Challenge Week 2: Slim Statements = Fat Pockets | $tart with Change

Challenge Week 2: Slim Statements = Fat Pockets

Controlling your money flow starts with a good review of your spending habits. So back by popular demand, this week’s challenge is to review your debit and/or credit card transactions on your online statement or other spending records (i.e. check register, receipts) for the last few weeks. Then, write down the 2-3 things that you could have done without and answer our online poll. Here are a few examples to get your started:

• New sneakers

• Movie rentals

• New purse

• Eating lunch out


What’s the Difference Between a Want and a Need?

When reviewing your spending, consider the differences between real needs and wants. When you think about it, people really only need four things to survive: shelter; enough food and water to remain healthy; basic health care and hygiene items; and just enough clothing to remain comfortable and warm. Everything beyond that is a want. But let’s face it, few if any of us want to live that frugally. Never fear though, good money management doesn’t mean you have to deprive yourself of all the things you may desire. It’s about finding the right balance between what you want to spend your money on and what you can afford after you have taken care of your basic needs. Everyone has different goals and priorities, so what works for you may not work for someone else. Asking yourself some of these questions may help:

• What are the things that I never regret spending money on?

• What are the things that would be nice to have, but really are not that important to me?

• What are my fixed expenses each month such as rent, car payments, health and car insurance, or cell phone charges?

• Is there a way to decrease my fixed expenses each month (e.g., lower cost cell phone contract) so I have more money for saving and/or spending on the things I really enjoy?

• How can I reduce the amount I spend on groceries each week and still maintain a healthy diet?

• Are there ways to reduce my commuting costs (i.e. take the bus, ride-share)?

• What is the amount I can comfortably afford to spend each month on eating out and/or entertainment?


*Details and official rules here

Posted on April 9, 2012 at 1:13 pm 19 comments

Categories: Challenge 2012, Managing a Bank Account, Promos & Contests, Spending Control

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  1. amandaxbs Says:
    April 9, 2012 at 3:05 pm

    I spent $50 for two for a meal that wasn’t even very good at a nice restaurant I don’t even really like…I would of been 10x happier with a $5 subway footlong…

  2. nora_xlove Says:
    April 9, 2012 at 5:57 pm

    I spend about $60 dollars every weekend on new clothes,eating out and things i don’t need and then realize i have enough clothes, and food in my refrigerator at the time i don’t notice because they’re small transactions like 7.00 or 10.00 but at the end it all sums up

  3. docplove Says:
    April 10, 2012 at 4:16 pm

    After looking at my recent transactions…I could have done without the frames I bought for my degree’s…I bought 5 of them and they only costed $2 each. I also bought some cool stuff that said something about Love because my last name is Love…so I finally bought something since I have not done so in a while..they costed $4 each I believe..I still need to find a place to hang them in my dorm because my degree’s didnt stick to my wall. I bought a Monster for $2 too :P

    I do not spend much money in a month so I have a lot of spending power…even though that could be why I spend so losely…more training for me I guess :)

  4. worksofartpr Says:
    April 11, 2012 at 8:24 am

    I spend about $400+ each month eating out. It is a bad habit that I really need to break. Each time I review my bank statements I resolve to cook at home more but that just never seems to happen. I know it takes 21 days to form a habit but it seems I just don’t have the “time” to get this habit formed.

  5. swimmingturtle Says:
    April 12, 2012 at 2:01 am

    After checking my transactions, I realized I could cut back on certain things when I go out to eat. Instead of ordering a soda, I can just ask for a free water. Speaking of water, I can also bring my own water in a canteen instead of constantly buying packages of plastic water bottles. Instead of buying print newspapers, I can just read them online instead.

  6. angelphish80 Says:
    April 12, 2012 at 4:38 pm

    I could have saved money by not eating out so much. But its so hard when your always on the go :)

  7. snoopi678 Says:
    April 12, 2012 at 4:47 pm

    I could really slim down my statement by eliminating things in my Walmart cart. Seems like the store puts all the stuff you need in the back, so they can have you walk past everything you may want and get you to buy it. I could also minimize little things from the corner store. For example, candy bars or packs of gum. Little things add up over a period of time.

  8. RyanDear Says:
    April 12, 2012 at 4:52 pm

    ive viewed my latest transactions the last few weeks and every week on wednesday nights i seem to be purchasing coffee and junk food for night class. i could do without the junk food and coffee my providing myself with nutritional snacks and water or tea instead.

  9. tonyalow Says:
    April 12, 2012 at 5:02 pm

    We spend $100.00 a month on dining out. I could cut that down by going out to dinner twice a month instead of every week. I am a pretty penny pincher. I already read news online, read books from library, use coupons, stock pile when stuff is on sale. This summer I will be shopping farm markets for veggies and fruits, that will cut some costs…it costs to eat healthy.

  10. atovar28 Says:
    April 12, 2012 at 5:24 pm

    A couple weeks back I went to Costco and I bought a pack of v- neck t-shirts for $20 that looked and felt good, but that I did not need. I regret it only because I ran out of money.

  11. hpinksten Says:
    April 12, 2012 at 5:30 pm

    I checked my statements and find that I order out too much. I also bought way too much for Easter.

  12. collintm22 Says:
    April 12, 2012 at 5:44 pm

    Currently, I see way too much being spent on GASOLINE!!!!! I need to conserve on the miles I drive in a week.

  13. landon Says:
    April 12, 2012 at 6:04 pm

    I probably couldn’t done without spending almost 1000 bucks on the new IPAD for my fiancee lol but hey I love to spoil her and I been eating out too much.

  14. Truckingal Says:
    April 12, 2012 at 8:12 pm

    I viewed my statements for the past several weeks and realize that I spend on an average of $3.54-$5.60 per day on fountain drinks and snacks on my way to school and/or running errands. I think it’s more cost effective if I start buying stuff in bulk at grocery stores and bringing with me verses buying them at the convent stores every day. I should save a lot more money that way. I didn’t realize how quickly that adds up in a months time.

  15. ljbrat61 Says:
    April 12, 2012 at 9:18 pm

    Eating out may be convenient, but I could probably make the same thing at home for 1/3 of the cost. Need to watch that.

  16. tajj2007 Says:
    April 12, 2012 at 11:25 pm

    I could have gone without eating out, my crazy Easter purchases and I could go with cheaper tickets to sporting events.

  17. nuocxanh Says:
    April 16, 2012 at 7:36 am

    In the last few week, I spent all my money for electronics

  18. velveeta98 Says:
    April 17, 2012 at 12:30 pm

    eating out … specifically pizza

  19. missedina Says:
    April 20, 2012 at 10:02 am

    Yeah, we ate our last week. My husband always wants to once a week. I wanted us to start cutting back though because it really is like 100% mark-up compared to making the meals yourself.

    Also, I spent my money a little more careless this month. Like emotional spending. I bought some underwear (since I didn’t pack enough) and a protein bar (forgetting to plan and pack). I am usually much better at planning ahead. So, I need to get back on track with that.


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