I just asked Quicken the very same question.
We paid a $100 deposit for next year’s CSA share. CSA stands for community supported agriculture. We prepay about $300 for a weekly share of a season’s worth of vegetables from a particular farm. We pick up the share every week in the summer and fall. It works out to well under $20 a week for all the vegetables we can eat (there are only two of us after all). I consider it both a good financial investment as well as an investment in our health and planet. So, good decision, good expense.
We paid $66.35 for a dinner out with my sister. I also spent $27.84 for two dinners out with friends. My sister was visiting from college so we took her out to a fun Thai place near our house. Here in NYC, when my friends live over an hour away by subway and we are terribly busy, having dinner out is one of the easiest and cheapest ways to hang out. And I’ll admit it, I love eating out! I consider these to be good expenditures, as long as there are not too many of them!
I paid $130 for a new winter coat. I needed one. And Macy’s was having a 40% off sale, plus I got an additional 10% off because a friend charged it to her card (I wrote her a check and she paid off the charge immediately). So I got a very good deal. Again, good decision.
I spent $9.00 on ATM fees. At $3 a pop, this means that I used “foreign” ATMs only three times – but it adds up so quickly! Now that my bank, WaMu, is part of Chase, I have more ATMs available to me so these expenditures will hopefully vanish.
I took out (and spent!) $420 in cash. On what?! I paid about $20 for dry cleaning. I also went out for drinks with coworkers a couple of times, but since I do not drink much, even at NYC prices that accounts for only about $20, at most. I did not take any cabs or buy any expensive coffee or anything. But I did not bring my lunch to work at all in October. Spending $5-10 a day on lunch, snacks, and sometimes breakfast adds up. And it still leaves $100-200 unaccounted for. This is the spending category I have to work on the most.
I spent $53.38 on books. Of this, $34 was spent on books that I could have easily taken out of the library. I read a LOT, and before I started using the library religiously, I regularly spent $100 or more a month on books. So this is not bad compared to the bad old days, but still. The rest was for magazines that I bought because I had nothing to read on the train home. Impulse purchases.
I spent $41.84 at Target. I am not sure what I bought, which should make this a bad purchase automatically, but I am willing to give myself credit and reserve judgment until I find the receipt.
Overall, I think I could have saved at least $100-200 if I was more careful with my spending. While I do not intend to cut out all fun until that debt is paid off, I hope that I can save some cash by being more mindful of my spending.
My goal for November to keep track of cash expenditures. And bring lunch to work!
In October, I paid $300 towards my credit card debt! This was, however, before I posted the current totals on this blog, so no updates to that yet.