Last month we decided to track every dollar we spent. It was an eye-opening experience. Tracking every dollar definitely made us more conscience of every dollar we were spending. It also became this fun game trying to reduce costs and not spend when we didn't need to. It also changed our shopping habits. We were actively looking for sales when grocery shopping and making meal decisions based on price and what we already had in our pantry. We quickly realized we had no idea what a good price vs a bad price was at the store since we really didn't pay much attention in the past. We are breaking that bad habit now!
We are going to keep doing this every month to continue to hold ourselves accountable. Next month will be interesting, as we have an upcoming vacation. We will definitely try to keep our spending at the beginning of the month to a minimum since we'll be in New Zealand in late February!
Below you will see where the money went in January. (Note this is only the money we did not save in January.) The majority of the money we spent went to rent (61%). We live in NYC so this is no surprise. The next large amount was expenses related to our car (12%). This is an annoying expense to carry and an expensive one. But we need a car and spent the month actively shopping around for cheaper parking and insurance. So hopefully this expense decreases next month.
Next, we have groceries at 10%, which hopefully only gets smaller with improved and more educated/experienced shopping habits. The "other" category (9%) is the collection of random things we spent money on - clothing, gifts, website, etc. If this category grows, it is one that we will have to investigate to determine what is really happening here.
Cable and cell phone bills came in at 5% and restaurants at 3%. Mr. FIREat40 went from eating lunch out over 6 times per month down to 0 in January. Both areas we will continue to look into for ways to reduce costs. Finally, we need to be better at cooking at home vs. ordering seamless when I am lazy and tired. Although we spent almost $5,800 for our expenses, we were able to save over $7,500, so we're definitely happy with our progress this month.