I bought YNAB last year in October and November 2010 was the first month I tracked every single penny coming through the NBN household. What have I learned so far?

First, I spend nearly three times as much on clothing and shoes as what I thought and budgeted for.  From October 2010 to date I’ve spent about $925.57 on clothing, underwear and shoes. I think that by most standards that’s not that bad of a number for a 25 year old girl, but… My goal for the year was about $300-350. I don’t buy cheap shoes or cheap underwear (actually, I can’t buy cheap underwear) so I’m not sure how realistic my goal ever was.

*sigh* If only?

Second, I spend about ten times as much on blow money as I planned. Though I have weeks where I have little or no discretionary spending that falls into this category, there are also times that I blow the budget. June has been especially bad. I now know where my money goes though, which is a good thing. So far the $4,323.90 spent on Blow Money from October 2010 to date includes a new bicycle, Christmas gifts, a camping trip, a kayak and accessories, a return ticket to Europe, many many nights out with the girls, books, gadgets, two theatre visits, haircuts and a few household items. I’m definitely good at getting value for my dollars but It’s important that I really keep an eye on this category. It’s important do do the things you want, but you can’t have everything you want.

Third, I spend much LESS on groceries than I thought before YNAB, but MORE on restaurant visits. This was surprising

Fourth, My barebones budget – the minimum required to survive –  to have a roof over my head, a full belly, heating and meeting my minimum debt payments, is actually less than I thought. That’s a good thing, I always like to keep this in account because there is always the possibility of losing my job.

And fifth, the reality of interest has hit home. I tweeted last week that “I started paying attention to the interest that’s added to my mortgage, shouldn’t have done that #depressing’ and RevancheGS from A Gai Shan Life replied that maybe I shouldn’t do that without icecream. So true! I hate paying interest, ugh. I can’t believe I ever carried creditcard debt… it’s so hard to get ahead when you pay fees and interest and every dang corner!

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