In a previous post, I said I wanted to start tracking my spending using Quicken as part of my “weekly” challenge series. As it turns out, “weekly” turned out to be three weeks since I grossly underestimated how much time it would take to enter in three months worth of expenses. Finally, however, I have inputted the last three months of expenses into Quicken – it’s been a crazy amount of work but quite the eye-opener. I still haven’t worked out all the kinks – for instance, the online balance and offline balance for my main chequing account differs by about $200 (??). Despite these issues, there were a few interesting facts that I’ve learned about my spending from my March:
Some Spending Fails:
- In the food and dining category, I have spent $347.00. Of that, I was spending $123.00 of that at fast food places like McDonalds, Wendy’s, and A & W. Delicious grossness. Need I say more? I was also spending $71.00 on coffee and snacks at Tim Horton’s in that time.
- In the shopping category, I have spent $249.00. Of that, I was spending just over $100.00 on Kobo Ebooks. It could be argued that books are the gifts that keep on giving but everything in moderation, right?
- In the cash category, I pulled out $143.00 from bank machines and in cash return at places like Walmart. To be honest, I have no idea where I was spending all this money.
Some Spending Successes:
In total, that’s $739.00 I have spent in March in the entertainment category. The one I’m really not happy about is the fast food spending. Knowing myself, this was a decision I made because I would have been rushed in the morning and didn’t have time to make lunch. At about 2:00pm, I would be so hungry, I couldn’t even see straight and I would just go for the nearest fast food joint around.
There were some successes I definitely want to mention as well, I was able to put $800 towards our credit card debt; $700 towards my student loan debt; and get some maintenance done on my car that was required for the warranty. I wasn’t really happy with spending $700 at the dealership for car maintenance but I felt a little cornered by the Almighty Warranty Clause (thou shalt not keepeth warranty if thou does not spendeth on “required” maintenance). It wasn’t until I was speaking to a friend about this that she shared there were other choices I could make about where I took my car (more on this in another post).
Spending Changes for the Future:
Once I completely work out what’s happening in Quicken, I plan on having regular budget updates to show my progress with both my debt and my spending habits. I believe this will help me stay accountable for my goals and generate discussion with my readers. I’m always open to learning something new and what better way than have many brains look at the problem instead of one?
I believe I’ve mentioned this in previous posts but I’m in the process of reorganizing how I spend my time on a daily basis. For instance, I am a terrible morning person so taking some time the night before to make a breakfast and lunch that I can just take with me in the morning would help me save A LOT of money. I’ve had some success with this goal last week; I was able to pack my lunch three out of four days that I was working. More on these goals in future posts.
I’m sure there are many more that will evolve out of this process as I go along but right now I have quite a bit to chew on. I’m really keen on making this work so I will start small and build towards a debt-free life – one step at a time.
Here’s a reader’s inspiring story from Canandian Budget Binder about how tracking her spending really changed her financial story.
Do you track your spending? If so, how do you do it?