Seven Days, Two Bloggers, & One Goal To Track It All

One of the reasons I love blogging so much is the awesome people I meet through it. I mean, I can’t be the only one who wishes their blog friends lived in the same city, right?

Well, just recently, I started chatting with the lovely Jessica Lawlor on Twitter. She found me through Carrie and was kind enough to link to a post of mine in one of her her awesome Sunday wrap ups.

Jessica’s whole theme is “Get Gutsy,” and I love it! Her blog is fun, bright, and encouraging. She inspires her readers to get out of their comfort zone, something I try to do as often as possible. Plus, she’s a social media lover and a freelance writer. So, basically what I’m saying is that we’re meant to be friends.

This post was born from this tweet:

Track Your Spending

Essentially, when I saw it, I e-mailed her and asked if I could join in. I’m nosey like that. Luckily, she agreed!

The plan was that we’d both track our spending all week and live blog to tell the tale. This accountability was actually really good for me. Although I typically track my spending in my planner, it’s a pretty loose estimate. Knowing Jessica was doing the same thing all week made me pay closer attention to my spending, and it also reminded me to ask the hubs what he spent too, so that my report would be accurate.

So, here you have it below. I use two forms of currency, U.S. dollars and Eastern Caribbean dollars (since I live in Grenada), so I tried to provide the exchange rate when necessary.

Saturday

No Spend Day!

Sunday

Grocery Trip 320EC/$118.50US

Monday

Student Loan Payment $200US

Tuesday

Tip For Housekeeper 20EC/$7.40US

Domain renewal for another website $10US

Wednesday

Phonathon Fundraiser for my high school, LSMSA $20US

Thursday

No Spend Day!

Friday

Sushi lunch 70EC/$25.90US

The Hubs’ Birthday Dinner $150US

Saturday

Quick Grocery Run 50EC/$18.50US

Sunday

School Textbook for Hubs 75EC/$27.78US

Quick Grocery Run 35EC/$12.96US

Total:

$591.04US spent last week.

Of that, we spent $325.86US on food!

Confessions:

  • know that we spend a lot of money on food, but when I look at my sheet like this, it’s kind of amazing to see just how much of my weekly spending it takes up! Granted, I don’t usually go to $125 dinners, but we do enjoy eating out.
  • You might have noticed I listed a housekeeper on here. Amazingly, this twice-a-month service is included in my rent, which is why I haven’t really written about it before. Anyway, I like to leave her tips because she is so sweet.
  • I am having trouble making my target $800 per month toward my student loans that I talked about in My Financial Resolutions. My monthly budget says it’s possible, but things keep slipping through the cracks. I am pretty determined that I’ll have this ready for my March payment. After all, if I’m going to knock it out, it’s now or never!
  • This week’s food spending probably won’t be much better, since I’ll be home in New Orleans during Mardi Gras. So, I can’t make any promises that I’ll watch the food spending in one of the most amazing places to eat in the world. :)

Okay, now that you know what I spent, please hop on over to Jessica’s blog to see how she fared last week. (Thanks Jessica for keeping me accountable and letting me tag along!)

So, dear readers, what’s your biggest spending category? What money goals are you trying to reach this year? Does anyone else like to track their spending? Are you old school like me or do you use online programs for tracking?

About Catherine Alford

Catherine Alford aka "Cat" is a personal finance freelance writer who currently lives in the Caribbean with her husband and spoiled pup, Julep. To learn more about her writing services, please visit her Hire Me page or e-mail her at Cat[at]BudgetBlonde[dot]com. Follow her on Google + to get all the latest updates.

Lovely comments:

  1. Awesome post, Cat.

    Kudos to you for including student loans and other larger monthly expenses. I didn’t include those in my post, but that’s definitely my next step. To see what I’m spending in total monthly. Yikes. I’m sure that’s a number that will make me a little anxious.

    Isn’t it amazing how quickly food can add up? Definitely want to pay more attention to this in the coming year.

    Thanks again for joining me! Knowing you were tracking too definitely kept me accountable. Love your blog!

    • Thanks! Yeahhh luckily I didn’t have rent in there since I paid it early on the 15th haha! It really is amazing how much I spend on food. I need to reel it in for sure. :)

  2. Okay that’s pretty awesome that you have a housekeeper included in your rent. =) I would not have complained about that when I was renting!

    Is tracking software like mint not as good when you’re out of the country? That’s what we use to track everything, and it’s super easy – but I imagine if we were in a largely cash economy it’d be a PITA to use.

    • Exactly. For me, Mint would just have this big pie slice of things I’d have to sort through because I paid for them in cash. However, I am just old school all around. I use a paper calendar and not my gmail or my phone to schedule things. For some reason, I just like to have a pen and paper, and for my budget, a simple excel spreadsheet. :)

  3. I hear you on the grocery thing…also sort of a problem area for me too. And man I would love to have a housekeeper included in my rent. That would be so nice. I don’t use online tools to track my budget, so I use a simple spreadsheet that has all the calculation built in. I found mint confusing, but then again I haven’t spent much time with it.

  4. My biggest expenditures are food and car payments. We love food and love to cook it. We don’t eat out much, but we just make great meals. I don’t mind spending money on quality food because I can reduce spending somewhere else.

  5. Our biggest expenditure is food as well, well that and our mortgage payment. Having a family of five sort of necessitates that our grocery budget be higher, but we do a pretty good job of stretching that part of the budget. We like to buy quality food and not just junk, so that will impact the bottom line at times. Our big financial goal this year is to be able to put aside a big chunk of money into a SEP IRA this year as we could not save last year since we had just started our business.

  6. The biggest monthly expenses for us are by far our student loans and mortgage. They are fixed costs that we have little influence on.

  7. Ours would be my girlfriend’s student loans/saving to pay off her student loans. After that, probably food/transportation (insurance gas etc)

  8. I track my budget in excel. Right now my biggest expense is my portion of the mortgage. I admit I spend way too much on takeout food. I’m trying to get better, but old habits die hard.

  9. My online banking is awesome so I use the built in tracking tool to track our transactions. Must admit I’ve been slack about this over the past few months and need to get more stringent – I used to be totally type A about tracking until this summer…

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