Make A Change Monday: Keep A Spending Journal

Keep a spending journal

When I first started Family Friendly Frugality, I knew I wanted to approach frugal living from a very relaxed and welcoming mindset. I wanted to create a blog about frugal living that didn’t leave people  feeling overwhelmed or less than when they walked away.

The main complaint I hear about saving money nowadays is that it is too darn overwhelming to know where to begin. If you have $20,000 in credit card debt, is clipping a few coupons realistically going to make much of an impact to your bottom line? If you are drowning in student loans and house payments, is living within your means even possible?

The answer to all of the above is  yes. While the small things you do might not add up to financial freedom, they do make a big difference. Some of them will chip away at your debt or create more wiggle room in a tight budget. Some of them will simply give you more confidence and a self esteem boost, proving to yourself that you can save money!

So I am starting a Make a Change Monday series where I will simply give you one task to work on for the week. You might already be doing it…so you get to skip that week! If not though, try it out and see if it makes a difference! I’ll keep them small manageable changes that don’t require a lot of effort or learning the drugstore game 😉 .

This week’s Make A Change Task:

Keep A Spending Journal!

I have friends who meticulously track every single morsel of food that enters their mouths. Yet, ask them where all their money has gone and why they are broke, and they have no idea! Start a spending journal this week and just keep track of where your money goes. You don’t have to change how you spend at all (although subconsciously you just might!), just make sure you are totally honest in your tracking.

That’s it!

Do you currently have  a spending journal? I know some people still track everything in their checkbooks, but nowadays I think that is more the exception than the rule.

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Heather is the creator and owner of Family Friendly Frugality. She calls Texas home and is married to her best friend. With 2 children 22 months apart, she has her hands full. So full that she decided to start blogging as a hobby. That hobby blew up into a full time job. Now she's got the husband, the kids and the blog. We're not exactly sure what she was thinking, but she's too busy for us to ask. Find Me On Google +

4 thoughts on “Make A Change Monday: Keep A Spending Journal”

  1. Great idea, Heather (on the Make a Change Monday series AND the spending journal). I don’t currently keep one, but did while we were trying our “No Spend Month challenge” for February. And boy, was it telling to write everything down.

    My husband and I don’t actually balance our checkbooks either (gasp!). Somehow it still works for us. It helps that we use individual accounts (along with a joint account), so that we only have to mentally keep track of our own spending. (Knock on wood), we haven’t ever bounced a check, so we’re doing something right. 🙂

    Looking forward to following the new series, though. Great idea!

    1. Thanks Alissa! Yeah we don’t balance a checkbook either! My husband does the entire thing in Excel. Sometimes I feel like we should have a paper backup though. We are pretty meticulous about the excel spreadsheet though!

      Let me know if you ever want to contribute to Make A Change Monday! It seems like a great guest posting series 😉

    1. Sure! Honestly it doesn’t have to be very complex. It can be as simple as just recording the name of the place of purchase and the amount you spent there.

      For instance:

      Walgreens $10.97
      Walmart $7.89
      Kroger $100.00

      You don’t have to balance it, you don’t have to total it…just keep track of your purchases. Every time you write down what you spent, you will likely have an internal dialogue over it:

      “Wow, this is the fourth purchase I’ve written in my spending journal today. None of these have really been necessary”


      “Look at that, last week when I went to Kroger I spent $120. This week I only spent $110! I knew I could get my grocery bill lower and I did!”

      It’s really just an exercise in conscious spending. If you currently do keep any sort of checkbook ledger, than you might not have a need for a spending journal. This is mainly for people who spend without thinking and who need a bit more accountability.

      I hope that helps! If not, let me know if there’s something in particular I can clarify. Thanks so much for commenting!

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