Over the past few years, I’ve taken some serious attempts to gaining more control over my fiances. A few years ago I stopped using all credit cards and last year made serious gains towards paying them all off while continuing to operating primarily on cash. I’m not perfect, but I hope by sharing my spending with the world, I will 1) become more accountable for where my money is going 2) help others find ways to stretch their dollars.
One of my spending goals for January was to abstain from takeout or dining out. I successfully achieved this and as suspected, found it better for my waist and wallet. I hope to continue no takeout for February – but allow myself to dine out socially
I saved all my receipts this month and took the time to dig through to categorize where my money went. Everyone will do their budget sorting differently. For example – I place my car insurance under Fixed(ish) costs while others may leave in under car expenses. Here are the most natural categories I found & how I distinguish them.
- Car insurance
- Home / Home insurance
- National Grid
- Cell Phone
- Credit Card (yes I do occasionally use them) / Personal Loan
- Over the counter medicine
- Cleaning Supplies
- Small appliances (can opener/vegetable peeler etc)
Obvious. For this month it also includes new running sneakers, I considered creating a whole running category but decided to divide cost separately.
- This month this included putting on my snow tires, an air filter being changed & sensor cleaned and an oil change
- I’m a teacher – I buy things for school.
- Maybe a bit harsh of a category but all things not deemed important enough for anywhere else
- Occasional Toy
*I suspect this category will be a tad higher as I currently have a foster dog.
Gifts (friends & family)
- It seems there is always a reason to celebrate, this month in was belated x-mas gifts for my sister and brother in law.
- Dining out
- Drinking out
- Running club
- Race entries
- Donations to bigger causes
- All amounts that make it into my savings account
- Difference between what I have accounted for & income. Result of taxes/fees/ etc
Now my categories are not set in stone, some may disappear as I continue on this journey and others may become more natural. But this is where I am starting.
I took my categories, divided up all of my spending and made myself a pretty pie chart.
I love having this visual and it allows me to adjust my goals for February.
My goal for February Financial goals are
- Decrease Clothing Spending to 10%
- Reduce my margin of error
- Increase savings by 5%
Since this is all new to me, I genuinely have no idea if it will work. Any budgeting pros that have suggestions – I am all ears.