Let me just start off with a disclosure that I am far from a budget guru! I am a newbie and hoping to create a manageable budget as we consider disability. Hopefully as I research and share my journey, you may be able to learn a thing or two as well!
As we are preparing to create a Spoonie Savings Plan for our family, the first thing I wanted to do was review our spending and see where our money was currently going. We no longer receive paper statements so I went online and printed off the last three months of transactions and grabbed a handful of highlights and went to work. Some banks may have the option to export the transaction data to a spreadsheet like Excel so that may be an option as well. I’m a paper-and-pen gal so I printed everything off.
I color coded all transactions by type – gas, groceries, eating out, etc – and created a simple spreadsheet so that I could tally the numbers by category and by month
and then I passed out. What an eye-opening experience! After I regained my balance, of course. It is amazing how quickly small purchases can add up. A soda and snack here. A couple of simple but unnecessary “bargains” there. At the time, it doesn’t seem like a big deal but it can really add up!
A 20 oz Coke at most gas stations is now $1.60 (with tax) and if you purchase one every day (I have a soda habit instead of a coffee habit), it equals $11.20 a week or $44.80 a month or $537.70 A YEAR! Holy smokes! 7 day passes at Disney for the 3 of us will be $846 so to think that giving up a daily Coke will cover over half of the ticket cost is CRAZY!
Then there are extra subscriptions we can consider cutting like Netflix ($7.99) and Spotify ($9.99). Cutting each of those would save an additional $215.76 a year – which would bring the savings total to $753.36 just by cutting out those three! I am floored that taking the time to review our spending could yield such results!
This was a general pass over our spending and the next step will be to dig in and go back through these reports and formulate workable numbers for our savings plan and see where else we can cut spending and still implement ways like couponing! I have totally been stalking the blog Couponing to Disney) to save for our Disney vacation! 326 days to go!