Spending Strike: Day 22 - Abby Shares How Tracking Spending Can Save YOU $$$$

Guess what day it is?!


And, it's the second post from two Iowa mommas who have a great strategy to help you account for where your money is going. Yesterday, Jenn shared with us how she changed her mindset and started logging her expenses after they went from a two-income to a one-income family. Read that post first!

Today, Abby, who also logs her expenses, is going to tell her story. You'll find that while their strategies are similar, their personal accounts and reasons are slightly different. 

Hi, I am Abby. I am a stay-at-home mom of two, Evey (4) and Noah (3) and have been married almost 7 years. We became a one income family right before our first was born. I have always been one to look for deals and think hard about my purchases. However, I was not quite as concerned with saving money as I am now and definitely didn’t do a lot of things to save then as I do now. 

A couple years ago we really started to focus on paying down our debt and having an emergency fund. So that is where we started. We looked at places where we could cut and took the money that we would save cutting those things and set up an automatic transfer from our checking to our savings so we never saw that money in our checking to use up. "Savings" before this was whatever we had left over and that didn’t happen very often. 

Along with that I print and cut coupons, use store coupons, and use store fuel saver rewards. I also will buy in bulk and stock up on certain items if it’s a better price and I can store and use it without it expiring. For buying in bulk, we have a Sam’s Club membership. I never thought I would have that membership but after finding out my generic OTC allergy pill was only $15 for a year versus $40, I decided I would make a spreadsheet and look at items I normally buy almost every grocery trip. I found that the savings were significantly higher than the cost of the membership. 

This year Kelli inspired me to do my own spending strike of sorts. Mine isn’t nearly as strict as hers but none-the-less, it is a little eye opening to how much is spent on extras that we don’t NEED

So for the month of January I am not buying any extras, like a bottle of pop and a candy bar when at the store for other necessities. I am not buying any clothes, not going out to eat, and not buying anything that is not needed. Really, all I should be spending money on is groceries, student loans, utilities, mortgage, etc. I meal plan and plan according to what I have on hand already and what is on sale in the sale ads. 

I also started this year a spreadsheet of where our money goes. I am hoping that this new system of tracking expenses will not only help us think about what we’re spending, but what we’re spending it on and maybe where we could cut down our expenses for the next year or even the next month.

Here is a look at one sheet of my expense spreadsheet and how I set it up:

I have separate sheets for each category, and each category has place where it was spent, what the reason was, the cost, the date, and what type of payment was used (credit card, debit card, etc). Each sheet has a running total at the bottom.

In the past 4 years of being a stay-at-home mom, I have learned every day, week, month, and year of different ways to save money. We are always re-evaluating our spending and where we can save. In starting this post, I sat down and actually wrote down all the different things we do or don’t do just to save some money. My list ended up having more ways we save on it that I had thought. 

When you think you’ve cut things down to the minimum, there are always more ways to save. Four years ago when I had my first child, I would have never thought I would be doing some of the things I’m doing now and in all honesty it is easier than I would have thought back then. 


Is logging expenses something you do? Do you think it would change your spending habits? Tell me all about it - leave a comment!

Here are the numbers -

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


Got some thoughts? Don't be shy. Leave 'em here!

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