I've learned so much from reading personal finance blogs- setting up a budget, paying down debt and tracking every penny. This is my January spending record:
1. Eight no spend days!
2. Four big trips to the grocery store, each under $92. We eat in most of the time and pack our lunch for school. These shopping trips help with no spend days later in the week. On one trip, I told my little boy we needed lunch box food, breakfasts and dinners. He added, "Don't forget desserts!"
For the past 2 years, I've tried allowing myself $10 a day, while planning to put $1 into 5 saving categories each evening. Some days this worked well, and others not so much. For 2010, I'm setting $31 aside ($1 a day) at the beginning of the month for 4 categories- my savings, debt repayment, Christmas savings and missions- and $20 ($5 a week) for my son's allowance. This way, it's still available if I need it, but the total is already assigned a purpose. Which brings me to. . .
3. I was able to put money in my savings/ Christmas account, some in my checking for debt repayment, and a small check for my friend from college- a missionary in Kenya. I also went in on a friend's baby shower gift, donated to our local fire department and another small gift.
Things to work on in February:
1. Cut back on eating out- 11 times in January! Granted, 5 trips were McDonald's for a Happy Meal, our Friday tradition, but still. This could be solved by eating enough lunch- making sure we're not starving after school, which makes fast food sound really good.
2. Take drinks with me in the morning. They're 75 cents from the machine, but free from my fridge.
3. Try for 10 no spend days.