I’ve had my first full month in my shopping ban, and I wanted to see if there’s been a significant difference in my spending.
Rather than listing everything I did, I divided them up into categories. Some caveats, however:
- Because I don’t remember what I bought on Amazon (actually, I could look into my Amazon buying history, but I’m too lazy), I made a miscellaneous/unknown category.
- There were some transactions in 2014 (like Costco) that I wasn’t able to divide into groceries and miscellaneous, so I lumped them all together.
- This is all just debit spending; it doesn’t include any credit card debt accrued (that applies in 2014, not 2015).
- Seriously, the miscellaneous/unknown/groceries is truly a catch-all. It includes pet care, car repair, and other appointments
- I didn’t include income, but it’s roughly the same.
- Gas: $91.50
- Mortgage: $1200
- Bills: $466.89
- Debt: $1,705.63
- Miscellaneous/unknown/groceries: $658.32
- Eating out: $107.79
- Gifts/donations: $67.61
- Savings: $171.12
- Gas: $140.75
- Mortgage: $1400
- Bills: $403.15
- Debt: 0
- Miscellaneous/unknown/groceries: $1,016.17
- Eating out: $153.14
- Savings: $1,025
I am putting a lot more into savings. Last year I saved money for two reasons: to spend what I saved on Christmas, and to spend what I saved on my birthday. This year I still maintain four savings accounts, and for now they are broken down into the folloring categories:
- Emergency savings (I save this on my own)
- Emergency savings (V and I share this account)
- Christmas (money I save to use for Christmas gifts)
- Birthday/me (money I save for stuff I want – like a mac mini)
For #3 and #4, I started doing the 52 weeks of savings, where you save $1 the first week, then $2, then $3, etc. I went backwards for the Christmas savings ($52, then $51 and so on), and the more traditional way for my birthday account. Now I’m just putting as much money as I can in those accounts, more than expected. And I don’t plan to spend it all.
More good: I am not paying credit card bills, student loan bills, or car loans. I paid off the student loan this spring, and the credit card bills were paid off when I refinanced the house this year. I do realize that I will probably be paying more in interest in the long term, but if I didn’t do this, I wouldn’t be able to save.
I am also putting more into the mortgage. Before refinancing, we would pay $1200, about $75 more than the minimum amount. Now we’re paying $1400 (V’s share is 600 and mine is $800, because only my credit card debt was paid off), and it’s $150 more than the minimum.
It is so difficult to analyze this without more specifics, but I feel like it wouldn’t be a true comparison. I spent more on gas this month. We’ve been using my car more often and I visited LA one weekend, so my gas consumption is higher than last year. I don’t believe I can attribute the increase in spending due to higher gas prices; I think prices are lower now. I could be wrong, though.
The bills have been consistent: gas, water, cable/internet, phone. The difference is the HD package for NFL Redzone was charged and paid for during a billing cycle not reflected in 2015 (I think I paid for it in August).
Eating out was a surprise to me. I thought I was doing wel!
Miscellaneous category. There’s a huge difference. When I looked at the individual transactions, I noticed I spend a lot on Amazon in 2014. However, I spent a lot on subscription boxes in 2015. I need to improve, clearly.
Conclusions (for now)
I certainly have some work to do! It’s so hard to analyze my shopping when it’s lumped together like this. I am going to do this again, this time comparing this month and October, with more details. Let’s see if my spending trends downward, as it should.