Author Topic: Hold yourself openly accountable for your spending in 2019  (Read 5231 times)

Slow&Steady

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Re: Hold yourself openly accountable for your spending in 2019
« Reply #50 on: December 27, 2018, 10:12:04 AM »
For 2018 a rough estimate based on my somewhat organized personal Capital is:

$8500 groceries (seems like a lot but we eat super healthy, balanced, measured meals. We aim for $150/wk so this actually isn’t terribly far off)
$4500 restaurants
$6000 clothing (this should be way, way less in 2019)

2018 YTD groceries are $8,527, although $350 of that is gift cards we haven't used yet we bought on cyber monday sale- so about $8200 for the year. From what I've read you post, we eat similarly.
2018 YTD restaurants are $1300
2018 YTD alcohol and bars is $1027 - this one is especially BAD

I will try to make both of you feel better, my 3 highest expenses are ....

2018 Food (groceries/eating out) ~ $15k
2018 Owner Occupied Mortgage  ~ $11k
2018 Daycare ~ $10.5k

I am completely baffled by how much we spend on food compared to fellow MMMers, it is by far our biggest expense.  We are a family of 6 (occasionally 7) and I am currently on a dairy/soy/egg/coconut free diet.  This diet means that I am eating very healthy (and losing weight) but when I want a treat or to eat out it is very expensive (x6)!

WhiteTrashCash

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Re: Hold yourself openly accountable for your spending in 2019
« Reply #51 on: December 27, 2018, 10:40:48 AM »
I got a little spendypants this past year, because I was dealing with some really difficult health and family issues, but I've made it my resolution to lock this stuff down this year.

My cooking skills have increased a lot and it's gotten to the point where I am now comfortable cooking for friends. We have hosted brunch and holiday dinners for family and friends at our house and it cost us much less than going out, so we can continue doing that.

In addition, game nights have increased with both board games and my vintage videogame systems, which saves us a lot of money on entertainment. The only downside for me is that I wanted to host UFC Fight Night parties at my house, but the UFC made a new deal with cable sports channel ESPN, so I can no longer get the fights for free with an antenna. Oh, well. It was good while it lasted.

Imma

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Re: Hold yourself openly accountable for your spending in 2019
« Reply #52 on: December 30, 2018, 02:24:22 PM »

In addition, game nights have increased with both board games and my vintage videogame systems, which saves us a lot of money on entertainment. The only downside for me is that I wanted to host UFC Fight Night parties at my house, but the UFC made a new deal with cable sports channel ESPN, so I can no longer get the fights for free with an antenna. Oh, well. It was good while it lasted.

I don't know how this works in the US, but we don't pay for TV. A friend of ours has a paid subscription to a football (soccer) TV channel and kindly shared the login details with us. We then use a chromecast to play the games on the TV. We offered to pay the friend, but they refused. We often have friends over to watch games.

afuera

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Re: Hold yourself openly accountable for your spending in 2019
« Reply #53 on: December 31, 2018, 09:45:53 AM »
I'm in!  We had a very spendy year and a half due to our house flooding, multiple car crashes where we only had liability, and a difficult family situation where we covered some expenses for a relative.  We really need a frugal reset to get us back to normal.  I would really like for us to spend less than $5000/month on average which would put us at $60K/year spend.

General budget category goals below:
Home (PITI & Utilities): $2,200/month
Auto (Gas, Ins, Maint): $500/month
Subscriptions (Internet, Phone, Streaming, Gaming): $200/month
Food (Groceries, Restuarants, Vitamin A): $500/month
Pets (Sitter, Vet, Food): $200/month
Shopping (Furniture, Home, Décor, Toys, Clothes): $200/month
Travel: $400/month
Giving: $500/month
Total: $4,700

zeli2033

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Re: Hold yourself openly accountable for your spending in 2019
« Reply #54 on: December 31, 2018, 02:48:44 PM »
WHEW 2018 was a doozy. Overall, it looks like we spent ~$83k over the year - about the same as 2017. However, $30k was toward paying down student loans (which most certainly was NOT the case in 2017).

Our other largest expenses were housing (~$16.8k) and food (~$12.4k). Food/Dining was abysmal...although this does include all groceries (we don't separate out any household goods/toiletries, etc from this amount). All in all definitely not great. But not nearly as bad as past years.

My goal for 2019 will be to keep our annual spending at the same amount or less, with the understanding that paying off our SL will be ~$40k and housing will likely increase to ~$24k.



Much Fishing to Do

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Re: Hold yourself openly accountable for your spending in 2019
« Reply #55 on: December 31, 2018, 03:18:13 PM »
My business income was so extremely high this year, and the work so time absorbing, that it was very easy to get very very spendy.  I also used the year for some one time purchases (mainly home remodel type stuff) that I wanted to get done before FIRE, but looking back at my spending that doesn't come close to explaining it all.

December is always so gluttonous Jan is a pretty natural/easy low spend month, so gonna see what we can do.  I'm hoping this will show we're at a better than 4% SWR on current investments for our low spend level.

Trifele

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Re: Hold yourself openly accountable for your spending in 2019
« Reply #56 on: January 01, 2019, 06:25:56 AM »
I'm in!  This is exactly what I needed.  I stopped tracking spending a while ago, and I'd like to do it again this year and post for accountability. 

We're a family of two adults and two teenagers, and our biggest monthly expense is groceries.  We spend about $750 a month, and I would really like to get that down.  Our second biggest expense for the past year has been utilities (gas and electricity).  That has been insanely high, but should be decreasing.  We're in a very weird situation of doing a major remodel/rebuild on an old house, and living in it while we're doing it; as we rebuild walls and insulate, each month the house gets a little tighter and more energy efficient.  We'll also be looking at behavioral things we can change -- shorter showers, line drying clothes, etc.

So goals are:

1.  $2700 or less per month total
2.  Get food spending down
3.  Get utility costs down

For the challenge I won't include any of our house reconstruction costs since those are budgeted separately.  I'll just include our other, normal living expenses.  Game on!   

zygote

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Re: Hold yourself openly accountable for your spending in 2019
« Reply #57 on: January 01, 2019, 11:18:02 AM »
I'm on track to spend ~$44k this year, and I would love to get that down to ~$40k in 2019.

Final numbers are in for 2018, and I spent $42,874. I overestimated my holiday spending. My 2019 goal of $40k seems even more attainable, so I better do it. Rent is by far my biggest expense (HCOL) and is pretty well optimized for where we are. However, there's plenty to cut elsewhere:

-I've already significantly reduced how much I eat out (I don't even want to know how much I spent on it before I started tracking), but I still spent nearly twice as much on dining out as I did on groceries in 2018. Yikes!! I really enjoy it so I don't want to cut it out completely, but I want to make it more of a rare treat. 2019 goal is to spend less on dining out than I do on ingredients from the grocery store. I'm aware that's a pretty pathetic goal for this forum, but if I don't do it in baby steps it won't be sustainable for me.

-I see a lot of theater, and that's also important to me, but I want to put in more effort making sure I get the lowest priced tickets possible through rushes and lotteries. Right now, I'll spend $10-$20 extra to get tickets more easily and it really adds up.

-I also spend too much on personal care items like skincare. I grew up with acne and still get it, so I am constantly in pursuit of the perfect regimen that works for me. After a lot of trial and error (and $$ wasted), I've come up with a good routine. I need to stick to it, use up what I've got, and stop trying new products.

I think focusing on those categories is really going to help with my overall spending goal. It's great to hear what everyone else is doing, too!

middo

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Re: Hold yourself openly accountable for your spending in 2019
« Reply #58 on: January 01, 2019, 09:24:39 PM »
I'm in.  Current spending per month (for the last 12 months) is as follows:

Food:         $598
Non-Food:  $441
Eating out: $570
Medical:     $603
Kids:          $2806
Mortgages: $5122
Utilities:     $2045
Transport:  $1819
Holidays:   $487

Total:        $14,491 per month

My aim is to drop this by 10% overall.  Some are fairly fixed, such as the kids money which is for accommodation at university, or mortgages, which won't change until the end of the year 2019 when we sell a property we are renovating.

Things that should reduce the most are: 
  • Transport - as we shouldn't need to buy a vehicle like last year, and will drive a lot less.
  • Utilities - which should reduce for a number of reasons, but our son taking on some expenses and a house being mothballed as holiday home will reduce these.
  • Food - aiming for under $500 per month.
  • Non-food - there will be less clothes purchases as we are set up for the colder climate we are now in.  :(
  • Eating out - this has jumped around this year depending on when our adult kids are visiting.  Meals out and visits to the pub seem to be the main culprits.  Coffee adds up too.  Aiming to halve this one.


I'll check in later to see how it works out.

Yasha

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Re: Hold yourself openly accountable for your spending in 2019
« Reply #59 on: January 02, 2019, 02:52:55 AM »
I’m in! Trying to hit a few $0 days thru Jan as a start... I think I’ll aim for 11? A little over a third seems like it should be easy and yet I expect it won’t be...

MrThatsDifferent

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Re: Hold yourself openly accountable for your spending in 2019
« Reply #60 on: January 02, 2019, 06:37:27 AM »
Thanks for this challenge. My spending got out of control in 2018 and I’m determined to do better. I’ve just created a spreadsheet for myself and I’ll see how that helps me to track everything. Hopefully the focus will lead to the targets I want and I stick with it for the whole year.

scantee

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Re: Hold yourself openly accountable for your spending in 2019
« Reply #61 on: January 02, 2019, 07:39:23 AM »
I’m in!

Just looked at my 2018 total spending and, yikes, it was quite a bit higher than expected. Groceries and restaurants are the areas I need to focus on for 2019. Our family of four spent about $16k on those two things in 2018, which is much higher than previous years. Not sure what happened, other than that I stop following it closely because I assumed we were still doing good. Apparently not!

Time to buckle down once again. I’d like to get this down to around $10k for the year.

ebella

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Re: Hold yourself openly accountable for your spending in 2019
« Reply #62 on: January 02, 2019, 08:30:52 AM »
I've been using various versions of this spreadsheet layout to track the big-ish picture. I'm happy to say that I've been consistently spending less over the three years I've used it! My goal for 2019 is to do a better job filling out the spending breakdown column, because I don't feel like I have a good grasp of where exactly I'm doing my spending.

Yeah I do have an excel that's like that but I really like the aspect of Mint that just does it for you based on all your accounts.  Except Mint is not totally accurate sometimes at tracking income and transfers for savings/retirement.  I just wish there was a better (free and secure) app. 

meerkat

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Re: Hold yourself openly accountable for your spending in 2019
« Reply #63 on: January 02, 2019, 08:41:30 AM »
I've been using various versions of this spreadsheet layout to track the big-ish picture. I'm happy to say that I've been consistently spending less over the three years I've used it! My goal for 2019 is to do a better job filling out the spending breakdown column, because I don't feel like I have a good grasp of where exactly I'm doing my spending.

Yeah I do have an excel that's like that but I really like the aspect of Mint that just does it for you based on all your accounts.  Except Mint is not totally accurate sometimes at tracking income and transfers for savings/retirement.  I just wish there was a better (free and secure) app.

How do you do this in Excel? Because I'm one more person that would love to have that aspect of Mint but without storing all my data in "The Cloud". I do use Quicken and keep meaning to figure out if there's a way I can get it to generate a report along those same lines, but that means poking around online and then there's cat videos that need watching and somehow I never end up actually looking into it...

beee

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Re: Hold yourself openly accountable for your spending in 2019
« Reply #64 on: January 02, 2019, 11:16:51 AM »
2018 expenses (all in CAD)
hm — business expenses but I do count them in my personal budget
tax — property tax

Total annual expenses:
2018 — $35k (fewer travel expenses than previous years)
2017 — $43k
2016 — $40k
2015 — $43k
2014 — $53k (extra taxes + more travel)
2013 — $45k
« Last Edit: January 02, 2019, 11:19:32 AM by beee »

Imma

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Re: Hold yourself openly accountable for your spending in 2019
« Reply #65 on: January 02, 2019, 01:16:22 PM »
I’m in! Trying to hit a few $0 days thru Jan as a start... I think I’ll aim for 11? A little over a third seems like it should be easy and yet I expect it won’t be...

I still haven't spent any money in 2019! Hope to be able to keep this up until at least Saturday. I am cheating a little bit because I just loaded €50 on my travel card the 31st and I take the bus to work.

Serendip

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Re: Hold yourself openly accountable for your spending in 2019
« Reply #66 on: January 02, 2019, 05:24:55 PM »
I’m in! Trying to hit a few $0 days thru Jan as a start... I think I’ll aim for 11? A little over a third seems like it should be easy and yet I expect it won’t be...

I still haven't spent any money in 2019! Hope to be able to keep this up until at least Saturday. I am cheating a little bit because I just loaded €50 on my travel card the 31st and I take the bus to work.

I love aiming for a certain amount of no-spend days/months. I colour (highlight) in the blocks of my dayplanner which is a good visual reminder for me..geeky thrills

letired

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Re: Hold yourself openly accountable for your spending in 2019
« Reply #67 on: January 02, 2019, 09:47:50 PM »
I've been using various versions of this spreadsheet layout to track the big-ish picture. I'm happy to say that I've been consistently spending less over the three years I've used it! My goal for 2019 is to do a better job filling out the spending breakdown column, because I don't feel like I have a good grasp of where exactly I'm doing my spending.

Yeah I do have an excel that's like that but I really like the aspect of Mint that just does it for you based on all your accounts.  Except Mint is not totally accurate sometimes at tracking income and transfers for savings/retirement.  I just wish there was a better (free and secure) app.

How do you do this in Excel? Because I'm one more person that would love to have that aspect of Mint but without storing all my data in "The Cloud". I do use Quicken and keep meaning to figure out if there's a way I can get it to generate a report along those same lines, but that means poking around online and then there's cat videos that need watching and somehow I never end up actually looking into it...

I confess, this is an almost entirely manual process. I usually spend a few minutes on it at the beginning and end of each month. I pull the numbers from various tracking services (mint or personal capital or old ynab or whatever). I go to this effort because it's helpful for me to see all the numbers lined up next to each other.

Quicken 'ought' to have a way to generate that kind of report, but I've never used it. I couldn't make any of the things I use for more granular tracking spit out the info I wanted either!

innkeeper77

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Re: Hold yourself openly accountable for your spending in 2019
« Reply #68 on: January 02, 2019, 10:33:23 PM »
I posted before, but I finally went over our 2018 numbers, even if they are somewhat disjointed.

My wife any I use a shared gnucash database to track our finances. I've set up an entirely new database, with better spending categorization, and actual liability tracking. I'm trying to figure out the best format for sharing the reports I've generated here. The thing is, as I have set up our accounting using GAAP, a simple expense report does not capture the whole picture, nor does a cashflow statement. I suppose it is probably OK to omit liability principal repayment here... Loans will show up as expenses only when disbursed, after that the only expense that shows up is interest expense. Seeing as I am currently working on a second degree, our 2019 education spending will be very high. I am using loans for a lot of it due to low rates- particularly subsidized loans!

This is a graphical expense report for the second half of December 2018 in the new database. It certainly makes clear what our major expense is and will continue to be... daycare. Other than that it really isn't representative.



And here, full disclosure, is 2018's numbers. (Different categories, but the general gist is clear)


My 2018 takeaways:
Auto: Unusually high, we bought a decent car, and also had a lot of car work done, including a shop doing a subaru head gasket. 2019 should be cheaper. (Numbers also include gas)
Education: I'm getting a second degree.... and am working as hard as possible to make the investment worth it.
Childcare: Will be even more expensive, but we are going from a part time nanny to full time daycare, allowing me to get a job again. (Also we have family helping out financially with daycare)
Groceries: Over $300 a month in 2018 was a lot for 2 people and a baby.. I will work to reduce this.
Communications: We bought phones, and this covers cell + cable internet. I'll try to keep this lower, which is doable. (It will still be high- we just bought/0% financed $1600 worth of pixel phones, but will get us $1600 worth of plane/hotel gift cards in return two months from now, which we will use within the next two years.... so we get new phones for "free" and spread the travel cost out month to month at no cost. It seemed worth it? It was a google Fi promotion)
Pet expenses: $100 ish a month isn't bad.
Hobbies at $900- this looks worse than it is, because of craigslist flipping our net hobby expense in 2018 was close to only $100
« Last Edit: January 02, 2019, 11:20:08 PM by innkeeper77 »

Slow&Steady

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Re: Hold yourself openly accountable for your spending in 2019
« Reply #69 on: January 03, 2019, 09:48:56 AM »
I was not going to join this due to our higher that MMM average spending but after posting about 2018 annual spending, I am really disappointed and need to do something.  This is very hard for me because although I am very frugal and the breadwinner the rest of the family is very spendy.  I also do almost none of our food prep/cooking and therefore almost none of the shopping so I feel like I am not able to make an impact on one of our biggest expenses.  I have started to make small changes the last few days that I hope will have a ripple effect. 

2017 Total Spending = $87k (Family of 3 Jan-Jun, family of 5 Jul-Dec)
2018 Total Spending = $122k (Family of 6 - Includes $14k in house remodeling that although is not done, it should not be this high again and about $2-3k in other "should not repeat" expenses.)

2019 Total Spending Goal <$100k

My current budget looks like about $107k for the year.  This includes principle pay down (~$30k) on some debt, so if I end up going over due to "extra" (>$30k) principle pay down I will probably give myself a pass.

I have been working the 2019 Budget and trying to determine the debt payoff vs savings vs family rebellion priorities.  I think I have a pretty good plan in place now.

2019 Total Budget ~ $117k
2019 Savings and Debt ~ $51k (some of this is rental related and will be paid off in 2019)
2019 Expenses ~ $67K (this includes daycare and kids activities)

My plan includes a FIRE income of ~$60k/year with no kids or debt (including mortgage), so I am happy with this budget.  Now to just stick to it.

use2betrix

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Re: Hold yourself openly accountable for your spending in 2019
« Reply #70 on: January 03, 2019, 11:04:46 AM »
Glad to see so many members participating in this thread! It’s helpful to see all the different examples of how members are organizing, categorizing, and documenting their spending and savings. I have a relatively basic and rudimentary way to organize mine, but seeing so many other examples may give me more ideas or an incentive to change my process altogether.

I’m hoping at the end of this first month in 2019 we see a lot of good examples to document all this information. When I started this thread, I didn’t consider that aspect, and it may be something helpful to a lot of us as well, beyond discussing our monthly spending. Capturing good data will be key to finding where improvements can be made!

Peachtea

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Re: Hold yourself openly accountable for your spending in 2019
« Reply #71 on: January 03, 2019, 11:17:38 AM »
I’m in. We have had a bit of budget creep in the couple years after paying off private SLs. Our post-payroll, non-SL expenses were $47,997 in 2017 and $44,167 in 2018. I was happy with how much we shaved off, especially as we’ve had some lifestyle increases this year - added HBO Now, museum pass, some more meat back in groceries, and etc. And we started travel hacking (for 2019 trip), so I worried whether we were spending more to meet minimums. But we really cut down on how much we spent eating and drinking out by implementing a no-going out except for travel and social get-togethers rule. Since we’re introverts and our friend groups only get together a couple times a month, it worked well...except for when we broke our rule.

2018 expenses
Rent, Insurance, etc: $20,726
Travel: $7,078
Groceries & Personal (incl cat litter & alcohol): $5,777
Shopping & Cash (incl cat food,some grocery, clothes): $4,413
Eating & Drinking Out: $2,843
Other (incl transp, subscripts., ent., gifts, med.): $2,089
Internet, Phone, Elec.: $1,241
Total: $44,167

My goal for 2019 is 40k. Plan for reduction is mostly to cut travel expenses by travel hacking and taking less weekend trips. We started to find the weekend trips kind of exhausting anyways. Further progress on sticking to our no non-social eating/drinking rule. Cutting clothes expenses now that we replaced a bunch last year. Trying to reduce how much Amazon earns from us on misc things. Kicking my coffee break habit by remembering to bring beans to work and exercising more will power when I go with coworkers for the walk. I’m upping our auto savings to force some cuts too.




use2betrix

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Re: Hold yourself openly accountable for your spending in 2019
« Reply #72 on: January 06, 2019, 02:57:20 PM »
Early into the month and going very well. Last month we actually ended up way closer to our spending goal than I expected considering I took 10 days off work and we went on vacation. We were only about 4% over our monthly goal.

Last night we decided to stay in for our typical “date night.” We had a coupon for some wings and rented a movie off the Apple TV. Easily spent about 1/2 of what date nights typically are.

Our dog has been itching like mad off and on for months. We’ve tried everything and seen the vet several. There’s a prescription that gives him great relief but it’s $60/mo and not healthy long term. We’re trying an elimination diet soon for allergies. If that doesn’t work then unfortunately the next step will be a $500 allergy test. Sucks but better than that prescription long term and better than him losing hair/getting infections from scratching.

Trifele

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Re: Hold yourself openly accountable for your spending in 2019
« Reply #73 on: January 06, 2019, 03:54:47 PM »
Did my first shopping trip of the year today.  We have a price book and always use a list, but I took it a step further by doing a careful inventory first of what we already have, and planning out the meals for the week.  I came in at $154, which is about $30 cheaper than our average week last year. 

Off to a good start!  Getting the grocery bill down is my #1 priority in this challenge. 

Imma

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Re: Hold yourself openly accountable for your spending in 2019
« Reply #74 on: January 07, 2019, 02:18:27 AM »
Still haven't spent money in 2019! Except for a small business expense, but hey, that's not my private account, so it doesn't count, right?

I'm sure I'll have to spend money this week though. We've ran out of fresh vegetables and some other stuff. I have skipped some bus trips this week to stretch the money on my travel card. I've walked 20 minutes the train station in the morning (where I catch the bus to work) instead of taking another bus there to save €1,25 every day. I always walk on the way back from work, but walking in the morning means I have to leave home 5 minutes earlier and that's a challenge in January.

meerkat

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Re: Hold yourself openly accountable for your spending in 2019
« Reply #75 on: January 07, 2019, 06:34:25 AM »
This thread is about accountability so here goes - definitely have spent, but have not tracked yet. This thread does make me want to track weekly instead of monthly(ish) but I haven't had time yet.

Spending I can think of off hand:
Day care - not optional
Gymnastics for kid - health-related, not just an activity for the sake of Having Activities
Lunch out last week - eeeeeh. I know MM would say Thou Shalt Not Lunch Out Ever, but it was less than $4. I do plan on allowing myself one lunch out to get a sub each week, I make it last for two lunches so it's usually <$4/lunch. Reasonable?
Groceries last weekend - Ouch. $160. Husband tossed the receipt when he was putting away groceries, but going forward we're going to try to track that to figure out why it's so dang high for two adults and a preschooler. That includes non-food stuff like cleaning products and toilet paper, but still. I don't usually do the grocery shopping, not sure that husband would feel like taking on doing one of those price book things. I'm guessing probably not.

Hirondelle

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Re: Hold yourself openly accountable for your spending in 2019
« Reply #76 on: January 07, 2019, 06:38:59 AM »
Ok I'm joining. First week of 2019 was pretty awful regarding spending. Here the things I am to blame for:

- January 1st: Bought a new top. It was on sale for €15. I have fairly little clothes and hate shopping so I think it's OK, but def not planning to continue the trend especially as I wanted to focus on 2nd hand shopping more.
- January 4-6: Had a friend visiting me from abroad. Weather wasn't good so we basically ended up making it a "Dutch food tour" where we tried all the local foods while walking through the city. We had great fun, but it was EXPENSIVE. Brownies aren't local food. Should not eat brownies on local food tour (they were great though, really).

Other spending was at normal levels or lower than usual.

Bracken_Joy

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Re: Hold yourself openly accountable for your spending in 2019
« Reply #77 on: January 07, 2019, 08:46:42 AM »
Okay. First week up.

Expected/Fixed:
Rent
Electric
Gym membership
Google Music
Food for the dog
Charity
(Debating sharing these costs specifically)

Variable/Elective:
Deposit for vet appointment (new vet since we moved. Pup's baby teeth haven't all fallen out, so we want to get those checked and plan for her getting fixed)- $60 deposit, appointment will be $170, then TBD on procedures
Groceries - $147 so far. We came home from Christmas out of town to an empty fridge. Includes a large haul of produce and some coffee coming tomorrow from Imperfect Produce. Also just replaced a ton of nuts and seeds I ran out of. Those should last a while, but they're spendy all at once.
General household- some plastic lids for mason jars. Been dragging my feet on this for a long time, but we needed more. We store a lot in glass. Also getting a draft stopper for the front door. We've been using a towel, but the only spare towel is an incredibly ugly 'dog towel'. Downsides- needs to be picked up every time we wash the dog. Also ugly as sin. I probably would have kept with the towel or found a less ugly towel, but husband decided it was a Thing. He rarely does this, so I'm happy to oblige on this. All in all, it was just under $26. I got $25 amazon credit this week for completing a study, so well timed- less than $1 out of pocket.
Student loan payments- we decided to kill all the loans above 4% interest. Previously we'd been letting all the 4-5% interest rate ones ride. But we got a big lump of cash from selling the house, and already put shittons in the market ($11k IRAs, $10k brokerage, set up to add $2k brokerage per month, and we'll be doing 2019 IRAs soon- another $12k). So $7,525 later, we're down by 3 loans, ALL of my husband's loans are gone, and outstanding student debt is less than $10k, at 3.61%

meerkat

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Re: Hold yourself openly accountable for your spending in 2019
« Reply #78 on: January 07, 2019, 10:21:19 AM »
we're down by 3 loans, ALL of my husband's loans are gone, and outstanding student debt is less than $10k, at 3.61%

That's awesome! I'd say that's a good use of the house money.

Imma

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Re: Hold yourself openly accountable for your spending in 2019
« Reply #79 on: January 07, 2019, 11:42:47 AM »
we're down by 3 loans, ALL of my husband's loans are gone, and outstanding student debt is less than $10k, at 3.61%

That's awesome! I'd say that's a good use of the house money.

Congrats! Must be a big relief to get rid of those debts. For me, 4% is also the cut-off point to pay off debt.

I kind of forgot I paid the mortgage on the first day of the month, but since these are automated payments I don't really count them as spending. I just want to track my descretionary spending, the payments I can influence, not mortgage / property tax / etc.

use2betrix

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Re: Hold yourself openly accountable for your spending in 2019
« Reply #80 on: January 07, 2019, 07:39:26 PM »
How does everyone track things when you sell things?

I.e. if I sell an old spare tire for $50 on Craigslist and then use that $50 on a date night, do I have to count that as income and spending, or could I use them to cancel each other out?

I ask because my goal this year isn’t so much income or even savings rate, but keeping my spending low. If I can sell some things and use the money to keep my spending “lower” then that’s a big help.

Hmmm...

innkeeper77

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Re: Hold yourself openly accountable for your spending in 2019
« Reply #81 on: January 07, 2019, 07:42:26 PM »
How does everyone track things when you sell things?

I.e. if I sell an old spare tire for $50 on Craigslist and then use that $50 on a date night, do I have to count that as income and spending, or could I use them to cancel each other out?

I ask because my goal this year isn’t so much income or even savings rate, but keeping my spending low. If I can sell some things and use the money to keep my spending “lower” then that’s a big help.

Hmmm...

Use whatever works for you! I personally would enter that as an income and an expense, but this is a personal challenge, presumably in order to help the person posting, so I doubt that would be considered "cheating" by many.

Imma

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Re: Hold yourself openly accountable for your spending in 2019
« Reply #82 on: January 08, 2019, 12:08:09 AM »
I spent money today and it was totally unnecessary. I hardly got any sleep last night even though I went to bed early. I got up too late and didn't have time to eat my prepared breakfast as I had to run to the bus, then bought breakfast at the train station.

Spending 2019:
Food: €4,64

Bracken_Joy

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Re: Hold yourself openly accountable for your spending in 2019
« Reply #83 on: January 08, 2019, 06:17:17 AM »
How does everyone track things when you sell things?

I.e. if I sell an old spare tire for $50 on Craigslist and then use that $50 on a date night, do I have to count that as income and spending, or could I use them to cancel each other out?

I ask because my goal this year isn’t so much income or even savings rate, but keeping my spending low. If I can sell some things and use the money to keep my spending “lower” then that’s a big help.

Hmmm...

I track it. This is relevant to me as I do get quite a few random amazon gift cards for participating in studies and the like. And before we moved I sold a fair number of things on FB marketplace. How I track in Mint: I'll put the income under "bonus". Spending I track as normal. The exception is a return or something- I'll specifically credit that to the category in Mint where the spending was. Likewise if I say buy something from Costco for a friend and they pay me back- that goes into the same category to cancel itself out.

As for what you do though, what will help you the most? Do you want the most accurate numbers, or do you think the 'hacking it' feeling will give you that 'win' feeling and motivate you more? Or will it make you complacent?

Slow&Steady

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Re: Hold yourself openly accountable for your spending in 2019
« Reply #84 on: January 08, 2019, 06:52:29 AM »
How does everyone track things when you sell things?

I.e. if I sell an old spare tire for $50 on Craigslist and then use that $50 on a date night, do I have to count that as income and spending, or could I use them to cancel each other out?

I ask because my goal this year isn’t so much income or even savings rate, but keeping my spending low. If I can sell some things and use the money to keep my spending “lower” then that’s a big help.

Hmmm...

I do not track this kind of thing unless the money I got from the item that was sold was put into the bank but I also do not track cash, I only track transactions that go through the bank/reward cards.  When cash is taken out of the bank it is assigned a category  (usually under somebody's allowance) and then what happens to it doesn't really matter to me, it is counted as spend under that person's allowance.  If to much cash was taken out and the remaining cash is put back into the bank it is credited to whatever category it was originally removed from. When something is sold but then that cash is used for something else I think if it as exchanging one item for something different.  If something is sold and the cash is put into the bank I rotate between counting it as income vs a credit to whatever category the sold item would fall under, this depends a lot on the item/$ amount and what our current monthly challenge/goal is. I use YNAB to track/budget.

use2betrix

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Re: Hold yourself openly accountable for your spending in 2019
« Reply #85 on: January 08, 2019, 12:47:57 PM »
How does everyone track things when you sell things?

I.e. if I sell an old spare tire for $50 on Craigslist and then use that $50 on a date night, do I have to count that as income and spending, or could I use them to cancel each other out?

I ask because my goal this year isn’t so much income or even savings rate, but keeping my spending low. If I can sell some things and use the money to keep my spending “lower” then that’s a big help.

Hmmm...

I track it. This is relevant to me as I do get quite a few random amazon gift cards for participating in studies and the like. And before we moved I sold a fair number of things on FB marketplace. How I track in Mint: I'll put the income under "bonus". Spending I track as normal. The exception is a return or something- I'll specifically credit that to the category in Mint where the spending was. Likewise if I say buy something from Costco for a friend and they pay me back- that goes into the same category to cancel itself out.

As for what you do though, what will help you the most? Do you want the most accurate numbers, or do you think the 'hacking it' feeling will give you that 'win' feeling and motivate you more? Or will it make you complacent?

I think you are correct to track it. Unfortunately, it’s going to be the best indicator to show overall spending for better future reference.

Here is my predicament. I’m looking at selling my motorcycle later this week in which I’ll net about $2500 and also save about $300/mo moving forward (plus I have some gear to sell).

My wife and I bought new phones last year. We had the option to pay cash or get 0% financing and get FREE Apple care (worth about $120/phone) so we “financed” them.

With the $2500 from the bike sale I’ve considered paying off our phones to lower our monthly expenses. However, paying off our phones will also likely put me over our monthly spending goals, which doesn’t appeal as much..

Unfortunately, I think the right choice is still going to have to be tracking sales of items and spending with that money.

Bracken_Joy

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Re: Hold yourself openly accountable for your spending in 2019
« Reply #86 on: January 08, 2019, 12:52:02 PM »
How does everyone track things when you sell things?

I.e. if I sell an old spare tire for $50 on Craigslist and then use that $50 on a date night, do I have to count that as income and spending, or could I use them to cancel each other out?

I ask because my goal this year isn’t so much income or even savings rate, but keeping my spending low. If I can sell some things and use the money to keep my spending “lower” then that’s a big help.

Hmmm...

I track it. This is relevant to me as I do get quite a few random amazon gift cards for participating in studies and the like. And before we moved I sold a fair number of things on FB marketplace. How I track in Mint: I'll put the income under "bonus". Spending I track as normal. The exception is a return or something- I'll specifically credit that to the category in Mint where the spending was. Likewise if I say buy something from Costco for a friend and they pay me back- that goes into the same category to cancel itself out.

As for what you do though, what will help you the most? Do you want the most accurate numbers, or do you think the 'hacking it' feeling will give you that 'win' feeling and motivate you more? Or will it make you complacent?

I think you are correct to track it. Unfortunately, it’s going to be the best indicator to show overall spending for better future reference.

Here is my predicament. I’m looking at selling my motorcycle later this week in which I’ll net about $2500 and also save about $300/mo moving forward (plus I have some gear to sell).

My wife and I bought new phones last year. We had the option to pay cash or get 0% financing and get FREE Apple care (worth about $120/phone) so we “financed” them.

With the $2500 from the bike sale I’ve considered paying off our phones to lower our monthly expenses. However, paying off our phones will also likely put me over our monthly spending goals, which doesn’t appeal as much..

Unfortunately, I think the right choice is still going to have to be tracking sales of items and spending with that money.

*shrugs* my student loan payment put me over my spending goal. I just change my goals then. =) You can just say "spending other than debt repayment is below $6k" or whatever.

It's definitely not as fun to have that nice clean budget page, for sure. But I try not to let my "fun" of measuring things interfere with the optimal choices.

use2betrix

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Re: Hold yourself openly accountable for your spending in 2019
« Reply #87 on: January 08, 2019, 01:46:56 PM »
How does everyone track things when you sell things?

I.e. if I sell an old spare tire for $50 on Craigslist and then use that $50 on a date night, do I have to count that as income and spending, or could I use them to cancel each other out?

I ask because my goal this year isn’t so much income or even savings rate, but keeping my spending low. If I can sell some things and use the money to keep my spending “lower” then that’s a big help.

Hmmm...

I track it. This is relevant to me as I do get quite a few random amazon gift cards for participating in studies and the like. And before we moved I sold a fair number of things on FB marketplace. How I track in Mint: I'll put the income under "bonus". Spending I track as normal. The exception is a return or something- I'll specifically credit that to the category in Mint where the spending was. Likewise if I say buy something from Costco for a friend and they pay me back- that goes into the same category to cancel itself out.

As for what you do though, what will help you the most? Do you want the most accurate numbers, or do you think the 'hacking it' feeling will give you that 'win' feeling and motivate you more? Or will it make you complacent?

I think you are correct to track it. Unfortunately, it’s going to be the best indicator to show overall spending for better future reference.

Here is my predicament. I’m looking at selling my motorcycle later this week in which I’ll net about $2500 and also save about $300/mo moving forward (plus I have some gear to sell).

My wife and I bought new phones last year. We had the option to pay cash or get 0% financing and get FREE Apple care (worth about $120/phone) so we “financed” them.

With the $2500 from the bike sale I’ve considered paying off our phones to lower our monthly expenses. However, paying off our phones will also likely put me over our monthly spending goals, which doesn’t appeal as much..

Unfortunately, I think the right choice is still going to have to be tracking sales of items and spending with that money.

*shrugs* my student loan payment put me over my spending goal. I just change my goals then. =) You can just say "spending other than debt repayment is below $6k" or whatever.

It's definitely not as fun to have that nice clean budget page, for sure. But I try not to let my "fun" of measuring things interfere with the optimal choices.

At the very least I can pay them both in one month so as not to jeopardize future monthly goals lol.

At 0% there’s no monetary value added in paying off early. Just the good felling of less bills, but the bad feeling of exceeding budget. Decisions decisions.

Slow&Steady

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Re: Hold yourself openly accountable for your spending in 2019
« Reply #88 on: January 08, 2019, 02:23:26 PM »

At the very least I can pay them both in one month so as not to jeopardize future monthly goals lol.

At 0% there’s no monetary value added in paying off early. Just the good felling of less bills, but the bad feeling of exceeding budget. Decisions decisions.

Your monthly goal might be exceeded but won't your annual goal still be intact due to the lower monthly spending on all the following months?

use2betrix

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Re: Hold yourself openly accountable for your spending in 2019
« Reply #89 on: January 08, 2019, 06:28:39 PM »

At the very least I can pay them both in one month so as not to jeopardize future monthly goals lol.

At 0% there’s no monetary value added in paying off early. Just the good felling of less bills, but the bad feeling of exceeding budget. Decisions decisions.

Your monthly goal might be exceeded but won't your annual goal still be intact due to the lower monthly spending on all the following months?

It’s spread out over 24 months. But you’re correct, even though it’s spread over 2 years, it’ll still have a positive impact over this years annual spending.

Maybe I could sell my wife’s nice iPhone and get her a flip phone??

Jk :)

TNT

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Re: Hold yourself openly accountable for your spending in 2019
« Reply #90 on: January 10, 2019, 11:56:09 AM »
So far, I'm doing much better overall than I was before I had this thread lurking in the back of my mind...knowing I'm going to fess up at the end of the month does keep me a little more in line. My #1 weakness is spending money on and loaning money to my [newly] adult daughter. She would like to think she's a grown-up, but is very much still in teenager mode in so many ways, and as much as I'd like her to be ready to completely support herself, she just isn't there yet. Definitely a work in progress.

My confessions to date include taking an unscheduled day off (a pitfall of being one's own boss) because I was in a bad mood, and splurging ridiculously for a restaurant meal, during which I went completely bananas and also ordered an appetizer. At least I have the unfair advantage of being a light eater, so I did get three meals out of it...but still!
« Last Edit: January 10, 2019, 01:14:11 PM by TNT »

Slow&Steady

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Re: Hold yourself openly accountable for your spending in 2019
« Reply #91 on: January 10, 2019, 01:33:35 PM »
Our biggest monthly budget expense is food related but we don't separate out household supplies from groceries (maybe I should do that in 2020). We routinely outspend whatever I budget to those categories, no matter how much I budget towards them. 

% of monthly budget spent as of Jan 10th
Household supplies/groceries: 62%
Eating out: 10%

The household supplies/groceries includes the monthly bulk shopping at Costco (21%) that last throughout the entire month and (hopefully) all of the groceries needed through next week.  I will travel for work the following week, meaning SO and the kids will eat a bunch of stuff in the pantry that I can't eat due to food restrictions.  On the one hand I am nervous that we have already used 62% of our grocery budget, on the other hand if we don't have to do any additional substantial shopping until the 25th(ish) maybe we might come in UNDER budget.  Quick somebody find me some real wood to knock on!

As far as the eating out goes, I have brought my lunch to work all but 2 days this year and SO (who is extremely guilty of stopping to get a Coke) has been really really good so far.  If we keep this up for a couple months, I would love to lower the monthly budget for this category!

use2betrix

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Re: Hold yourself openly accountable for your spending in 2019
« Reply #92 on: January 10, 2019, 04:14:17 PM »
Our biggest monthly budget expense is food related but we don't separate out household supplies from groceries (maybe I should do that in 2020). We routinely outspend whatever I budget to those categories, no matter how much I budget towards them. 

% of monthly budget spent as of Jan 10th
Household supplies/groceries: 62%
Eating out: 10%

The household supplies/groceries includes the monthly bulk shopping at Costco (21%) that last throughout the entire month and (hopefully) all of the groceries needed through next week.  I will travel for work the following week, meaning SO and the kids will eat a bunch of stuff in the pantry that I can't eat due to food restrictions.  On the one hand I am nervous that we have already used 62% of our grocery budget, on the other hand if we don't have to do any additional substantial shopping until the 25th(ish) maybe we might come in UNDER budget.  Quick somebody find me some real wood to knock on!

As far as the eating out goes, I have brought my lunch to work all but 2 days this year and SO (who is extremely guilty of stopping to get a Coke) has been really really good so far.  If we keep this up for a couple months, I would love to lower the monthly budget for this category!

I like the thought of separating out, but I have a feeling most people’s room for improving is on groceries and not the toiletry type purchases. We’re only going to skimp so much on shampoo, razors, toilet paper, etc. I like to think those are mostly more fixed, but connected to the grocery budget.

Funny this is mentioned because I have a perfect example today. We aim for our $150/wk “grocery” budget. I needed more face razors. The standard 4 pack wasn’t in stock, so she had to get the 10 pack ($20). In turn, we went over our weekly budget by $10. Sucks, but we know what did it and not the end of the world.

meerkat

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Re: Hold yourself openly accountable for your spending in 2019
« Reply #93 on: January 10, 2019, 05:53:47 PM »
This thread is about accountability so here goes - definitely have spent, but have not tracked yet. This thread does make me want to track weekly instead of monthly(ish) but I haven't had time yet.

Spending I can think of off hand:
Day care - not optional
Gymnastics for kid - health-related, not just an activity for the sake of Having Activities
Lunch out last week - eeeeeh. I know MM would say Thou Shalt Not Lunch Out Ever, but it was less than $4. I do plan on allowing myself one lunch out to get a sub each week, I make it last for two lunches so it's usually <$4/lunch. Reasonable?
Groceries last weekend - Ouch. $160. Husband tossed the receipt when he was putting away groceries, but going forward we're going to try to track that to figure out why it's so dang high for two adults and a preschooler. That includes non-food stuff like cleaning products and toilet paper, but still. I don't usually do the grocery shopping, not sure that husband would feel like taking on doing one of those price book things. I'm guessing probably not.

Took a few more days but finally had time to look at the latest discretionary expenses:

$22.62 on lunches due to a sale, but it's from the grocery store and should actually last me six lunches I think. It just happened to not be part of our weekly shop. I also batch cooked a bunch of lunches last weekend and have only eaten one of those, so I have five more in the freezer. We'll see if this actually decreases our food spend at all in the coming weeks.

$4 on Pandora to not have to listen to ads. I listen to it all day at work. This has been a recurring subscription for ages but I'm listing it here because accountability.

$6 on cough syrup, definitely a necessary item.

Bracken_Joy

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Re: Hold yourself openly accountable for your spending in 2019
« Reply #94 on: January 10, 2019, 06:34:48 PM »
Our biggest monthly budget expense is food related but we don't separate out household supplies from groceries (maybe I should do that in 2020). We routinely outspend whatever I budget to those categories, no matter how much I budget towards them. 

% of monthly budget spent as of Jan 10th
Household supplies/groceries: 62%
Eating out: 10%

The household supplies/groceries includes the monthly bulk shopping at Costco (21%) that last throughout the entire month and (hopefully) all of the groceries needed through next week.  I will travel for work the following week, meaning SO and the kids will eat a bunch of stuff in the pantry that I can't eat due to food restrictions.  On the one hand I am nervous that we have already used 62% of our grocery budget, on the other hand if we don't have to do any additional substantial shopping until the 25th(ish) maybe we might come in UNDER budget.  Quick somebody find me some real wood to knock on!

As far as the eating out goes, I have brought my lunch to work all but 2 days this year and SO (who is extremely guilty of stopping to get a Coke) has been really really good so far.  If we keep this up for a couple months, I would love to lower the monthly budget for this category!

I like the thought of separating out, but I have a feeling most people’s room for improving is on groceries and not the toiletry type purchases. We’re only going to skimp so much on shampoo, razors, toilet paper, etc. I like to think those are mostly more fixed, but connected to the grocery budget.

Funny this is mentioned because I have a perfect example today. We aim for our $150/wk “grocery” budget. I needed more face razors. The standard 4 pack wasn’t in stock, so she had to get the 10 pack ($20). In turn, we went over our weekly budget by $10. Sucks, but we know what did it and not the end of the world.

See, I definitely don't agree with that! Look into Dorco razors, and 'lazy' stropping and drying your heads to make them last longer. You can way cut down razor costs, even keeping with disposable heads (vs straight razors). And there's TONS of room in women's hair products especially for modifying cost. Not to even mention makeup sourcing, etc. You can fairly easily get this from $100+/month down to closer to $15/month for all household products. Definitely don't take these costs for granted as being fixed. Anyway, I like to split out 'general household' costs to be monitored in their own right.

use2betrix

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Re: Hold yourself openly accountable for your spending in 2019
« Reply #95 on: January 10, 2019, 06:44:37 PM »
Our biggest monthly budget expense is food related but we don't separate out household supplies from groceries (maybe I should do that in 2020). We routinely outspend whatever I budget to those categories, no matter how much I budget towards them. 

% of monthly budget spent as of Jan 10th
Household supplies/groceries: 62%
Eating out: 10%

The household supplies/groceries includes the monthly bulk shopping at Costco (21%) that last throughout the entire month and (hopefully) all of the groceries needed through next week.  I will travel for work the following week, meaning SO and the kids will eat a bunch of stuff in the pantry that I can't eat due to food restrictions.  On the one hand I am nervous that we have already used 62% of our grocery budget, on the other hand if we don't have to do any additional substantial shopping until the 25th(ish) maybe we might come in UNDER budget.  Quick somebody find me some real wood to knock on!

As far as the eating out goes, I have brought my lunch to work all but 2 days this year and SO (who is extremely guilty of stopping to get a Coke) has been really really good so far.  If we keep this up for a couple months, I would love to lower the monthly budget for this category!

I like the thought of separating out, but I have a feeling most people’s room for improving is on groceries and not the toiletry type purchases. We’re only going to skimp so much on shampoo, razors, toilet paper, etc. I like to think those are mostly more fixed, but connected to the grocery budget.

Funny this is mentioned because I have a perfect example today. We aim for our $150/wk “grocery” budget. I needed more face razors. The standard 4 pack wasn’t in stock, so she had to get the 10 pack ($20). In turn, we went over our weekly budget by $10. Sucks, but we know what did it and not the end of the world.

See, I definitely don't agree with that! Look into Dorco razors, and 'lazy' stropping and drying your heads to make them last longer. You can way cut down razor costs, even keeping with disposable heads (vs straight razors). And there's TONS of room in women's hair products especially for modifying cost. Not to even mention makeup sourcing, etc. You can fairly easily get this from $100+/month down to closer to $15/month for all household products. Definitely don't take these costs for granted as being fixed. Anyway, I like to split out 'general household' costs to be monitored in their own right.

Oh yeah and I totally agree with all of this. My wife wears makeup once a week typically at most, and that’s only for our weekend date night, which we are cutting back on this year. Until last year she’d only ever bought cheap wal mart or drug store makeup. Last year she used some birthday money and asks for nicer makeup as gifts. Since she so rarely wears it, it lasts forever and I’m fine with that.

My Mach 3 razor heads last forever and I always dry them after and don’t store them face down. I shave about twice a week and probably get 4-6 weeks out of a razor head. That means that box of razors should last a year pretty easy. This week just had to be the week we needed more. She typically gets 4 packs but 10 is all they had. I’ve tried many different razors and these work best for me (less razor burn, ingrowns, etc). I also shave my arms/chest/stomach in the shower, and we use more of a disposable type razor there.

My wife gets her haircut around once a year, doesn’t dye it, and uses run of the mill wal mart shampoo (we use the same cheap stuff)

I definitely see where you’re coming from in that many people can certainly spend a ton on toiletries and beauty products, but I feel our choices are very, very, reasonable. I’m amazed that women can get their nails and toes done almost weekly and $150 hair/dye jobs almost every month. Best thing about my Mexican wife, long pretty black hair and dark features so she still look fine without makeup lol. I’m white and freckles, I envy her skin and lack of sunburn!

Imma

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Re: Hold yourself openly accountable for your spending in 2019
« Reply #96 on: January 11, 2019, 12:04:45 AM »
Spending 2019:
Food: €7
Travel card: €57
Home repairs: €80

Will probably have enough money on my card to last me for the rest of the month. Will do a big food shop today, we are totally out of options now.

Trifele

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Re: Hold yourself openly accountable for your spending in 2019
« Reply #97 on: January 11, 2019, 03:29:02 AM »
Spending 2019:
Food: €7
Travel card: €57
Home repairs: €80

Will probably have enough money on my card to last me for the rest of the month. Will do a big food shop today, we are totally out of options now.

Nice job @Imma

2Birds1Stone

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Re: Hold yourself openly accountable for your spending in 2019
« Reply #98 on: January 11, 2019, 05:44:25 AM »
I spent way too much in the first 10 days of the year.

Southwest Airlines   $105
Lunch Out w/ SO   $24
Medicine   $32
Gas   $28
Happy Hour   $8
Bagel    $3
Happy Hour   $21
Dinner out w/ SO   $29
Beeeeer   $8
Gym Membership $20

$278 Total Spend

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Re: Hold yourself openly accountable for your spending in 2019
« Reply #99 on: January 11, 2019, 06:53:31 AM »
Our biggest monthly budget expense is food related but we don't separate out household supplies from groceries (maybe I should do that in 2020). We routinely outspend whatever I budget to those categories, no matter how much I budget towards them. 

% of monthly budget spent as of Jan 10th
Household supplies/groceries: 62%
Eating out: 10%

The household supplies/groceries includes the monthly bulk shopping at Costco (21%) that last throughout the entire month and (hopefully) all of the groceries needed through next week.  I will travel for work the following week, meaning SO and the kids will eat a bunch of stuff in the pantry that I can't eat due to food restrictions.  On the one hand I am nervous that we have already used 62% of our grocery budget, on the other hand if we don't have to do any additional substantial shopping until the 25th(ish) maybe we might come in UNDER budget.  Quick somebody find me some real wood to knock on!

As far as the eating out goes, I have brought my lunch to work all but 2 days this year and SO (who is extremely guilty of stopping to get a Coke) has been really really good so far.  If we keep this up for a couple months, I would love to lower the monthly budget for this category!

I like the thought of separating out, but I have a feeling most people’s room for improving is on groceries and not the toiletry type purchases. We’re only going to skimp so much on shampoo, razors, toilet paper, etc. I like to think those are mostly more fixed, but connected to the grocery budget.

Funny this is mentioned because I have a perfect example today. We aim for our $150/wk “grocery” budget. I needed more face razors. The standard 4 pack wasn’t in stock, so she had to get the 10 pack ($20). In turn, we went over our weekly budget by $10. Sucks, but we know what did it and not the end of the world.

See, I definitely don't agree with that! Look into Dorco razors, and 'lazy' stropping and drying your heads to make them last longer. You can way cut down razor costs, even keeping with disposable heads (vs straight razors). And there's TONS of room in women's hair products especially for modifying cost. Not to even mention makeup sourcing, etc. You can fairly easily get this from $100+/month down to closer to $15/month for all household products. Definitely don't take these costs for granted as being fixed. Anyway, I like to split out 'general household' costs to be monitored in their own right.

Oh yeah and I totally agree with all of this. My wife wears makeup once a week typically at most, and that’s only for our weekend date night, which we are cutting back on this year. Until last year she’d only ever bought cheap wal mart or drug store makeup. Last year she used some birthday money and asks for nicer makeup as gifts. Since she so rarely wears it, it lasts forever and I’m fine with that.

My Mach 3 razor heads last forever and I always dry them after and don’t store them face down. I shave about twice a week and probably get 4-6 weeks out of a razor head. That means that box of razors should last a year pretty easy. This week just had to be the week we needed more. She typically gets 4 packs but 10 is all they had. I’ve tried many different razors and these work best for me (less razor burn, ingrowns, etc). I also shave my arms/chest/stomach in the shower, and we use more of a disposable type razor there.

My wife gets her haircut around once a year, doesn’t dye it, and uses run of the mill wal mart shampoo (we use the same cheap stuff)

I definitely see where you’re coming from in that many people can certainly spend a ton on toiletries and beauty products, but I feel our choices are very, very, reasonable. I’m amazed that women can get their nails and toes done almost weekly and $150 hair/dye jobs almost every month. Best thing about my Mexican wife, long pretty black hair and dark features so she still look fine without makeup lol. I’m white and freckles, I envy her skin and lack of sunburn!

Well you are correct that typical household supplies are probably pretty low.  I do not wear makeup, we buy Costco size shampoo/conditioner, deodorant, toothpaste, soap, lotion, toilet paper, laundry detergent, dishwasher soap, etc that last forever and Dollar Shave Club razors.  However, there are 6 of us, so that could still add up and I simply do not know how much of our grocery budget these things take up.  We also don't use paper towels or disposable diapers but I think occasionally the rest of the family would like to lock me in the closet and go buy some paper towels.  I also am not currently able to track the more one off things that end up in the household supplies category, "I picked up some extra kitchen towels today" or "I bought this other type of cleaning supplies because I like the smell better" or "the little kids NEED more bubble bath stuff AGAIN". 

Over the counter medicine usually end up in this category too, those probably should get their own category.

One of my struggles is that I can only occasionally convince SO utilize YNAB and he does most of the shopping.  He will occasionally put his transactions into YNAB but asking him to split them up or tell me how to split them up, I am afraid would create unnecessary tension in the house.   Maybe if I lay the ground work in 2019 I can split these all up in 2020 without too much tension.