It’s a question that we all ask ourselves at some point: Where did the money go?
The daily business of living can add up, which is why one of the best things that we can do for our finances is to track spending—down to the last dollar.
Whether you use a notebook, a spreadsheet or a free app, knowing exactly where your money is flowing is the first step toward fixing problems, recognizing weak spots and celebrating the things that we’re doing right.
So we challenged four people to jot down every dollar that they spent in a full day, and report back with their results.
Inquiring minds want to know: How does your daily spending measure up?
Steven, 39, Private Equity Executive Managing Director, New York, NY
Wine: $304.14. I needed to restock my collection for entertaining, so I took the opportunity to explore lots of new wines.
Ticket to the Semifinals of the Oliver Metro NY Open: $21.49. I got to support a worthwhile charity, StreetSquash, and watch one of my favorite players win one of the best matches I’ve seen all season … the gods are good.
Squash Tournament Registration: $130.00. I’ve been playing squash for six years, and it’s starting to add up. Really, I need to stop playing so much.
Lunch: $18.00. I try to eat lunch every day—today it was sushi.
Dinner at Po: $75.00. I also like dinner, especially if it tastes good.
Cabs to and from Dinner: $42.00.
Groceries: $238.73. My wife and I split the grocery shopping duties, and we make a trip or order from Fresh Direct about once a week. My kids (there are two) need to stop growing …
Kindle Book: $10.33. I bought “Glow: A Novel,” by Jessica Maria Tuccelli. I’ll let you know how it is!
Replacement Glass and Ceramic Pitchers for my Country House: $93.96. Who doesn’t need another glass pitcher?
Microwave for the Country House: $150.55.
New Furniture for the Country House: $4,740.77. We bought our country house in Woodstock, NY, in 2005, and we’ve been adding to it ever since. Apparently, marriage is a constant flux of furniture.
Total: $5,814.64. I’m not at all surprised by what I spent today. Delis, as opposed to restaurants, are typical go-to lunch spots for me and my wife, and I almost always eat out or order in for dinner. Although we don’t keep a budget, we’re fairly regimented about our finances, and agree on our spending priorities.