After a recent overview of where my money has gone so far this year, I vowed to change the way I spent my money. So much of it has gone to food, sweets and treats. Some of those purchases were well worth the money, others, sadly were impulse buys, mostly at fast food places. A night out at Elote, or Plaza Bonita is so much more satisfying than Taco Bell or Domino's.
The categories I spent my Fun Dollars on were as follows: Food (including sweets, treats, restaurants, soda, fast food), Appearance (clothes, makeup, accessories, personal care items), Entertainment (movies, popcorn, tickets and entry fees), Specialty Beverages (alcohol, tea and coffee), and Miscellaneous items (stuff that didn't fall into any of these categories.) After adding up the categories, I examined their outcomes and what that meant for my spending habits. Let's put it this way, if I added up Appearance, Entertainment, Specialty Beverages, and Miscellaneous, they would equal what I spent on Food. I want to change that.
On Monday of this week, I made a summer action plan for the kids and me this summer. I wrote down everything we are already committed to, like swim lessons, visiting family, birthday parties, and the summer movie series. Then I looked at how much each of these would cost us in Fun Dollars. For example, every week that we go to the Summer Movie Series, Carrick is going to want to get popcorn, and I will probably want a little myself. So I budgeted out $5.00 for him, and $7.00 for me.
As for me, I plan on cutting way back on what I spend on food, at least for the summer. I think by cutting out fast food alone, I will cut that number in half. So far, I haven't spent fast food money since the last pay cycle. I cut out fast food for a while earlier this year, and I can do it again.
One category that I was sad that I hadn't spent any money on was "gifts". I want to buy things for other people more often (not just toys for the kids, or a bottle of wine for Corey.) So, my first purchase this pay cycle was a book on Shutterfly that I had a coupon for. I don't know why, but for some reason, Safeway printed out two Shutterfly coupons that I've been hanging on to (every time someone checks out at Safeway, they pint out coupons). They both expired on Memorial Day, so, I used one of them this weekend. It was for a 20-page hard-cover book...for free! All I paid for was the shipping and tax. It cost nine and change, so it rounds up to $10.00 Fun Dollars. I won't say who it's for, until they receive it, then I can share more about that purchase.
Looking back and observing behavior is one of the best ways to change your habits, whether it's keeping a food journal, a workout log, or a drinking diary. If you really want to change the way you do something, observe it first. Collect data without judgement. Then, after you have a clear outline of what you actually do, you are better equipped to decide just how you want to change it. That's been the premise of this blog from the beginning
. I am excited that I have stuck with recording my spending long enough to have a clear outline of data to work with. Now the real change can start happening.
20-page hard-cover book from Shutterfly- $10.00
Balance this pay cycle- $90.00