When There Are Eyes on My Budget I Spend Less

I am struggling with making this post useful to anyone who is reading and less word-vomit-teen-aged-diary-entry. I have been tracking my spending more closely the last 3 months and this is what I found. The first month I did pretty good. I was motivated and I made a lot of good decisions and some not so great decisions but overall I made progress with my spending.

The second month I kept the momentum going for the first week and then promptly fell off the wagon. Unexpected expenses popped up and before I knew it, I was spending like I had been before. Which would be fine if my debt was like it had been “before.” But it wasn’t. I bought this $200 rug from a man in a Hardee’s parking lot. Is that a reasonable purchase for anyone, let alone someone who owes someone else $25k? That is ridiculous and I am slightly ashamed, even though I love the rug and am happy with how it works in our bedroom.

Now the first week of October is over and I have to say I am pleased with how well I am doing.  But, to be honest, the first week of the month is always the easiest for me to control my spending. I don’t know why. Something about a fresh start or whatever. One thing I’ve stopped doing is posting weekly accountability posts even though I know I spend better when I am held accountable. So here goes, my weekly accountability diary.



My food for the day included leftovers and rando things that needed to be used up from the fridge. Honestly, I thought I did a good job nutrition and calorie wise and that I brought plenty of food to last the day. By 11am it was clear I was mistaken.

Around 1:30 I contemplated buying a small snack, but remembered I had a smattering of fruit cups and a little bit of cashews left in my bag. I decided to start with that and then if I couldn’t make it I would buy something. Luckily, I had enough snacks to tide me over!

The only spending I did was for a mystery shop that will be complete reimbursed.

Lessons learned: bring more food to work.

I booked $128 in mystery shops for the next couple of weeks. Two are dinner shops so there will be an outlay of funds, but at least there won’t be dishes.



I did better with food at work, and actually brought too much!

I was hoping for a no spend day, but then I realized I didn’t have a key ingredient for the dinner I had planned. And then I didn’t have the energy to make the dinner I planned. It’s relatively simple, just time consuming, and nobody wanted to wait for dinner. So, we had boxed mac and cheese and italian sausage and a veggie tray. I had to buy the mac and cheese and veggie tray (and extra cheese) but the $10 I spent at the store is way better than what it would have cost if we went out to eat. Which I was adamant about not doing.

Lessons learned: Don’t overestimate the amount of energy you’ll have after working all day and plan simpler dinners.

I booked one mystery shop job for $3.



Two web shops for a total of $6

1 phone for 6

6 Phone for 12

3 grocery 51

No spend! Well, except for my counselling appointment but that comes out of my HSA and not my regular spending, so I don’t count it.

I booked 12 mystery shops for a total of $75. 7 are phone shops, 2 are web shops and 3 are groceries. There will be some money spent but I have to buy groceries anyway.



I didn’t really have a dinner planned, but thought that we could buy a ham after work and have it with potatoes and veggies that we already had that needs to be used up soon. Then I found a pizza delivery mystery shop! I will spend $20-ish on pizza but it will be reimbursed!

Including the pizza shop, I booked $44 worth of mystery shops today. Two are web inquiries and one is a phone shop, but the last one is at a retail store. I do have to buy something, but I can always find something we need at this store.



It’s only noon but so far I haven’t spent any more. I will probably buy that ham today for dinner. I want a cup of coffee, but it is fall break so I am pretty sure the coffee shops in the library are both closed today.

I have booked one web shop for $5.


And here’s what this week’s spending looks like:

The eating out category was for last night’s mystery shop, so when I get another payment I will move it to the mystery shopping expenses category. Otherwise everything is fairly reasonable. I am hoping to keep groceries down since it’s an awkward 5 Sunday month, so $200 has to last over 5 weekends and not just 4.


Here’s to a weekend with more good decisions made than bad!


3 Responses

  1. Revanche @ A Gai Shan Life

    As a diarist myself, I don’t have any interest in most “how do you money” posts, they’re not telling me anything new. I AM interested in what we’re thinking about money and what we’re doing with it.

    On simpler dinners – YES. I may share more of our simple dinners recipes but we are totally into my fancy mac and cheese that starts life in a box too 😀

  2. luxuriouslythrifty

    I love hearing your money diaries so please keep writing them. They make me feel comforted because you’re one of the few PF bloggers who doesn’t nail 18 zero spend days a month or succeed at cutting back all unnecessary spending. I’m hoping that when you figure out how to curb your spending I can learn from you.

    • Jax-This post may contain affiliate links

      I am glad to hear someone likes reading them! I think I might write a post about this later, but I really feel like money is for spending 🙂 Obviously we need to sock money away for bad times and the future, but what’s the point of living if we only deny ourselves? My thoughts are still a work in progress (as is my spending!) Thanks for the encouragement!

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