How much has your spending habits changed in the last twelve months?
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  1. #1
    Registered User MomToTwoBoys's Avatar
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    Default How much has your spending habits changed in the last twelve months?

    I was going over my bank statement to make sure everything was in order before February 1st came (tomorrow morning).

    I then decided to take a look at what my spending was like in January 2009... exactly one month ago.

    I was just floored! My miscellaneous spending was the biggest noteable:

    January 2009 - $222.83
    January 2010 - $97.80

    The one goal that I had for this month was to severely limit my miscellaneous spending. It was eating away at our cash flow and I think that's a big reason why we were having financial problems even after all of the combing we did through the budget.

    I know it's not a whole lot, and I know that it's not including DH's income and expenses, but it's a big sign that even the small things count.

    So what did I do differently this year than I did last year? It was simple:

    I purchased what I needed and only what I needed, and I made a rule to only buy items that would tide us over until the next time I went mass shopping. A lot of my expenses from Jan 2009 was at Superstore, which leads me to believe that they were food expenses more than medicinal expenses. For Jan 2010, I had one purchase at Superstore for food and the other expenses were medication, painting supplies, new pillows and a lunch out at Thai Express. I made every effort possible to stay away from the stores and to learn to use my card when it was necessary... not when I felt like it.

    At a quick glance of DH's account activity for this past January, compared to January 2009, we definitely cut back there as well.

    So how much have your spending habits changed?

  2. #2
    Registered User frugalfranny's Avatar
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    I, too, have made some major adjustments.

    I used to go out to eat at least once a week......now maybe once or twice a MONTH.

    Buy much less groceries and shop carefully for what I do buy- plus make a list of what I need to watch for on sale.

    Make less car trips and will group more of the errands together.

    MUCH LESS 'idle buying' or misc. spending ----for both---on-line and in the stores. Have cut 'craft purchases' by probably 90 per cent!! A HUGE drop there!

    I made a MUCH BETTER use of my garden this year FOR ME instead of giving most of it away. Started back into canning and freezing.

    I just THINK HARDER and SHOP SMARTER before buying something.

  3. #3
    Registered User TheRootedNomad's Avatar
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    2009 was a return for us to looser spending for us. We did because we could and because other things became more of a priority to focus our time on. Now --- that doesn't mean that we threw everything into the wind, we didn't dig a hole, we just didn't do what we had been. So 2009 was not a frugal milestone for us.

    I have seen the numbers from 2009 and am disappointed. I am ready to buckle back down. DH on the other hand is not. He doesn't spend much time with the numbers (avoids it I believe - ignorance is bliss scenario) so I will be spending the next couple of months buckling down where I can on my own and pushing him sitting with me more frequently with the budget. I figure if I push to get him to look at them then I can sit back and let the numbers talk without opening my mouth.

  4. #4
    Registered User sabrelvssammy's Avatar
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    my spending habits have changed dramatically...while i didn't officially track what i spent i knew-- because i had credit card bills that were next to nothing so i wasn't charging...only spending cash....and i wasn't asking dh for much cash coz i made the concentrated effort to start using all that i had in the house..

    the first 3 months of the year were spent eating up all the stockpiled food items that we had crammed into the cabinets/pantry & freezer...so there was very limited spending there.... then by just staying away from the stores except for the corner grocery where i planned my meals around what was being clearanced for the day i saved a ton more.... i did venture to the big lots occasionally to grab up their clearanced goodies but i cut those shopping trips down to about once a month or less...(i mean trisquits at $1 a box are a great deal but do i really need to be buying 10 of them at a time..? they only end up on my butt anyway....) so although at the beginning it was very hard not to just 'peek' at what they had i learned to retrain my thinking and found other things to do (kinda like when you really really want that donut but you take a hot bath instead)...yea-there were times when i went into 'cold-sweats'..haha...

    as for all the hba items i took a good hard look into my bathroom cabinets and realized that i could live for a year with buying very few things... and that is what i have done...(and based on the amount i STILL have i think i can live another...so i will try)....

    as for the bigger picture....i took another hard look around the house...and realized that i have enough here that when i truly need something is it not already here in one form or another ???
    can i make do, re-use, re-purpose what i already OWN ????

    and i realized that i can live without going out to eat...when i need a change of pace we light up the bbq grill out on the backporch and go hog wild....

    entertainment..? we have 200 channels here we can watch anytime we want...we own a dvd player, and ancient VCR, we have 2 gaming systems with about a million games (from our less frugal days...it's not a WII but its entainment all the same)...i have a library of work-out videos and a 'almost' full gym in the basement....we have 2 libraries in very close proximity....we have a park at the end of our street and a dozen walking paths to choose from....i belong to a hiking club....dh belongs to the local country club where one price membership gives him all the golf he can handle in a year (and believe me...he gets more than his money worth on that one).... we have a cabin in the woods on a lake that is 20 mins from our house that we can access anytime of the year....i actually enjoy cutting the grass, landscaping, gardening and digging in the dirt...and put me outside on a warm sunny day and i can walk for miles...

    so with all that i guess i can say that i finally realized that there are only 24 hrs in each and every day...and i don't want to spend one more of them than i have to inside a 'big-box building' full of junk that i never really needed in the first place....

    “After the last tree has been cut down, after the last river has been poisoned, after the last fish has been caught.
    Only then will you find that money can't be eaten.”

    ~ Cree Indian Prophecy










  5. #5
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    I'm trying to cut the misc. spending big time. That was a huge downfall in 2009.

    This year there is a few things I want to stockpile when there is a good deal without going to crazy over it. I know I missed some good deals in 2009 because I was being lazy.

    It does help that I am turning more into a homebody(not dh the social bug) and find so many ways to keep myself entertained around the house without spending.

    Definitely tracking a better grocery budget this year than last.

  6. #6
    Registered User savvy_sniper's Avatar
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    I went on a spending diet some time ago. So my spending habits didn't change much over the last year.

    BUT I have convinced hubby to take food from home and buy less fast food. If and when we do eat out, we use coupons. I keep a stash in my purse at all times. I give hubby coupons for places I know he likes. Most of the coupons are unused and go in the trash. BUT they are there if we NEED them.
    House - Start $127,944 Balance $105,032

  7. #7
    Registered User Contrary Housewife's Avatar
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    Our Jan 10 spending is way up from our Jan 09 spending, because last year we were looking at the end of the EF and DH was out of work and had been for a while. Last year we had NO extraneous spending in January.

    This year both our income and take-home is up so we have loosened up a bit. We ate out 6 times in January, which is some kind of record for us. That was on top of $350 in groceries (for 2 people!) -- though part of that was a big pantry restock.

    And I've been spending on hobbies again. Getting depressed from the weather and buying on ebay. Just bought a box of 25 books that should keep me for several months,though.

    For Feb and March we need to tighten up again, as this is the period where we typically 'refresh' our bank accounts for travel and entertainment spending later in the year.
    Use it up, Wear it out,
    Make it do, Or do without. ~unknown

    You can't always get what you want
    But if you try sometimes you just might find
    You get what you need ~Rolling Stones

    A clean house is a sign of a wasted life. ~unknown

  8. #8
    Registered User tlenad's Avatar
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    My spending has changed quite a bit in the past year.

    I finished school so there is no more spending on books (students loans are another matter all together. )

    I also bought a house which completely changed my spending habits. Having that kind of money going out really does curtail my spending quite a bit. That beings said, this is my first house and there are things that I needed to buy and repairs that need to be done this year. I'm hoping to fund them all with cash and not break out the credit cards. I'm really going to try paying down the credit card debt I have which I of course didn't have when I moved into the house. I could kick myself for being so stupid when I first moved in but what's done is done.

    Though some of that is offset by not going out as much as I have somewhere to entertain. I used to eat out 5 days a week at lunch at work, I'm working on knocking that down to just paydays. I'll see how I do with that then evaluate knocking it down further. Plus I used to meet friends at restaurants on Friday night, now I invite them over to the house and make dinner. Thus far everyone really likes the slow pace and being able to relax and not have the bill come at the end of dinner.

    At any rate, this year is shaping up to be the lets see what the budget will look like going forward year. I'm still adjusting to not knowing exactly how much the power/ gas bill should be by the end of the year, I figure I'll have a really good handle on them.

    And this will be the year of tightening up, I'd like to put more in savings and like I said I'd love to pay down some debt so there need to be some adjustments made. Namely staying away from Ebay and getting a handle on the grocery/house spending.

    At any rate, I don't know if I'm better off this year January or not but by the end of this year, I will be barring any major set backs.

  9. #9
    Registered User ravenmaniac's Avatar
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    Mine have changed quite a bit. Not eating out as much and controlling impulse purchases. I am hoping my husband's change more in 2010 and I can fine tune mine.

  10. #10
    Registered User frugalfranny's Avatar
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    Very interesting reading to find some up and some down.

    Heard on news that 'we' are starting to spend - guess I am lagging behind the trend!!!

  11. #11
    Registered User nadine64's Avatar
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    Ours have changed a lot. No more credit card. Way less eating now. Using coupons a lot more and learning to use them more affectively. This forum has been wonderful.

  12. #12
    Registered User Thevail's Avatar
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    Default A bit different, but..

    My spending habits have changed extremely! DH wa laid off 6 months ago, and we have re-discovered our "basics" in a big way!

    We were spending about $400 a month on stuff and nonsense! We were still able to save 10% of our income, which was a very good thing as it turned out, but we could easily have been doing so much more.

    It turned out that we were drifting into "comfortable" territory. We had enough money to save the minimum (Ok, maybe a bit more thanks to all the good advice from FV) and spend the rest and still save what we needed to.

    It was a nice balance, but it was a dangerous one, because we never realized just how much we were spending. If the period of unemployment hadn't forced us to really look closely at our budget, we'd have just continued to slide.

  13. #13
    Registered User Vanilla's Avatar
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    Default Just started

    since Dec'09, to keep track of on what & how much we spent on everything, down to the last penny. I used to just did the cash flow, received paycheck, pay bills, go out to eat, put some in savings, go out to eat, fix the car(s), go out to eat, buy personal items & gifts, & did I mention we go out to eat. Waste a lot because we went out to eat too much, at least once a weeknight & twice during the weekends. We thought we were cutting back on eating out & impulse purchases, but when everything is in black & white, that's a scary & embarass findings.

    So, no more eating out, for family gathering dinners-we'll cook at home or pot-luck. That would cut down eating out to only 2-3 times a year. No credit cards, which means no impulse purchases. Only shop with a list & with limited cash, so we only buy things/food we would use/eat.

    Yes, we are changing our spending habit big time. Hopefully by this Dec, we shall be in a better shape, both financially & health wise.

  14. #14
    Registered User Preston's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by tlenad View Post
    I also bought a house which completely changed my spending habits. Having that kind of money going out really does curtail my spending quite a bit. That beings said, this is my first house and there are things that I needed to buy and repairs that need to be done this year. I'm hoping to fund them all with cash and not break out the credit cards. I'm really going to try paying down the credit card debt I have which I of course didn't have when I moved into the house. I could kick myself for being so stupid when I first moved in but what's done is done.
    Did you/are you able to file for the $8000 tax credit? That could help. I'm having a hell of atime getting ours -- we file separately and we both got audited. Those went through but I talked to the IRS about an hour ago and there is a freeze on my file, which the rep couldn't figure out why so I have more BS to deal with. I'm wondering how many other people are going through what we're going through.

  15. #15
    Registered User imagine's Avatar
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    What an interesting idea!
    I looked back at Jan 2009

    I spent more in 2010 on food but we are eating more fresh foods and I now have a teenager boy. Also with prices up I can see this increase as normal.

    Household consumables way down.

    Health and Beauty supplies ( soap toothpaste, toothbrushes, etc) way down

    Eating out is up from 2009. In 2009 we were on the no eat out challenge. This year we didn't do that challenge.

    Children's activities way down.

    Gasoline usage was up as well as gas prices.

    It looks like I spent more on Birthday presents in Jan. this year. I think I just shopped later, as in Jan this year not in December. As I actually spent less total on Birthday presents.

    All in all I only spent $40 dollars more in Jan 2009 that I did in Jan 2010.

    Very interesting indeed.

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