We’re buying things up front instead of spreading them out. They’re only here for a couple meals, so I don’t think it’ll make a big impact on our overall food budget.
But if it does, I’ve also come to appreciate the flexibility we put into our spending plan.
The strangest transaction I had to record this week was $1 which I spent to participate in a beta test a friend was running (according to her professional code, she can’t run the test for free). Obviously, I don’t plan or budget for “participating in beta tests.”
Fortunately, we have a “Misc” spot in the budget, which I think is vital. The leftovers from it each month are part of our debt snowflake or go into savings. So if we have to spend the money, we don’t feel guilty. If we don’t spend it, then we feel great. I’m going to keep more of an eye on what ends up in Misc. and if it’s things we should really plan for.
So for those of you tracking your money this month, how has your first week (or so) gone? Any surprises yet?
This post was part of Where’s My Money Going? Month. Tomorrow, I’ll talk a bit about how often to record purchases in day-to-day life after the challenge.