I recently started a spending diet (you can read about that in an earlier blog post here). The responses were great and also made me realize that I should show some results of my experience.
Week 1: June 13 – June 19
June 13, Day 1:
I bought dish/hand soap, paid my internet and phone bill, put some money in my savings. I spent $1.25 on an unnecessary item. That unnecessary items was Pringles. There. I said it.
June 14, Day 2:
No spend day.
June 15, Day 3:
Groceries and $3.27 on an unnecessary item (bagel and tea, actually out of food so I bought these on my walk to the store)
June 16, Day 4:
Groceries… I think I should set a budget for this… :s
June 17, Day 5:
$5.75 on chips… I’m beginning to see a pattern…
June 18, Day 6:
No spend day!
June 19, Day 7:
$4.19 on….chips… I think it’s clear I have a problem
So, I have $3.81 left in my unnecessary spending. Should I carry it over to next week? I think so. Next week I have $18.81 for unnecessary spending.
An interesting thing happened during my first week of my spending diet. I would think of things I want and immediately begin this cycle of justifying the purchase and if that didn’t work I would try to move it into the ‘necessary’ section. When I couldn’t justify that I would then move it into the ‘unnecessary’ category and then I would find myself thinking.. well I only have this much to spend on my unneccessaries. Do I really want to spend it on that? And then I would go with no. No, I really don’t.
I also put my app to good use. It was a $1.99 (purchased before my diet). It’s not a budget app but a simple expense tracker. It’s called Next. I like it so far, I’ve only used it for this week. It has a very simple user interface and is simply blocks of symbols representing purchase categories. It’s easy to enter your amounts, it does the totals and just shows you a simple graph of which direction your spending is going over a week, month, year. It also gives you the average in each category. One thing is I wish it had an icon for ‘savings’ like a piggy bank or something. Right now I’m using the ‘heart’ symbol for my savings.