"Budget. It's the second most dreaded word in my vocabulary, right after diet. But it is a necessity."- Victoria of Think, Eat, Shop. Marketing is all about getting customers to spend, and the general theory is as the time of exposure to products increase so does spending. Perhaps that means that girls should not leave the house :P, that isn't really possible though, you have to travel to classes and work, and along the way they'll be temptation. The question today is: are we spending too much? 

The first step is to keep record of how much you're spending, do this for two months, if June is included, as June is the month of sales, and so it doesn't count, with all those investment/savings purchases. There are lot of apps that do this, and they have categories too, which are very helpful. For me I the basics covered so it's just personal spending and transport costs.
So my categories would be:
- Food
- Transport
- Entertainment/Hobbies
- Clothing/Accessories
- Home Deco
- Beauty
But I don't always spend on all categories, so sometimes I don't include them. For other it would include rent, bills, health, pets, car related expenses, house maintenance (cleaner/gardener/chef), gifts and nights out.  

Since 1st June, I've spent $370.05, made up of...
$76.05 in food ($23.55 on take away),
$40 on hobbies, ($22 at an art store, $18 on picture frames)
$140 on clothing/accessories, (all 4 items where on sale 50%+, one was an AH coat)
$25 in home deco, (typo, more picture frames + printing photos)
$25 on necessary things (e.g. postage) and
$64 in beauty (dry/shampoo etc. (in bulk), nail polish base, np remover).
And in this I haven't included transport costs, which is about $30 a week.

In terms of online purchases, included above, I'm waiting on the AH coat and the Queen of Heats outfit to arrive, BnT owes me $10 for postage refund, and someone owes me $15. I could have saved at about $12 on food (we allow take-away once a week), last week I bought two happy meals and a pizza. I could have bought lunch twice and only bought the pizza though.

Step 2 is to identify your spending habits.
  • What is it, an un-necessity that you're spending too much on?
  • What are your weaknesses? Manolo Blahniks?
  • When do you tend to spend the most? Is it during lunch break or on the way home? 
  • Card or cash? Research shows it's easy to spend more than you can afford with a card, as in a way it doesn't seem like money, compared to that ward of cash you just handed over. 
  • How do you spend your money? Do you buy a new bottle of OPI or have mani/pedicures weekly?
  • And your attitude towards money, it's a hot day, would you a. buy a $4 ice cream at the convince store or b. wait till after work and stop by the supermarket and get the same ice cream, on special, $6 for 4?
Not sure where I'd rank myself in spending habits as I have friend on both ends of the continuum, mr swipe (pays everything by card, does not know how to save) and mr extreme budget (who is better at money management, but considered stingy). And then we have mr spend NOTHING, because he never leaves the house, his lifestyle is: classes, home, tv, video games, study. 

Myself, I live at the library, in the cbd, surrounded by food. There are no lockers, so I can't stock up a week's worth of food on campus. I rarely go for mani/pedicures, only ever few months, and rarely buy nail polish, as I have a huge inherited collection. My Friday nights are spent at the library, or occasionally we have a dinner break. Saturday is spent online. I love the theatre, and we got every couple of months. Movies, I rarely pay for them, as I earn them through surveys. But my weakness is fashion purchases, though it's not that bad. As I get most things on sale, and won't buy a AH top for $200, no matter how nice it looks. With big ticket purchases, they're investment pieces e.g. a $500 AH will hopefully last at least two winters (taking into account winter is April - Sept/Oct). My problem is I spend too much on take away. So the goal is to only have take away only once a week. That's step three, after identifying where your money is going, set goals

So the 3 steps are...
1. Keep record of your spending
2. Identify spending habits & where your money's going.
3. Set goals, and do try to achieve them

And for the budgeting part, set money aside, $20-$50, depending on your income, just for those little things. Like coffee, eating out once a week.

I've googled some tips and customized them and added my own to help save, and spend less or at least spend wiser.
Coming up...
Part 1 - Food
Part 2 - Fashion & Beauty
Part 3 - Entertainment
Part 4 - Gifts

It looks better on a bk bg, where you can see the white boarders...

Blogger sarayh said... on June 12, 2012 at 8:18 AM  

What apps have you found the best to keep track of your spending?

Blogger Charlie said... on June 13, 2012 at 8:44 PM  

I have a Nokia and it came with Expenses Manager, so I use that.

For iphone there are some reviews on apps here that might be useful: http://appculture.net/reviewed-the-best-iphone-finance-tracking-software/

Blogger Audrey said... on November 5, 2012 at 9:26 PM  

Hi Charlie! Very interesting blog. I'd like to subscribe to your blog. Can you please activate your blog's RSS feeds? I have all my fave blogs on Google Reader.


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