The shopping list challenge

I've posted a few times on here with some financial organizing tips from a good friend of mine who just happens to be an expert on the topic- but I'm not sure that I've ever shared anything personal on this topic until now.

Here it goes: we make exactly thismanydollarsandthatmanycents a month- and here's the penny by penny breakdown of how we spend it.....

Haha, yeah right. I'm all about being real with ya'll, but come-on now :)

Specifics aside, anyone who knows me or has read this blog for very long would not be surprised that I DO keep track of exactly where every dollar and every cent goes. At the advice of my expert friend I track my spending using Mint.com and it does most of the work for me. I almost never use cash, so I don't even have to bother saving receipts, I just log in every few days and double check things. Mint will attempt to categorize your spending- but it's not a perfect operation. For instance, one of our favorite local restaurants is called Blue Dog Family Tavern, and Mint thinks that we're spending money there on pet supplies. Apparantly we have very hungry pets.

Anyway, I thought I would mention it here because it has been a huge time saver for me with keeping track of our monthly budget. And, since I DO like to be real around here- I wanted to go public with a challenge that I set up for myself this month.

This month I'm shopping off the list only.

Before the month started I made a list of known "extra" expenses for the month- including birthday presents, mother's day gifts, and end of year teacher stuff. I also knew that I was almost out of calendar and journal pages so I wanted to replace those. But what's NOT on the list are the things I tend to sneak into my cart at Target when I'm supposed to only be buying groceries: nail polish, flip flops, tank tops, toys for the kids, misc office and organizational goodies, hair accessories, picture frames, and just about anything with a little red clearance tag on it.

I like to buy stuff you guys. I have the hardest time dropping more than $50 at once on ANYTHING no matter how badly I want it, or how many months I've been thinking about it (ahem, my dining room curtains which were barely over $50 total and it took me 2 years to go for it), but I am SURE that I spend way more than $50 on impulse junk every month. I have the Target credit card bills to prove it.

Instead of buying "stuff" this month I want to attempt to save that money, and also, instead of buying stuff, I want to put those ideas onto a list for planned purchases next month. I'm hoping that this delayed gratification will help me to better budget for the miscelania that tends to eat up so much of our income every month.

I conquered my first temptation earlier this week- a trip to Target to get those calendar pages. A cute little filing box somehow made it into my cart, but I regained my senses and put it back 2 aisles later. If I really want to reorganize my files, I should actually do it first and then reward myself with the cute box next month- not buy the box as incentive to organize (as I tend to do).

So, I will report back next month how it went. So far so good, but we're only 9 days in. Anyone want to join me? I can be your little accountability buddy and you can imagine me with a frowny face if you sneak something into your cart at Target.

1 comment:

  1. Best of luck sticking to the list! We started paying cash for everything on January 1 and it's been REALLY eye-opening. Having to check the envelope for clothing to see how much is left for the month is a good way to decide that no one needs a new top just because it's cute.

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