Sunday, January 24, 2010

How People Lose Track of Cash

According to USA Today Snapshots the following is the percentage of adults who lose track of cash spending when doing the following:

Grocery Shopping - 34%

Leisure Shopping - 32%

Enjoying Night Out - 31%

Dining Out - 26%

Buying Snacks - 25%

Daily Lunch - 22%

Looking at the list I can see that I have been guilty of losing track of spending in all of those categories. Although I find that if I have actual cash in my hand I am a bit more selective about my purchases. And it is true that the daily mindless little purchases (snacks from a vending machine, Starbucks coffee, etc.) are the purchases that add up to large amounts over time.

A few years ago after reviewing my bank statement I realized that a Starbucks debit was just about every few line items. Once I totaled up how much I was spending there, I was floored!!! So I decided to get a part time job at Starbucks.

After going through the extensive training (learning more about coffee than I ever wanted to know), making all types of drink concoctions, and working at a very busy location, I had a new found appreciation for Baristas! One of the major perks was that I could drink all the Starbucks I wanted while working which quickly added money back to my checking account.

What are some ways that you have tracked your spending and then done something positive about it?


Anonymous said...

...I really want Starbucks right now.

Anonymous said...

...I really want Starbucks right now.

junebug said...

We went through the Dave Ramsey program so we do a detailed budget biweekly to the penny. We then use cash in envelopes. It really helped with our spending at the grocery store and eating out. I was amazed how much more money we had when we did the budget to the penny. We are in so much better shape now. I have a starbucks envelope. :-)

Shannon said...

A friend and her husband went through the Dave Ramsey program a couple of years ago.

About 7 years ago I did a differernt program through my church that applied biblical principles to saving and spending money. All are great reminders to make us conscious of where we possibly waste money.

Monique said...

I love Starbucks coffee cake. So yummy.

I am really good about keeping track of my spending to the point where I know pretty much where every penny has gone. However, my husband is the worst at it. And trying to help him remember where he spent the money at is so complicated sometimes that I feel I should deny him use of cash so that I can actually stay on top of it for him!

Christina said...

I think a fabulous way of saving money is to have a husband who loves to do it! Okay, I can't give him all the credit...I've learned a LOT over the years.

Our favorite thing to do is to make a thermometer-type thing that we can fill in every month. As we began to realize that IVF might be a necessity for us, we made a pact that we would not dip into our savings to pay for it. Since we pay in full for everything, IVF for us will cost between 12 & 15K out of pocket. We made our little thermometer and went to town and it was so much fun every month filling in what we had saved. In about 9 months' time, we were able to save almost the entire amount that we would need for IVF. It really kept me grounded as I wanted to shop, eat out, indulge, etc., and I think it worked really well for us.

And like my blog rule yesterday says, I hate to buy something full price and very rarely do, though I shop like a fiend!!

Browniris said...

My biggest problem is random small splurges, like when I see something I want for the house or there is a shirt on sale. We printed out our monthly bank statement and itemized where everything went. Like you said in your post, it is pretty enlightening. We then set a realistic budget that allows each of us personal spending money.


Elizabeth said...

Thank goodness I don't drink coffee... although I have a feeling my Diet Coke spending habit might not be much better.

I order my groceries online (via Peapod) each week or so, which prevents me from making impulse purchased and helps plan out the week ahead.

Great post! Thanks for sharing. ICLW

Marla.z said...

Several years ago, I realized how much money I was spending on those stupid ATM fees. Talk about a complete waste of money. I only withdraw money from my bank's ATM now.

Happy ICLW!

Shannon said...

@Elizabeth - I had bever heard of peapod...I will have to check out the website and hopefully that will help my impluse grocery store spending. Thanks!

@Marla - Yes, I learned a long time ago about ATM fees. Since I travel a lot for business I opened on online account that reimbuses me for ATM fee's if I am more than 50 miles from my home zipcode. I also use the cashback options (at grocery stores, pharmacys, etc.) to help out too.

T Lee said...

Ooo, coffee, I want some...

Anyway, the most productive thing I do is menu planning. I plan two weeks of meals (snacks included), and buy ONLY what I need for those two weeks. It shaves at least 100 bucks a month off my grocery bill (no waste). And I save them all in a binder, so I don't even have to do the planning/lists anymore- just grab one.


Jennifer said...

I went through the Crown Financial Budgeting program a few years ago. I keep all our receipts and enter them into a spreadsheet monthly so we understand where the money goes. It's helpful to see where I shouldn't worry about spending money and where we're being just a bit too free. It helps me be a better steward of the resources God has given me. Definitely still room to improve.

Shannon said...

@Jennifer - I too did the Crown Financial Ministries program! And I agree there are a million ways that we can all improve...all it takes is being aware and taking small steps to change.

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