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Generation Earn: New Book & Giveaway!

by J. Money on Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Generation Earn bookHey guys! One of my new real-life friends (I can call her that now that we’ve had coffee together! haha…), Kimberly Palmer, of WTOP News & Alpha Consumer blog on U.S. News & World Report, just came out with an awesome new book.

It’s called Generation Earn: The Young Professional’s Guide to Spending, Investing, and Giving Back , and she was kind enough to send us 3 copies to give out today! Wooooo! Here’s what Publisher’s Weekly said about it:

“[Kim] gives a comprehensive overview of the basics of financial literacy, including defining financial goals, weighing a traditional job vs. entrepreneurship, saving for retirement, voluntary simplicity, the effect that marriage and children can have on your finances, and how to prioritize charitable giving even on a tight budget.”

And here’s a great snippet from her book – which shows exactly WHY tracking your money, even just once, is so important!  And why I bet people don’t like to do it (cuz it’s scary!!! Haha….) Check it:

Lessons From a Spending Diary

The first time I began keeping a spending diary, I was skeptical. I thought I already knew my weak spots– bottles of wine, taxis, and sushi.

I was wrong. The first day, I spent $136 on groceries and $60 on a new pillow. Monday through Thursday, I bought three cappuccinos, subway rides, and one lunch–pretty standard. But then, on Friday and Saturday, my husband and I spend $54 on a casual dinner and then $80 on a dinner out with friends. So we spent $134 in restaurants in one weekend without even thinking about it. Shortly after, we started eating out only one night a week, and I felt better about my weekday spending.

We also used the concept of a spending diary when we were trying to decide whether or not to buy a new flat-screen television, something my husband really wanted. At first, the splurge seemed overly indulgent to me; I didn’t want to part with such a big chunk of money at once. After reviewing each of our spending patterns, we realized that my luxuries tend to be small, daily ones (such as those coffees and taxi rides). Similarly, I buy relatively inexpensive clothes on a somewhat regular basis.

But Sujay doesn’t spend much during the workday, and he rarely buys new clothes, preferring to make rare but larger purchases of pricier items, such as a new suit or shoes. So, we ended up deciding that spending so much on something he really wanted was fair, since it was balanced out by my more frequent, smaller purchases. Besides, I was getting a new television, too.

Want your own copy of Generation Earn?

Tell us a time when YOU tried tracking your spending — either for a day or for a year! — and what you ended up finding out.  The first time I did this I realized I was spending a $hit load on alcohol!  Like, $300+ a month – it was crazy.  Now I’ve limited myself to just $299 ;) haha…. j/k. Sort of.

If you’ve never tracked it before, pull up your checking account or credit card bill right now and find something to share with us – that’ll work too. (although I won’t believe you that you’ve never tried to track it before, even if you’ve failed!).  Drop it in the comments, and I’ll pick the THREE lucky winners this Sunday Night before the stroke of midnight. I think you guys will enjoy this one…

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PS: More info from Amazon: Generation Earn: The Young Professional’s Guide to Spending, Investing, and Giving Back

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*GIVEAWAY OVER*
The 3 lucky winners are…. Chung L, Alex Beszterda and Briana @ GBR. Congrats guys!!!


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{ 70 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Kim November 23, 2010 at 8:18 am

I learn that I spend soooo much money on food – if I have a couple dollars in my pocket, and there is a vending machine or a convenience store, I WILL buy a snack. So I need to NOT have cash on hand during the work week.

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2 Sarah Fowler November 23, 2010 at 8:26 am

I learned that I spend too much on fast food. It happens when I overcommit and literally have no time to cook (even though I love to). It’s about learning to say No to some worthy things (often including additional “side hustles”) so I can take care of myself and my budget.

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3 Uncle El November 23, 2010 at 8:27 am

I tracked it for a short while, but basically I spend more than my required budget amount every month on three items-Gas, Groceries, and random gift giving.(budget buster) So now I think twice before I make any moves in those three categories.

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4 Doctor S November 23, 2010 at 8:37 am

I tracked my spending for a while and (you already know this) I came to the conclusion that I drink to much booze. This was over the last few years and I just found myself running up tab after tab after tab. $20 here, $30 here, and all of a sudden a few hundred bucks at the end of the month. I have since then calmed down, became less of a booze hound when I go out, and started employing the “pregame” strategy even more. BUT… i always have a case of beer in the fridge… ALWAYS!

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5 Michelle M. November 23, 2010 at 8:39 am

I learn that I need to stay OUT of warehouse stores. Costco, Sam’s Club While I think I’m saving money, so much food goes bad in those quantities. Plus the cheap books, movies, clothes all add up too..

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6 Curt November 23, 2010 at 8:58 am

2 times:

1st – living in South America – living on ~$80/month (housing was covered) – my first day there, I went to Wendy’s…a cheap place to eat in the US, but down there, the price of 1 meal was more than a weeks worth of bus fare and a few days worth of homemade meals. Needless to say, I rarely ‘splurged’ on Wendy’s and McD’s after that.

2nd – shortly after a job transfer – paying rent in my new place and still paying my mortgage at my old place. After some digging through expense history, found hundreds of dollars per month in savings – eating out, and a 2nd car (that only got about 2,000 miles/year) were the big ones we got rid of.

Currently – I love using mint.com – after using it for a while, you don’t get surprises really anymore.

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7 Laura in Atlanta November 23, 2010 at 9:12 am

Oh, count me in . . . food is my weakness. I pay for the convenience. Not married, no kids . . . i live alone and I hate cooking . . . so, lots of times I just eat out when I should go home and at least try to create a meal.

I tracked my money for three months once . . . and yep. Food, baby! That’s my weakness. My second weakness WAS books. I used to buy 3, 4 books each time I walked in a store. Now I use the library and paperbackswap.com . . . once I realized how much I was spending on books, and the clutter they created . . . I was happy with this change. (well, pretty happy. ;-))

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8 Amanda Holden November 23, 2010 at 9:14 am

I track my spending on Mint.com. I’m not sure if it actually makes me spend less- it makes me think a lot about spending less though and that is a good thing. It also encourages me and my husband to talk about what we are spending which another good first step…now if only we could spend less and save more….:-)

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9 Matt November 23, 2010 at 9:19 am

I use the “Spending Report” feature with wellsfargo which automatically categorizes my spending. I realized my dog is costing me a fortune!

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10 Jenn T November 23, 2010 at 9:19 am

The first time I started tracking spending I was horrified at what I found – $300 a month on lunches and breakfasts out (think every single day), dinners out several nights a week, I was easily spending $1,000 a month on eating out – on top of buying groceries that ended up going bad before I could use them. I learned I needed to stay home and learn to cook! That was a real eye opener and now I stay home more, cook more and pack lunches, and the total grocery and restaurant spending per month is around $500 (and now instead of being just me,it is me and my husband).

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11 SheBudget November 23, 2010 at 9:30 am

I’ve always “tracked” my spending. I keep a check register and always have. Well, now I use an app on my Blackberry to keep track of all my spending, a “virtual checkbook”. However, I’ve learned that when it comes to something I REALLY want, I make it happen, but if my husband goes out and buys a case of beer or vitamins, I tend to guilt trip him for his small purchases! How awful!

I tend to spend a large amount of money at random. I see something and “I gotta have it!” takes over and I find a way in our finances to get what I want. After my husband brought it to my attention about how I guilt trip him for his little expenses, I started to back off heavily.

We now are finally on the same page with finances. We’re not using credit cards and if we don’t have the cash in our back account, we don’t spend it. We each get an allowance of $100 a month to freely spend, no questions asked. It helps so that I don’t make my husband feel guilty for buying something small and now we have the same spending budget so it’s fair. If I choose to save my allowance to purchase something larger, I can do so and same with my husband. :)

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12 Liz S November 23, 2010 at 9:36 am

I started tracking expenses in June 2010 using Google Docs and ING Direct (thanks to a recommendation from a friend/unofficial financial planner/ frugalista) and realized that I spent way, WAY too much on my caffeine habit. Between my 3x/ week Starbucks habit and my daily Diet Cokes, I was spending over $125 a MONTH on just caffeinated beverages! I have since then started drinking coffee at work (which they pay for), and limit myself to 2 “vending machine” Diet Coke purchases a week- and keep a 12 pack of Diet K (Kroger Brand) pop under my desk in case of emergency. That $100/month now goes to paying down my credit card debt that I racked up in college.

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13 LORI November 23, 2010 at 9:52 am

I tracked it for a while and realize I am spending a lot at the grocery store and also for fast food? One or the other should be cut!

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14 Crystal November 23, 2010 at 10:09 am

I’ve been using Mint.com to track my expenses and I notice that I am in the red when it comes to clothes and Groupon. Groupon has a hold on me that I can’t control-from cupcakes to laser hair removal. I think I buy everything!

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15 Bria November 23, 2010 at 10:16 am

I spend way too much on soda/juice/coffee/subway. Since I work multiple jobs and have little free time, I end up getting Subway nearly daily. I also spend about $7-8 per day just buying soda/juice/coffee… by the bottle/cup. Not only is that not healthy, but whole mother of batman does it get expensive!

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16 Marie November 23, 2010 at 10:18 am

I’ve realized that I spend way too much at Target. Every time I walk in there it is a huge money suck for me. There are so many pretty, useful items to purchase there that my self-control goes down. I have found it works best to limit my visits there.

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17 Erin November 23, 2010 at 10:20 am

Used to spend way too much on eating out (nearly 3-4 lunches and 3-5 dinners/wk). I now try to limit to one lunch and one dinner a week and bring leftovers for lunch. Has saved so much money.

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18 Chung L November 23, 2010 at 10:22 am

I tracked it at one point and realize how often I hit that vending machine at work. Now that I know I spent way too much on it, I started to pack my own snack which save me a lot of money.

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19 logan wright November 23, 2010 at 10:45 am

I started tracking my spend in February. I’ve found that each month I spend about $300 on something random like a new suit for work or a plane ticket somewhere, but it always ends up to be about $300 bucks.

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20 Sweta November 23, 2010 at 10:58 am

I tried tracking my spending a few months ago and realized, like most commenters, that I spent a lot on food. After that I’ve been trying to cook at home more and only go out to eat if I have a Groupon or some other sort of deal.

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21 Stephen November 23, 2010 at 11:03 am

I never thought I spent so much on lunches. but wow, i was totally blown away after adding up how much each little $5-$10 lunch costed over a month…. Since then ive starting making my own lunch and eating out only once or twice a week. trying to cut back to just once a week.

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22 Alex Beszterda November 23, 2010 at 11:11 am

I started really tracking my expenses since January of this year when I was introduced to mint.com . I already had a good idea of my usual expenses like bills but didn’t know how much I was spending on restaurants an entertainment. Mint.com has made budgeting so easy and it’s great it has an iPhone app. I found that apart from watching my restaurant budget handed to budget for clothing and electronics as items need replacing.

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23 Jessica F. November 23, 2010 at 11:18 am

When I first tracked my budget five years ago I learned that I spent over $100 a month on coffee and $600-$700 a month going out to bars and restaurants with friends. Add in fiance’s spending at the time (now husband) and we were spending well over $1000 going out (not including groceries! whoa!)

We now spend about $100 (unless one of us (me) decides to get coffee with their fun money) and have no more credit card debt. Now it is on to learning about investing and this sounds like a great book for us to learn from! :)

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24 Robin November 23, 2010 at 11:33 am

Yes, I tracked my phone spending in the 1970′s when I was in college and before cell phones and “one price plans”. I was not working then, only studying and attending classes so spending money was limited. After my first phone bill I gulped and became extremely cognizant of minutes used. I never had such a high bill in college again.

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25 Nicki ♥ November 23, 2010 at 11:51 am

The first time i began keeping a track of my spending, I was convinced that i knew where my faults were. Day after day I tracked every penny spent and noticed that alot of my spending was coming from food. I would buy breakfast, lunch, and sometimes dinner just for convenience, being that I work full time, go to school full time, and was a full time parent.

Now I have cut down on my food spending but gained a new hobby, shopping! I really need to gain a positive mind-set and start all over. I hate being in debt and need a way out of it…

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26 Kevin I November 23, 2010 at 12:09 pm

The two I remember the best was finding out that I spent over $250 a month at convenience stores and another where I realized every time I walked into a Target without a plan I spent $125, no matter what. Making the first change allowed us to get a car when the old one broke down, the second let us supercharge our savings goals.

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27 Techbud November 23, 2010 at 12:22 pm

I tracked my families spending recently for a full month. It was an eye opener. It helped identify areas that we could cut down spending. Eating out was a big area. For a family of 5 those fast food trips can add out quick.

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28 Christine November 23, 2010 at 12:30 pm

I checked my mint account and right when my boy and I started dating, my restaurant budget just ballooned! Now we don’t go out as often, and try to restrict ourselves to the weekend only.

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29 retirebyforty November 23, 2010 at 12:51 pm

I tried tracking my spending, but it’s just too much work to do in the long term. Now, instead of tracking every item, I give myself $100/week allowance for discretionary spending. If I want a big screen TV, then I need to save up. This way, I can prioritize where my discretionary spending goes.

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30 Lisa November 23, 2010 at 12:52 pm

When I first started using Mint, I was stunned by how I’d survived without budgeting. Today, I would not be able to pay my bills without knowing exactly how much my discretionary spending budget is. Being able to see how much of my total budget for Dining Out that I’ve already eaten through by the 8th of the month (versus where I ought to be) is a great reality check for me.
Now I can start to save up for buying a house (or a car once I’m out of a city with such great public transportation!).

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31 Josh November 23, 2010 at 1:11 pm

I started doing a bit of tracking and discovered I was spending $300+ on groceries a month and that’s just for me! While that made me nervous at first, I then realized that I don’t go out to dinner and I bring my own lunches to work. While I still felt better, I’ve definitely watched my spending.

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32 Becky November 23, 2010 at 1:12 pm

its sad… but my husband and I both consume tobacco… and you have no idea how much money we spend towards that each week. we’re trying, J Money, you know, to get ourselves on track, but its hard sometimes!

I’m ready! Jimmy’s ready! I think the spending diary is such a great idea!

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33 Jaclyn November 23, 2010 at 1:12 pm

When my husband and I first started tracking our spending we realized how much we were spending on lunch and coffee during the week! We now have weekly limits, it was getting out of hand.

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34 Ri November 23, 2010 at 1:26 pm

I’ve tried tracking my budget off and on over the last several years. What trips me up is not the planning, it’s the follow-up! On payday, I plan out my month… only to never look at my plan again until the next month’s payday. What good is that?

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35 Rosemary November 23, 2010 at 1:32 pm

When I decided to track my spending, I realized that most of my money went into lunches or dinner AND—wait to you hear this—DRUGSTORES! Yes!, freaking Duane Reade!! There was not a day that I didnt stop in and wasted my paycheck on little random items. And they attracted me with their 5 dollar coupon.You only get the coupon once you accumulate a certain amount of points which you get by spending even more money in their store.

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36 Meredith November 23, 2010 at 1:54 pm

I first started tracking my spending about a year ago. I was spending so freaking much on groceries–like 350-400 a month. Ridiculous. I realized that I was shopping without any idea of what I already had on hand. Now, every 2 weeks, I evaluate what kind of staples we have, and then meal plan around that. It has substantially cut our grocery bill. We really only spend $150 a month, and that’s including things like paper towels, shampoo, cat food, and the occasional bottle of wine.

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37 Matt T November 23, 2010 at 2:00 pm

The most shocking thing I found when I started tracking my spending was how much I spent on food – $600 one month on restaurants with the girlfriend, groceries, and buying lunch at work. I’m now down to $400/month and it looks like I’ll be coming in under budget this month. Booyah!

I also have realized that I’m good at lying to myself. I thought I was going to a burrito place near work every other week and getting coffee two or three times per week. Turns out to be once a week and five to six times, respectively. I’ve since toned down both the burritos and the coffee.

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38 Mrs. M November 23, 2010 at 2:52 pm

The most shocking thing that we found when we started to track our expenses was our dining out costs. It’s so easy to go out for dinner rather than make dinner. We tried a month of not dining out this past August and it was a real eye opener.

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39 Wade November 23, 2010 at 3:01 pm

Well, this is my first time to this blog and I must say it is interesting. I have on occasion tried to track my expenitures (easy to do since I use a credit card (gasp!) and pay it off each month). However, I noticed that most of my money is spent on gas and food. Well, it is easy enough to break it down that I am spending too much money on food, about $475 per month for two people! Well, that doesn’t even count the few bucks on my wife’s statements (I make most food purchases).

Believe it or not, I have found out by looking at previous statements that since we started eating healthier, we have been spending more on food. It is not cheap to make healthy meals. We used to spend at least $100 less per month when we were making more spagetti and casseroles. Although, we could cut $10 per month if I gave up chips.

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40 MK November 23, 2010 at 3:28 pm

I spent just over a year tracking my budget and I found out that i spent WAAAAAY too much on eating out. Every nice dinner was always a “well, it’s just this once…” But as soon as I started tracking it I figured out there were a LOT of those times! I’ve cut back a good amount on my eating out, but there is still room for improvement. But now I’m not going to as expensive restaurants or as frequesntly, so I’m thinking a small step or two in the right direction is better than nothing!

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41 SheBudget November 23, 2010 at 3:55 pm

Also want to add that WalMart is awful for me. If I go in there on my day off or without a plan, I wind up spending close to a $100 or more! We have a Super WalMart and it’s just wonderful! If I don’t go in there with a set list, I just go nuts and pick up all sorts of random junk. Now, I don’t go into WalMart without a set list of items I need.

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42 Stephanie November 23, 2010 at 4:03 pm

I started using Mint.com and an app on my phone to track my spending and balance my checking account (something I NEVER do, and have paid for dearly numerous times) and found that my “little” splurges on a nice cut of meat, or a small grocery trip to New Seasons or Whole Foods added up quickly over the course of a month.

Like the situation in the quote stated above, I’m much more prone to more numerous, small splurges while my boyfriend only splurges on the occasional entertainment item, such as a TV or video game. This book sounds like a great resource!

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43 Jeannine November 23, 2010 at 4:32 pm

I write down all my purchases, but ever since I began using Mint.com I have really been able to see categorically where my money is being spent, and it is EYE OPENING. Next step is doing something about it :o)

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44 Rebecca November 23, 2010 at 4:56 pm

When I first started doing a budget on paper I realized I was spending waaaaaay too much money on clothes.

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45 Briana @ GBR November 23, 2010 at 4:58 pm

I’m reading this book on my Kindle and read that part the other day, but I’d still like to get a hard copy ;)

So I’ve been managing my money and tracking my expenses on and off for about 3 years. One of the things I found shocking was how much I was spending on food! I’m a self proclaimed foodie; I love to eat. I live to eat.But I didn’t realize I was buying food just about everyday. $3 here, $7 here. EVERYDAY! I think one week I spent $200 on fast food. Talk about embarrassing.

Now I’m definitely shopping for things I can eat all the time, so I won’t feel tempted to go to the numerous (and delicious) fast food places around me.

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46 Melissa M November 23, 2010 at 5:19 pm

I try tracking every Jan 1st. It usually lasts less than a week! I get too depressed seeing how much I spend on food and alcohol.

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47 A November 23, 2010 at 6:22 pm

I’ve been tracking on Mint for the past few years and the biggest initial surprise was all of the regular yet unbudgeted expenses I had to add in. Whether it was ATM cash withdrawals (reimbursable cabs for early AM flights!), the check for my portion of a shared cell phone bill, or household supplies, there were a lot of small expenses that I’d left out–adding them in gave me a much better picture of my overall financial situation.

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48 Molly On Money November 23, 2010 at 6:41 pm

I’ve tracked my expenses since the first time my parents pissed me off as a teenager and I was determined to save enough money to get my own apartment! HA! A young girl can dream.
My issue: I was convinced it took a bunch of money to live. And so I earned and spent, earned and spent and never saved but tracked it all!

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49 Mary November 23, 2010 at 7:00 pm

I learned a TON by setting up a monthly budget – I was spending way too much on food and eating out (the usual suspects), but I was also spending a ridiculous % of my paycheck on entertainment (ie. Cable/Iphone/Itunes). So, I dropped down to a lower phone plan and canceled my cable. Now I get WAY more done while I’m at home (instead of sitting in front of the tv), and I save over $150/month!

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50 Daniella November 23, 2010 at 8:48 pm

Definitely food and bottled water, and random drinks through out the day. You think it’s just a few bucks here and there- but it adds up quick!!

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51 Sarah November 23, 2010 at 9:03 pm

After tracking my expenses for a couple months, I realized I spend WAY more money on eating out than I had initially thought or budgeted. Figuring that out has helped me set a more concrete plan and get that spending under control!

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52 Crystal C November 23, 2010 at 9:42 pm

Majority rules! I budgeted over the summer and I spent way more on food than I initially thought.

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53 Brian November 23, 2010 at 10:24 pm

I spent $3400 in gas last year. Yes, $3400 in gas. I thought it would of been about $2000 before I started tracking it. Big eye opener.

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54 TerraD November 24, 2010 at 2:30 am

I spend a ton of money at grocery stores! My statement is full of grocery chains; Whole Foods, Trader Joe’s, Ralph’s, Fresh n Easy, etc. I just started using the sale ads to determine which ones to shop at depending on what I want to eat for the week.

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55 Sandy X November 24, 2010 at 10:40 am

Tracking my expenses is always an adventure! I usually end up taking money from one area to use in another. More recently, however, I’ve been finding that I have a few bucks at the end of the month. With no credit card balance (a newly accomplished feat), I tuck these funds away in a savings account and start all over again when I get paid. See for yourself…this is my expense tracker: http://tinyurl.com/289j39h

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56 Kelly November 24, 2010 at 12:46 pm

I’ve been tracking my spending for about two years now. I know I would be constantly running out of money without it, because all those little things add up! I’ve been shocked at how much I spend on retail therapy and food. Now that I have to enter all those receipts in myself, it definitely makes me think twice before I spend!

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57 Keith November 24, 2010 at 4:09 pm

There are two ‘eras’ of life where I/we got really serious about tracking spending and doing some analysis. 1) when we graduated college and the realization that Uncle Sam takes more than you expected (i.e. we’re poor – how do we live). We cut down to the absolute necessities since debt wasn’t something we wanted. 2) life after kids. Kids by definition are money black-holes. With kid 1 it took a year for the budget to stabilize to the new normal, and about the same for kid 2. Since this is the most recent – we found out we eat out way too much – not really a surprise.

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58 Christian November 24, 2010 at 6:47 pm

Like some others here, when I tracked where my money was going, I saw a huge chunk was being spent on eating out. This was saddening. As I lowered my head and thought, “Wow. What do I have to show for this?” I saw my pudgy belly and had my answer.

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59 Michael November 24, 2010 at 9:34 pm

I decided to start tracking my spending when I graduated from college and was on my own, still working my college valet job, while looking for a “real” job. I found that I definitely liked to eat out a bit too much and I also spent a little much on going out for coffee. So, while I would still allow myself to eat out some and to make an occasional coffee house visit, I cut back on both of these and decided to save this money instead. A very welcome, unintended benefit that I got from this was that I actually ended up losing about five pounds just from not eating out as much. So, more savings plus weight loss = I was sold and kept tracking my spending for about a year.

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60 Cat November 24, 2010 at 11:36 pm

When I was in college my first year I decided to look at that annual report that your credit card gives you for free with analytics. I learned that I spent a ton of money at gas stations (i wonder why… beer) and food and clothing mostly, and a lot of what they called Travelling. I couldn’t believe the amount of money I racked up on those things, and part of it, I’m sure, is because it was the first time I was really “on my own” with what seemed like endless money. Ohhh the joys of credit.

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61 Ronnie November 24, 2010 at 11:53 pm

For me is was definately food/dining. I always stayed within my monthly income, but I never saved. I started an excel spreadsheet to track where my money was going. Well needless to say I was spending $5-$10 a day for lunch at work, then going out for dinner/drinks 2-3 times a week. I ended up realizing I was spending over $100 a week on food and thats not even including groceries!

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62 Melissa November 25, 2010 at 4:50 pm

I found that I was spending way too much money on coffee!

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63 Janet November 25, 2010 at 5:01 pm

Like the previous comments, I fall in the single category. So, I don’t like to cook. Also, Yelp is a great way to recognize the fruits of my labor! I will change once I have a family, but until then, I enjoy food too much to change this habit.

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64 Dana November 25, 2010 at 6:35 pm

Several Christmases ago I tracked my Christmas spending. I tracked everything; including gifts for friends and family, decorations, holiday parties, hostess gifts, Christmas cards, travel, etc. When I added up everything after Christmas, I was shell-shocked. It was nearly three times what I had guessed I would spend. Now, I make a budget and stick to it.

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65 J. Money November 26, 2010 at 3:58 pm

Man, we spend a loooooot of money on things! :) I like those who commented on Target & Walmart (and even Duane Reed! haha….) – it’s true, some of those places can suck us in!!!!

Another place that eats my money — Go Daddy. I am a sucker for picking up domain names, I literally spent over $1500 last year on it alone. That was a big shock for me… although blog stuff is in there too like hosting, so it’s not purely for “future ideas” :)

Will pick the winners in 2 days, keep ‘em coming friends!

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66 Maria November 27, 2010 at 11:50 am

A few years ago I realised my credit card debt kept increasing each month…and I felt that I was losing control of my finances. So, I started writing down everything I spent for 6 months to see where the problem was. I quickly realised that my outgoings were much higher than my income. The main issues were eating out at lunchtime, clothes (most of which were “boredom buys”, and ‘bits-n-pieces’, like a candle, a lipstick, a plant, etc.

I then scrutinized my bills and reduce and cancelled anything that I felt wasn’t necessary for my lifestyle. I took on a 2nd job for one year to pay off my car loan and all credit cards. I also put away my credit cards and only used cash (as far as it was possible). And, I purchased Quicken software to keep a track of everything I spend.

I still keep a track of my spending but not so intensely. More of as a gauge. I still tend to by ‘bits-n-pieces’ although I try to be more conscious of the purchases. I rarely eat out ‘cos thats sure eats up your money fast. And, I can’t remember the last time I bought a piece of clothing that wasn’t on sale or I didn’t get from a thrift store. I also enjoy making my own clothes – but only by material when the store has a sale.

Tracking and budgeting is THE best way to understand your own personal spending habits. And you can see where you may have some problems and can fix it…if you want to that is.

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67 Diana November 28, 2010 at 5:57 pm

I couldn’t understand why I was working a full time job and still had to bum money off people by the end of the week for essential things like gas. I decided the best way to fix it was to track my expense and found that my little $50 trips to drug stores for cosmetics and makeup ended up averaging over $150/week!!! I also spent too much money on eating out!

Tracking every penny you spend is a real eye opener!!!

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68 Glen November 28, 2010 at 8:51 pm

I have been tracking my spending using Mint.com since October 2009. The first time I analyzed my spending about 3 months in, I realized that we were spending $40 a month on our two little poodles. With the toys, treats, food, and grooming it started adding up. Since then we have been using coupons on food and treats, severely limited the number of toys (since they have 2 pet beds full), and my wife started grooming them herself after purchasing a set of clippers.

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69 Meg November 28, 2010 at 8:52 pm

I have kept a spending diary before and found that I was spending a ton of money on eating out! I have tried to get better, but always find myself spending more then I should on eating at restaurants!

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70 J. Money November 28, 2010 at 9:13 pm

*GIVEAWAY OVER*

Here are the 3 lucky winners of an awesome book!!
1) Chung L
2) Alex Beszterda
3) Briana @ GBR

Congrats guys! Look out for an email soon from me ;)
Thanks for participating everyone, gotta another book to give away soon, keep your eyes open!

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