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Archive for April, 2006

Spending Triggers.. changepot update etc.

April 11th, 2006 at 12:11 pm

The past couple of days have been absolutely wonderful! Spring is finally here- my flowers survived the freak april snowstorm and all is well in this little corner of Staten Island!

After reading some self-help/ motivational books over winter break, I've decided to pay more attention to HOW I spend money- what triggers me, etc. I know now that 99% of my impulsive spending happens because I want to buy things for my kids- things I secretly wanted but couldn't have when I was young. I decided to make it a complete experiment (notebook et al!)
here is what I did for two weeks:

-Created a shopping chart/log for two weeks (March 25-April 8)

- Checked off when I made purchases that
weren't on the budget and wrote down the amount (pretax) on a separate column. Wrote down who it was for and why I thought it was "justified".

After the two weeks were up, I tallied the amount spent and the results were shocking. While I exercised some restraint because of the physical hassle of whipping out my chart in public every time I bought something, I managed to spend $317 on my family (dog included). Some of that hard earned dough bought PSP video games, wicker style purses, bratz accessories, and enough jellybeans to feed the state of Vermont! The oddest purchase was two packs of cherry air freshener for $1.39 each at 2:10am at the local gas station and the reason: "Hubby's boots.". Well, at least it wasn't cigarettes!

So..the lesson I learned here is that despite my frugal attempts to save save save (envelope systems, conserve energy etc), old habits are hard to break. I hadn't set up a "spending account" prior to my little investigation and the truth is sometimes you just WANT to spend on something trivial (the American marketing industry wouldn't survive if we wouldn't shop impulsively!). Since I spent over 300 bucks in two weeks, I have now added this new category to my monthly budgeting cycle.

So ask yourself this... when you went shopping last time, how many items did YOU buy that were absolutely unneccesary (price has nothing to do with it! Smile It would be an interesting thing to tally up, wouldn't it?

***CHANGEPOT UPDATE***

I'm not sure if I've posted it here but here's a quick summary of the infamous Changepot:

In early October I started collecting all the money I find in the street and putting it in a cute little jar I call the Changepot. I've acumulated over fifty dollars in this pot so far... it's even outgrown its original container!

Here is a pic of my little changepot