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As we're working harder to reach our savings goal, we decided to look at our spending over the last four months closely to see if we could find any money that we've unwisely used. The tool of choice of us? Mint.
It's packed full of features and it's free. Mint allows us to quickly find our money leaks and get a system in place to help us fix it.
Mint's Trend Feature
It's easy for us as the data from our joint account are automatically pulled and Mint organizes it for us.
With a few clicks we can check month to month and we can compare them against each other.
You can also drill down to get to the individual transaction.
The only hard part is remember certain charges from stores like Wal-mart where you may have shopped for several items.
Our Areas of Increased Spending
So where is the extra money going?
- Food -By far our food expenses were higher than normal. Last month it was a bit more than double what we normally spend. I haven't been shopping with list lately as I've made several small trips.
- Household Items – Getting things ready for the baby's arrival has added to our expenses. We're reorganizing what was in the baby's room to different places and that means we need shelves for storage and containers to get everything in order.
I think most of this is due to lack of planning on our part.
We used to do big shopping trips together, but lately I've done small shopping trips during the day. That has lead to more impulse buying instead of taking our time and examine prices with different stores.
The price of convenience has been expensive for us.
Our Plans to Fix Our Money Leaks
We can't just ignore problem, we're going to tackle it. Here's how we plan to stop the money leaks from draining our checking account.
- Set up a monthly budget for the new baby related expenses.
- Have Mint track the expenses and alert us if we're close to our spending limits.
Mint allows you to simply login to your account and create or adjust a budget. I lowered a few of the categories, just so we can keep a closer eye on our spending.
We have to get back on the ball and focus on our goals. Both of us have been distracted as we're just trying to keep up with the changes.
Thoughts on Money Leaks
I'd really like to get your thoughts and feedback. How have you've been doing to get on top of your finances?
Have you noticed any money leaks or lifestyle inflation creeps happening? How frequently do you examine your budget and your goals?