I've now been tracking my spending for just over two months. I honestly cannot imagine not doing this anymore. It's amazing!
I tried to set up a 'budget' before completing the three month exercise, and now I'm seeing how absolutely pointless that would have been. At least, now I have a real portrait of how I spend.
My biggest potential tweak is food.
Groceries: 201.28 (this was my 'build up a pantry' month)
November's totals do not include restaurant and food purchases in Halifax which were part of the trip budget.
I've noticed that I now go to the grocery store once every two weeks, but that in the days before going grocery shopping, I tend to do a bit more restauranting.
I'm laughing at an earlier post I made where I said that I wanted to go down to a 100$ per month food budget. Right now, that's completely unrealistic. I think I'll aim for 250$ for December, which will need to include at least two restaurant meals.
Personally, I don't care if I hit my budget with groceries or restauranting. I tend to eat a lot at the foodcourt at work and always get something healthy that I couldn't have made at home for that price. This is especially common in the winter when I hit the salad bar where they have better produce than I can find in grocery stores. I know that for a family, restauranting cannot possibly make financial sense over pantry-cooking, but when you're single, it can. My dad made the same analysis. So, I'm not going to obsess over how much I go to the restaurant. Instead, I'll pull out 250$ for this month and see how much month is left before I'm forced to eat the chickpeas at the back of the pantry. :-)
"Life's but a walking shadow, a poor player that struts and frets his hour upon the stage and then is heard no more. It is a tale told by an idiot, full of sound and fury, signifying nothing."