Look in the Mirror

Week 2 | GB 201: Budget With a Why

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Have you looked in the mirror lately?

You’re thinking, “What does my bathroom mirror have to do with budgeting?” Looking at our money habits is a little like looking in the mirror.  When we look at our spending, saving, and giving habits, we can see ourselves a bit more clearly.We asked Karisa to take a look at her money mirror, and here’s what she said:
“Eww, it’s gross looking at my Spending by Envelope report! When I do it for the whole year and it tells me how much I spent for all of last year, it’s just kind of shocking! It’s like, ‘Whoa, I spent that much money!’ I spent a lot of money on clothing, and that’s kind of controllable. Thinking about how many clothes I have in my closet, I know I don’t need to buy more. I have enough — more than enough. So this is one area where I could significantly cut back if I really want to get serious about paying off my debt this year.”
Okay, now your turn! Look in your money mirror.  Don’t worry if you see something gross.  You gotta see it first before you can deal with it!
  1. Take a look at your Spending by Envelope report.  (That’s your mirror.)
  2. What did you notice about your money habits?  Do you see anything that’s surprising about your spending, saving, or giving?
  3. Stop there!  There will be plenty of time to change things later.  Right now, we’re just taking a peek and assessing the situation.

Tell us what you saw. Comment below!

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39 thoughts on “Look in the Mirror”

  1. More than 50% of my spending is toward bills! We also had some maintenance on both of our cars so far this year. Two flat tires in one month! Hm…

  2. When I look in the mirror I see someone who is not as generous as I want to be. It’s a little painful, but thank you Goodbudget for encouraging me to look for ways to be more generous.

  3. When I really look at where I’m spending my money, I noticed it’s a lot going to entertainment. I’m purchasing too many movies.

  4. We’re not doing a good job planning for those one-off “big-ish” expenses (a new mattress, hosting that big party…). The cost should be manageable if we spread it out, but currently it blows our out grocery or household envelope in the month it occurs.

  5. Here here on the “one-off big-ish” expenses (e.g. painting contractors, high school band trips, etc) …or maybe they aren’t so one-off. My mirror tells me I anticipate but then underfund the envelopes of those larger planned expenses. I need to be more real about the likely cost of such things and then commit to funding the appropriate amount each and every month. Thanks Goodbudget​, you are a superb tool!

    • Yup! Those one-off expenses are tricky. And you might be right that they’re not so one-off… so it’s good to plan a reasonable amount for them.

  6. I spent about $1800 last month on credit card debt. Half of that was paying down debt, which is good. But half was new/recent charges. Imagine if it all was debt paydown.

  7. My spending is on helping my college students. Yep! Parent loans, room and board & etc. Like others i have household bills. If i have extra funds i may purchase clothing, food or other needed items. I want to spend less and pay more so that i can retire. I dont want to work until die.

  8. That I put a double digit percentage toward expenses that were for the benefit of my now ex-bf. We never got to the point of actually having the frank and open discussion about our finances. I thought I was being thoughtful and generous, while stepping outside of my budget. Instead, I was enabling him not to have one.

    • Oof! Those frank and open discussions can definitely be hard to start. It can be tough to move past the taboo and talk with people we trust.

  9. Our spending is pretty much exactly what we’d expect. The biggest things were new carpet and bed for one of the bedrooms and supporting our son at uni, but on the more everyday expenses front, it was fine. In an ideal world, each envelope would get given just that little bit more, but you can’t spend what you don’t have eh.
    I recently had to increase the petrol budget as we were running out of money for that before the end of the month, but in general our system works very well – we have 3 bank accounts; one for bills, one for everyday spending (food, petrol etc.) and one for savings and less frequent spending (house repairs, car servicing, holidays etc.). We use Goodbudget for the latter 2 accounts (the bills one runs itself as it’s all on direct debit) and we find it a very useful tool for keeping track of what we’ve got in each envelope.

  10. I realize that selecting gifts is a form of entertainment for me and have now considered larger projects to which I would like that money to be spent.

  11. I see the blessing of spending many years trying to do well with our finances. We didn’t start out well in this area in our marriage. But now I see giving, saving, only a mortgage, and better attitudes toward our funds. All glory To God! Goodbudget has been a KEY factor in regards to the tools I use every single day to keep up with our budget. Appreciate it and recommend it often!!

  12. You guys have helped me to pay thousands off my mortgage in the past 18 months. I had literally no idea where my money was going! Now I religiously list every bill and particle of spending.
    Thank you so much 🙂

  13. I spend a lot of money on items for my home. I like my home to be comfortable and organized. But I am sure that I do a better job in this area. I don’t like the size of my spending in bank fees (NSF’s or transfer fees), and I don’t like my eating out habits. I don’t enjoy eating out; I do it because I haven’t planned lunch or dinner. If I could drop the fees and the unnecessary eating out, I would have more to spend on what I want to spend money on, like donations and helping family members out.

  14. I am working partirme, some goes to savings and the rest goes to pay some of our home bills and expenses. When I want to get something that I want, I am not able to. I want to be able to get what I want financially and not be in more debt.. Since I depend on on my husband pensions for the majority of our income, find I am taking in more part time work to make some of my wishes come true.

  15. There were some expected overspending towards credit card debt. However, looking at the detail I was shocked to find out how much eating out was happening! I’ve calculated $1,200 for last month! With Goodbudget I’m hoping to get a handle on this unnecessary spending.

  16. There were some expected overspending towards credit card debt. However, looking at the detail I was shocked to find out how much eating out was happening! I’ve calculated $1,200 for last month! With Goodbudget I’m hoping to get a handle on this unnecessary spending.

  17. I have always been good with managing my budget without a method….. and then I got Goodbudget and seen where exactly all that money is going and it’s going towards eating out!! My mirror showed me how “fat and careless” I was with my money. I started budgeting $200 a month for myself and my family of 5 towards eating out and the past 2 months I’ve been banking that and saving $200 instead of eating it away!

  18. My biggest “bad habit” flaw is starting a budget and working on it; thus far it’s been on another budgeting program – give every dollar a job slogan. But, I get bored of said program and google others. It’s as if I’m looking for the perfect one; the ones that meet my idea (re: needs) of a perfect one. It’s a vicious cycle. The areas where I spend money I don’t have is at Amazon. I read a lot and watch very little of the telly. I have numerous books on my Kindle, many of which I’ve read already. I rarely ever eat out, but do buy a frozen meal for my lunch at work. That’s another big expense. Have to work on bringing lunch from home. Baby steps!

  19. Well for me my envelops were cleared in like the first week of November which means that what I budgeted for each envelop I’ve already used and that basically means I can’t buy any more groceries or use any more money for transport which is kind of impossible

  20. I’m finding that the little stuff adds up in a hurry. I think, “oh, this isn’t much”. And then wonder where all the money went.

  21. I see me spending money on stuff I don’t need and lending to much money to family. I’ve learnt no to impulse buy, be pushed into buying and set up sub accounts for things ( my envelope method)

  22. I am not consistent with my spending and savings. I do really well an then fall off track and it spirals from month to month.

  23. I live my life as if I am going to win the lottery………….. yet I don’t even buy tickets. I need to force myself to realize that I can have all my “wants” if I budget and exercise self discipline.

  24. It reminds me that money is tight, some necessary things are expensive and that budgeting is a good way to keep a handle on it all!

  25. I spend a lot of groceries and personal care. It’s midway through the month, so its a good check to see where my money has been going lately.

  26. I’m looking forward to having our small RV paid off (a tax deductible Heloc). We pay $300/ week to it so as to reduce the interest fast. Because of the contract/points discount we got, we can’t pay it off till this July. However, July is right around the corner, then we’re debt free again!

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