How Much Money are we Spending?

Posted by Mrs Money on March 1st, 2010

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February 2nd 004
Creative Commons License photo credit: DesignByRaul

Remember when I said that I was going to track every penny we spend? Well that didn’t happen.  So I came up with this fantastic idea that for the month of March I’m going to publicly display on my blog every penny we spend.  If that doesn’t help keep me accountable, I don’t know what will. ;)

I am a little nervous to show everyone just how much money we’re spending, but I think it will be a good exercise.  I’ll be able to see where I need to cut back and view exactly where our money goes.  It will be easy to track the debit card purchases, but I’ll have to make sure that if we use any cash that I document that as well.
Here’s my spreadsheet:

Date Amount Description
3/1 $42.22 Costco- food (groceries only)
3/1 $110.00 Credit Card- paid off (from Feb)
3/2 $20.05 Cod Liver Oil @ Health Food Store
3/2 $341.00 Home Depot Card- paid off!
3/3 $11.98 Costco- Spinach & blueberries
3/5 $35.07 Gas
3/9 $27.22 Gas
3/10 $59.70 Web Hosting 6 mos.
3/11 $47.22 XM Radio (Mr. Money) 3 months
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I’m hoping that this is a beneficial exercise!  If you’re interested in joining, I’d love to have some support.

Would you publicly share every penny you spend?  Is that too embarrassing?

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28 Responses to “How Much Money are we Spending?”


  1. I’ve been tracking our spending every day since the year began. It was initially painful, but incredibly helpful. I would definitely be willing to share our spending habits publicly – we need more accountability on our food and miscellaneous spending. I may share our food spending for the month of March, since I have set myself a goal this month to refrain from miscellaneous spending.

    [Reply]

    Mrs Money Reply:

    Saving Her Life- Wow! That is awesome. I probably should have started then too. Let me know if you start tracking publicly and I can link to you too! I need to curb my food spending. It’s my worst category I think!

    [Reply]

  2. Nicole says:

    I’ve been doing it on a blog since my birthday (January 4th)
    It’s really showing me where I should cut back on spending.
    http://money.knitnicoleknit.ca

    [Reply]

    Mrs Money Reply:

    Nicole- That is awesome! You are the second person ahead of me. :) Good job, girl!

    [Reply]

  3. “Well that didn’t happen.” – I can relate to that statement in several regards, lol.

    Best of luck with tracking, I bet if you stick with it at least a month you’ll continue to do it after the month is up.

    [Reply]

    Mrs Money Reply:

    Ryan- Honesty is the best, right?! :)

    Thanks! I’m hoping that it will go well. I’m just worried that something embarrassing will come up and I’ll have to post it!

    [Reply]

  4. Jenny says:

    Interesting idea! I’ll have to see how it goes for you. I don’t think I’d mind sharing how much we spend on a grocery bill, power, etc. I probably wouldn’t tell everyone what our mortgage payment is, though. And I also wouldn’t put down info on every single thing we purchase (it’s nobody’s business if I go to the store and get maxi pads, for instance). I bet it will help you a lot, and it’ll be a good example for others of how a frugal budget looks.

    [Reply]

    Mrs Money Reply:

    Jenny- I’ve thought about that too!! I don’t want something embarrassing up there! I may not put everything up there, but we will see. I am hoping that it will help! :) Let me know if you do it on your blog and I’ll link to you!

    [Reply]

  5. Becky R says:

    I love to see what others are spending. I have been posting my monthly budget plus where I go over. It is humbleing. It does help keep me accountable.

    My goal for this month is no unbudgeted for spending (as I am not working and almost out of my emergency fund.)

    [Reply]

    Mrs Money Reply:

    Becky- Me too! It’s interesting to me. I am hoping it will keep me accountable too. I need to curb some of my spending too. Hope that helps! :)

    [Reply]

  6. I kind of already do this on my blog, but 1) I am not satisfied that I’m tracking every SINGLE penny because sometimes receipts get misplaced and we have jars of coin collections that don’t get “tracked” 2) I don’t reveal every single item within categories. Do you spend *ALL* the money or does Mr. Money help? My husband does all the grocery shopping so I have less control over what gets spent on what or where. Good luck with your experiment and I hope you see a lot of areas that could be trimmed.

    [Reply]

    Mrs Money Reply:

    Mrs. Accountability-
    You do a great job every month of sharing your budget. :) Mr. Money does help. One thing he does is spend money and then get reimbursed from work, and that drives me crazy! I wish he did all the grocery shopping but he doesn’t have time :(

    Thanks!

    [Reply]

  7. BibleDebt says:

    Great exercise to see where your money is really going, not where you think it is going. Good luck sticking to it as long as possible. It might be easier if you have a smart phone you can quickly record your purchase.

    [Reply]

    Mrs Money Reply:

    BibleDebt- Thanks! It’s going to be interesting. I have a Motorola Razr- do you remember those?! It is soooo old school. I’ll have to get a notebook or something. LOL

    [Reply]

  8. I have done this in the past. Usually, I try to pay as much as I can with the ATM card (because then I can just use my online bank statement–no receipts to lose!).

    I also keep a small envelope in my purse for receipts, and write small cash purchases on the outside of it. I get most of the expenses in that way.

    Since I usually keep a budget to track monthly expenses, compare, see how I can do better, I find it to be a great tool. However, I’m not doing it now, since my expenses are all out of whack–and will be for a couple of months. I’ll start up again when things settle down. I like knowing how much it costs us to live!

    [Reply]

    Mrs Money Reply:

    Simple In France- I’m going to use the ATM card the most too. It’s so easy!

    I have a part of my wallet for receipts. I’ll have to put them there.

    Let me know if you start tracking on your blog and I will link you!

    [Reply]

  9. Austin says:

    Tracking my money spent was the best financial decision I ever made. It showed me exactly how much I was over-spending in certain areas and it shocked me how much the $5-10 expenses add up.

    Good luck this month and don’t suppress your normal spending b/c you’re watching it. You want the results so spend away!

    Austin @ Foreigner’s Finances

    [Reply]

    Mrs Money Reply:

    Austin-I know! It’s always the small expenses that add up for me too!

    I have already been noticing that I’m afraid to spend anything. :) Thanks for the encouragement!

    [Reply]

  10. Leonard says:

    I would be a bit concerned about posting my spending online, but it may work as incentive for me to cut out the silly expenses like fast food and bottles of water!

    [Reply]

    Mrs Money Reply:

    Leonard- It is working for me so far! I’m almost afraid to buy things like that or fast food. :)

    [Reply]

  11. I used to do a monthly financial update that divulged a lot of financial information, but it wasn’t a to the penny type thing. I’m pretty open about our debt, but for some reason I have a hard time sharing how much my mortgage payment is (that is pretty much the only thing I have an issue with, though!).

    I wouldn’t mind posting every penny spent, though. I think I would group some categories together, though, so it wasn’t obvious how much my mortgage bill, insurance, and electric are (or whatever).

    Using cash we tracked everything that we spent at home (just not publicly), and boy was it an eye opener for us! That’s what has helped us in our debt journey the most. :)

    [Reply]

    Mrs Money Reply:

    Phoebe- It’s going to be interesting to see how this works out. I’m kind of nervous. I think it will be beneficial, and if I can help myself and maybe someone else, I’ll be happy! :)

    [Reply]

  12. We charge everything to our credit cards. Everything is linked to quicken, so we can see at a glance where the money goes at the end of the month or even daily. We can then make adjustments along the way. I do pay my balance in full every month so the card is used for rewards, convenience and tracking purposes.

    This will not suit everyone, but is how we do it. It’s much easier than keeping every single receipt and keying it into excel.

    [Reply]

    Mrs Money Reply:

    Mr Credit Card- That’s awesome! It sounds like you have a great system going on. It’s hard for me to use just the credit card because then I don’t know how much money I’m really spending. I do use it for gas though, because I get rebates on it!

    [Reply]

  13. Revanche says:

    I started my spending spreadsheet this year, and have shared part of it when I needed to show how much money I’d spent in a week on dental expenses (*shudder*).

    The way I deal with reimbursements is just entering the transaction in the description as a reimbursable event, but not entering the amount separately in the expense column – I just confirm later that it’s been reimbursed by striking through the item.

    [Reply]

    Mrs Money Reply:

    Revanche- It’s hard, isn’t it? I hope this is a good month for us and I don’t feel too bad about how much we spend. :)

    [Reply]

  14. Revanche says:

    P.S. It DOES make me feel bad when I spend frivolously. And I haven’t decided if entering GC spending the same way as a reimbursed expense is cheating or not.

    [Reply]


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