Many people spend a great deal of money daily without knowing exactly where it went. They can tell you what their basic monthly expenses is, but have no idea where the rest went.
Here's how to find out:
Get an envelope.
For every purchase over .50 get a receipt and place it in your envelope. Write down the purchase on the envelope.
Do this for two weeks.
You'll soon see your hard earned dollars is being spent on small petty items.
snacks & fast food
newspapers & magazines
A couple of dollars here and a few dollars there add up FAST!
For example, here is what I was doing daily:
Stopped on way to work: $1.49 on a 16 oz soda and $1.99 breakfast sandwich
Lunch: Fast food meal $5-6
Two or three times a week I was also buying newspapers and magazines. (I cannot believe how the price of magazines has went up in the last 3 years.)
I found I was spending $40-$50 A WEEK on this! That's $200 a month.
My husband was even worse. One breakfast sandwich wasnt enough. Working outside in the heat he was also buying 3-4 sodas/teas/waters. We were spending close to $600 a month on this "stuff" and nothing to show for it.
Keep repeating the question: "Is this where I WANT my money to go?" "Is this stuff really worth it?"
To plug these leaks we did a few things.
1) Started packing our lunches. I made sandwiches, bathces of burritos & hamburgers and froze, and we learned to love leftovers instead of throwing them out!
2) I bought a 2 litre of pop to take to my office job for $1.25 and it would last 3 or 4 days. I bought a drink jug cooler from a thrift store and hubby either took water or tea made at home.
3) My new years resolution 2 years ago was to not buy any more magazines. Although I didnt completely quit buying, I have cut this back 90%. Some I can read on line. I watched for FREE subscriptions or highly discounted subscriptions. I've even requested subscriptions as gifts when someone asks what I want.
4) FREE entertainment: I watch for FREE dvd rentals. Redbox gives a free code once a month. Our satellite provider offered two FREE movies this month. We went to a free art show this past weekend and had a great time.
We went from spending $600 a month to $150.
Everyone wants to have some spending money to spend any way they want. You've worked hard and earned it. We gave ourselves $10 each for the week. Both of us usually spent our money and treated ourselves out to lunch on Fridays and had money leftover.
By doing this tracking method, you'll be surprised at how much you have spent on things that don't really matter very much to you and that don't have lasting value.