On October 24 I entered (again) the world of personal finance blogs and jumped right into The Dollar Challenge that was created by 20s Finance. Since I am a big spender and not a big saver, I decided it would be smart and responsible to track my spending and compare it to other PF bloggers. Most importantly, I wanted to give myself some accountability and responsibility, and maybe even to exercise some discipline. Take it as my personal finance simplified.
In order to do all of this, I started using Mint. Most of you already know what Mint is all about. If you don’t know, Mint pulls all your accounts (checking, savings, loans, IRAs and so on) in one place. This software allows you to set up budgets and financial goals, track your spending and your debt. I had a lot of security concerns about Mint, and refused to use it for years. However, I gave up a month ago, opened an account with Mint, pulled all our accounts in one place and created a preliminary budget.
Needless to say, it was an eye opener. I knew I was trouble. I never realized how much trouble I actually was! You don’t need to have high paying jobs without college degree (or with for that sake) to see it.
What was spent in October (important things):
Mortgage (including HOA fee and property taxes) – 25%
Groceries and Household Items – 13%
Pet Food and Supplies ( we have a cat and a dog, those two are not cheap) – 13%
Loan payments (two student loans and one car payment) – 12%
Gas (we both drive to work, however in November it is going to change because I am planning on taking a bus to work) – 4%
TV, Internet, Utilities – 3%
Cell Phones (one iPhone and one basic phone) – 2%
How I sinned in October
One sweater, one scarf, one jacket, one pair of shoes (I did resist another pair of boots, see below) – 17% (quite excessive comparing to everything else). I am still lusting for these Miz Mooz boots in red (not that I need them):
Financial Confession: In fact, I think I have to admit that I had to pull out a small amount out of savings to finance my shopping.
What was spent in October on fun stuff:
Going Out to Eat – 4%
Allowance for Beaker and me (it is used for lunches at work, coffee and other fun stuff) -4%
Alcohol – 2% (reasonable, right?)
Take Outs (we don’t cook every day) – 1% (wow, I did not know that we are actually doing good in this area)
Starbucks (on the weekends only) – 0.7% (nice)
Savings – 0% (very sad!)
Goals for November:
Maybe we can keep groceries and household items at 10% and put 3% into savings;
If I can cut my shopping to 5%, we would be able to save 12% more;
If we can go out to eat less and maintain this expense at 3%, that gives us additional 1% for savings.
Let’s see what happens!