Keeping Track of Every Purchase

Last month I tried to keep track of all of my credit card purchases. I’ve made vain attempts at this before, but last month I was fairly diligent in my tracking. In total I spent roughly $900 from January 1st to January 31st.

The breakdown is as follows:

  • Gas & Auto Expenses — $67.33
  • Groceries — $312.87
  • Medical — $219.00
  • Restaurants/Eating Out — $156.68
  • Discretionary Expenses (a random hodgepodge of items) — $134.03

My medical expenses typically hover around the $200 mark, so this month’s expenses were about average. Unfortunately this is one expense I cannot cut back on.

I spent roughly $150 last month eating out. I ate out a total of 18 times and incurred the majority of those expenses for social reasons, primarily eating out with my family or friends for dinner. A handful of times I bought lunch in the cafeteria and one lazy Friday evening I asked my husband to pick up a pizza.

I spent a little over $300 on groceries in January. I’m not sure what to think about this amount. I’ve never tracked my grocery bills particularly carefully, so I have no idea what I spend on average. I also purchased a lot of staple items like broth, pasta, rice and canned vegetables, so this bill may be a little higher than normal. I won’t know for sure until I track next month’s expenses.

I am most surprised by the $134.03 spent on discretionary expenses. When I went back through my receipts and credit card statements I couldn’t account for most of my purchases. I know I spent a little money in after Christmas sales, buying wrapping paper and discounted toys for my niece and nephew, but I could not vividly recollect what exactly I had spent the money on. In my journal I wrote down stuff at Target or stuff at Michael’s, but truth be told I couldn’t remember what the stuff was. Next month I plan to keep a much more detailed list of my discretionary expenses. I have a feeling the majority of purchases in this category were completely unnecessary.

I hope to cut expenses in most of these categories as the year goes on.

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