January Spending

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.

Fixed(ish) Cost

  • Car insurance
  • Home / Home insurance
  • National Grid
  • Cell Phone
  • Credit Card (yes I do occasionally use them) / Personal Loan


  • Groceries
  • Beer/wine
  • 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.


  • Gas
  • Maintenance
    • 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


  • Food
  • Treats
  • Vet
  • 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.






2 thoughts on “January Spending

  1. If your interested in extremes, I love mrmoneymustache.com. He gives a very analytical approach to saving/spending. Also, you could try 333 as a way of reducing clothing spending. I did a few years ago, and so many of the principals have stuck for me. On average I spend less than $300 a year on clothes (including underwear and shoes). That might not be attainable for someone who runs as much as you though, since running shoes can get pricey. Good Luck!!


    • generally I don’t spend much on clothing (and most of my clothes come from the goodwill. Shoes & some other warmer running gear were needed this year. But I suspect next month will be far less. So far I bought one $7 baselayer shirt (again, winter running!) But will definitely check out mrmoneymustache. Thanks!


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s