I Tracked My Bad Money Spending Habits For 7 Days—Here’s What I Learned

This post is sponsored by Cinch Financial. All thoughts and opinions expressed are my own.


 

Last year at this time, I was unemployed. I got laid off from my new job at the beginning of February and for four months, I was unable to find barely any job openings that suited my expertise and interests. When I lost my job, I was already in a bit of debt, and only making the unemployment salary for a few months made things worse. After I started working and receiving normal-sized paychecks again in July, I felt rich. The bad spending habits came back in full force and I got myself into even more debt. Shopping, Starbucks, sangria, you name it – I spent money on it.

Since then, I’ve tried to be better about spending money. I changed my Starbucks order to something cheaper. I cancelled some monthly subscription payments I wasn’t using. I made it a point to make breakfast and lunch for myself every day and NOT go out after work except maybe once or twice a month. And on weekends, I tried to only go out one of the nights. Two things I will not give up: Starbucks and barre (I pay a monthly fee, so to make it worth it, I try to go as much as possible).

I decided to track my spending below for one of my mindful money weeks. This week, I wasn’t as mindful as usual at all (you’ll see), but sometimes you have to splurge right? Here is a [V rare] week in the life of Sam.

Gossip-Girl1


 

Day 1

830am: Make breakfast – toast with peanut butter (1 tbsp measured because I am anal AF with food until 630pm) and a banana. Order my regular coffee with a bottle of water because we ran out and I always have one on me from Starbucks. It comes to $4.76, but I have money pre-loaded on my Starbucks app, so technically I already paid.

1pm: I brought lunch to work, but the lettuce I got for the week tasted bad so I just ate the toppings of my salad and had a Quest bar. Even when I got hungry later, I didn’t eat because no spending money at work! I did have snacks when I got home though.

530pm: Barre – part of my monthly membership

730pm: I make dinner. Grilled chicken and roasted brussels sprouts.

 

Day 2

830am: Same breakfast, but only order a coffee from Starbucks today – $2.94 (from the pre-loaded amount on my app)

1pm: I ended up throwing out the lettuce in my fridge, so I couldn’t make a salad. For lunch I just brought a bunch of stuff that was in my fridge – cottage cheese, fruit, carrots, string cheese, etc.

530pm: Barre – part of my monthly membership

730pm: I make dinner. Turkey burgers (no bun for me) with baked sweet potatoes.

 

Day 3

Today, my card was charged for my phone. I was charged $144.94 for the month. I honestly don’t question why this is so much money each month, but I should.

830am: Same breakfast.

12pm: This was an interesting morning. As I was leaving for work, I realized I didn’t have my apartment or car keys. My fiancé accidentally put them in his pocket and went to work 😐 This meant I couldn’t get my morning coffee until I got a spare key from the rental company. But after that, I got my coffee.. and a water… and made lunch at home. – $4.76

530pm: Barre – part of my monthly membership

7pm: Mani/pedi at Miniluxe (I go there because it’s around the corner from my apartment even though it’s expensive) – $79 plus $15 tip

9pm: The nails appointment goes late, so my fiancé Dan picks up Panera for us and pays. I get a “modern greek” salad with no olives.

 

Day 4

Today I am charged by Hulu for $11.99. I don’t even watch Hulu, I should cancel this.

830am: Same breakfast. Starbucks – $4.76 (from the pre-loaded amount on my app)

1pm: I worked from home so I made lunch for myself.

730pm: It was nice out so Dan and I walked to a restaurant for dinner. I get a salad but eat Dan’s french fries because I have no self control. Also get a cider. I pay – $59.94

 

Day 5

Pay day! Money gets deposited in my account.

830am: We are out of bananas, so I have a Quest bar for breakfast. And I order a coffer per usual for $2.94.

1pm: I bring lunch – a bunch of things in my fridge – again.

530pm: Barre – part of my monthly membership

8pm: Went out to dinner again with Dan. I get a salad again, but we also get truffle fries to split because I have no self control. I get a fancy cocktail because clearly I was feeling wealthy this week. He pays.

 

Day 6

930am: Barre class – part of my monthly membership

1030am: Starbucks – $2.94

111am: I go shopping, and I’m going to be totally up front with my shopping problem and how much I spent. I got paid much more than usual this pay period so I go HAM even though this money should have gone to my already growing credit card debt.
Madewell – $307.40
Nordstrom – $215
Nordstrom Rack – $68.94
Total – $591.34
Someone once said shopping can cure sadness (I can confirm it does, but not long-term)

3pm: I was in the shopping zone and realized I never ate anything, before or after barre. I stop at Starbucks for another coffee and a piece of banana bread on the way home – $8.24

5pm: I meet Dan and his friend at a bar. I get a drink and we split chicken fingers – He pays. I pay for Ubers – $22.83

 

Day 7

12pm: Soul Cycle for $30 plus $3 for shoes.

1pm: Get coffee and also buy other people coffee – $6.43

130pm: Get a post-workout salad and rosé – $33.55

5pm: Go grocery shopping at the worst time ever. It’s crowded and everything is gone, including the grapes. Get dinner at Wegmans – grilled chicken with mashed potatoes and a kale and quinoa cake (my go-to). Comes to $180 split between Dan and I.

 

What I Learned

I’m not so good with money. Okay, just kidding, I didn’t just learn that. I’ve known that for a while. I did learn, however, that something needs to change. This week I spent WAY more money than usual. I ordered dinner Wednesday and went out Thursday, Friday, and Saturday. Usually I cook dinner at least five nights a week. I also got a mani/pedi which I only do a few times a year. And then I went shopping. I hadn’t gone shopping in a while and I needed clothes for spring/summer so it was needed.

I’ve tried tracking my spending via my bank’s app before and other apps that let you track your spending, but honestly it’s not enough. I need guidance. I need help. That’s where Cinch Financial comes in. They’re a new company with a new approach to looking at personal finances. Cinch takes into account both your financial history (the numbers) and your spending habits and provides unbiased guidance on what you should do to minimize your debt and be more mindful about your money. The guidance could be to consolidate all of your credit card debt into a personal loan to increase your credit score, switch your car insurance to another provider to get better rates, or to go on another cell phone plan.

Product Image

Having Cinch is like having your own Chief Financial Officer for the company of, well, you. Cinch doesn’t get paid by the products and brands it recommends you work with, so you know you’re not being sold anything.

Cinch is currently prelaunch and building a waitlist of the earliest users. Because Cinch doesn’t get paid for advertising, they will charge a subscription fee to users, BUT if you join the waitlist now, you can get a FREE lifetime subscription. This is major. Cinch will begin pulling people off the waitlist starting in July and by September, Cinch will be available to everyone.

Learn more about Cinch here.

This post is sponsored by Cinch Financial. All thoughts and opinions expressed are my own.

Samantha Matt

Hi I’m Sam. I made this website in 2011 and it’s still going. I like pizza, French fries, barre class, spinning, more pizza, more French fries, and clothes. I have a serious shopping problem. Writing is fun. Follow me on the twitter - @samanthamatt1.

No Comments Yet

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.