Friday, September 11, 2009

Finding My Money Leaks: The August Report

Yup. I could have saved more and spent less in August. As promised, I paid careful attention to my spending, saving and consuming habits in August. We all have money leaks. Here are my downfalls & solutions:
  • Lost items: I use paraben-free cosmetics from Origins and Burt's Bees. Unfortunately, while at the zoo with my kids, I lost my favorite lip gloss. I was careless and should have paid more attention. The replacement cost represents money that I could have saved or used for other expenses. My goal for September is to lower or eliminate careless costs.

  • Expired coupons: As a member of the frequent shopper program at CVS, I often receive coupon offers that are attractive. For example, during the summer, I received a coupon for $5 off a $20 purchase, which would have been perfect for school supplies. But I didn't check the offer date, and the deal expired before I used the coupon. My goal for September is to be more vigilant about deals and deadlines. I also plan to make better use of my calendar by flagging important expiration dates and stashing my receipts in the folder section of my home calendar.

  • Light check: We have made tremendous progress on our electric bill and have converted our home to CFL bulbs. With the exception of the light bulbs in the display case and the the lava light, my home is illuminated by energy-saving CFLs. However, sometimes when we are rushing out of the home, we have forgotten to turn off lights, the air conditioner the fans. One ceiling fan can cost up to $7 a month if it runs nonstop. My goal: No matter how busy, I plan to double check lights and power before the morning or afternoon rush hours.
  • Costly delays: I traveled a lot during the summer, including short trips to Pittsburgh and Orlando. Travel specials offered great deals, but I could have spent less if I had not procrastinated. My goal: Book early, save more.

  • Keep records: My August money leak challenge prompted me to pay closer attention for 30 days. On a scale of 1-10, my attention span hit the mid range of 6-7. I can do better. My September goal: From September 15 -30, I plan to keep an expense journal. With a shorter tracking period, I hope to gather more insights and cut more waste. Watch this space.

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