I have found that the more money I have, the harder it is to manage. As of January, I have been trying to get a handle on this challenge. First, I am attempting to only pay in cash (excluding bills and gas). Second, I am recording and categorizing all of my expenses to attempt to reduce extraneous spending. While I will not share exact numbers in this post, I want to explain what I am spending and how I hope to change it.
Here is a chart of my expenses in January:
As you can see, the largest expense this month was one-time expenses. This included a plane ticket to Philly in May, a clothing purchase from BR (listed as one-time since it was the last employee purchase I made), and a haircut (also one-time, since I only get one or two haircuts a year). And honestly, I think the rest is fairly proportional to what I would normally spend. The good news is that these large one-time purchases are rare at best, and thus will be manageable next month.
There are some areas I do believe could use improvement, however. In analyzing my spending this month, I found I spent money every single day in January. Now, a lot of these expenses were very small – a snack here, a drink there. These small expenses meant I would only spend $2-5 on many days. But that doesn’t mean it’s excusable.
I think that my first priority is going to focus on getting my miscellaneous food purchases (restaurants and snacks) less than my grocery store purchases. It is quite clear that I could save a significant amount of money if I bring a drink with me, keep a good supply of snacks to bring to work which were bought from the grocery store, and generally pay attention. I am already quite good at bringing my lunch to work – adding drinks and snacks should not be a huge stretch.
My financial goals for February: first, to pay only by cash and to record all my expenses, just as I’ve been doing. Second, to reduce my snacks and restaurant spending by 25%. Third, to go as many days as possible without spending anything at all!
I look forward to imminent improvement. The alternative is not acceptable.