Thrifty Thursday – Noted

A long time ago, when I was a single young thing living at home and working in the city & earning my own money … a thought occurred to me.  Where was all my money going?  I could account for the board I paid my parents, my weekly train fare and savings … but the rest of the money that disappeared like magic from my wallet … where was that going?  It vexed me so much that I started to carry a notebook and pen in my handbag.  Starting from payday (and I got paid monthly), I recorded every single cent I spent for the entire month.  When it got to the end I added it up, and was shocked.  I was spending almost all my disposable income on FOOD!  A doughnut on the way to work, something from the food court for lunch, a coffee run during the afternoon and a snack on the way home … it was adding up big time, and I didn’t like it.  My wallet was getting thinner and my bum was getting bigger … not something a single young thing wants at all!  So the next month I found myself noticing each time I went to buy a snack or treat and questioned the need for it. Was I really hungry?  Or was I bored or just in the habit?  I started bringing lunch and snacks from home, or going to the nearby city grocery store or fruit vendor and buying something cheaper (and usually better for me!).  I kept taking notes, and remarkably at the end of that second month, my food spending was significantly less.

Here is my challenge to you … do you know where your money is going?  Are you able to pick up a little notepad at the dollar store and keep track for a week, or a fortnight?  Are you buying coffee out, when a coffee at home for free will do?  Could you put aside that coffee money for a few months and buy yourself a decent coffee machine for home instead?  Don’t get me wrong … a nice coffee at a fancy cafe with a girlfriend or a mate is one of life’s real pleasures.  But if you grab a coffee every time you pop out to the supermarket and drink it on the way home, that’s money that could be in your pocket.  And coffee is just an example.  It could be anything.  The point is … take a good look at your spending, and don’t buy something and tell yourself you don’t have to write it down.  That’s like cheating on yourself, and does you no good.

So, are you up for the challenge?  Comment below and let me know if you’ve done this exercise before, or if you plan to do it now.  And if you have a cool notebook & pen, share a pic with us over on the Cake & Enemy Facebook page!

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One thought on “Thrifty Thursday – Noted

  1. Before Christmas I got the book “Saving Money is Easy” by Cath Armstrong. The chapters in the book follow a monthly theme and the theme for February involves a spending freeze. For the month, I am only supposed to spend money on the essentials, like mortgage, regular bills, grocery shopping, that kind of thing. Before I started the month, I was a little reluctant. Surely that was going to cut into all my fun?? But the funny thing is, it has been strangely freeing. When I’m wandering around in Woolies and I walk past the discounted baked goodies, for instance, I am usually sorely tempted, but I just repeat to myself, “I’m on a spending freeze and this is an unnecessary purchase” and immediately the internal struggle is gone. It’s like this weight is lifted from my shoulders.

    In the past, when we’ve had absolutely no spare money, there was no question of whether or not I “should” buy something. There was no money. I just simply couldn’t afford it. When we’ve had “spare” money again though, I’ve usually wasted a lot of it on completely unnecessary things. To not purchase things seemed to require an incredible amount of discipline and will power, two things which I sadly lack.
    I don’t know if I can explain exactly why this concept of a spending freeze is having such a positive effect on me, nor why I’m not railing against it’s limitations. But I’m not. And I’m loving it!

    Carrying a notebook and writing down all that I spend seems like a completely logical next step. Now if only I could get hubby to do the same thing.

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