Monday, June 30, 2008

Spend Free Days

I'm a fairly nosy person who loves personal finance blogs. Every Monday I wander over to in order to see how much the author and her husband spent on cupcakes and beer that weekend and compare it to my own spending.

Yet the group that always awes me are the bloggers who decree No Spend Days. They wax poetic until I am ready to renounce all forms of legal tender and live a spartan life. Then reality comes crashing back and I forget my pact.

Something in my head is wired to rebel against self-created rules like "No Spending on Mondays." What has worked for me is compulsive tracking. Back when I was making $10/hr and spending 40% of my income on rent it became impossible for me to save. I was breaking even but most months left me without any types of savings.

In frustration I turned to excel and started tracking where I spent each dollar. I'd weigh the cost of a(nother) candle versus having to go home and enter the figure in my chart. I started seeing every dollar I didn't spend as truly a dollar I'd saved.

I also learned the value of a return policy ;)