Ok, so we aren't even through the first month of our Frugal Challenge 2011 and I wanted to get a progress check yesterday. I believe I stated earlier that I'm now recording every single penny we spend in my new phone with the app "Daily Expense Tracker." Chris gives me receipts for everything he spends, too, so this should be an accurate accounting.
I went to my phone yesterday and added up every single thing that wasn't a "necessary" expense. Gas, bill payments and groceries were all necessary, of course, but some of the things that weren't were eating out a couple times, a babysitter so Chris and I could go out to dinner by ourselves, new pants for Owen (killer sale - less than $7!), having my friend color my hair, etc. I truly felt like I had been watching EVERY. SINGLE. PENNY. and if you would have asked me to guess how much the non-neccessities added up to, I would have said around $100.
It was closer to $300.
O.M.G.!!!! How the heck did we spend almost $100 a week (on average) on things that ARE NOT essential to life??? This is not even taking into account the fact that we in no way plan meals, clip coupons, etc to save on our grocery bills! Seriously, the act of recording every purchase has been a TREMENDOUS eye opener for both of us and will hopefully lead to us being a lot more aware of where our money goes.
I highly recommend this exercise for everyone, but beware: you may hate yourself in the morning!