Entry #4: September 22 – Tracking Spending Habits

Entry #4: September 22,2017 – Tracking Spending Habits

Getting a grip on my spending was one of the most empowering things I’ve done for myself. Last year when I started working on my personal plan for retirement, I realized I didn’t have any clear idea of how much I was spending each month.

I’ve always considered myself fairly frugal, so I wasn’t too concerned about my spending. I’ve always paid my bills, I’ve generally put a little in savings each month, and I’ve have had enough left over to enjoy some small indulgences.

When I retire in 15 months, I’ll have a modest pension and other small revenue sources, allowing me to live a modest life until I can draw full Social Security benefits in a few years.  I also plan to generate a few revenue sources after I retire.  However, I will not have as much financial flexibility as I do right now. Because of this, I knew something would need to change.

As part of my personal plan, I realized I needed to develop the discipline to track my spending. Last year I created a spread sheet with several spending categories including bills, medical, car expenses, gifts, entertainment, wine (yes, I even have a category for wine), and expenses related to the dog.  I committed to recording every cent I spent each day. Then at the end of the month, I total the categories and analyze where my money was going. I was shocked at what I discovered!

I now can see that my “wine” budget” which included two wine club memberships was fun but could be adjusted. I dropped one of my memberships.  I do confess, I enjoy good wine. However, I can certainly purchase decent, but much cheaper bottles from Costco when it isn’t a special occasion.

I could also see that our weekly grocery bill is way out of line for two people. I buy things without planning because I’m very busy. I can make adjustments in this area without making a big lifestyle adjustment.

There are a number of other areas where I can make modest changes that will make a big overall difference in my budget needs.

Once I got my system set up, it was easy to do. I’d recommend it for anyone who is making a life change or is anticipating one.


I am an associate professor of communication in Southern Oregon. I'm also an ancient spirit who has learned how to create positive changes in my own life and use unexpected changes to become more of the person I believe I am meant to be. My vision is to help empower others by sharing how to dream big and develop measurable action steps to achieve those dreams.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *