Spending Strike: Day 21 - Iowa Wife & Momma Shares a 'Spending Log' Strategy

We're over half-way through our January spending strike, and while I've swiped the debit card once and used some consignment money on purchases, I think I've done decently. Yeah, I slipped up here and there, but I am proud of my progress.

I think the one element I can attribute to my success thus far is having a great group of readers who are so communicative about budgeting and financial strategies.

Yep, I'm talkin' about YOU!

One strategy two readers {and friends!} made me aware of is logging expenses to really analyze where money is being spent. Jenn and Abby are stay at home mothers and hard-working wives. Like many of you, they have to run an efficient household, and one of their many responsibilities is keeping a tight budget.

Today and tomorrow I will host guest posts from Jenn and Abby, and they will share their story of managing their family's budget, and how they got started with logging their spending. Maybe it will be the perfect strategy for you to start today?!

Today, we'll hear from Jenn.

Hi, everyone! Let me introduce my family. My name is Jenn and I’m married to my wonderful husband Eric, and we have a 2.5 year old son, Alex.

For the first 5 years of our marriage it was just Eric and I. He works full-time at an aviation company and I was working almost full-time as a cashier at a card/gift shop before working at a clothing store. We didn’t ever really budget our money, but still managed to put money away into savings. You know, for the house we wanted to buy, the new car, and emergencies.

Well, in April 2012, we decided (as a couple) that I would stay home full-time and take care of our precious son. We are now a one-income household. 

Was my mindset that of a single income? To be perfectly honest, it was not. I still was spending money as if I was working. I wasn’t looking for coupons, checking store ads, or anything. Of course if it was on sale, awesome! Saved a little dough! 

Finally the end of 2013, my mindset changed. I decided that I cannot have this mentality where I can buy whatever we want. The thing that really changed it was having a talk with my husband about where all our money was going. I started by asking myself why I was buying things. Was I bored, so I went shopping? Probably. 

Also, listening to how my friend Abby was saving her family money made me want to do the same. She is also a stay at home mom, with two toddlers. If she can do it, I can do it. So, I started using coupons that you can get online and print, and also a discount-based program at a store that changes daily with a certain 'percentage off' that shoppers can save. 

When Kelli told me about her spending strike she was doing in January, I started to explain what I was trying to do to save our family money. As of 2014, started an Excel sheet to keep track of the income that is being spent and on what. 

This is keeping me aware of what I am spending. I’m finding myself more conscious of the items I am buying, the price, and also the reason why I think I need them. At this point, I’m not keeping a detailed sheet of what each items costs but rather the total bill and a summary of what is purchased. I am updating it every time I make a purchase. I have this spreadsheet on the desktop of our computer so my husband can view as well. I’m the one that does about 99% of the purchasing. With that being said, we are only tracking my spending right now. (I’m lucky if Eric spends $20 a month on anything!) Here is an example of what my Excel sheet looks like so far:

As of January 7th, I’m very proud to say this is all I’ve spent off our debit card: Three purchases. As you can see I’m tracking my main credit card and my Target and Children’s Place cards as well. Believe me, I use to spend double this, if not triple, then wonder what the heck I bought because there wasn’t anything to show for it. This is making me aware of what I am buying and ways that I can decrease my spending. 

Here are some ways I have started to save my family money: 
  • I use different coupon sites such as coupons.com, thekrazycouponlady.com, or even target.com coupons. 
  • I started liking different companies and products on Facebook, which helps to get me coupons as well. 
  • Some of these companies will ask for a mailing address, which is awesome! More coupons will arrive in your mailbox and also free samples, from time to time.
I’m taking baby steps and to some this may not seem like much, but to my family, we are just starting. We are learning ways that work for us. I’m hoping in the next month or two to see my credit card bill go from $500-700, down to $200-$300. I have NO clue what I was spending that money on! Eating out, clothes, and just things I wanted


I’m so excited to see at the end of every month the money I can put into our savings account! Wish us luck! 


Be sure to tune in tomorrow to hear Abby's story! 

Here are the numbers -

Money Spent Today: (will update tonight)
Running Total: $75
Money We Didn't Spend: (will update tonight)


  1. Kelli and readers,
    A little update- I spent some money over the last couple of days and after looking at my spreadsheet, the guilt set in. It was spent on clothes. Items I really did NOT need! So, will be heading to return these items in the next day or two. This spreadsheet has been helping me a ton to see where all our money is going. No one is perfect and we all make our own mistakes.

    1. Totally agree! Mistakes are the best learning tool, I think. And, the whole point of your spending log was to make yourself aware of your purchases, so I'd say it's working!


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