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Photo By: acnatta

Frugal Dad shares the story of an American family that slashed its weekly spending from $660 to under $110. It’s a pretty impressive cut in expenses. In the video (MSNBC), Ellen Roberts, the mother says the key was just knowing where all her money was going:

“You just spend so much money on frivolous things, it adds up. You don’t understand how it adds up until you really see the numbers.”

It seems pretty simple, but even I’ve been surprised by how much more conscious of my spending I’ve become since recording where my pennies go.

Lesson learned: You can’t know how much money you spent, if you don’t write it down.

I’ve still got about a week of recording before I create a proper budget.Judging by my numbers so far, I’m not sure I could live within the budget of the Roberts’. Although Ellen admits she’s going back to getting professional pedicures,  I’m extremely impressed by their ability to spend under $110 for the entire family. As an individual, do you live happily under $100/week? Could you? Could you cut your spending in half?

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  • On Not Budgeting
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    Photo By: Brianware3000

    On this journey to financial freedom, I am not starting with a budget. I’ve done that already. My budget plans have lived on scraps of paper, Word documents, e-mails addressed to myself and little books I designated as my books of money. They have never lasted more than two weeks.

    The problem was not that I couldn’t stick to a budget. The problem was that I drafted them blindly. I never tracked my spending so I could not accurately gauge how much I would need to spend on food, transportation or entertainment. Instead, I guesstimated how much I would spend on each category and I was usually wrong. It was like signing up for a marathon before I knew how long I could run.

    It turned out I couldn’t make it around the block. I would often spend over what my budget allowed. Instead of being realistic, I wrote optimistic budgets that failed to account for birthday gifts, spur-of-the-moment concert tickets or dry cleaning. When I consistently overspent, I was discouraged and quickly abandoned the budget.

    This has gone on for years. I’m ashamed to admit that it’s only now that I’ve begun to track my money. To some, it seems simple enough. To others, it may be a dreadful chore. But when it comes down to it, how can you save money if you don’t know where it goes?

    I now keep my track of all my spending. From the $60 bar tab to the to $1.50 coffee, I’ve recorded all transactions from the past week. So far, I’ve found it to not only be a great way to see where my money is going, but to reign in spending. I’ve only been doing it for a week and a half, but I’ve already determined that I’ve spent too much money parking and entertainment. Perhaps it’s a little obsessive of me, but I have to admit, knowing where I’ve spent each penny is empowering. Dare I say, it’s even a little fun..