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Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Money Dare #1--Bank Statements

As you know, I took on the challenge to not buy anything new in 2010. It's a big challenge, but amazingly, so far, it's been pretty easy.

Then again, it's been 3 weeks.
3 weeks down, 49 more to go.

Let's face it. This is not a challenge to take lightly. Therefore, I needed to think about how in the world I was going to tackle this. I decided to get down and dirty with that monthly mailing that I would never, ever, ever look at.

The Bank Statement.

My challenge for you is to take a look at your bank statement. Where is your money going? Afraid to look? Not sure you want to know?

If you're not willing to look and get real with your spending, you're not ready to make the change. Plain and simple.

Here's a story. The other day I was working with a student who was upset that he was going to be charged $480 dollars because he passed the drop deadline for his class to get a full refund. All universities have these deadlines, and all universities have heard the stories about why a student doesn't think it's fair that they don't have to pay for their class. When I explained to the student we could try to appeal the charge, he was all for it....until he had to do a little leg work.

"Why do I have to do this?"
"This is really a pain, can't you just waive it for me?"
"I think this policy is really poor customer service."
"If you don't waive this, I'm going elsewhere."

He wanted the fee waived, but didn't want to own up to anything.

You want to make a change in your finances?
You need to own up to it.

Are you spending $80 a month at your favorite coffee place?
$200 a week at the grocery?
Another $20 a week at the grocery to pick up a few things to have at your desk?
Are you guilty of buying gas, but going inside to pay and pick up a Diet Coke, a snack and maybe a few lotto tickets?

For the record, the only one of the above that was a true reflection of my bank account was the coffee. You know it's bad when the people at Caribou know your name.

You're not going to know where you're money is going until you see where you're spending your money. Don't like the idea of shuffling through a bunch of paper copies? My bank statement is also available online and can be exported into an excel document! Talk about easy sorting to see what goes where and when!

The crazy thing is....that money I could have spent at Caribou could have been another deposit into my money market savings account.

There you are, my friends.
Challenge number 1. Look at the bank statement!


Rebecca Jo said...

Have you ever used Mint.com ???? Its WONDERFUL & shows exactly where your money is going every month!

The Mumpowers said...

Good challenge. I don't know if I'm quite up to the challenge of not buying anything new this year, but I think it would be great to try and tackle down the road. I think I will take your mini-challenge of checking out my bank statements and seeing where our money is going and what I can do to save some extra. SITS sent me over and I think I'll stay awhile! :)

American in Norway said...

WOW! I can drop $15 a DAY on getting a SALAD & bottle of water at work. You think $15 I would be getting a lap dance with that salad wouldn't you? -Scandinavia is very expensive... all I would have to do is get up 15 min early...or not check my email before I went into the office & I could be saving a TONN of money...
Good job about getting real about your money.. Smart girl!