In September 2016 I decided to start tracking our spending, I can't remember why, probably for no reason other than I read about it elsewhere or we'd had a discussion about out spending in general. From that day I wrote down all of our spending, other than petrol, Dan did that.
By the end of June I was just sick of it, and really we had a good idea of our spending in most areas. Our patterns were clear and the project had done nothing to reduce our spending at all, so I stopped tracking grocery, eating out, and alcohol spending (the latter two being lower amounts than I would have guessed). I learned a lot from the exercise and the one thing I'm really glad about is keeping a notes and comments section at the back of my notebook. I wrote less as the year went on, but it's a good reminder of the things we said no to, little make do things and of course the time Dan didn't buy a saw (it was very important that I wrote that down).
It turns out we bought quite a bit over the year, and that is the huge benefit of tracking. It makes it so easy to look back and remember when we bought things, which answers the question where did all the money go, and helps if a receipt is needed or something odd looking comes up on a bank statement.
Had I thought about it before starting my categories might have been slightly different, but I broke things down this way -
Alcohol/other drinks (not tea and coffee)
Cleaning/Household basics (inc. pet stuff)
Clothes Me/ Him
Car (not petrol)
Misc (including parking)
Household other (kitchen stuff, ornaments and other ephemera)
So I'm going to share some of our expenditure over the next couple of posts, some of the things I tracked for the full year. Starting with the categories with the most wiggle room, the very non essential items.