I’ll be the first to admit that I’m still a beginner at all this. I’ve only been tracking my personal expenses for a little over 6 months now. But I remain shocked about how much money we spend on a certain categories. And how, despite the month or excuses, certain categories are the most likely to get out of hand. Each time my wife and I go over our spending (weekly), we notice that Clothing, Eating Out, and Groceries seem to be consistently the highest spending categories for us. These are our naughty 3 expenses. But your naughty 3 expenses will be different than ours. It’s important that we track our expenses or else we truly have no idea where our money goes each month.
My Naughty 3 Expenses
Clothing is a naughty expense! And no, I’m not talking about Victoria’s Secret or the lingerie section in Dillard’s. I’m talking about how difficult it is to control this category of spending each month. And let me tell you, there are defense mechanisms to control this category which I’ll discuss. But the truth is, it’s very difficult to control our spending on clothing.
For more detail on the cost of our clothing habit and tips to control it, read my in depth post here.
My first month of tracking our expenditures, I realized that we spent over $800 eating out in a single month. 2 people who cook at home most of the time found a way to spend almost $1,000 eating out. The scary thing is, I used to eat lunch out every day before I started tracking our expenditures. So I know this number would be much higher previously. I can promise you this. Once you start tracking your spending, you will be shocked how quickly your Friday night date nights start to add up. Eating out is so much more expensive than eating in. I recommend reading my article about lunch and happy hour to get a feel for how much money we really spend eating out.
Ah… Last but not least, and perhaps most naughty of all – groceries. The reason why groceries is most naughty of all is because it’s the most sinister. For the longest time, I told my wife as long as we cut back on eating out, we should not care about how much we spend on groceries. And while that sounds great and all, the reality is that’s how you end up spending $1,300 in a month on groceries for 2 people. We have to watch this category because if you’re like me, you have the tendency to justify all frivolous purchases on groceries because when you buy groceries you’re less likely to eat out. And it’s true! Eating out is probably one of the biggest wastes of money. But spending wildly on groceries instead doesn’t really solve the problem either. Watching our grocery spending is one of the biggest ways my wife and I have been able to buy more assets each month. If you’re wanting more on this, I go very in-depth here on grocery spending. And I have a whole category dedicated to buying assets.
Your Naughty 3 Expenses
My naughty 3 expenses are naughty because they are the most difficult to control. They’re like that kid you went to school with who just couldn’t help but get into trouble all the time. But these are unique to me and most likely won’t be the same for you. It’s important though to be tracking our expenses or else we won’t be able to recognize the naughty categories that continue to thwart our saving efforts. Now that you know my naughty 3, what are yours?