Baby steps. That was what I kept telling myself when I started this whole "new outlook on life" thing in 2010.
We are now more than 1 month into the new year. Let's take a look at some of the financials:
As most of you know, I slipped a bit in the end of January with the eating out and the whole concept of not-spending-money. Baby steps. Overall, for the month of January, I spent more than $250 LESS than I spent in the month of December. This includes eating out, entertainment stuff, other stuff, AND bills, monthly obligations, transfers to savings, etc. Also, I made a number of charitable donations in January.
Conveniently, my online banking will show me my "spending report," which is where I'm getting all this information. It also breaks down how I spend that money, though it's not entirely accurate, as I tend to pay for my groceries with a personal check to my roommate (for example).
According to the spending report, my average monthly expenditure in restaurants (for 2009) was in the neighborhood of $500 (huh... if you do the math, that adds up to $6000!). January's restaurant expenditure? A mere $200. ($200 * 12 months = $2400 a year. That's considerable improvement. I wonder if I can get that monthly average down for the year... there's a fun goal!)
Retail/Department Stores (which I assume includes Target, where I shop the most on my own - but remember, this doesn't include groceries). Monthly average for 2009: $200 (spiked a bit in December due to Xmas). Total for January: less than $50. Bam. That's what I like to see!
In total overall spending, I really can see improvement. Online banking totals up all spending ("outflow") for the month, and my total for January was more than $500 less than the monthly average for 2009. And that includes money transferred to savings, so technically that money wasn't "spent."
I'm saving money, and I'm proud of myself for that. I really hope I can keep it up. I'm going to print out my 2009 end-of-year report and keep that so I can refer back to it a year from now. I'd love to see how much changes over the course of a year now that I've started to be more frugal in life.
I haven't been nearly as successful with the whole getting-healthy thing. But, I have a feeling that seeing my success with managing my finances will give me the confidence I need to change what's necessary to get myself healthified. I can do this.
5 days ago