After starting my new monthly Debt Diaries series, I realized how much I love talking about finances. I mean, I’ve always enjoyed TALKING about them, but I’ve never blogged in depth about them. That said… in addition to my Debt Diaries, I will occasionally have different kinds of financial posts that I’ll post on what I’m calling Financial Friday. If you’re a money/numbers nerd like me, I hope you’ll stick around!
After starting to get my finances in better order, I decided I’d like to do an in-depth audit for one week worth of spending. I am already pretty obsessive about our spending (just ask my chill husband… he will tell you I’m a bit intense)… I check our banking app at least 1-2 times a day, and I use a checkbook app that I LOVE! I log ALL of our purchases on there so I always know exactly what we have left in our account. However, I wanted to do more than just log our spending. I wanted to really examine how and where we’re spending our money, so below is an in-depth look at where our money went for one whole week, from last Thursday — Wednesday (since we have Thursday paydays).
Bills & Non-discretionary Expenses
These are our “necessary” expenses and bills that we don’t have a lot of flexibility with.
- Garbage Bill — $118.05: This is for 6 months worth of garbage service. They typically bill every 2 months, but they offer a small discount if you pay every 6 months instead, so that’s what we do. We also get one month free each year for paying on time and such, so this was discounted approximately $21 for our free month. We won’t pay this bill again until February.
- Gas — $50.96 : This was our gas for both of us for the week.
- Groceries — $85.72: This includes our food for the week as well as cleaning products, toiletries, medications, diapers, etc. This includes my big weekly run at Aldis as well as a few small trips to Wegmans (since men don’t plan ahead on groceries! Seriously, my husband will go one day and get two things, then ask me to go the next day for two more things, and so on. Eeek!).
Thoughts: This was a fairly inexpensive week with not too many bills. For gas, I budget $45 a week and we usually stay right around there. Jerry used a bit more gas than usual though since he worked OT over the weekend and had to drive to work a couple of extra times. Groceries and toiletries I aim to keep under $100 a week so we did well with that, too. We save a lot of money by doing the bulk of our shopping at Aldi. I also create a list and try to stick to it for the most part so we’re not mindlessly tossing stuff in the cart. This is actually a bit HIGH for us, to be honest. Most weeks, we spend around $60-70. Why? Because Jerry works evenings and isn’t home for dinners five days of the week.
These are special savings accounts we have for upcoming expenses we know of and save for in advance.
- Dakota Account — $78.00: This money was put aside for Dakota’s upcoming vet visit at the end of the month.
- Mortgage & Student Loans — $275.00: We put money into this account every single week to help break up our two biggest bills each month. Instead of paying them from one check, they get divided up by all of our checks.
Thoughts: The mortgage/student loan money gets transferred weekly and is just a normal part of our budget now. We have a few more sinking funds that need attention though that I’d like to start transferring to on a weekly basis again. This is a start though, since Dakota has an upcoming vet appointment and we keep a sinking fund for him that has been neglected lately.
Debt & Savings
This is any money that we’re putting into our “regular” savings account (not our sinking fund accounts) and money that we’re putting towards credit card and loan debt.
- PayPal Credit — $30.00: Paid on my PayPal bill.
- Personal Loan (Parents) — $20.00: Paid back on a personal loan.
- Savings — $20.00: Transferred to our “regular” savings account which is for emergencies, home and car repairs, etc. Right now, we are trying to save for some car repairs that we both need, a window repair, and then eventually a new couch since we have a bad cushion that’s coming apart.
Thoughts: I’d really like to be saving more and paying more on debt, but every little bit helps, so this is a start! This is the category that I’d like to focus our attentions and efforts on the most going forward.
Discretionary Expenses & Fun Money
This is optional spending and things that we can be flexible with. This is definitely a category that we need to work on decreasing.
- Clothing — $33.00: A new cardigan I bought. Did I need it? No. Did I want it? Yes, yes I did.
- Household — $52.40: This was for two things: a new sheet set for our bed for $30.95, and the balance on my latest DVD transfer for $21.45 (I transfer videos from my phone to DVD through a service and you pay half upfront and half after the transfer is complete). These are things that are important so I’d say we KIND of needed them, but they’re not vital, obviously, like groceries and such.
- Jerry’s Account — $20.00: Transfer to Jerry’s “fun” money account. We like to have these accounts for fun spending.
- Date Night — $79.44: We went out to dinner and to the movies. This includes our dinner, dessert, movie tickets, and popcorn!
- Fast Food & Beverages — $39.85: This is a category that we really need to work on! I was trying to be mindful of it this week and cut back. I had pizza at Wegmans for lunch one day, and then grabbed a bagel another day for lunch when I was running late. The rest of it includes coffees, snacks, sodas, beers, etc. that Jerry will often grab on the way to/from work since he works an evening shift. I’m more of the saver in our marriage, so we’ll see how we can improve on this category.
Thoughts: I was trying really hard to be mindful of my needless spending this week and I think I did fairly well but could definitely improve. I’ve been getting myself into trouble lately with clothes shopping and think I did well by only buying one new article of clothing. I also was mindful of not stopping by food drive thrus for lunches or treats as often as I normally might (though I need to work with my husband on this one – ha!). We VERY rarely go on date nights anymore, so I didn’t mind spending the money for that this week, especially since I made it one of my monthly goals. We made sure to budget for it so that we’d have enough set aside and that really helped. I honestly don’t remember the last time we went to a movie together, so this was a rare splurge/treat for us. In fact, I think we need to budget for this more often. Dating in marriage is so, so important, especially after you have kids, and even more so with us working opposite schedules like we do.
All that said, this discretionary spending category is the one we need to really work on decreasing so that we can increase the debt/savings category.
The total for what we spent this past week was… $902.42
Thoughts: This was a pretty typical week for us, for the most part. It’s actually kind of scary how much we (meaning us and those in our culture) spend in ONE WEEK’S TIME! Yikes. I am just grateful that we both work hard and enjoy our careers.
Did you like this weekly audit of how we spent our week? I really enjoyed writing it. It opened my eyes as to how/where we spend, and helped me be more mindful and shop less this week. If you guys liked this, I will probably do another one in the future!
Thanks for reading and following along in our journey to becoming debt free and enjoying financial freedom in the future! If you liked this post, or have other financial topics you’d be interested in me covering, please let me know! I’m no expert, but I love sharing and talking about it.