Author: Amy Lynn
Welcome back to Wasted Wednesday! Hopefully by now you have had time to get together your monthly and yearly expenses from last week’s post. This week I’m going to focus on things like food, clothing, and necessities. Beginning in January I came up with a monthly amount that I would be spending for each category and aimed to stick with that amount throughout the month. Here’s an example to help you out:
Dining Out: $100
Groceries: $50 (I still live at home so this amount is quite low.)
Essentials (Shampoo, soap, toothpaste..): $75
When shopping for food and essentials I try my best to have coupons for each item but since I am no coupon queen, some items are bought at full price. Also, I try to buy generic when possible, such as Target brand mouth wash or Target brand face wipes. Personally the generic and name brands all seem the same to me, and saving a dollar by buying generic is certainly worth it. You can probably note my strong preference to Target, this being because I like to use my Target debit card to get 5% off each of my purchases and Target brand items are just as high of quality as the name brand items. (I have not been paid by Target for this mention.. 😉 )
Throughout the month I note each of my purchases under their matching categories so at the end of the month I can add everything up to see if I went over my target amount. You can keep track of purchases to add onto your sheet by saving the receipts or if you use a debit card, just logging into your online bank account and taking your recent purchases off of there.
Every month that I go over a target amount, I highlight the amount in red on my spreadsheet, if I was under the amount, I highlight it in green. Your first month might be trial and error and you might have set unrealistic amounts like I did and will need to alter it the next month. By knowing your “able to spend” amount for categories each month, it helps you to not spend and fully realize what you spend on certain things. I have been doing this for 5 months now and around the third month I was able to start taking the money from each category that I did not spend every month and add it into my savings account. It may only be 30-40 dollars each month, but after a few months, it starts to add up! Don’t worry though if one month you go over on clothing or dining out, just make sure to watch your spending the following month to make up for the excess.
Here’s a sample chart to help you out!