February 9, 2011, 5:00 am

Have You Ever Been Hit In The Face by A Baseball Bat?

by: The Financial Blogger    Category: Pay off your Debts
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baseball batClose your eyes.

Get on your knees.

Close your fists.

You are nervous.

You are starting to sweat.

You know it’s coming: a guy with a baseball bat will take a full swing at your face.

How does this feel?

Let me tell you: It ….. HURTS! You wish you were never born!

This is what happens when you track your expenses and calculate them at the end of the year! Well… this is what happened to me last week when I opened my year end credit card statement.

I’m a smart guy. So I spend 95% of my expenses on one credit card; the same credit card paying me tons of points. As I pay it completely each month, there is no harm in terms of interest costs. I just gather points (which I will use to fly away on vacation!). But while I am improving my credit score and gathering points, my credit card also works for me; it tracks down all my expenses for me!

I have a confession to make: I’m lazy.

I’ve used Microsoft Money for about 18 months right before starting my home renovations 2 years ago. Since then, I never opened the software anymore. Why? Because I was able to track all my expenses through a year end statement: my credit card statement. It piles up all my expenses throughout the year and separates them under several categories.

I’ve already told you how I suck at not paying my debts off… well I’m worse than I told you!

My ever-increasing spending has been covered throughout the years because I always got nice, substantial raises. Even last year, I increased my income from 106K to 135K. But this time, I’ve gone too far. Even though I make some real good money, I’m definitely spending too much.

In 2010, I have spent… $57,000 on my credit card! This amount is so huge I still can’t believe it! Here’s how I have spent it:

TravelLodgingGasolineTransportationRestaurantsGroceries and DrugstoreRetails StoresOtherTotal
Total0 $637 $6 186 $1 440 $5 678 $16 471 $18 534 $8 468 $57 414 $

This has to change

I’ve already discussed my financial goals for 2011. One of them is to pay off my debts (especially my credit card debt) by $22,000 in a single year. I will use my favorite gun to fire my debts (increasing my income) but I will also need to cope with spending habits and learn how to save more. I think I can certainly hit the restaurant area as spending close to $500 per month in this category is just ridiculous (especially since I spend a lot on groceries and healthcare at the same time).

Since I want to eat healthier (I’m still struggling with my weight being stuck over 180 lbs), I think I will be able to cut down on dining out. I also want to control my big expenses as I will limit myself to buying central A/C and won’t consider building a garage, a terrace or installing a pool (or a spa).

Have you ever been hit like that? I mean, spending $57K in a year is just stupid! Has it ever happened to you?

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I am always amazed at how much my wife and I spend on food. It appears your credit card balance also has a large sum of money spent on food/restaurants. It is one of those things that I think even frugal people say to themselves, “Well, a man/woman’s got to eat.” I know we sometimes will end up wasting food or purchasing food we do not need. That has to change for us. It may be a good place for you to start as well. Good luck on your journey to frugality, as we are learning as well, it is not all about the salary(s) you earn but rather about the amount you are in the black/red at the end of each year.

I don’t track my spending, so I don’t know. What you’ve shown there doesn’t seem THAT bad.. I am probably higher on restaurants but would hope I am lower on the retail stores.. I think that $18k is maybe what slips through your fingers.. was there some major purchases in there or something?

by: The Financial Blogger | February 9th, 2011 (11:47 am)

Retail stores is pretty big… read scary!

I have actually several important expenses this year:
– washer / dryer
– clothing (both for work and weekend)
– it was my wife’s 30th birthday 😉
– we moved and we had to buy several things for the new house

I guess I should be able to drop this 18K to 10K this year!

Gotta watch out for that lifestyle inflation. I think one of my own personal punches to the stomach was when I realized I paid more in income taxes alone than on rent and transportation last year…