Saturday, July 21, 2012

Spending Experiment.

I shared last week that I put two friends and myself on a spending experiment.  This idea I basically jacked from dieting (which I've done my fair share of).  They say if you write down everything you eat then you quickly realize why you're overweight.  Turns out you eat more calories than you think.  As I've spent some of this year studying millionaires habits in an attempted to glean knowledge from those who have gotten ahead and stayed ahead, I thought maybe money works like food. I've always said counting calories works like budgeting so maybe I can use what I've learned from losing weight to figure out how not to lose my money.

So, for one week (Thursday to Thursday) we wrote down every single dollar we spent.  Every single dollar. This is a great challenge for any of you who may think to yourself 'I don't spend that much money' and yet can't quite figure out where your money goes.  If you spend every single cent you make but you're not really sure how, this experiment is for you.

Immediately I was hyper aware of my spending because I had write it down.  I would wonder if it was worth reporting it to someone or if I could just go without it.  This cut back on eating out, stops for drinks, and 'quick trips to Target' where I would end up buying more than the 1-2 things I 'needed'. In fact, we all started to find that we didn't even want to spend the money we needed to spend because we were so sensitive about it.

Here's a few random notes from this experience:

Day One: Was pretty much overjoyed when my friend bought me a diet coke with cherry from Steak N Shake.  Free drink free drink! And I don't even have to right it now.  My glee at this 2 dollar win is probably a little terrifying.

Day Two: May have dressed up like a cow for Cow Appreciation Day at Chickfila and brought home a wrap to eat for dinner, for free.  Yes this is something college freshman should/would do but now that I'm so aware of spending money I don't want too.  My goal for day two was to have a 'no spend day', as in didn't spend a cent.  No spend day - success!  I made coffee at home, packed my lunch, went with my coworkers to cfa on lunch where I acquired my dinner for free, and used a sonic survey coupon to get a free route 44 on my way home from work. It wasn't totally a no spend day, since I actually did pay my mortgage and car insurance on this day.

Day Three: Biggest win of this day was two used books for $1 each at the libraries used bookstore.  I love that place.  I'm always in need of reading material.  Did NOT want to get gas on this day because it counted against my spending. Boo.

Day Four: No spend day! Completely.  Did not send a single dollar on this day. And honestly, it was a great day! So far this week I've already put about $300 in savings though.  Working extra hours is making my savings account very happy.

Day Five: 


Lindsey @ Let the Light Shine said...

I have done this every single day since November. If I put a QUARTER in the gumball machine, I add it. I even wrote down 7 cents one time when Michael needed some change!

Leanna Vera said...

This is a great idea! I've been struggling with my budget lately and I'm going to have to give your method a try.

Nichole said...

I love that you dressed up like a cow!!!