Wednesday, February 1, 2023

I decided not to include bills, but just to do a diary for a month about the things that I buy. I am doing my gas, but not Tom’s. I love reading Money Diaries on Refinery 59 and so I thought I would do one. Also, this month I have been participating in Frugalwoods Uber Frugal Month. In addition, you know that I am starting my 23 in 2023 – I can only buy 23 new items this year. And, I didn’t stick to just two new items this month, but I could still succeed for the year.

I have quite a few gift cards I am going to use this month. That will be fun. I also have some restaurant coupons and when I want to go out, I plan to look at those first.

This may be really interesting for some readers and really boring for other, by the way!

Sunday, January 1-Whole Foods $50, Texas Roadhouse Take Out $0 with Tom’s gift card from a co-worker, $5 tip

Monday, January 2 – Kroger Pick Up $124, Dollar Tree stuff for school $30, Target book for me and razors for Mason $30

Tuesday, January 3- Back to School for Teachers – $0 Spend Day

January 4 – Back to School with Students – $0 Spend Day

January 5 – $0 Spend Day

Friday, January 6 – Amazon $7 green school laces to spruce up my white leather sneaks; $50 Door Dash (Eek!) reiumbursement to my kids who came home and wanted to order. They do this very rarely and we didn’t have any food in the house. I had Erica and Elizabeth over for happy hour instead of me spending around $50 at a restaurant. I made them a wonderful bourbon cocktail (or two), we tried the holiday pack Truly seltzers, I made them Trader Joe’s frozen fries with truffle oil and sea salt and a garlic aioli, truffle popcorn, and Trader Joe’s mini croissants. I think they were really happy to save a nice chunk of change, too. J and M had already had a late lunch/early dinner from Door Dash and Tom and I had baked potato, bean soup, and a few leftover odds and ends.

Saturday, January 7 – $154 Kroger, $15 coffee/donut shop, $18 Domino’s Pizza for J and M, $72 including tip for Tom and Amy Dinner at Varanese with three other couples

Sunday, January 8 – $12 Michael’s, $18 movie tickets, $0 Amy movie snacks, $12 Tom movie snacks

Monday, January 9- Old Navy online order of $44 with $100 Christmas money

Tuesday, January 10 – $0 Spend Day

Wednesday, January 11 – $0 Spend Day

Thursday, January 12 – $0 Starbucks (used a gift card), $1 barista tip, $119 Kroger pick up, $64 Gas at Kroger gas station, $3 ELF foundation from Amazon (very impressed), $30 Tully’s Hawaiian coffee from Amazon (new fave)

I do feel that I am deferring spending for a few days and then having larger spend days? This diary is really making me think about my spending, though!

Friday, January 13 – $38 Old Navy order (re-ordering two of the three items to see if sizing is better; I am trying to be a better shopper and get the right size and not just “settle”, $30 after school happy hour, $76 Mediterranean take out (cringe – why is this so expensive? Our kids were home for the night and wanted it. We never got it over Winter Break – it’s soooooo good and it provides leftovers, too)

Saturday, January 14 -$75 Trader Joe’s, $0 Library, $14 Liquor Barn, $ 20 TJ Maxx, $11 Mexican to go – I ate with my friends and they treated me and I took home an arroz con pollo for J and M. They went to a friend’s house to play Dungeons and Dragons and had pizza but were still hungry.

Sunday, January 15 – Coffee Shop $1 – had gift cards. Mason and I read for a bit, $15 car wash

Monday, January 16 – $109 Vaugu order (2 dresses and 1 top – I can also say this is my $100 Christmas money purchase) , $58 Fresh Market – went in for chicken and got a bit crazy

Tuesday, January 17 – $58 Old Navy order, $4 Amazon powdered Tide for my floor mopping – lol

Wednesday, January 18 – $68 Amazon Shark cordless vac

+earned $29 Rewards from my credit card (We have a Kroger credit card and save on gas and groceries with this. We also get rewards based on spending that are credited like cash to the card)

Thursday, January 19 -$152 Kroger pick up (Trying to make this the last big shop of January, but it may not be possible – If it is, my Kroger bill for January will only be $440! Note: It was not possible!)I have gone to Trader Joe’s once for $78 and Fresh Market once for $58, too, and then we have gone to Costco a couple of times mainly for Tom’s protein shakes of which he goes through very quickly. This is still a great reduction from groceries for December.)

Friday, January 20 – $26 Happy Hour margaritas, chips, salsa, queso, then ate dinner at home for $0 – Tom had a Totino’s frozen pizza and oranges and I had an egg sandwich and oranges

Saturday, January 21 -+$70 ish for Old Navy returns, $0 Library, $14 Trader Joe’s wine shop, $36 Trader Joe’s, $97 Walmart Neighborhood Market (just a grocery and not the big Walmart) – spent too much but bought toiletries along with some items can only get there – I went a little crazy because the prices were so much better than Kroger and Target on a few things), $28 Mojito en Havana for dinner – I had a $25 gift card so this is why it was so low for a nice dinner

Sunday, January 22 – $30 Sunday Funday margaritas and appetizer along with tip at Boombozz

Monday, January 23 – $0 Spend Day

Tuesday, January 24 – $0 Spend Day

Wednesday, January 25 – $0 Spend Day

Thursday, January 26 – $13 Chinese herbs for Ernie, $8 McDonald’s for Ernie and Amy

Friday, January 27 – $149 Kroger grocery pick up (was not able to make January 19’s haul last but this order will take me into the first few days of February, too) , $59 Target order of two pairs of jeans

Saturday, January 28 – $42 Walmart grocery, $58 Target, $0 Library, $35 Blaze, $37 Loft

Sunday, January 29 – $32 Coffee Shop/breakfast with Mason, $30 Sunday Funday with Elizabeth

Monday, January 30 – $14 Amazon purchase of small silk scarf

Tuesday, January 31 – $0 Spend Day


I could have forgotten a couple of things, but I was pretty diligent about recording this month.

No Spend Days: 9! Wow! I am pretty impressed with this. This means no online orders, either. Some is definitely deferred spending, but it made me realize that normally hardly a day goes by without me at least placing a small Amazon order.

Gas: $64 – Wow! That is really low. I may have forgotten to record a second fill up. My work is really close to home and I probably filled up right before January started.

Groceries: Kroger: $698 Wow! That is a lot for two people except some weekend days when we have four of us. Whole Foods: $50, Trader Joe’s: $115, Fresh Market: $58,Walmart Grocery: $97 and $42

Grand Total for Groceries: $963 – Again that seems really high, but we really do eat most meals at home I guess. I almost never get breakfast or lunch out and I think we only had three meals out this month, not including my happy hours. Look how low my take out and meals out are. I would say this is pretty low for the average couple. Also, the groceries include all toiletries and cleaning products, too, for the most part.

Take Out: $200

Meals Out for Amy and Tom: $100 (had a gift card)

Amy Happy Hours/SundayFunday: $116

Coffee Shops for Amy and Mason: $47

Entertainment: $18 movie tickets – this is kinda sad. I think we need to do more things for pure entertainment that don’t involve food.

Clothing for Amy: $237 – What even is 23 for 23? Lol!

Other – Amazon: $115 – pretty pleased with this much reduced number

My Thoughts:

I am really glad I did this. I think it was a good re-set for me. My birthday is November 2 and from then until the end of the year I traditionally just go kinda off the rails.

Have you ever done this? Are you scared to do it like I was? Ha!


23 thoughts on “January Spending Diary

  1. Oh my, this is a reality check. Maybe I should try it.
    I have a question….I decided I would try to shop small boutiques and I noticed a lot of their clothing seems to be very much like what is on Amazon. Maybe I need to try a different boutique.


    1. Maybe you don’t want to know! No, I actually think doing this is going to help me all year. I really stopped to think before spending bc I knew I had to record it.
      I do think that is true – but look at it like you get to feel the material and try it on and then you are helping someone local. But, if you mean that the quality is low, I would try other boutiques. There are some in my town that just aren’t for me. Or, try consignment stores. There is so much good stuff there!


  2. I try to track some expenses each month, but this is a good way to jounal it daily to really get a good view of what we are spending. Groceries are so expensive these days! Just having goals of spending and being aware I think are really good things.


  3. This is impressive! Those no spend days are awesome, sometimes I have those – although I don’t keep track. Gift cards are certainly a nice way to treat yourself and teachers get so many – enjoy using them!


  4. “What even is 23 in 2023?!” – 🤣🤣 You crack me up.

    I am so inspired to start this type of money tracking and it’s a perfect day to start, since it’s the first of a new month. This was fascinating! I’ve never tracked my spending, because I’m pretty frugal and have strict rules set in place for myself, but I have tracked the food I’ve eaten every day before. I love to save money and to see where ours goes…considering we’re a family of six with five of us at home, our grocery bill isn’t too much. I make lunches for us all everyday, but a lot of nights the guys go out with friends. I always cook, so it’s here if they want it, or it becomes leftovers for all of us. I’ve really gotten better at meal planning! I am going to message you my # on Instagram now. Thank you for your help for when we come in March!


    1. Ha!
      Yes! It was really interesting to me. I am especially proud of the 9 no spend days. I feel like that was a big improvement. I would click buy on Amazon without much of a thought.
      That’s a lot of people eating in your house. The bill could get out of hand!


  5. And here I’m reading your grocery total and thinking “wow, that’s so low!” LOL. Like I’m pretty sure I spent your monthly total just this past week… but we did stock up on meat at Bj’s in the hopes of keeping my weekly grocery bill lower.


    1. Really? Do you think it’s low for two people, though? I love to hear what people spend. I think it varies on region of the country, too. Stock ups kinda mess up the math for me. I guess you would have to wait until the end of the month or quarter to figure that out?


      1. Hard to say, but I know I spend around $300-350 a week normally and my mom said that her and my step father spend nearly the same amount (though they do buy mostly organic/ free range/ etc).


      2. Yeah, there are 5 of us and we eat out MAYBE once a month. Everyone packs lunch to bring with them to work/school so very little money is spent on food elsewhere.

        Liked by 1 person

  6. I love this! I’m going to track February, which I know will be high for food as my daughter (26)is coming this weekend for a big meal prep/freeze session with me so she can have meals ready for work travel days. Guess moms always are feeding their kids!
    Were the target jeans true to size? Thanks


    1. I think it will be enlightening for you even if you don’t share it. Yes, they are always feeding their kids and happily! That will be so fun!
      Ok, the jeans are kinda frustrating to me. The black jeans are a bit tight in the stomach but I wouldn’t want to go up. The denim pairs are kinda loose in the stomach. I tried on the size below and they were like not even close to zipping. Is it me? Am I between sizes? I don’t know. The jeans are great right out of the dryer but they start to get loose as the day wears on. I would try two sizes to see. I think with high waisted you have to go up a size sometimes.


  7. Your “clothing for Amy” comment 😂don’t you love gift cards?! They are the best. I think you had a great month. I swear we spend $160-200 on groceries a week…(if close to $200, it means I went to TJ too) *sigh*


    1. I know! It’s my hobby! I can’t stop! I do. It is guilt free money! Thank you. It seems high for two, but I am also making both of our breakfasts, lunch for E and I, and dinner for T and I and you saw that we rarely go out or get take out for meals. I do have a high happy hour budget. And, I never – almost never – do drive thrus for coffee or food. So, I don’t know. I am happy I did this experiment.

      Liked by 1 person

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